Sunday, March 18, 2018

Passiontide and Holy Week

The History of Passiontide and Holy Week

After having proposed the forty-days’ Fast of Jesus in the Desert to the meditation of the Faithful, during the first four weeks of Lent, the Holy Church gives the two weeks, which still remain before Easter, to the commemoration of the Passion. She would not have her children come to the great Day of the immolation of the Lamb, without their having prepared for it by compassionating with him in the Sufferings he endured in their stead.

The most ancient Sacramentaries and Antiphonaries of the several Churchest attest, by the Prayers, the Lessons, and the whole Liturgy of these two weeks, that the Passion of our Lord is now the one sole thought of the Christian world. During Passion Week, a Saint’s Feast, if it occur, will be kept; but Passion Sunday admits no Feast, however solemn it may be; and even on those which are kept during the days intervening between Passion and Palm Sundays, there is always made a commemoration of the Passion, and the holy Images are not allowed to be uncovered.

We cannot give any historical details upon the first of these two Weeks; its ceremonies and rites have always been the same as those of the four preceding ones. We, therefore, refer the reader to the following Chapter, in which we treat of the mysteries peculiar to Passiontide. The second week, on the contrary, furnishes us with abundant historical details; for there is no portion of the Liturgical Year, which has interested the Christian world so much as this, or which has given rise to such fervent manifestations of piety.

This week was held in great veneration even as early as the 3rd century, as we learn from St. Denis, Bishop of Alexandria, who lived at that time. In the following century, we find St. John Chrysostom calling it the Great Week: “not,” says the holy Doctor, “that it has more days in it than other weeks, or that its days are made up of more hours than other days; but we call it Great, because of the great Mysteries which are then celebrated.” We find it called also by other names: the Painful Week (Hebdomada Pœnosa), on account of the Sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the fatigue required from us in celebrating them; the Week of Indulgence, because sinners are then received to penance; and, lastly, Holy Week, in allusion to the holiness of the Mysteries which are commemorated during these seven days. This last name is the one, under which it most generally goes with us; and the very days themselves are, in many countries, called by the same name, Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday.

The severity of the Lenten Fast is increased during these its last days; the whole energy of the spirit of penance is now brought out. Even with us, the dispensation which allows the use of eggs ceases towards the middle of this Week. The Eastern Churches have kept up far more of the ancient traditions; and their observance of abstinence, during these days, is far more severe than ours. The Greeks call this week Xérophagia, that is, the week when no other food is allowed but that which is dry, such as bread, water, salt, dried fruits, raw vegetables: every kind of seasoning is forbidden. In the early ages, Fasting, during Holy Week, was carried to the utmost limits that human nature could endure. We learn from St. Epiphanius, that there were some of the Christians who observed a strict fast from Monday morning to cock-crow of Easter Sunday. Of course, it must have been very few of the Faithful who could go so far as this. Many passed two, three, and even four consecutive days, without tasting any food; but the general practice was to fast from Maundy Thursday evening to Easter morning. Many Christians in the East, and in Russia, observe this fast, even in these time:—would that such severe penance were always accompanied by a firm faith and union with the Church, out of which, the merit of such penitential works is of no avail for salvation!

Another of the ancient practices of Holy Week were the long hours spent, during the night, in the Churches. On Maundy Thursday, after having celebrated the divine mysteries in remembrance of the Last Supper, the faithful continued a long time in prayer. The night between Friday and Saturday was spent in one uninterrupted vigil, in honor of our Lord’s Burial. But the longest of all these vigils was that of Saturday, which was kept up till Easter Sunday morning: it was one in which the whole of the people joined: they assisted at the final preparation of the Catechumens, as also at the administration of Baptism, nor did they leave the Church until after the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice, which was not over till sunrise.

Cessation from servile work was, for a long time, an obligation during Holy Week. The civil law united with that of the Church in order to bring about this solemn rest from toil and business, which so eloquently expresses the state of mourning of the Christian world. The thought of the sufferings and death of Jesus was the one pervading thought: the divine Offices and Prayer were the sole occupation of the people: and, indeed, all the strength of the body was needed for the support of the austerities of fasting and abstinence. We can readily understand what an impression was made upon men’s minds, during the whole of the rest of the year, by this universal suspension of the ordinary routine of life. Moreover, when we call to mind how, for five full weeks, the severity of Lent had waged war on the sensual appetites, we can imagine the simple and honest joy, wherewith was welcomed the feast of Easter, which brought both the regeneration of the soul, and respite to the body.

In the preceding volume, we mentioned the laws of the Theodosian Code, which forbade all law business during the forty days preceding Easter. This law of Gratian and Theodosius, which was published in 380,w as extended by Theodosius, in 389; this new decree forbade all pleadings during the seven days before, and the seven days after, Easter. We meet with several allusions to this then recent law, in the Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, and in the Sermons of St. Augustine. In virtue of this decree, each of the fifteen days was considered, as far as the courts of law were concerned, as a Sunday.

But Christian Princes were not satisfied with the mere suspension of human justice during these days, which are so emphatically days of mercy; they would, moreover, pay homage, by an external act, to the fatherly goodness of God, who has deigned to pardon a guilty world, through the merits of the death of his Son. The Church was on the point of giving Reconciliation to repentant sinners, who had broken the chains of sin, whereby they were held captives: Christian Princes were ambitious to imitate this their Mother, and they ordered that prisoners should be loosened from their chains, that the prisons should be thrown open, and that freedom should be restored to those who had fallen under the sentence of human tribunals. The only exception made was that of criminals, whose freedom would have exposed their families or society to great danger. The name of Theodosius stands prominent in these acts of mercy. We are told by St. John Chrysostom, that this Emperor sent letters of pardon to several cities, ordering the release of prisoners, and granting life to those that had been condemned to death, and all this in order to sanctify the days preceding the Easter Feast. The last Emperors made a law of this custom, as we find in one of St. Leo’s Sermons, where he thus speaks of their clemency: “The Roman Emperors have long observed this holy practice. In honor of our Lord’s Passion and Resurrection, they humbly withhold the exercise of their sovereign justice, and, laying aside the severity of their laws, they grant pardon to a great number of criminals. Their intention in this is to imitate the divine goodness by their own exercise of clemency during these days, when the world owes its salvation to the divine mercy. Let, then, the Christian people imitate their Princes, and let the example of kings induce subjects to forgive each other their private wrongs, for, surely, it is absurd that private laws should be less unrelenting than those which are public. Let trespasses be forgiven, let bonds be taken off, let offenses be forgotten, let revenge be stifled; that thus the sacred Feast may, by both divine and human favors, find us all happy and innocent.”

