Sunday, April 16, 2017

Paschal Time

The History of Paschal Time

We give the name of Paschal Time to the period between Easter Sunday and the Saturday following Whit Sunday. It is the most sacred portion of the Liturgical year, and the one towards which the whole Cycle converges. We shall easily understand how this is, if we reflect on the greatness of the Easter Feast, which is called the Feast of Feasts, and the Solemnity of solemnities, in the same manner, says St. Gregory, as the most sacred part of the Temple was called the Holy of holies: and the Book of Sacred Scripture, wherein are described the espousals between Christ and the Church, is called the Canticle of canticles. It is on this day, that the mission of the Word Incarnate obtains the object, towards which it has hitherto been unceasingly tending:—mankind is raised up from his fall, and regains what he had lost by Adam’s sin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The West followed Rome. The Churches of Ireland and Scotland, which had been lisled by faulty Cycles, were, at length, brought into uniformity. Finally, science was sufficiently advanced in the 16th century, for Pope Gregory XIII to undertake a reform of the Calendar. The Equinox had to be restored to the 21st of March, as the Council of Nicæa had prescribed. The Pope effected this by publishing a Bull, dated February 24, 1581, in which he ordered that ten days of the following year, namely from the 4th to the 15th of October, should be suppressed. He thus restored the work of Julius Cæsar, who had, in his day, turned his attention to the rectification of the Year. Easter was the great object of the reform, or, as it is called, the New Style, achieved by Gregory XIII. The principles and regulations of the Nicene Council were again brought to bear on this the capital question of the Liturgical Year; and the Roman Pontiff thus gave to the whole world the intimation of Easter, not for one year only, but for centuries. Heretical nations were forced to acknowledge the divine power of the Church in this solemn act, which interested both religion and society. They protested against the Calendar, as they had protested against the Rule of Faith. England and the Lutheran States of Germany preferred following, for many years, a Calendar which was evidently at fault, rather than accept the New Style, which they acknowledged to be indispensable; but it was the work of a Pope! The only nation in Europe that keeps up the Old Style is Russia, whose antipathy to Rome obliges her to be thus ten or twelve days behind the rest of the civilized world.

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

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

St. Gregory of Fours tells us of a Font, which existed even then, in a church of Andalusia, in a place called Osen, and whereby God miraculously certified to His people the true day of Easter. On the Maundy Thursday of each year, the Bishop, accompanied by the faithful repaired to this church. The bed of the Font was built in the form of a cross, and was paved with mosaics. It was carefully examined, to see that it was perfectly dry; and after several prayers had been recited, every one left the Church, and the Bishop sealed the door with his seal. On Holy Saturday the Pontiff returned, accompanied by his flock; the seal was examined, and the door was opened. The Font was found to be filled, even above the level of the floor, and yet the water did not overflow. The Bishop pronounced the exorcisms over the miraculous water, and poured the Chrism into it. The Catechumens were then baptized; and as soon as the sacrament had been administered, the water immediately disappeared, and no one could tell what became of it. Similar miracles were witnessed in several churches in the East. John Moschus, a writer in the 7th century, speaks of a Baptismal Font in Lycia, which was thus filled every Easter Eve; but the water remained in the Font during the whole fifty days, an dsuddenly disappeared after the Festival of Pentecost.

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

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

It was in the year 1215, in the 4th General Council of Lateran, that the Church, seeing the ever growing indifference of her children, decreed with regret that Christians should be strictly bound to Communion only once in the year, and that that Communion of obligation should be made at Easter. In order to show the faithful that this is the uttermost limit of her condescension to lukewarmness, she declares, in the same Council, that he that shall presume to break this law, may be forbidden to enter a church during life, and be deprived of Christian burial after death, as he would be if he had, of his own accord, separated himself from the exterior link of Catholic unity. [Two centuries after this, Pope Eugenius the Fourth, in the Constitution Digna Fide, given in the year 1440, allowed this annual Communion to be made on any day between Palm Sunday and Low Sunday inclusively. (In England and certain other places, by permission of the Holy See, the time for making the Easter Communion extends from Ash Wednesday to Low Sunday.)] These regulations of a General Council show how important is the duty of the Easter Communion; but, at the same time, they make us shudder at the thought of the millions, throughout the Catholic world, who brave each year the threats of the Church, by refusing to comply with a duty, which would both bring life to their souls, and serve as a profession of their faith. And when we again reflect upon how many even of those who make their Easter Communion, have paid no more attention to the Lenten Penance than if there were no such obligation in existence, we cannot help feeling sad, and we wonder within ourselves, how long God will bear with such infringements of the Christian Law.

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

Eastertide, then, is like one continued Feast. It is the remark made by Tertullian, in the 3rd century. He is reproaching those Christians who regretted having renounced, by their Baptism, the festivities of the pagan year; and he thus addresses them: “If you love Feasts, you will find plenty among us Christians; not merely Feasts that last only for a day, but such as continue for several days together. The Pagans keep each of their Feasts once in the year; but you have to keep each of yours many times over, for you have the eight days of its celebration. Put all the Feasts of the Gentiles together, and they do not amount to our fifty days of Pentecost.” St. Ambrose speaking on the same subject, says: “If the Jews are not satisfied with the Sabbath of each week, but keep also one which lasts a whole month, and another which lasts a whole year;—how much more ought not we to honor our Lord’s Resurrection? Hence our ancestors have taught us to celebrate the fifty days of Pentecost as a continuation of Easter. They are seven weeks, and the Feast of Pentecost commences the eighth … During these fifty days, the Church observes no fast, as neither does she on any Sunday, for it is the day on which our Lord rose: and all these fifty days are like so many Sundays.”

The Mystery of Paschal Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Practice During Paschal Time

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

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

The great Liturgist of the 12th century, Rupert, Abbot of Deutz, thus speaks of the pious artifice used by the Church to infuse the spirit of Easter into all: “There are certain carnal minds, that seem unable to open their eyes to spiritual things, unless roused by some unusual excitement; and for this reason, the Church makes use of such means. Thus, the Lenten Fast, which we offer up to God as our yearly tithe, goes on till the most sacred night of Easter; then follow fifty days without so much as one single Fast. Hence it happens, that while the body is being mortified, and is to continue to be so till Easter Night, that holy night is eagerly looked forward to even by the carnal-minded; they long for it to come; and, meanwhile, they carefully count each of the forty days, as a wearied traveller does the miles. Thus, the sacred Solemnity is sweet to all, and dear to all, and desired by all, as light is to them that walk in darkness, as a fount of living water is to them that thirst, and as ‘a tent which the Lorth hath pitched’ for wearied wayfarers.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morning and Night Prayers During Paschal Time

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

Surrexit Dominus vere. Alleluia.

