Saturday, October 7, 2017

Saint Mark, Pope and Confessor; and Saints Sergius, Bacchus, Marcellus, and Apuleius, Martyrs

White (for St. Mark), Red (for St. Sergius)

Mark, successor to Sylvester the Pontiff of peace, has been honored on this day from time immemorial. According to the testimony of St. Damasus, his virtues no less than his name recalled St. Mark the Evangelist. He occupied the supreme See only eight months; but in that short time, he followed up the recent triumph of the Church by wise organizations. He built two new sanctuaries in Rome. He gave the Pallium, of which this is the first mention in history, to the Bishop of Ostia, to enhance his high privilege of being the appointed consecrator of the Roman Pontiffs.

This Pontificate witnessed the awful death of Arius. Constantine had been deceived into ordering the reinstatement of this wicked man, who taught that the Word Incarnate was a mere creature. The heresiarch, followed by his partisans, was proceeding in triumph through the streets of Constantinople, intending to force open the doors of the Basilica, where the faithful, with their Bishop St. Alexander, were beseeching God with fasting and tears, to avert the profanation. Suddenly, seized with an ignominious trembling, Arius was obliged to retire to a secret place; where hsi flatterers soon afterwards found him stretched upon the floor with his bowels cast out. He had merited the death of a Judas for having delivered up the Son of God to the disputes of the people, to the mockeries of the proud, to the contradictions of the pretorium.

Among the martyrs annually commemorated on this day, the names of Marcellus and Apuleius carry back the mind to apostolic times. They had been the disciples of Simon Magus, but were convinced of his lying deceit by the miracles of St. Peter, and shed their blood in testimony of their faith in the true God.

St. Sergius is regarded in the east as one of the most glorious witnesses to our Lord. He suffered in the tenth and last persecution, with his companion St. Bacchus, a soldier like himself of the Roman army in Syria. So illustrious became his sepulcher, that a city sprung up around it, which was called Sergiopolis, and became a metropolitan See. The west soon joined the east in honoring these holy martyrs, and a church was dedicated to them in Rome. Saint-Serge at Angers, founded by Clovis II, testifies to the veneration in which they were held by the Franks.

Prayer

Exaudi, Domine, preces nostras, et interveniente beato Marco, confessore tuo atque pontifice, indulgentiam nobis tribue placatus et pacem. Per Dominum.

Hear, O Lord, our prayers; and appeased by the intercession of blessed Mark, thy confessor and bishop, grant us pardon and peace. Through our Lord.

Prayer

Sanctorum martyrum tuorum nos, Domine, Sergii, Bacchi, Marcelli et Apuleii beata merita prosequantur: et tuo semper faciant amore ferventes. Per Dominum.

May the blessed merits of thy holy martyrs, Sergius, Bacchus, Marcellus, and Apuleius accompany us, O Lord, and make us ever fervent in thy love. Through our Lord.

Memor ero tui, Justina virgo. I will ever bear thee, in mind, O virgin Justina.” This inscription Venice engraved on the coin of its republic, after the victory of Lepanto. On that day of triumph, the martyr, who had won her palm on October 7 fifteen centuries before, had united the power of her prayers with the strength of St. Mark’s lion; and the dukedom proclaimed Justina its second patron. But Lepanto is not her only claim upon the world’s gratitude. In her native city, the sons of St. Benedict had gathered round the tomb where lay her precious relics. The great movement initiated by the Venetial, Luigi Barbo (1408), began at St. Justina’s monastery in Padua: the Order was rescued from the disastrous consequences of having secular abbots in commendam; and thus Monte Cassino itself was restored to some part of its ancient splendor.

Honor, then, to this day of salvation! And glory to her, through whose intercession the heavens have rained down their dew of consolation upon the earth!

Prayer

Deus, qui nos annua beatæ Justinæ virginis et martyris tuæ solemnitate lætificas: da, ut quam veneramur officio, etiam piæ conversationis sequamur exemplo. Per Dominum.

O God, who givest us joy by the annual solemnity of blessed Justina thy virgin and martyr; grant that we may follow the example of her pious life, whom we venerate by this Office. Through our Lord.

On the same day, in the Roman martyrology, the commemoration of our Lady of Victory, established under the circumstances mentioned on the first Sunday of this month. Although the Virgin of virgins gave to the youthful martyr Justina a share in the triumph of Lepanto, nevertheless the chief honor of the day redounds to Mary herself. It behooves us, then, to renew our homage to the Queen of the holy rosary, on the exact anniversary of her deliverance of Christendom under that title. Let us do so by offering her the three hymns of her Office, which recall the joyful, sorrowful, and glorious mysteries of the rosary, and which are epitomized in that of second Vespers given on the feast.