This Christian amnesty was not confined to the Theodosian Code; we find traces of it in the laws of several of our western countries. We may mention France as an example. Under the first race of its kings. St. Eligius, Bishop of Noyon, in a sermon for Maundy Thursday, thus expresses himself: “On this day, when the Church grants indulgence to Penitents and absolution to sinners,—Magistrates, also, relent in their severity, and grant pardon to the guilty. Throughout the whole world, prisons are thrown open; Princes show clemency to criminals; Masters forgive their slaves.” Under the second Race, we learn, from the Capitularia of Charlemagne, that Bishops had a right to exact from the Judges, for the love of Jesus Christ (as it is expressed), that prisoners should be set free on the days preceding Easter, and, should the Magistrates refuse to obey, the Bishops could refuse them admission into the Church (Capitularium, lib. vi.). And, lastly, under the third Race, we find Charles the 6th, after quelling the rebellion at Rouen, giving orders, later on, that the prisoners should be set at liberty, because it was a Painful Week, and very near to the Easter Feast.

A last vestige of this merciful legislation was a custom observed by the Parliament of Paris. The ancient Christian practice of suspending its sessions during the whole of Lent, had long been abolished: it was not till the Wednesday of Holy Week that the House was closed, which it continued to be from that day undil after Low Sunday. On the Tuesday of Holy Week, which was the last day granted for audiences, the Parliament repaired tot he Palace prisons, and there, one of the Grand Presidents, generally the last installed, held a session of the House. The prisoners were questioned; but, without any formal judgment, all those whose case seemed favorable, or who were not guilty of some capital offense, were set at liberty.

The revolutions of the last eighty years have produced in every country in Europe, the secularization of society, that is to say, the effacing from our national customs and legislation everything which had been introduced by the supernatural element of Christianity. The favorite theory of the last half century or more, has been that all men are equal. The people of the Ages of Faith had something far more convincing than theory, of the sacredness of their rights. At the approach of those solemn anniversaries which so forcibly remind us of the Justice and Mercy of God, they beheld Princes abdicating, as it were, their scepter, leaving in God’s hands the punishment of the guilty, and assisting at the holy Table of Paschal Communion, side by side with those very men, whom, a few days before, they had been keeping chained in prison, for the good of society. There was one thought, which, during these days, was strongly brought before all nations: it was the thought of God, in whose eyes all men are sinners, of God, from whom alone proceed justice and pardon. It was in consequence of this deep Christian feeling, that we find so many diplomas and charts of the Ages of Faith speaking of the days of Holy Week as being the Reign of Christ: such an event, they say, happened on such a day, “Under the Reign of our Lord Jesus Christ:” Regnante Domino nostro Jesu Christo.

When these days of holy and Christian equality were over, did subjects refuse submission to their Sovereigns? Did they abuse the humility of their Princes, and take occasion for drawing up what modern times call the Rights of Man? No: that same thought which had inspired human justice to humble itself before the Cross of Jesus, taught the people their duty of obeying the powers established by God. The exercise of power, and submission to that power, both had God for their motive. They who wielded the scepter might be of various dynasties; the respect for authority was ever the same. Nowadays, the Liturgy has none of her ancient influence on society; Religion has been driven from the world at large, and her only life and power is now with the consciences of individuals; and as to political institutions, they are but the expression of human pride, seeking to command, or refusing to obey.

And yet, the 4th century, which, in virtue of the Christian spirit, produced the laws we have been alluding to, was still rife with the pagan element. How comes it, that we, who live in the full light of Christianity, can give the name of Progress to a system, which tends to separate society from everything that is supernatural? Men may talk as they please,—there is but one way to secure order, peace, morality, and security to the world; and that is God’s way, the way of Faith, the living in accordance with the teachings and spirit of Faith. All other systems can, at best, but flatter those human passions, which are so strongly at variance with the mysteries of our Lord Jesus Christ, which we are now celebrating.

We must mention another law made by the Christian Emperors in reference to Holy Week. If the spirit of charity, and a desire to imitate Divine Mercy, led them to decree the liberation of prisoners; it was but acting consistently with these principles, that, during these days, when our Savior shed his blood for the emancipation of the human race, they should interest themselves in what regards Slaves. Slavery, a consequence of sin, and the fundamental institution of the pagan world, had received its death blow, by the preaching of the Gospel; but its gradual abolition was left to individuals, and to their practical exercise of the principle of Christian Fraternity. As our Lord and his Apostles had not exacted the immediate abolition of Slavery, so, in like manner, the Christian Emperors limited themselves to passing such laws as would give encouragement to its gradual abolition. We have an example of this in the Justinian Code, where this Prince, after having forbidden all law proceedings during Holy Week and the week following, lays down the following exception: “It shall, nevertheless, be permitted to give Slaves their liberty; in such manner, that the legal acts necessary for their emancipation shall not be counted as contravening this present enactment.” This charitable law of Justinian was but the applying to the fifteen days of Easter the decree passed by Constantine, which forbade all legal proceedings on the Sundays throughout the year, excepting only such acts as had for their object the emancipation of Slaves.

But long before the peace given her by Constantine, the Church had made provision for Slaves, during these days when the mysteries of the world’s redemption were accomplished. Christian Masters were obliged to grant them total rest from labor during this holy fortnight. Such is the law laid down in the Apostolic Constitutions, which were compiled previously to the 4th century. “During the Great Week preceding the Day of Easter, and during the week that follows, Slaves rest from labor, inasmuch as the first is the Week of our Lord’s Passion, and the second is that of his Resurrection, and the Slaves require to be instructed upon these mysteries.”

Another characteristic of the two Weeks, upon which we are now entering, is that of giving more abundant alms, and of greater fervor in the exercise of works of mercy. St. John Chrysostom assures us that such was the practice of his times; he passes an encomium on the Faithful, many of whom redoubled, at this period, their charities to the poor, which they did out of this motive,—that they might, in some slight measure, imitate the Divine generosity, which is now so unreservedly pouring out his graces on sinners.

The Mystery of Passiontide and Holy Week

The holy Liturgy is rich in mystery, during these days of the Church’s celebrating the anniversaries of so many wonderful events; but as the principal part of these mysteries is embodied in the rites and ceremonies of the respective days, we shall give our explanations according as the occasion presents itself. Our object, in the present Chapter, is to say a few words respecting the general character of the Mysteries of these two Weeks.

We have nothing to add to the explanation, already given in our “Lent,” on the mystery of Forty. The holy season of expiation continues its course, until the fast of sinful man has imitated, in its duration, that observed by the Man-God in the desert. The army of Christ’s faithful children is still fighting against the invisible enemies of man’s salvation; they are still vested in their spiritual armor, and, aided by the Angels of light, they are struggling hand to hand with the spirits of darkness, by compunction of heart and by mortification of the flesh.

As we have already observed, there are three objects which principally engage the thoughts of the Church during Lent. The Passion of our Redeemer, which we have felt to be coming nearer to us each week; the preparation of the Catechumens for Baptism, which is to be administered to them on the Easter eve; the Reconciliation of the public Penitents, who are to be re-admitted into the Church, on the Thursday, the day of the Last Supper. Each of these three objects engages more and more the attention of the Church, the nearer she approaches the time of their celebration.