The Lord hath truly risen. Alleluia.

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

Morning Prayer

First, praise and adoration of the Most Holy Trinity:—

℣. Benedicamus Patrem et Filium, cum Sancto Spiritu:

℣. Let us bless the Father and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

℟. Laudemus et su perexaltemus eum in sæcula.

℟. Let us praise him and extol him above all, for ever.

℣. Gloria Patri et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto;

℣. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

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

℟. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

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

℣. In resurrectione tua, Christe, alleluia.

℣. In thy Resurrection, O Christ, alleluia.

℟. Cœli et terra lætentur, alleluia.

℟. Let heaven and earth rejoice, alleluia.

Thirdly, invocation of the Holy Ghost:

Veni, Sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium, et tui amoris in eis ignem accende.

Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful, and enkindle within them the fire of thy love.

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

The Lord’s Prayer

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

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

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

The Angelical Salutation

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

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

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

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

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

The Apostles’ Creed

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

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

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

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

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

Hymn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A bright Angel cries out: “Away with mourning, tears, and grief! The conqueror of death is risen!”

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

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

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

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

Amen.

Amen.

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

The Confession of Sins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The next part of your Morning Prayer must be to ask of God, by the following prayers, grace to avoid every kind of sin. Say, then, with the Church, whose prayers must always be preferred to all others:

℣. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.

℣. O Lord, hear my prayer.

℟. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.

℟. And let my cry come unto thee.

Oremus. Let Us Pray.

Domine, Deus omnipotens, qui ad principium hujus diei nos pervenire fecisti, tua nos hodie salva virtute, ut in hac die ad nullum declinemus peccatum, sed semper ad tuam justitiam faciendam nostra procedant eloquia, dirigantur cogitationes et opera. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

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

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

℣. Deus, in adjutorium meum intende.

℣. Incline unto my aid, O God.

℟. Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina.

℟. O Lord, make haste to help me.

℣. Deus, in adjutorium meum intende.

℣. Incline unto my aid, O God.

℟. Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina.

℟. O Lord, make haste to help me.

℣. Deus, in adjutorium meum intende.

℣. Incline unto my aid, O God.

℟. Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina.

℟. O Lord, make haste to help me.

Oremus. Let Us Pray.

Dirigere et sanctificare, regere et gubernare dignare, Domine Deus, Rex cœli et terræ, hodie corda et corpora nostra, sensus, sermones et actus nostros in lege tua, et in operibus mandatorum tuorum, ut hic et in æternum, te auxiliante, salvi et liberi esse mereamur, Salvator mundi. Qui vivis et regnas in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

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

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

Night Prayers

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

Hymn

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

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

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

He, in his divine love for us, gives us to drink of his precious Blood. Love is the Priest that immolates his sacred body.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen.

Amen.

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

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

The Examination of Conscience concluded, recite the Confiteor (or I confess with heartfelt contrition, and then give expression to your sorrow by the following Act, which we have taken from the Venerable Cardinal Bellarmine’s Catechism:—

Act of Contrition

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

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

Act of Faith

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

Act of Hope

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

Act of Charity

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

Then say to our blessed Lady the following Anthem, which the Church uses from the Feast of the Purification to Easter:

Anthem to the Blessed Virgin

Regina cœli, lætare, alleluia,

Rejoice, O Queen of heaven, alleluia,

Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia,

For he whom thou deservedst to bear, alleluia,

Resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia.

Hath risen, as he said, alleluia.

Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

Pray to God for us, alleluia.

℣. Gaude et lætare, Virgo Maria, alleluia.

℣. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.

℟. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.

℟. For the Lord hath truly risen, alleluia.

Oremus. Let Us Pray.

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

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

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

The Litany of the Blessed Virgin
Kyrie, eleison. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christe, eleison. Christ, have mercy on us.
Kyrie, eleison. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christe, audi nos. Christ, hear us.
Christe, exaudi nos. Christ, graciously hear us.
Pater de cælis Deus, miserere nobis. God, the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
Fili Redemptor mundi Deus, God, the Son, the Redeemer of the world,
Spiritus Sancte Deus, God, the Holy Spirit,
Sancta Trinitas, unus Deus, Holy Trinity, one God,
Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis. Holy Mary, pray for us.
Sancta Dei Genetrix, Holy Mother of God,
Sancta Virgo virginum, Holy Virgin of virgins,
Mater Christi, Mother of Christ,
Mater Ecclesiæ, Mother of the Church,
Mater Divinæ gratiæ, Mother of divine grace,
Mater purissima, Mother most pure,
Mater castissima, Mother most chaste,
Mater inviolata, Mother inviolate,
Mater intemerata, Mater undefiled,
Mater amabilis, Mother most amiable,
Mater admirabilis, Mother most admirable,
Mater boni Consilii, Mother of good counsel,
Mater Creatoris, Mother of our Creator,
Mater Salvatoris, Mother of our Savior,
Virgo prudentissima, Virgin most prudent,
Virgo veneranda, Virgin most venerable,
Virgo prædicanda, Virgin most renowned,
Virgo potens, Virgin most powerful,
Virgo clemens, Virgin most merciful,
Virgo fidelis, Virgin most faithful,
Speculum iustitiæ, Mirror of justice,
Sedes sapientiæ, Seat of wisdom,
Causa nostræ lætitiæ, Cause of our joy,
Vas spirituale, Spiritual vessel,
Vas honorabile, Vessel of honor,
Vas insigne devotionis, Singular vessel of devotion,
Rosa mystica, Mystical rose,
Turris Davidica, Tower of David,
Turris eburnea, Tower of ivory,
Domus aurea, House of gold,
Fœderis arca, Ark of the covenant,
Ianua cæli, Gate of heaven,
Stella matutina, Morning star,
Salus infirmorum, Health of the sick,
Refugium peccatorum, Refuge of sinners,
Consolatrix afflictorum, Comforter of the afflicted,
Auxilium Christianorum, Help of Christians,
Regina Angelorum, Queen of Angels,
Regina Patriarcharum, Queen of Patriarchs,
Regina Prophetarum, Queen of Prophets,
Regina Apostolorum, Queen of Apostles,
Regina Martyrum, Queen of Martyrs,
Regina Confessorum, Queen of Confessors,
Regina Virginum, Queen of Virgins,
Regina Sanctorum omnium, Queen of all Saints,
Regina sine labe originali concepta, Queen conceived without original sin,
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
parce nobis, Domine.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the
world,
spare us, O Lord.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
exaudi nos, Domine.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the
world,
graciously hear us, O Lord.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
miserere nobis.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the
world,
have mercy on us.
Christe, audi nos. Christ, hear us.
Christe, exaudi nos. Christ, graciously hear us.
℣. Ora pro nobis, Sancta Dei Genitrix,
℟. Ut digni efficamur promissionibus Christi.
℣. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,
℟. That we may be made worthy of the promises
of Christ.
Oremus.—Gratiam tuam, quæsumus,
Domine, mentibus nostris infunde; ut qui, Angelo
nuntiante, Christi Filii tui incarnationem cognovimus,
per passionem eius et crucem, ad resurrectionis
gloriam perducamur. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum.