Hymn of First Vespers

Cœlestis aulæ nuntius,
Arcana pandens Numinis,
Plenam salutat gratia
Dei Parentem Virginem.

The messenger of the heavenly court, disclosing the hidden mysteries of the Divinity, hails as full of grace the Virgin about to become Mother of God.

Virgo propinquam sanguine
Matrem Joannis visitat,
Qui clausus alvo gestiens
Adesse Christum nuntiat.

The Virgin visits her relative, the mother of John, who, though yet a captive in the womb, leaps with joy announcing the presence of Christ.

Verbum, quod ante sæcula
E mente Patris prodiit,
E Matris alvo Virginis
Mortalis infans nascitur.

The Word that before all ages had proceeded from the Father’s Intellect, is born a mortal Babe of a Virgin Mother.

Templo puellus sisitur,
Legique paret Legifer,
Hic se Redemptor paupere
Pretio redemptus immolat.

The little One is presented in the temple, the Legislator obeys the Law, the Redeemer offers himself in sacrifice, and is redeemed at a pauper’s price.

Quem jam dolebat perditum,
Mox læta Mater invenit
Ignota doctis mentibus
Edisserentem Filium.

And now the joyful Mother finds her Son, whom she had mourned as lost; finds him expounding to learned minds things unknown to them.

Jesu, tibi sit gloria
Qui natus es de Virgine,
Cum Patre et almo Spiritu
In sempiterna sæcula.
Amen.

Glory be to thee, O Jesus born of the Virgin; together with the Father and the holy Spirit, through everlasting ages. Amen.

Hymn of Matins

In monte Olivis consito
Redemptor orans, procidit,
Mœret, pavescit, deficit,
Sudore manans sanguinis.

On the mount with olives planted, prostrate the Redeemer prays; he grieves, he fears, he well-nigh faints, pouring forth a sweat of blood.

A proditore traditus
Raptatur in pœnas Deus,
Durisque vinctus nexibus
Flagris cruentis cæditur.

God, delivered up by a traitor, is dragged away to punishment; bound with tight bonds, he bleeds beneath the cruel scourges.

Intexta acutis sentibus,
Corona contumeliæ,
Squallenti amictum purpura,
Regem coronat gloriæ.

A crown of ignominy, woven of sharp thorns, adorns the King of glory clothed with purple tatters.

Molis crucem ter arduæ
Sudans, anhelans, concidens,
Ad montis usque verticem
Gestare vi compellitur.

Laboring, breathless, thrice falling beneath the heavy cross, he his compelled by force to bear it to the mountain-top.

Confixus atro stipite
Inter scelestos innocens,
Orando pro tortoribus,
Exsanguis efflat spiritum.

Nailed to the awful gibbet, the Innocent hangs between two criminals; till, praying for his torturers, he yields up his Spirit with the last drop of his Blood.

Jesu, tibi sit gloria,
Qui natus es de Virgine,
Cum Patre et almo Spiritu
In sempiterna sæcula.
Amen.

Glory be to thee, O Jesus born of the Virgin; together with the Father and the holy Spirit, through everlasting ages. Amen.

Hymn of Lauds

Jam morte victor obruta
Ab inferis Christus redit,
Fractisque culpæ vinculis,
Cœli recludit limina.

Death overthrown, Christ rises victorious from limbo, and breaking the bonds of sin, throws open heaven’s gate.

Visus satis mortalibus
Ascendit ad cœlestia,
Dextræque Patris assidet
Consors paternæ gloriæ.

Having appeared long enough to men, he ascends to the heavenly dwellings, and is enthroned at his Father’s right hand, a partner in his glory.

Quem jam suis promiserat,
Sanctum daturus Spiritum,
Linguis amoris igneis
Mœstis alumnis impluit.

The holy Spirit, whom he had promised to give them, he sends down upon his sorrowing disciples in fiery tongues of love.

Soluta carnis pondere
Ad astra Virgo tollitur,
Excepta cœli jubilo,
Et angelorum canticis.

With her body set free from earthly weight, the Virgin is raised above the stars; she is welcomed with heaven’s jubilant delight, and with the songs of angels.

Bis sena cingunt sidera
Almæ parentis verticem:
Throno propinqua Filii
Cunctis creatis imperat.

Twelve stars now crown the lovely Mother’s brow; and from her throne beside her Son, she reigns over all creation.

Jesu tibi sit gloria,
Qui natus es de Virgine,
Cum Patre et almo Spiritu
In sempiterna sæcula.
Amen.

Glory be to thee, O Jesus born of the Virgin; together with the Father and the holy Spirit, through everlasting ages. Amen.

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