The miracle performed by our Savior, almost at the very gates of Jerusalem, and by which he restored Lazarus to life, has roused the fury of his enemies to the highest pitch of frenzy. The people’s enthusiasm has been excited at seeing him, who had been four days in the grave, walking in the streets of their City. They ask each other, if the Messias, when he comes, can work greater wonders than these done by Jesus, and whether they ought not at once to receive this Jesus as the Messias, and sing their Hosanna to him, for he is the Son of David? They cannot contain their feelings:—Jesus enters Jerusalem, and they welcome him as their King. The High Priests and Princes of the people are alarmed at this demonstration of feeling; they have no time to lose; they are resolved to destroy Jesus. We are going to assist at their impious conspiracy: the Blood of the Just Man is to be sold, and the price put on it is thirty silver pieces. The Divine Victim, betrayed by one of his Disciples, is to be judged, condemned, and crucified. Every circumstance of this awful tragedy is to be put before us by the Liturgy, not merely in words, but with all the expressiveness of a sublime ceremonial.

The Catechumens have but a few more days to wait for the Fount that is to give them Life. Each day, their instruction becomes fuller; the figures of the Old Law are being explained to them; and very little now remains for them to learn with regard to the mysteries of salvation. The Symbol of Faith is soon to be delivered to them. Initiated into the glories and the humiliations of the Redeemer, they will await, with the Faithful, the moment of his glorious Resurrection; and we shall accompany them, with our prayers and hymns, at that solemn hour, when, leaving the defilements of sin in the life-giving waters of the Font, they shall come forth pure and radiant with innocence, be enriched with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and be fed with the divine Flesh of the Lamb that liveth forever.

The Reconciliation fo the Penitents, too, is close at hand. Clothed in sackclock and ashes, they are continuing their work of expiation. The Church has still several passages from the Sacred Scriptures to read to them, which, like those we have already heard during the last few weeks, will breathe consolidation and refreshment to their souls. The near approach of the day, when the Lamb is to be slain, increases their hope, for they know that the Blood of this Lamb is of infinite worth, and can take away the sins of the whole world. Before the day of Jesus’ Resurrection, they will have recovered their lost innocence; their pardon will come in time to enable them, like the penitent Prodigal, to join in the great Banquet of that Thursday, when Jesus will say to his guests: With desire I have desired to eat this Pasch with you, before I suffer.

Such are the sublime subjects which are about to be brought before us: but, at the same time, we shall see our holy Mother the Church mourning, like a disconsolate widow, and sad beyond all human grief. Hitherto she has been weeping over the sins of her children; now she bewails the death of her Divine Spouse. The joyous Alleluia has long since been hushed in her canticles; she is now going to suppress another expression, which seems to glad for a time like the present. Partially, at first unless it be a Feast of a Saint, as frequently happens during the first of these two Weeks; the same exception is to be made in what follows), but entirely during the last three days, she is about to deny herself the use of that formula, which is so dear to her: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. There is an accent of jubilation in these words, which would ill suit her grief and the mournfulness of the rest of her chants.

Her Lessons, for the Night Office, are taken from Jeremias, the Prophet of lamentation above all others. The color of her Vestments is the one she had on when she assembled us at the commencement of Lent to sprinkle us with ashes; but when the dreaded day of Good Friday comes, purple would not sufficiently express the depth of her grief; she will clothe herself in black, as men do when mourning the death of a fellow mortal, for Jesus, her Spouse, is to be put to death on that day: the sins of mankind and the rigors of the Divine Justice are then to weigh him down, and, in all the realities of a last agony, he is to yield up his soul to his Father.

The presentiment of that awful hour leads the afflicted Mother to veil the image of her Jesus: the Cross is hid from the eyes of the Faithful. The statues of the Saints, too, are covered; for it is but just, that if the glory of the Master be eclipsed, the Servant should not appear. The interpretors of the Liturgy tell us, that this ceremony of veiling the Crucifix, during Passiontide, expresses the humiliation, to which our Savior subjected himself, of hiding himself when the Jews threatened to stone him, as is related in the Gospel of Passion Sunday. The Church begins this solemn rite with the Vespers of the Saturday before Passion Sunday. Thus it is, that in those years, when the Feast of our Lady’s Annunciation falls in Passion Week, the statue of Mary, the Mother of God, remains veiled, even on that very day when the Archangel greets her as being full of grace, and Blessed among women.

Practice During Passiontide and Holy Week

The past four weeks seem to have been but a preparation for the intense grief of the Church during these two. She knows that men are in search of her Jesus, and that they are bent on his Death. Before twelve days are over, she will see them lay their sacrilegious hands upon him. She will have to follow him up the hill of Calvalry; she will have to receive his last breath; she must witness the stone placed against the Sepulcher where his lifeless body is laid. We cannot, therefore, be surprised at her inviting all her children to contemplate, during these weeks, Him who is the object of all her love and all her sadness.

But our Mother asks something more of us than compassion and tears; she would have us profit by the lessons we are taught by the Passion and Death of our Redeemer. He himself, when going up to Calvary, said to the holy women, who had the courage to show their compassion even before his executioners: Weep not over me; but weep for yourselves and for your children. It was not that he refused the tribute of their tears, for he was pleased with this proof of their affection; but it was his love for them that made him speak thus. He desired, above all, to see them appreciate the importance of what they were witnessing, and learn from it how inexorable is God’s justice against sin.

During the four weeks that have preceded, the Church has been leading the Sinner to his conversion; so far, however, this conversion has been but begun; now, she would perfect it. It is no longer our Jesus fasting and praying in the Desert, that she offers to our consideration; it is this same Jesus, as the great Victim immolated for the world’s salvation. The fatal hour is at hand; the power of darkness is preparing to make use of the time that is still left; the greatest of crimes is about to be perpetrated. A few days hence, and the Son of God is to be in the hands of sinners, and they will put him to death. The Church no longer needs to urge her children to repentance; they know too well, now, what sin must be, when it could require such expiation as this. She is all absorbed in the thought of the terrible event, which is to close the life of the God-Man on earth; and by expressing her thoughts through the holy Liturgy, she teaches us what our own sentiments should be.

The pervading character of the prayers and rites of these two weeks, is a profound grief at seeing the Just One persecuted by his enemies even to death, and an energetic indignation against the deicides. The formulas, expressive of these two feelings, are, for the most part, taken from David and the Prophets. Here, it is our Savior himself, disclosing to us the anguish of his soul; there, it is the Church, pronouncing the most terrible anathemas upon the executioners of Jesus. The chastisements, that is to befall the Jewish nation, is prophesied in all its frightful details; and on the last three days, we shall hear the Prophet Jeremias uttering his Lamentations over the faithless City. The Church does not aim at exciting idle sentiment; what she principally seeks, is to impress the hearts of her children with a salutary fear. If Jerusalem’s crime strike them with horror, and if they feel that they have partaken of her sin, their tears will flow in abundance.