Amen.
Let us pray.—Pour forth, we beseech Thee,
O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we, to whom
the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known
by the message of an angel, may by His passion and
cross be brought to the glory of His resurrection,
through the same Christ our Lord.

Amen.

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

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

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

℣. Angelis suis Deus mandavit de te.

℣. God hath given his angels charge of thee.

℟. Ut custodiant te in omnibus viis tuis.

℟. That they may guard thee in all thy ways.

Oremus. Let Us Pray.

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

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

Then beg the assistance of the Saints by the following antiphon:

Ant. Sancti Dei omnes, intercedere dignemini pro nostra omniumque salute.

Ant. All ye Saints of God, vouchsafe to intercede for us and for all men, that we may be saved.

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

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

Psalm 129

De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine: Domine, exaudi vocem meam.

From the depths I have cried to thee, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice.

Fiant aures tuæ intendentes: in vocem deprecationis meæ.

Let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication.

Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine: Domine, quis sustinebit?

If thou wilt observe iniquities, O Lord: Lord, who shall endure it?

Quia apud te propitiatio est: et propter legem tuam sustinui te, Domine.

For with thee there is merciful forgiveness; and by reason of thy law I have waited for thee, O Lord.

Sustinuit anima mea in verbo ejus: speravit anima mea in Domino.

My soul hath relied on his word; my soul hath hoped in the Lord.

A custodia matutina usque ad noctem: speret Israel in Domino.

From the morning watch even until night, let Israel hope in the Lord.

Quia apud Dominum misericordia: et copiosa apud cum redemptio.

Because with the Lord there is mercy, and with him plentiful redemption.

Et ipse redimet Israel: ex omnibus iniquitatibus ejus.

And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine.

Eternal rest give to them, O Lord.

Et lux perpetua luceat eis.

And let perpetual light shine upon them.

℣. A porta inferi.

℣. From the gate of hell.

℟. Erue, Domine, animas eorum.

℟. Deliver their souls, O Lord.

℣. Requiescant in pace.

℣. May they rest in peace.

℟. Amen.

℟. Amen.

℣. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.

℣. O Lord, hear my prayer.

℟. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.

℟. And let my cry come unto thee.

Oremus. Let Us Pray.

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

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

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

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

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

℣. Dignare, Domine, nocte ista.

℣. Vouchsafe, O Lord, this night.

℟. Sine peccato nos custodire.

℟. To keep us without sin.

℣. Miserere nostri, Domine.

℣. Have mercy on us, O Lord.

℟. Miserere nostri.

℟. Have mercy on us.

℣. Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos.

℣. Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us.

℟. Quemadmodum speravimus in te.

℟. As we have hoped in thee.

℣. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.

℣. O Lord, hear my prayer.

℟. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.

℟. And let my cry come unto thee.

Oremus. Let Us Pray.

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

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

And that you may end the day in the same sentiments wherewith you began it, repeat, with the Church, these beautiful words of the two disciples of Emmaus:

℣. Mane nobiscum, Domine, alleluia.

℣. Stay with us, O Lord, alleluia.

℟. Quoniam advesperascit, alleluia.

℟. For it is now evening, alleluia.

On Hearing Mass, During the Season of Lent

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

Another source of joy ot the Church, when at the holy altar, is th esight of her children partaking of the banquet of the Paschal Lamb. Each church is now a Cenacle, where Jesus celebrates the Pasch with His disciples. The holy Table is no longer the feast of a chosen few; the guests come in in crowds, and the House is filled. Now is the great figure of the Old Law changed into a reality. “At this Table of the great King, the new Pasch of the New Law puts an end to the ancient Passover. The new excludes the old; reality puts the shadow to flight; light expels night.” (Sequence for the Feast of Corpus Christi) We are the children of the promise; we have not denied Christ, as did the Jews; but we acknwledged Him to be our King, while His faithfuless people were dragging Him to execution. He, in return, has invited us to His Pasch, an dthere He is our host and our food.

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

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

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

During a considerable portion of Paschal Time, the Mass is celebrating in commemoration of the great Mysteries which were accomplished at this season of the Liturgical Year: the prayers used by the Church on these several Feasts, are given in their proper places. On other days, the holy Sacrifice is generally said in honor of the Saints, unless there occur a Sunday, not impeded by a Double Feast.

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

During the Asperges, let them unite with the intentions of the Church in this venerable rite, and pray for that purity of heart, which will fit them for admission into that Stable of Bethlehem, wherein the Word Incarnate first appeared to his creatures.

Antiphon of the Asperges

Vidi aquam egredientem de templo a latere dextro, alleluia: et omnes, ad quos pervenit aqua ista, salvi facti sunt et dicent: Alleluia, alleluia.

I saw water flowing from the right side of the temple, alleluia: and all to whom that water came were saved, and they shall say: Alleluia, alleluia.

Ps. Confitemini Domino, quoniam bonus: quoniam in sæculum misericordia ejus.

Ps. Praise the Lord, because he is good; because his mercy endureth for ever.

Gloria Patri. Vidi aquam.

Glory, &c. I saw.

℣. Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam, alleluia.

℣. Show us, O Lord, thy mercy, alleluia.

℟. Et salutare tuum da nobis, alleluia.

℟. And grant us the Savior, whom we expect from thee, alleluia.

℣. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.

℣. O Lord, hear my prayer.

℟. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.

℟. And let my cry come unto thee.

℣. Dominus vobiscum.

℣. The Lord be with you.

℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

℟. And with thy spirit.

Oremus. Let Us Pray.

Exaudi nos, Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus: et mittere digneris sanctum angelum tuum de cœlis, qui custodiat, foveat, protegat, visitet atque defendat omnes habitantes in hoc habitaculo. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

Graciously hear us, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: and vouchsafe to send thy holy angel from heaven, who may keep, cherish, protect, visit, and defend all who are assembled in this place. Through Christ our Lord.

℟. Amen.

℟. Amen.

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

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

The Ordinary of the Mass

In nome Patris et Filii et Spiritus sancti. Amen.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

℣. Introibo ad altare Dei.

℟. Ad Deum qui lætificat juventutem meam.

I unite myself, O my God, with thy Church, who comes to seek consolation in Jesus Christ thy Son, who is the true altar.

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

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

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

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

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

Send me, then, him who is light and truth; it is he who will open to us the way to thy holy mount, to thy heavenly tabernacle.

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

He is the Mediator and the living altar; I will draw nigh to him, and be filled with joy.

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

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

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

Hope in his coming: he who is thy Savior an;d thy God, will soon be with me.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui sancto.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

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

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

℣. Introibo ad altare Dei.

℟. Ad Deum qui lætificat juventutem meam.

I am to go to the altar of God, and feel the presence of him who consoles me!

℣. Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini.

℟. Qui fecit cœlum et terram.

This my hope comes not from any merits of my own, but from the all-powerful help of my Creator.

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

Misereatur tui omniptens Deus, et dimissis peccatis tuis, perducat te ad vitam æternam.

My almighty God have mercy on thee, and, forgiving thy sins, bring thee to everlasting life.

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

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

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

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

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

May almighty God be merciful to you, and, forgiving your sins, bring you to life everlasting.

℟. Amen.

℟. Amen.

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

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

℟. Amen.

℟. Amen.

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

℣. Deus, tu conversus vivificabis nos.

℣. O God, it needs but one look of thine to give us life.

℟. Et plebs tua lætabitur in te.

℟. And thy people shall rejoice in thee.

℣. Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam.

℣. Show us, O Lord, thy mercy.

℟. Et salutare tuum da nobis.

℟. And give us the Savior whom thou hast prepared for us.

℣. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.

℣. O Lord, hear my prayer.

℟. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.

℟. And let my cry come unto thee.

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

℣. Dominus vobiscum.

℣. The Lord be with you.

Answer him with reverence:

℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

℟. And with thy spirit.

Oremus. Let Us Pray.

He ascends the steps, and comes to the Holy of Holies. Ask, both for him and for yourself, deliverance from sin.

Aufer a nobis, quæsumus Domine, iniquitates nostras; ut ad Sancta sanctorum puris mereamur mentibus introire. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Take from our hearts, O Lord, all those sins, which makes us unworthy of thy visit; we ask this of thee by thy divine Son our Lord.

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

Oramus te, Domine, per merita sanctorum tuorum quorum reliquiæ hic sunt, et omnium sanctorum: ut indulgere digneris omnia peccata mea. Amen.

Generous soldiers of Jesus Christ, who have mingled your own blood with his, intercede for us that our sins may be forgiven; that so we may, like you, approach unto God.

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

Ab illo benedicaris, in cujus honore cremaberis. Amen.

Mayest thou be blessed by him in whose honor thou art to be burned. Amen.

He then censes the Altar in a most solemn manner. This white cloud, which you see ascending from every part of the Altar, signifies the prayer of the Church, who addresses herself to Jesus Christ; and which this Divine Mediator then causes to ascend, united with his own, to the throne of the majesty of his Father.

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

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

To the Father:
Kyrie eleison.
Kyrie eleison.
Kyrie eleison.
Lord, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!
To the Son:
Christe eleison.
Christe eleison.
Christe eleison.
Christ, have mercy on us!
Christ, have mercy on us!
Christ, have mercy on us!
To the Holy Ghost:
Kyrie eleison.
Kyrie eleison.
Kyrie eleison.
Lord, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!

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

The Angelic Hymn

Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonæ voluntatis.

Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace to men of good will.

Laudamus te: benedicimus te: adoramus te: glorificamus te: gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam.

We praise thee: we bless thee: we adore thee: we glorify thee: we give thee thanks for thy great glory.

Domine Deus, Rex cœlestis, Deus Pater omnipotens.

O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father almighty.

Domine, Fili unigenite, Jesu Christe.

O Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son.

Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris.

O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father.

Qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Qui tollis teccata mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostram.

Who takest away the sins of the world, receive our humble prayer.

Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, miserere nobis.

Who sittest at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us.

Quoniam tu solus sanctus, tu solus Dominus, tu solus altissimus, Jesu Christe, cum sancto Spiritu, in gloria Dei Patris. Amen.

For thou alone art holy, thou alone art Lord, thou alone, O Jesus Christ, together with the Holy Ghost, art most high, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As a preparation for hearing it worthily, you may thus pray, together with the Priest and Deacon:

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

Alas! these ears of mine are but too often defiled with the world’s vain words; cleanse them, O Lord, that so I may hear the words of eternal life, and treasure them in my heart. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Dominus sit in corde meo, et in labiis meis: ut digne et competenter annuntiem Evangelium suum: In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus sancti. Amen.

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

You will stand during the Gospel, as though you were awaiting the orders of your Lord; at the commencement, make the sign of the cross on your forehead, lips, and breast; and then listen to every word of the priest or deacon. Let your heart be ready and obedient. “Whilst my Beloved was speaking,” says the bride in the Canticle, “my soul melted within me.” If you have not such love as this, have at least the humble submission of Samuel, and say: “Speak, Lord! Thy servant heareth.”

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

The Nicene Creed

Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, factorem cœli et terræ, visibilium omnium et invisibilium.

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

Et in unum Dominum Jesum Christum, Filium Dei unigenitum. Et ex Patre natum ante omnia sæcula, Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero. Genitum non factum, consubstantialem Patri: per quem omnia facta sunt. Qui propter nos homines, et propter nostram salutem, descendit de dœlis. Et incarnatus est de Spiritu sancto, et homo factus est. Crucifixus etiam pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato, passus, et sepultus est. Et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas. Et ascendit in cœlum; sedet ad dexteram Patris. Et iterum venturus est cum gloria judicare vivos et mortuos; cujus regni non erit finis.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God. Andd born of the Father before all ages: God of God, light of light; true God of true God. Begotten, not made; consubstantial with the Father: by whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven. And became Incarnate by the Holy Ghost, of the Virgin Mary; and was made man. He was crucified also for us, under Pontius Pilate, suffered, and was buried. And the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures. And ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of the Father. And he is to come again with glory, to judge the living and the dead: of whose kingdom there shall be no end.

Et in Spiritum sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem, qui ex Patre Filioque procedit. Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur, et conglorificatur; qui locutus est per prophetas. Et unam sanctam Catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam. Confiteor unum Baptisma in remissionem peccatorum. Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum, et vitam venturi sæculi. Amen.