Let us, therefore, do our utmost to receive these strong impression, too little know, alas! by the superficial piety of these times. Let us reflect upon the love and affection of the Son of God, who has treated his creatures with such unlimited confidence, lived their own life, spent his three and thirty years amidst them, not only humbly and peaceably, but in going about, doing good. And now, this life of kindness, condescension and humility, is to be cut short by the disgraceful death, which none but slaves endured—the death of the Cross. Let us consider, on the one side, this sinful people, who, having no crimes to lay to Jesus’ charge, accuse him of his benefits, and carry their detestable ingratitude to such a pitch, as to shed the Blood of this innocent and Divine Lamb; and then, let us turn to this Jesus, the Just by excellence, and see him become a prey to every bitterest suffering,—his Soul sorrowful even unto death,—weighed down by the malediction of our sins,—drinking, even to the very dregs, the Chalice he so humbly asks his Father to take from him;—and, lastly, let us listen to his dying words: This it is that fills the Church with her immense grief; this it is that she proposes to our consideration: for she knows, that if we once rightly understood the Sufferings of her Jesus, our attachments to sin must needs to be broken, for, by sin, we make ourselves guilty of the crime we detest in these Jews.

But the Church knows, too, how hard is the heart of man, and how, to make him resolve on a thorough conversion, he must be made to fear. For this reason, she puts before us those awful imprecations, which the Prophets, speaking in Jesus’ person, pronounced against them that put our Lord to death. These prophetic anathemas were literally fulfilled against the obdurate Jews. They teach us what the Christian, also, must expect, if, as the Apostle so forcibly expressit it, In listening to what the Church now speaks to us, we cannot but tremble as we recall to mind those other words of the same Apostle: How much more, think ye, doth he deserve worse punishments, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath esteemed the Blood of the testament unclean (as though it were some vile thing) by which he was sanctified, and hath offered an affront to the Spirit of grace? For we know Him that hath said: Vengeance belongeth to me, and I will repay. And again: The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Fearful indeed it is! Oh! what a lesson God gives us of his inexorable Justice, during these days of the Passion! He that spared not even his own Son,—his beloved Son, in whom he is well pleased,—will he spare us, if, after all the graces he has bestowed upon us, he should find us in sin, which he so unpitifully chastized even in Jesus, when he took it upon himself, that he might atone for it? Considerations such as these,—the Justice of God towards the most innocent and august of Victims, and the punishments that befell the impenitent Jews,—must surely destroy within us every affection to sin, for they will create within us that salutary fear, which is the solid foundation of firm hope and tender love.

For, if, by our sins, we have made ourselves guilty of the death of the Son of God, it is equally true, that the Blood, which flows from his sacred Wounds, has the power to cleanse us from the guilt of our crime. The Justice of our heavenly Father cannot be appeased, save by the shedding of this precious Blood; and the Mercy of this same Father of ours wills that it be spent for our ransom. The cruelty of Jesus’ executioners have made Five Wounds in his sacred Body; and form these, there flow Five sources of salvation, which purify the world, and restore within each one of us that image of God, which sin had destroyed. Let us, then, approach with confidence to this redeeming Blood, which throws open to the sinner the gates of heaven, and whose worth is such that it could redeem a million worlds, were they even more guilty than this of ours. We are close upon the anniversary of the day when it was shed; long ages have passed away since it flowed down the wounded body of our Jesus, and fell in streams, from the cross, upon this ungrateful earth; and yet, its power is as great as ever.

Let us go, then, and draw from the Savior’s fountains; our souls will come forth full of life, all pure, and dazzling with heavenly beauty; not one spot of their old defilements will be lieft; and the Father will love us with the love wherewith he loves his own Son. Why did he deliver up unto death this his tenderly beloved Son? Was it not that he might regain us, the children whom he had lost? We had become, by our sins, the possession of Satan; hell had undoubted claims upon us; and lo! we have been suddenly snatched from both, and all our primitive rights have been restored to us. Yet, God used no violence in order to deliver us from our enemy; how comes it, then, that we are now free? Listen to the Apostle: Ye are bought at a great price. And what is this price? The Prince of the Apostles explains it: Know ye, says he, that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as gold or silver,—but with the precious Blood of Christ, as of a Lamb unspotted and undefiled. This divine Blood was placed in the scales of God’s Justice, and so far did it outweigh the weight of our iniquities, as to make the bias in our favor. The power of this Blood has broken the very gates of hell, severed our chains, and made peace both as to the things on earth, and the things that are in heaven. Let us receive upon us, therefore, this precious Blood, wash our wounds in it, and sign our foreheads with it as with an indelible mark, which may protect us on the day of wrath, from the sword of vengeance.

There is another object most dear to the Church, and which she, during these two weeks, recommends to our deepest veneration; it is the Cross, which is, as it were, the altar upon which our incomparable Victim is immolated. Twice, during the course of the year, that is, on the Feasts of its Invention and Exaltation, this sacred Wood will be offered to us that we may honor it as the trophy of our Jesus’ victory; but now, it speaks to us but of his Sufferings, it brings with it no other idea than that of his humiliation. God had said in the ancient Covenant: Accursed is he that hangeth on a tree. The Lamb, that saved us, disdained not to suffer this curse; but, for that very cause, this tree, this wood, of infamy, has become dear to us beyond measure. It is the instrument of our salvation, it is the sublime pledge of Jesus’ love for us. On this account, the Church is about to lavish her veneration and love upon it; and we intend to imitate her, and join her, in this as in all else she does. An adoring gratitude towards the Blood that has redeemed us, and a loving veneration of the holy Cross,—these are the two sentiments which are to be uppermost in our hearts, during these two weeks.

But for the Lamb himself,—for him that gave us this Blood, and so generously embraced the Cross that saved us,—what shall we do? Is it not just, that we should keep close to him, and that, more faithful than the Apostles who abandoned him during his Passion, we should follow him, day by day, nay hour by hour, in the way of the Cross that he treads for us? Yes,—we will be his faithful companions, during these last days of his mortal life, when he submits to the humiliation of having to hide himself from his enemies. We will envy the lot of those devoted few, who shelter him in their houses, and expose themselves, by this courageous hospitality, to the rage of his enemies. We will compassionate his Mother, who suffered an anguish that no other heart could feel, because no other creature could love him as She did. We will go, in spirit, into that most hated Sanhedrin, where they are laying the impious plot against the life of the Just One. Suddenly, we shall see a bright speck gleaming on the dark horizon; the streets and squares of Jerusalem will re-echo with the cry of Hosanna to the Son of David. That unexpected homage paid to our Jesus, those palm branches, those shrill voices of admiring Hebrew children, will give a momemtary truce to our sad forebodings. Our love shall make us take part in the loyal tribute thus paid to the King of Israel, who comes so meekly to visit the daughter of Sion, as the Prophet had foretold he would: but, alas! this joy will be short-lived, and we must speedily relapse into the our deep sorrow of soul!