And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son. Who, together with the Father and the Son, is adored and glorified; who spoke by the prophets. And one holy Catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the remission of sins. And I expect the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

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

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

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

Suscipe, sancte Pater, omnipotens æterne Deus, hanc immaculatam hostiam, quam ego indignus famulus tuus offero tibi Deo meo vivo et vero, pro innumerabilibus peccatis et offensionibus et negligentiis meis, et pro omnibus circumstantibus, sed et pro omnibus fidelibus christianis vivis atque defunctis; ut mihi et illis proficiat ad salutem in vitam æternam. Amen.

All that we have, O Lord, comes from thee, and belongs to thee: it is just, therefore, that we return it unto thee. But how wonderful art thou in the inventions of thy immense love! This bread which we are offering to thee, is to give place, in a few moments, to the sacred Body of Jesus. We beseech thee, receive, together with this oblation, our hearts, which long to live by thee, and to cease to live their own life of self.

When the priest puts the wine into the chalice, and then mingles with it a drop of water, let your thoughts turn to the divine mystery of the Incarnation, which in a few days is to be manifested to the world; and say:

Deus qui humanæ substantiæ dignitatem mirabiliter condidisti, et mirabilius reformasti: da nobis per hujus aquæ et vini mysterium, ejus divinitatis esse consortes, qui humanitatis nostræ fieri dignatus est particeps, Jesus Christus Filius tuus Dominus noster: qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

O Lord Jesus, who art the true vine, and whose Blood, like a generous wine, has been poured forth under the pressure of the cross! thou hast deigned to unite thy divine nature to our weak humanity, which is signified by this drop of water. Oh! come, and make us partakers of thy divinity, by showing thyself to us in thy sweet and wondrous visit.

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

Offerimus tibi, Domine, calicem salutaris, tuam deprecantes clementiam: ut in conspectu divinæ majestatis tuæ, pro nostra et totius mundi salute, cum odore suavitatis ascendat. Amen.

Graciously accept these gifts, O sovereign Creator of all things. Let them be fitted for the divine transformation, which will make them, from being mere offerings of created things, the instrument of the world’s salvation.

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

In spiritu humilitatis, et in animo contrito suscipiamur a te, Domine; et sic fiat sacrificium nostrum in conspectu tuo hodie, ut placeat tibi, Domine Deus.

Though daring, as we do, to approach thy altar, O Lord, we cannot forget that we are sinners. Have mercy on us, and delay not to send us thy Son, who is our saving Host.

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

Veni, Sanctificator, omnipotens æterne Deus, et benedic hoc sacrificium tuo sancto nomini præparatum.

Come, O divine Spirit, make fruitful the offering which is upon the altar, and produce in our hearts him whom they desire.

If it be a High Mass, the Priest, before proceeding further with the sacrifice, takes the thurible a second time, after blessing the incense in these words:

Per intercessionem beati Michaelis archangeli, stantis a dextris altaris incensi, et omnium electorum suorum, incensum istud dignetur Dominus benedicere, et in odorem suavitatis accipere. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Through the intercession of blessed Michael the archangel, standing at the right hand of the altar of incense, and of all his elect, may our Lord deign to bless this incense, and to receive it for an odor of sweetness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

He then censes first the bread and wine, which have just been offered, and then the altar itself; hereby inviting the faithful to make their prayer, which is signified by the incense, more and more fervent, the nearer the solemn moment approaches. St. John tells us that the incense he bgeheld burning on the altar in heaven is made up of the “prayers of the saints;” let us take a share in those prayers, and with all the ardor of holy desires, let us say with the priest.

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

Dirigatur, Domine, oratio mea sicut incensum in conspectu tuo: elevatio manuum mearum sacrificium vespertinum. Pone, Domine, custodiam ori meo, et ostium circumstantiæ labiis meis; ut non declinet cor meum in verba malitiæ, ad excusandas excusationes in peccatis.

May this incense, blessed by thee, ascend to thee, O Lord, and may thy mercy descend upon us.

Let my prayer, O Lord, be directed like incense in thy sight: the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice. Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, and a door round about my lips; that my heart may not incline to evil words, to make excuses in sins.

Giving back the thurible to the deacon, the priest says:

Accendat in nobis Dominus ignem sui amoris, et flammam æternæ charitatis. Amen.

May the Lord enkindle in us the fire of his love and the flame of eternal charity. Amen.

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

Psalm 25

Lavabo inter innocentes manus meas: et circumdabo altare tuum, Domine.

Ut audiam vocem laudis: et enarrem universa mirabilia tua.

Domine, dilexi decorem domus tuæ, et locum habitationis gloriæ tuæ.

Ne perdas cum impiis, Deus, animam meam, et cum viris sanguinum vitam meam.

In quorum manibus iniquitates sunt: dextera eorum repleta est muneribus.

Ego autem in innocentia mea ingressus sum: redime me, et miserere mei.

Pes meus stetit in directo: in ecclesiis benedicam te, Domine.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui sancto.

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

I, too, would wash my hands, O Lord, and become like unto those who are innocent, that so I may be worthy to come near thy altar, and hear thy sacred canticles, and then go and proclaim to the world the wonders of thy goodness. I love the beauty of thy house, which thou art about to make the dwelling-place of thy glory. Leave me not, O God, in the midst of them that are enemies both to thee and to me. Thy mercy having separated me from them, I entered on the path of innocence, and was restored to thy grace; but have pity on my weakness still: redeem me yet more, thou who hast so mercifully brought me back to the right path. In the midst of these thy faithful people, I give thee thanks. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

The priest, taking encouragement from the act of humility he has just made, returns to the middle of the altar, and bows down full of respectful awe, begging of God to receive graciously the sacrifice which is about to be offered to Him, and expresses the intentions for which it is offered. Let us do the same.

Suscipe, sancta Trinitas, hanc oblationem, quam tibi offerimus ob memoriam Passionis, Resurrectionis, et Ascensionis Jesu Christi Domini nostri: et in honorem beatæ Mariæ semper Virginis, et beati Joannis Baptistæ, et sanctorum apostolorum Petri et Pauli, et istorum, et omnium sanctorum: ut illis proficiat ad honorem, nobis autem ad salutem: et illi pro nobis intercedere dignentur in cœlis quorum memoriam agimus in terris. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

O holy Trinity, graciously accept the sacrifice we have begun. We offer it in remembrance of the Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. Permit thy Church to join with this intention that of honoring the ever glorious Virgin Mary, the blessed Baptist John, the holy apostles Peter and Paul, the martyrs whose relics lie here under our altar awaiting their resurrection, and the saints whose memory we this day celebrate. Increase the glory they are enjoying, and receive the prayers they address to thee for us.