The traitorous disciple will soon strike his bargain with the High Priests; the last Pasch will be kept, and we shall see the figurative lamb give place to the true One, whose Flesh will become our food, and his Blood our drink. It will be our Lord’s Supper. Clad in the nuptial robe, we will take our place there, together with the Disciples; for that day is the day of Reconciliation, which brings together, to the same Holy Table, both the penitent sinner, and the just that has been ever faithful. Then, we shall have to turn our steps towards the fatal Garden, where we shall learn what sin is, for we shall behold our Jesus agonizing beneath its weight, and asking some respite from his Eternal Father. Then, in the dark hour of midnight, the servants of the High Priests and the soldiers, led on by the vile Iscariot, will lay their impious hands on the Son of God; and yet, the legions of Angels who adore him, will be withheld from punishing the awful sacrilege! After this, we shall have to repair to the various tribunals, whither Jesus is led, and witness the triumph of injustice. The time that elapses between his being seized in the Garden and his having to carry his Cross up the hill of Calvary, will be filled up with the incidents of his mock trial,—lies, calumnies, the wretched cowardice of the Roman Governor, the insults of the bystanders, and the cries of the ungrateful populace thirsting for innocent Blood! We shall be present at all these things; our love will not permit us to separate ourselves from that dear Redeemer, who is to suffer them for our sakes, for our salvation.

Finally, after seeing him struck and spit upon, and after the cruel scourging and the frightful insult of the crown of thorns, we will follow our Jesus up Mount Calvary; we shall know where his sacred feet have trod by the Blood that marks the road. We shall have to make our way through the crowd, and, as we pass, we shall hear terrible imprecations uttered against our Divine Master. Having reached the place of execution, we shall behold this august Victim stripped of his garment, nailed to the cross, hoisted into the air, as if the better to expose him to insult! We will draw near to the Tree of Life, that we may lose neither one drop of that Blood which flows for the cleansing of the world, nor one single Word spoken, for its instruction, by our dying Jesus. We will compassionate his Mother, whose Heart is pierced through with a sword of sorrow; we will stand close to her, when her Son, a few moments before his Death, shall consign us to her fond care. After his three hours’ agony, we will reverenly watch his sacred Head bow down, and receive, with adoring love, his last breath.

A bruised and mangled corpse, stiffened by the cold of death,—this is all that remains to us of that Son of Man, whose first coming into the world caused us such joy! This Son of the Eternal Father was not satisfied with emptying himself, and taking the form of a servant; this his being born in the flesh was but the beginning of his sacrifice; his love was to lead him even unto death, even to the death of the cross. He foresaw that he would not win our love save at a price of such a generous immolation, and his heart hesitated not to make it. Let us, therefore, love God, says St. John, because God first loved us. This is the end the Church proposes to herself by the celebration of these solemn anniversaries. After humbling our pride and our resistance to grace, by showing us how Divine Justice treats sin,—she leads our hearts to love that Jesus, who delivered himself up, in our stead, to the rigors of that Justice. Woe to us, if this great Week fail to produce in our souls a just return towards Him, who loved us more than himself, though we were, and had made ourselves, his enemies. Let us say with the Apostle: The charity of Christ presseth us; that they who live, may not now live to themselves, but unto Him who died for them. We owe this return to Him who made hinmself a Victim for our sakes, and who, up to the very last moment, instead of pronouncing against us the curse we so justly deserved, prayed and obtained for us mercy and grace. He is, one day, to re-appear on the clouds of heaven, and, as the Prophet says, men shall look upon Him, whom they have pierced. God grant that we may be of the number of those who, having made amends, by their love, for the crimes they had committed against the Divine Lamb, will then find confidence at the sight of those Wounds!

Let us hope that, by God’s mercy, the holy time we are now entering upon will work such a happy change in us, that, on the Day of Judgment, we may confidently fix our eyes on Him we are now about to contemplate crucified by the hands of sinners. The Death of Jesus puts the whole of nature in commotion; the midday sun is darkened, the earth is shaken to its very foundations, the rocks are split;—may it be, that our hearts, too, be moved, and pass from indifference to fear, from fear to hope, and, at length, from hope to love; so that, having gone down, with our Crucified, to the very depths of sorrow, we may deserve to rise again with him unto light and joy, beaming with the brightness of his Resurrection upon us, and having within ourselves the pledge of a new life, which shall then die no more!

Morning and Night Prayers

During these two weeks, the Christian, on waking in the morning, should unite himself with the Church, who repeats these words of St. Paul at every Hour of the Divine Office during the last three days of Holy Week:

Christus factus est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis.

Christ became, for our sakes, obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross.

He should, after this, profoundly adore that great God, who was not to be appeased but by the Blood of Jesus; he should, also, adore the infinite goodness of this Jesus, who made himself a Victim, that he might save us sinners. It is with these two sentiments, that he must perform the first acts of religion, both interior and exterior, wherewith he begins each day of this present Season. The time for Morning Prayer being 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 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:

℣. Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.

℣. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee.

℟. Quia per Crucem tuam redemisti mundum.

℟. Because by thy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

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 to be mindful of his infinite mercy and goodness,—to forgive you your trespasses, through the merits of the Blood of Jesus,—to come to your assistance in the temptations and dangers which so thickly beset the path of this life,—and finally, to deliver you from evil, by removing from you every remnant of sin, which is the great evil, the evil that offends God, and entails the sovereign evil of man himself.

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. Pray to her with confidence and love, for she is the Refuge of Sinners.

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 during this deason, you should dwell with loving attention on that Article, of our having been redeemed by the Sufferings and Death of Jesus. Let us lovingly confess this mystery of a God suffering and dying for us. Let us, by our repentance and amendment, merit that this Precious Blood may perfect the conversion, that has been begun in us.

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, endeavor to excite yourself to sorrow for the sins you have committed. Ask our Lord to give you the graces appropriate to this holy Season; and, for this end, recite the following Hymn, which the Church uses in her Lauds for Lent:

Hymn

O sol salutis, intimis,
Jesu, refulge mentibus,
Dum nocte pulsa gratior
Orbi dies renascitur.

O Jesus! thou Sun of the world’s salvation! shine in the depths of our souls; for now is the hour of night’s departure, and sweeter day-break dawns upon the earth.

Dans tempus acceptabile,
Da lacrymarum rivulis
Lavare cordis victimam,
Quam læta adurat charitas.

O thou that givest us this acceptable time! give us to wash, with our tears, the victim we offer thee,—which is our heart; and grant that it may burn with joyous love.

Quo fonte manavit nefas,
Fluent perennes lacrymæ,
Si virga pœnitentiæ
Cordis rigorem conterat.

If the rod of penance but strike the hearts of stone, a flood of ceaseless tears will flow from that same fount, whence came our many sins.

Dies venig, dies tua,
In qua reflorent omnia:
Lætemur et nos, in viam
Tua reducti dextera.

The day, thine own day, is at hand, when all things bloom afresh; oh! grant, that we, too, may rejoice, being brought oncemore to the path, by thy right hand.

Te prona mundi machina,
Clemens, adoret, Trinitas,
Et nos novi per gratiam
Novum canamus canticum.
Amen.

O merciful Trinity! may the world prostrate itself thee, and adore; and we, made new by grace, sing a new canticle of praise. Amen.

Then, 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 time for making your Meditation, as no doubt you practice this holy exercise. During these two weeks, the following should be the leading subjects of our Meditations:—The severity of God’s Justice towards his Divine Son, who had taken upon himself our sins; the ingratitude of the Jews, who, though laden by Jesus with favors, clamor for his Death; the share we have taken, by our sins, in the Crucifixion; the Sufferings, both of body and soul, endured by our Redeemer; his patience and meekness under every injury; and finally, the infinite love he shows he has for us, by saving at the cost of his Blood, yea, of his very lofe.

The next part of your Morning Prayer must be to ask of God, by the following prayers, grace to avoid every kind of sin during the day you are just beginning. 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. 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 Churhc sings in her Vespers of Passiontide:

Hymn

Vexilla Regis prodeunt;
Fulget Crucis mysterium,
Qua Vita mortam pertulit,
Et morte vitam protulit.

The Standard of our King comes forth: the mystery of the Cross shines upon us,—that Cross on which Life suffered death, and by his Death gave life.

Quæ vulnerata lanceæ
Mucrone diro, criminum
Ut nos lavaret sordibus,
Manavit unda et sanguine.

He was pierced with the cruel Spear, that, by the Water and Blood, which flowed from the wound, he might cleanse us from sin.

Impleta sunt quæ concinit
David fideli camine,
Dicendo nationibus:
Regnavit a ligno Deus.

Here, on the Cross was fulfilled the prophecy foretold in David’s truthful words: “God hath reigned from the Tree.”

Arbor decora et fulgida,
Ornata regis purpura,
Electa digno stipite
Tam sancta membra tangere.

O fair and shining Tree! beautified by the scarlet of the King, and chosen as the noble trunk that was to touch such sacred limbs!

Beata cujus brachiis
Pretium pependit sæculi,
Statera facta corporis,
Tulitque prædam tartari.

O blessed Tree! on whose arms hung the ransom of the world! It was the balance, wherein was placed the Body of Jesus, and thereby hell lost its prey.

O Crux, ave, spes unica,
Hoc Passionis tempore,
Piis adauge gratiam,
Reisque dele crimina,
Reisque dele crimina.

Hail, O Cross! our only hope! During these days of the Passion, increase to the good their grace, and cleanse sinners from their guilt.

Te, fons salutis, Trinitas,
Collaudet omnis spiritus:
Quibus Crucis victoriam
Largiris, adde præmium.

May every spirit praise thee, O Holy Trinity, thou Fount of Salvation! and by the Cross, whereby thou gavest us victory, give us, too, our recompense.

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 great is the obstacle put by sin to the merciful designs your God would work in you; and make a firm resolution to avoid it 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 of the Blessed Virgin

Ave Regina cœlorum,
Ave Domina Angelorum:
Salve radix, salve porta,
Ex qua mundo lux est orta;
Gaude, Virgo gloriosa,
Super omnes speciosa:
Vale, O valde decora,
Et pro nobis Christum exora.

Hail Queen of Heaven! Hail Queen of Angels! Hail blest Root andGate, from which came Light upon the world! Rejoice, O glorious Virgin, that surpassest all in beauty! Hail, most lovely Queen! and pray to Christ for us.

℣. Dignare me laudare te, Virgo sacrata.

℣. Vouchsafe, O Holy Virgin, that I may praise thee.

℟. Da mihi virtutem contra hostes tuos.

℟. Give me power against thine enemies.

Oremus. Let Us Pray.

Concede, misericors Deus, fragilitati nostræ præsidium: ut, qui sanctæ Dei Genitricis memoriam agimus, intercessionis ejus auxilio, a nostris iniquitatibus resurgamus. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Grant, O merciful God, thy protection to us in our weakness; that we who celebrate the memory of the Holy Mother of God, may, through the aid of her intercession, rise again from our sins. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

You would do well to add the Stabat Mater, which is given further on, for Friday in Passion Week.

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, say once more these words of the Apostle:

Christus factus est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis.

Christ became, for our sakes, obedient unto death, even ot the death of the Cross.

On Hearing Mass, During Passiontide and Holy Week

If there be any time in the Year, when the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass should excite the heart of the Christian to devotion, it is Passiontide. During these days, set apart for the celebration of the Death of our Redeemer, the faithful soul can scarcely turn her thoughts from her Jesus expiring on the Cross: she envirs those who were witnesses of the sublime mystery on Calvary: she wishes that she could have stood at the foot of the Cross, have compassionated the Sufferings of her Savior, have heard his last Words, and reverently have taken up each drop of the precious Blood and applied it to her own wounds.

These holy desires have not been given to the Christian that they might be nothing but desires: God has given him the means of carrying them into effect, for the Sacrifice of the Mass is no other than the Sacrifice of Calvary. Jesus offered himself but once on the Cross for our sins; but he renews the offering, by an unbloody, yet by a real and complete, immolation on our Altars. He comes down on the Altar as soon as the sacred words of Consecration are pronounced by the Priest, and he comes as the Victim of the world’s salvation. His Body is really present there, under the appearance of bread; the chalice contains his Blood under the species of wine; and why this mystic separation of the Body and Blood of the Man-God, who can die now no more, if it be not to represent before the Divine Majesty the real Death which was once suffered in a bloodf manner on Calvary, and to renew, in man’s favor, the merits and fruits of theat Death?

This is the Sacrifice of the New Law, as far above all the sacrifices of the Old, both in holiness and efficacy, as the Creator is is above all his creatures. The omnipotence of our Jesus’ love has invented a means for uniting his dignity, as Immortal King of ages, with his office of our Victim. He can die now no more; but his Death is truly represented on the Altar: it is the self-same Body, bearing on it its five precious Wounds; it is the self-same Blood, the Blood which has redeemed us. If it were possible for him to die again, the power of the mysterious words, which produce the presence of his Blood in the chalice, would be the sword of his immolation.

Let, then, the Christian approach with confidence; on the holy Altar, he will find his Savior dying for him, and offering himself as the great High Priest. Yes, he is there, with the same love he had for us on Calvary; he is there, making intercession for all men, but, in a special manner, for those who are present at the Mass, and unite themselves with him. Let us see, in the action of the Holy Sacrifice, that same Immolation of which we have read the history in the Gospel. Let us hope for everything from that adorable goodness, which thus makes use of omnipotence in order to faciliate, by such stupendous means, the salvation and sanctification of man.

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 indescreetly presuming to translate the sacred formulæ, but by suggesting such Acts, as will enable those hwo hear Mass, to enter into the cermonies and spirit of the Church and the Priest.

The purple vestments, and the other rites of which we have already treated, give to the Holy Sacrifice an appearance of mournfulness, so well suited to the Season. Nevertheless, if there should occur the Feast of a Saint, between Passion and Palm Sunday, the Church lays aside her purple, and celebrates the Mass in honor of the Saint. The Crucifix and the holy Images, however, continue to be veiled, beginning from the first Vespers of Passion Sunday.

On the Sundays, if the Mass, at which the Faithful assist, be the Parachial, or, as it is often caled, 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

Asperges me, Domine, hyssopo, et mundabor; lavabis me, et super nivem dealbabor.

Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, O Lord, and I shall be cleansed; thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow.