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

Orate, fratres: ut meum ac vestrum sacrificium acceptabile fiat apud Deum Patrem omnipotentem.

Brethre, pray that my sacrifice, which is yours also, may be acceptable to God, our almighty Father.

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

Suscipiat Dominus sacrificium de manibus tuis, ad laudem et gloriam nominis sui, ad utilitatem quoque nostram totiusque Ecclesiæ suæ sanctæ.

May our Lord accept this sacrifice at thy hands, to the praise and glory of his name, and for our benefit and that of his holy Church throughout the world.

Here the priest recites the prayers called the Secrets, in which he presents the petition of the whole Church for God’s acceptance of the sacrifice, and then immediately begins to fulfill that great duty of religion,—Thanksgiving. So far he has adored God, and has sued for mercy; he has still to give thanks for the blessings bestowed on us by the bounty of our heavenly Father, the chief of which, during this Season, is his giving us his Only Begotten Son, to be our Mediator by his Blood. The Priest, in the name of the Church, is about to give expression to the gratitude of all mankind. In order to excite the faithful to that intensity of gratitude which is due to God for all His gifts, he interrupts his own and their silent prayer by terminating it aloud, saying:

Per omnia sæcula sæculorum!

For ever and ever!

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

℣. Dominus vobiscum.

℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

℣. Sursum corda.

℣. The Lord be with you.

℟. And with thy spirit.

℣. Lift up your hearts!

Let your response be sincere:

℟. Habemus ad Dominum.

℟. We have them fixed on God.

And when he adds:

℣. Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.

℣. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

Answer him with all the earnestness of your soul:

℟. Dignum et justum est.

℟. It is meet and just.

Then the Priest:
The Preface:

Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus; quia per incarnati Verbi mysterium, nova mentis nostræ oculis lux tuæ claritatis infulsit: ut dum visibiliter Deum cognoscimus, per hunc in invisibilium amorem rapiamur: et ideo cum Angelis et Archangelis, cum Thronis et Dominationibus, cumque omni militia cœlestis exercitus, hymnum gloriæ tuæ canimus, sine fine dicentes.

It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should always and in all places give thanks to thee, O holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God; for that, by the mystery of the Incarnate Word, a new ray of thy glory has appeared to the eyes of our soul: so that, while we behold God visibly, we may be carried by him to the love of things invisible: and therefore, with the Angels and Archangels, with the Thrones and Dominations, and with all the heavenly host, we sing a hymn to thy glory, saying unceasingly:

Here unite with the priest, who, on his part, unites himself with the blessed spirits, in giving thanks to God for the unspeakable gift. Bow down and say:

Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, Dominus Deus sabaoth!

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts!

Pleni sunt cœli et terra gloria tua.

Heaven and earth are full of thy glory.

Hosanna in excelsis!

Hosanna in the highest!

Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.

Blessed be the Savior who is coming to us in the name of the Lord who sends him.

Hosanna in excelsis!

Hosanna be to him in the highest!

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

The Canon of the Mass

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

Te igitur, clementissime Pater, per Jesum Christum Filium tuum Dominum nostrum, supplices rogamus ac petimus, uti accepta habeas, et benedicas hæc dona, hæc munera, hæc sancta sacrificia illibata, in primis quæ tibi offerimus pro Ecclesia tua sancta Catholica: quam pacificare, custodire, adunare, et regere digneris, toto orbe terrarum, una cum famulo tuo Papa nostro N., et antistite nostro N., et omnibus orthodoxis, atque catholicæ et apostolicæ fidei cultoribus.

O God, who manifestest thyself unto us by means of the mysteries which thou hast entrusted to thy holy Church, our mother; we beseech thee, by the merits of this sacrifice, that thou wouldst remove all those hindrances which oppose her during her pilgrimage in this world. Give her peace and unity. Do thou thyself guide our holy Father the Pope, thy vicar on earth. Direct thou our bishop, who is our sacred link of unity; and watch over all the orthodox children of the Catholic apostolic Roman Church.

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

Memento, Domine, famulorum famularumque tuarum N. et N., et omnium circumstantium, quorum tibi fides cognita est, et nota devotio; pro quibus tibi offerimus, vel qui tibi offerunt hoc sacrificium laudis, pro se, suisque omnibus, pro redemptione animarum suarum, pro spe salutis et incolumitatis suæ; tibique reddunt vota sua æterno Deo, vivo et vero.

Permit me, O God, to intercede with thee in more earnest prayer for those, for whom thou knowest that I have a special obligation to pray: … Pour down thy blessings upon them. Let them partake of the fruits of this divine sacrifice, which is offered unto thee in the name of all mankind. Visit them by thy grace, pardon them their sins, grant them the blessings of this present life and of that which is eternal.

Here let us commemorate the saints: they are that portion of the body of Jesus Christ, which is called the Church Triumphant.

Communicantes, et memoriam venerantes, in primis gloriosæ semper Virginis Mariæ, Genitricis Dei et Domini nostri Jesu Christi: sed et beatorum apostolorum ac martyrum tuorum, Petri et Pauli, Andreæ, Jacobi, Joannis, Thomæ, Jacobi, Philippi, Bartholomæi, Matthæi, Simonis, et Thaddæi: Lini, Cleti,Clementis, Xysti, Cornelii, Cypriani, Laurentii, Chrysogoni, Joannis et Pauli, Cosmæ et Damiani, et omnium sanctorum tuorum, quorum meritis precibusque concedas, ut in omnibus protectionis tuæ muniamur auxilio. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

But the offering of this sacrifice, O my God, does not unite us with those only of our brethren who are still i nthis transient life of trial: it brings us closer to those also, who are already in possession of heaven. Therefore it is, that we wish to honor by it the memory of the glorious and ever Virgin Mary; of the apostles, confessors, virgins and of all the saints; that so they may assist us, by their powerful intercession, to become worthy to contemplate thee, as they now do, in the mansions of thy glory.

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

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

Vouchsafe, O God, to accept this offering which this thy assembled family presents to thee as the homage of its most happy servitude. In return, give us peace, save us from thy wrath, and number amongst thy elect, through him who is coming to us, thy Son our Savior.

Quam oblationem tu Deus in omnibus quæsumus, benedictam, adscriptam, ratam, rationabilem, acceptabilemque facere digneris; ut nobis Corpus et Sanguis fiat dilectissimi Filii tui Domini nostri Jesu Christi.