Ps. Miserere mei, Deus, secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.

Ps. Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy great mercy.

℣. Gloria Patri, &c.

℣. Glory, &c.

Ant. Asperges me, &c.

Ant. Thou shalt sprinkle me, &c.

℣. Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam.

℣. Show us, O Lord, thy mercy.

℟. Et salutare tuum da nobis.

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

℣. 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, shows us the ardor wherewith the Church advances towards her God. Let us imitate her fervor, for it is written: The Lord is good to them that hope in him, to the soul that seeketh him.

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 incenses the Altar in a most solemn manner; and 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!

As we have already mentioned, the Church abstains, during this Season, from the heavenly Hymn which the Angels sang over the Crib of the Divine Babe. Bit, if she be keeping the Feast of a Saint, she recites this beautiful Canticle on that day. The beginning of the Angelic Hymn seems more suitable for heavenly than for earthly voices; but the second part isi in no ways out of keeping with the sinner’s wants and fears, for we there remind the Son of the Eternal Father that he is the Lamb,, who came down from heaven that he might take away the sins of the world. We beseech him to have mercy on us, and receive our humble prayer. Let us foster these sentiments within us, for they are so appropriate to the present Season:

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 every other portion of her Year, the Church here repeats her joyous Alleluia; but now she denies herself this demonstration of gladness, until such time as her Divine Spouse has passed through that sea of bitterness, into which our sins have plunged him. Instead of the Alleluia, then, she sings in a plaintive tone some verses from the Psalms, appropriate to the rest of that day’s Office. This is the Tract, of which we have already spoken.

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 makes us see the Light which shineth in darkness, and which the darkness of unbelief did not comprehend. It is Faith alone that teaches us what we are, whence we come, and the end for which we are made. It alone can point out to us the path whereby we may return to our God, when once we have separated ourselves from him. Let us love this admirable Faith, which, if we but make it fruitful by good works, will save us. 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. He first 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.

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, jy 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 vobis 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 beat&aelig ; 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 a spiritual Communion. Adore Jesus Christ who thus visits your soul by His grace, and say to him with the spouse: Come, Lord Jesus, come!

But should you not be going to receive sacramentally, make a Spiritual Communion. Adore Jesus Christ who thus visits your soul by his grace, and say to him:

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:

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

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

Then the Priest takes the Chalice, in thanksgiving, and says:

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 permit you to continue, forever, in the company of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

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 Passiontide and Holy Week

The Holy Mass is the true Sacrifice, of which the sacrifices of the Old Law were but figures. This Sacrifice was expected by mankind for four thousand years. It was during the present season that it was first offered up. It is now mysteriously renewed, each day, upon our Christian Altars.

No greater glory can be given to God than the celebration of this Sacrifice, wherein God himself is the Victim; at the same time, nothing can be more advantageous to man than the partaking of this divine Victim,&mdsah;the becoming himself this Victim, the incorporating it with himself by Holy Communion, whereby is realized that wonderful promise of our Redeemer: He that eateth my Flesh and drinketh my Blood, abideth in me, and I in him.

Now, it is by the immolation of our Redeemer on the Cross, that the Flesh of this Lamb of God has become truly our food, and his Blood truly our drink. By the mysteries of his Incarnation and Birth, we had him as our Brother; his Passion and Death have made him, both our Savior, and our Food. Thus was realized that figurative sacrifice, which God prescribed to his people through Moses, and in which the victim, after being immolated, was to be eaten by the priest, who offered it, and by the person in whose name it was offered.

St. Paul, writing to the Corinthians, speaks thus: As often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall show the Death of the Lord, until he come. Therefore, there is a close relation between Holy Communion and our Savior’s Passion; and it is on this account that we are going to celebrate, during this present Season, the institution of the Holy Eucharist and the sacrifice of the Lamb, our Redeemer. The two anniversaries come close to each other. If Jesus has desired with desire to eat this last Pasch with his Disciples, it is because he had something infinitely grander to give them than he had given them the two preceding years: then, he gave them to eat of the flesh of the figurative lamb; but now, in this, the last Pasch, he is going to give them a pledge of pardon and immortality, by making them partake of the very substance of the true Lamb, whose Blood imparts remission of sin and opens the gate of heaven. He immolates himself on the Table of the Last Supper before men immolate him on Calvary; and this wondrous anticipation of his Sacrifice, in which he gives such a rich proof of his love and his power, is founded on the real Sacrifice of the morrow, which is to cost him every drop of his Blood.

In approaching, therefore, the Holy Table, during this Season of the Passion, the Faithful must be absorbed in the remembrance of the Lamb that was sacrificed for us: they must keep this great truth uppermost in their hearts,—that the divine Food which nourishes their souls, was prepared on Calvary; and that, although this Lamb is now living and impassable, yet it was by his Death on the Cross that he became our Food. The Sinner, reconciled to his offended God, must receive the body of Jesus with sentiments of hearty contrition, and reproach himself in all the bitterness of his soul, for having shed that precious Blood by his multiplied sins. The Just man must make his Communion, and humble himself with the though, that he, too, has had too great a share in causing suffering to the innocent Lamb; and that if he now have reason to believe himself to be in the state of grace, he owes it to the Blood of the Victim who is about to be given to him for the increase of his spiritual life.

We will here give, as in our other Volumes, Acts which may serve as a preparation for Holy Communion during these two weeks. 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

The signal grace which Thou, O my God, hast granted me, that I should know the wounds of my soul, has revealed to me the greatness of my misery. I have been taught how deep was the darkness that covered me, and how much I needed thy Divine Light. But, while the torch of Faith has thus shown me the abyss of my own poor nature, it has also taught me how wonderful are the works, which thy love of thy ungrateful creature has made thee undertake, in order that thou mightest raise him up and save him. It was for me thou didst assume my human nature, and wast born at Bethlehem; it is for me that thou fastest forty days in the Desert; it is for me that thou art soon to shed thy Blood on the Cross. Thou commandest me to believe these miracles of thy love. I do believe them, O my God, humbly and gratefully. I also believe, and with an equally lively Faith, that in a few moments, thou art to give thyself to me in this ineffable Mystery of Holy Communion. Thou sayest to me: This is my Body—this is my Blood:—thy word is enough; in spite of my unworthiness seeming to forbid the possibility of such Communion, I believe, I consent, I bow me down before thine infinite Truth. Oh! can there be Communion between the God of all holiness and a Sinner such as I?—And het, thou assurest me, that thou art verily coming to me! I tremble, O Eternal Truth—but I believe. I confes that thy love of me is infinite, and that having resolved to give thyself to thy poor and sinful creature, thou wilt suffer no obstacle to stand in thy way!