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

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

Qui pridie quam pateretur, accepit panem in sanctas ac venerabiles manus suas: et elevatis oculis in cœlum, ad te Deum Patrem suum omnipotentem, tibi gratias agens, benedixit, fregit, deditque discipulus suis, dicens: Accipite, et manducate ex hoc omnes. Hoc est enim Corpus meum.

What, O God of heaven and earth, my Jesus, the long-expected Messias, what else can I do at this solemn moment, but adore thee, in silence, as my sovereign Master, and open my whole heart to thee, as to its dearest King! Come, then, Lord Jesus, come!

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

Simili modo postquam cœnatum est, accipiens et hunc præclarum Calicem in sanctas ac venerabiles manus suas: item tibi gratias agens, benedixit, deditque discipulis suis dicens: Accipite et bibite ex eo omnes. Hic est enim Calix Sanguinis mei, novi et æterni testamenti: mysterium fidei: qui pro vibis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum. Hæc quotiescumque feceritis, in mei memoriam facietis.

O precious Blood! thou price of my salvation! I adore thee! Wash away my sins and give me a purity above the whiteness of snow. Lamb ever slain, yet ever living, thou comest to take away the sins of the world! Come also and reign in me by thy power and by thy love.

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

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

Father of infinite holiness, the Host so long expected is here before thee! Behold this thy eternal Son, who suffered a bitter Passion, rose again with glory from the grave, and ascended triumphantly into heaven. He is thy Son; but he is also our Host, Host pure and spotless, our meat and drink of everlasting life.

Supra quæ propitio ac sereno vultu respicere digneris: et accepta habere, sicuti accepta habere dignatus es munera pueri tui justi Abel, et sacrificium patriarchæ nostri Abrahæ, et quod tibi obtulit summus sacerdos tuus Melchisedech, sanctum sacrificium, immaculatam hostiam.

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

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

Supplices te rogamus, omnipotens Deus: jube hæperferri per manus sancti angeli tui in sublime altare tuum, in conspectu divinæ Majestatis tuæ: ut quotquot ex hac altaris participatione, sacrosanctum Filii tui Corpus et Sanguinem sumpserimus, omni benedictione cœlesti et gratia repleamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

But, O God of infinite power, these sacred gifts are not only on this altar here below; they are also on that sublime altar of heaven, which is before the throne of thy divine Majesty. These two altars are but one and the same, on which is accomplished the great mystery of thy glory and our salvation. Vouchsafe to make us partakers of the Body and Blood of the august Victim, from whom flow every grace and blessing.

Nor is the moment less favorable for making supplication for the Church suffering. Let us therefore ask the divine liberator, who has come down among us, that He mercifully visit, by a ray of His consoling light, the dark abode of purgatory, and permit His Blood to flow, as a stream of mercy’s dew, from this our altar, and refresh the panting captives there. Let us pray expressly for those among them who have a claim on our suffrages.

Memento etiam, Domine, famulorum famularumque tuarm N. et N., qui nos præcesserunt cum signo fidei, et dormiunt in somno pacis. Ipsis, Domine, et omnibus in Christo quiescentibus, locum refrigerii, lucis et pacis, ut indulgeas, deprecamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Dear Jesus! let the happiness of this thy visit extend to every portion of thy Church. Thy face gladdens the elect in the holy city: even our motal eyes can see beneath the veil of our delighted faith; ah! hide not thyself from those brethren of ours, who are imprisoned in the place of expiation. Be thou refreshment to them in their flames, light in their darkness, and peace in their agonies of torment.

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

Nobis quoque peccatoribus famulis tuis, de multitudine miserationem tuarum sperantibus, partem aliquam et societatem donare digneris cum tuis sanctis apostolis et martyribus: cum Joanne, Stephano, Mathia, Barnaba, Ignatio, Alexandro, Marcllino, Petro, Felicitate, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucia, Agnete, Cæcilia, Anastasia, et omnibus sanctis tuis; intro quorum nos consortium, non æstimator meriti, sed veniæ, quaæsumus, largitor admitte. Per Christum Dominmum nostrum. Per quem hæ omnia, Domine, semper bona creas, sanctificas, vivificas, benedicis, et præstas nobis: per ipsum, et cum ipso et in ipso, est tibi Deo Patri omnipotenti, in unitate Spiritus sancti, omnis honor et gloria.

Alas! we are poor sinners, O God of all sanctity! yet do we hope that thy infinite mercy will grant us to share in thy kingdom, not, indeed, by reason of our works, which deserve little else than punishment, but because of the merits of this sacrifice, which we are offering to thee. Remember, too, the merits of thy holy apostles, of thy holy martyrs, of thy holy virgins, and of all thy saints. Grant us, by their intercession, grace in this world, and glory eternal in the next: which we ask of thee, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son. It is by him thou bestowest upon us thy blessings of life and sanctification; and by him also, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, may honor and glory be to thee!

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

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

Per omnia sæcula sæculorum.

For ever and ever.

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

Amen.

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

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

Oremus. Let Us Pray.

Præceptis salutaribus moniti, et divina institutione formati, audemus dicere:

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

The Lord’s Prayer

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

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

Let us answer with a deep feeling of our misery:

Sed libera nos a malo.

But deliver us from evil.

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

Libera nos, quæsumus Domine, ab omnibus malis, præteritis, præsentibus, et futuris: et intercedente beata et gloriosa semper Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beatis apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo, atque Andrea, et omnibus sanctis, da propitius pacem in diebus nostris: ut ope misericordiæ tuæ adjuti, et a peccato simus semper liberi, et ab omni perturbatione securi. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus,

How many, O Lord, are the evils which beset us! Evils past, which are the wounds left on the soul by our sins, and which strengthen her wicked propensities. Evils present, that is,t he sins now at this very time upon our soul; the weakness of this poor soul; and the temptations which molest her. There are also future evils, that is, the chastisement which our sins deserve from the hand of thy justice. In presence of this Host of our salvation, we beseech thee, O Lord, to deliver us from all these evils, and to accept in our favor the intercession of Mary the Mother of Jesus, of thy holy apostles Peter and Paul, and Andrew. Liberate us, break our chains, give us peace: through Jesus Christ, thy Son, who with thee liveth and reigneth God,

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

Per omnia sæcula sæculorum.

World without end.

Amen.

Amen.

Then he says:

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.

May the peace of our Lord be ever with you.

To this paternal wish reply:

℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

℟. And with thy spirit.

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

Hæc commixtio et consecratio Corporis et Sanguinis Domini nostri Jesu Christi fiat accipientibus nobis in vitam æternam. Amen.

Glory be to thee, O Savior of the world, who didst, in thy Passion, permit thy precious Blood to be separated from thy sacred Body, afterwards uniting them again together by thy divine power.