Act of Humility

During the season just past, I have often contemplated, O my Jesus, thy coming from thy high throne into the bosom of Mary, thy uniting thy divine person to our weak mortal nature, and thy being born in the crib of a poor stable: and when I thought on these humiliations of my God, they taught me not only to love thee tenderly, but to know also my own nothingness, for I saw more clearly what an infinite distance there is between the Creature and his Creator; and, seeing these prodigies of thy immense love, I gladly confessed my own vileness. But now, dearest Savior, I am led to consider something far more humiliating than the lowliness of my nature. That Nothingnessme come unto thee, not to sentence me to the punishment I deserve but to give me, oh! such a mark of love,—union with thyself! Can this be? Art thou not the infinitely holy God?—I must needs yield, and come, for thou art my sovereign Master; and who is there that dares resist thy will? I come, then, humbling myself, even to my very nothingness, before thee, and beseeching thee to pardon my coming, for I come because thou wilt have it so.

Act of Contrition

And shall I, O my Jesus, confess thus the grievousness and multitude of my sins, without promising thee to sin no more? Thou wishest this sinner to be reconciled with thee, thou desirest to press him to thy Sacred Heart:—and could he, while thanking thee for this thy wonderful condescension, still love the accursed cause which made him thine enemy?—No, my infinitely merciful God, no! I will not, like my first Parent, seek to escape thy justice, but, like the Prodigal Son, I will arise and go to my Father; like Magdalene, I will take courage and enter the banquet-hall; and, though trembling at the sight of my sins, I will comply with thy loving invitation. My heart has no further attachment to sin, which I hate and detest as the enemy of thy honor and my own happiness. I am resolved to shun it from this time forward, and to spare no pains to free myself from its tyranny. There shall be no more of that easy life which chilled my love, nor of those dangerous habits which led me to stray from my loyalty to thee. Despise not, O God, this my humble and contrite heart.

Act of Love

Such is thy love for us in this world, O my Jesus, that, as thou sayest, thou art come not to judge, but to save. I should not satisfy thee, in this happy Communion hour, were I to offer thee but this salutary fear, which has led me to thy sacred feet, and this shame-stricken conscience, which makes me tremble in thy holy presence. The visit thou art about to pay me, is a visit of Love. The Sacrament, which is going to unite me to thee, is the Sacrament of thy Love. Thou, my Good Shepherd, hast said, that he loves most, who has been forgiven most. My heart then must dare to love thee; it must love thee with all its warmth; the very recollection of its past disloyalty must make its loving thee doubly needed and doubly fervent. Ah! sweet Lord!—see this poor heart of mine; strengthen it, console it, drive away its fears, make it feel that thou art its Jesus! It has come back to thee, because it feared thee; if it love

And thou, O Mary, Refuge of Sinners, help me to love Him, who is thy Son, and our Brother.—Holy Angels!—ye who live eternally on that love, which has never ceased to glow in your mighty spirits,—remember, I reverently pray you, that this God created me, as he did you, that I might love him.—All ye holy Saints of God! I beseech you, by the love wherewith ye are inebriated in heaven, graciously give me a thought, and prepare now my heart to be united with him. Amen.

After Communion
Act of Adoration

Thou art here within me, great God of heaven! Thou art, at this moment, residing in a sinner’s heart! I, yea, I, am thy temple, thy throne, thy resting-place!—How shall I worthily adore thee, thee that hast deigned to come down into this abyss of my lowliness and misery? The angels veil their faces in thy presence; thy Saints lay their crowns at thy feet; and I, that am but a sinful mortal, how shall I sufficiently honor thee, O Infinite Power, Infinite Wisdom, Infinite Goodness?—This soul, wherein thou art now dwelling, has presumed so many times to set thee at defiance, and boldly disobey and break thy commands. And thou canst come to me after all this, and bring all thy beauty and greatness with thee!—What else can I do, but give thee the homage of a heart, that knows not how to bear the immensity of the honor thou art now lavishing on me? Yes, my own wonderful and loving God, I adore thee; I acknowledge thee to be the Sovereign Being, the Creator and preserver of all creatures, and the undisputed Master of everything that belongs to me. I delightedly confess my dependence on thee, and offer thee, with all my heart, my humble service.

Act of Thanksgiving

Thy greatness, O my God, is infinite; but thy goodness to me is incomprehensible. Thy being now, present within this breast of mine is, I know, a proof of that immense power, which shows itself where and when it wills; but it is also a mark of thy love for me. Thou art come to my soul, that thou mayest be closely united with her, comfort her, give her a new life, and bring her all good things. Oh! who will teach me how to value this grace, and thank thee for it in a becoming way? But, how shall I hope to value it as I ought, when I am not able to understand either the love, that brings thee thus within me, nor my own need of having thee? And when I think of my inability to make thee a suitable return of thanks, I feel as though I can give thee nothing but my speechless gratitude. Yet thou willest that this my heart, poor as it is, should give thee its thanks; thou takest delight in receiving its worthless homage. Take it, then, my loving Jesus! I give it thee with all possible joy, and beseech thee to reveal unto me the immensity of thy gift, and to enrich me more that I may give thee more.

Act of Love

But nothing will satisfy thee, O my Infinite Treasure unless I give thee my love. Thou hast ever loved me, and thou art still loving me; I must love thee in return! Thou hast borne with me, thou hast forgiven me, thou art, at this moment, overpowering me with honor and riches; and all this out of love for me! The return thou askest of me, is my love. Gratitude will not content thee—thou wilt have my love!—But, Jesus, my dear Jesus!—my past life—the long years I have spent in offending thee—rise up before me, and tell me to hide myself from thee! And yet, whither could I go without carrying thee within me, for thou hast taken up thine abode in my inmost soul? No,—I will not run from thee! I will summon all the energies of my heart, to tell thee, that I love thee; that thy love for me has emboldened me; that I belong to thee; that I love thee above all else that I love; and that henceforth, all my joy and happiness shall be in pleasing thee, and doing whatsoever thou askest of me.

Act of Oblation

I know, dear Jesus, that what thou askest of me is not the passing sentiment of a heart excited by the thought of thy goodness towards it. Thou hast loved me from eternity; thou lovedst me, even when I was doing nothing for thee; thou hast given me light to know my miseries; thou hast shielded me against thine own angry justice; thou hast mercifully pardoned me a countlessnumber of times; thou art even now embracing me with tenderest love;—and all these works of thy almighty hand have been but for one end,—to makd me give myself to thee, and live, at last, for thee. It is this thou wouldst obtain of me, by granting me this precious earnest of thy love, which I have just received. Thou hast said, speaking of this ineffable gift: As I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me. Henceforth, O Bread, which came down from heaven! thou art the source of my life. Now, more than ever, my life belongs to thee. I give it unto thee. I dedicate unto thee my soul, my body, my faculties, my whole being. Do thou direct and govern me. I resign myself entirely into thy hands. I am blind, but thy light will guide me; I am weak, but thy power will uphold me; I am inconstant, but thy unchangeableness will give me stability. I trust unreservedly in thy mercy, which never abandon them that hope in thee.

O Mary! pray for me, that I lose not the fruit of this Visit. —Holy Angels! watch over this dwelling-place of your Lord, which he has so mercifully chosen: let nothing defile it. —Oh! all ye Saints of God! pray for the sinner, unto whom he has given this pledge of his Divine pardon.

0 Comments

Posted by on in Uncategorized

Comments are closed.