Offer now your prayer to the ever-living Lamb, whom St. John saw on the altar of heaven “standing though slain:” say to this your Lord and King, who has taken upon himself all our iniquities, in order to wash them away by his Blood::

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, give us peace.

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

Domine Jesu Christe, qui dixisti apostolis tuis: Pacem relinquo vobis, pacem meam do vobis: ne rescpicias peccata mea, sed fidem Ecclesiæ tuæ: eamque secundum voluntatem tuam pacificare, et coadunare digneris. Qui vivis et regnas Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst to thy apostles, “My peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you:” regard not my sins, but the faith of thy Church, and grant her that peace and unity which is according to thy will. Who livest and reignest God for ever and ever. Amen.

If it be a High Mass, the Priest here gives the kiss of peace to the Deacon, who give it to the Subdeacon, and he to the Choir. During this ceremony, you should excite within yourself feelings of Christian charity, and pardon your enemies, if you have any. Then continue to pray with the Priest:

Domine Jesu Christe, Fili Dei vivi, qui ex voluntate Patris, co&odiar;perante Spiritu sancto, per mortem tuam mundum vivificasti: libera me per hoc sacrosanctum Corpus et Sanguinem tuum, ab omnibus iniquitatibus meis, et universis malis, et face me tuis semper inhærere mandatis, et a te nunquam separari permittas. Qui cum eodem Deo Patre et Spiritu sancto vivis et regnas Deus in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who, according to the will of thy Father, through the cooperation of the Holy Ghost, hast by thy death given life to the world; deliver me by this thy most sacred Body and Blood from all my iniquities, and from all evils; and make me always adhere to thy commandments, and never suffer me to be separated from thee, who with the same God the Father and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest God for ever and ever. Amen.

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

Perceptio Corporis tui, Domine Jesu Christe, quod ego indignus sumere præsumo, non mihi proveniat in judicium et condemnationem: sed pro tua pietate prosit mihi ad tutamentum mentis et corporis, et ad medelam percipiendam. Qui vivis et regnas cum Deo Patre in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Let not the participation of thy Body, O Lord Jesus Christ, which I, though unworthy, presume to receive, turn to my judgment and condemnation; but through thy mercy may it be a safeguard and remedy both to my soul and body. Who with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest God for ever and ever. Amen.

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

Panem cœlestem accipiam, et nomen Domini invocabo.

Come, my dear Jesus, come!

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

Domine, non sum dignus, ut intres sub tectum meum: sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea.

Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof; say it only with one word of thine, and my soul will be healed.

While the priest receives the sacred Host, if you also are to communicate, adore profoundly your God, who is ready to take up His abode within you, and again say to Him with the bride: “Come, Lord Jesus, come!”

But should you not be going to receive sacramentally, make here a spiritual Communion. Adore Jesus Christ who thus visits your soul by His grace, and say to Him:

Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam meam in vitam æternam. Amen.

I give thee, O Jesus, this heart of mine, that thou mayst dwell in it, and do with me what thou wilt.

Then the priest takes the chalice in thanksgiving and says:

Quid retribuam Domino pro omnibus, quæ retribuit mihi? Calicem salutaris accipiam, et nomen Domini invocabo. Laudans invicabo Dominum, et ab inimicis meis salvus ero.

What return shall I make to the Lord for all he hath given to me? I will take the chalice of salvation, and will call upon the name of the Lord. Praising I will call upon the Lord, and I shall be saved from mine enemies.

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

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

Sanguis Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam meam in vitam æternam. Amen.

I unite myself to thee, my beloved Jesus! do thou unite thyself to me! and never let us be separated.

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

The Communion being finished, and while the priest is purifying the chalice the first time, say:

Quod ore sumpsimus, Domine, pura mente capiamus: et de munere temporali fiat nobis remedium sempiternum.

Thou hast visited me, O God, in these days of my pilgrimage; give me grace to treasure up the fruits of this visit for my future eternity.

While the priest is purifying the Chalice the second time, say:

Corpus tuum, Domine, quod sumpsi, et Sanguis quem potavi, adhæreat visceribus meis: et præsta ut in me non remaneat scelerum macula, quem pura et sancta refecerunt Sacramenta. Qui vivis et regnas in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Be thou for ever blessed, O my Savior, for having admitted me to the sacred mystery of thy Body and Blood. May my heart and senses preserve, by thy grace, the purity which thou hast imparted to them; and thus fit me for that glorious light of thy coming, that I may not then be confounded.

The Priest, having read the Antiphon called the Communion, which is the first part of his Thanksgiving for the favor just received from God, whereby He has renewed His divine presence among us,—turns to the people with the usual salutation; after which, he recites the prayers, called the Postcommunion, which are the completion of the thanksgiving. You will join him here also, thanking God for the unspeakable gift He has just lavished on you, and asking, with most earnest entreaty, that he will bestow upon youa lasting spirit of compunction.

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

Dominus vobiscum.

The Lord be with you.

Answer him:

Et cum spiritu tuo.

And with thy spirit.

Ite, Missa est.

Go, the Mass is finished.

℟. Deo gratias.

℟. Thanks be to God.

The Priest make a last prayer, before giving you his blessing; pray with him:

Placeat tibi, sancta Trinitas, obsequium servitutis meæ, et præsta ut sacrificium quod oculis tuæ majestatis indignus obtuli, tibi sit acceptabile, mihique, et omnibus pro quibus illus obtuli, sit, te miserante, propitiabile. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

Eternal thanks be to thee, O adorable Trinity, for the mercy thou hast shown to me, in permitting me to assist at this divine sacrifice. Pardon me the negligence and coldness wherewith I have received so great a favor, and deign to confirm the blessing, which thy minister is about to give me in thy name.

The Priest raises his hand, and thus blesses you:

Benedicat vos omniptens Deus, Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus sanctus.

May the almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, bless you!

He then concludes the Mass by reading the first fourteen verses of the Gospel according to St. John, which tell us of the eternity of the Word, and of the mercy which led Him to take upon Himself our flesh, and to dwell among us. Pray that you may be of the number of those, who, now that he has come unto his own, receive him, and are made the sons of God.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to St. John.

Cap.i. Ch. i.

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

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

℟. Deo gratias.

℟. Thanks be to God.

On Holy Communion During Lent

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

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

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

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

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

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

Before Communion
Act of Faith

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

Act of Humility

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

Act of Contrition

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

Act of Love

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

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

After Communion
Act of Adoration

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

Act of Thanksgiving

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

Act of Love

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

Act of Oblation

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

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

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