For the third time, holy Church marshals her children in procession, and makes a solemn appeal to the divine mercy. Let us follow her sacred standard, and join her in invoking the intercession of the Saints. The Litany, in which we pray to all the choirs of the heavenly Jerusalem, is both a magnificent and a powerful prayer: it is the Church Triumphant uniting with the Church Militant in praying for the salvation of the world.
O Mary! Mother of God, Virgin of virgins, miracle of divine power, exercise, in our favor, thy maternal mediation with Him, who, through God, is thy Son!
Michael, the invincible, Gabriel, welcome messenger of our salvation, Raphael, affectionate physician of them that are suffering; Angels and Archangels, who watch over us, and cooperate in the work of our salvation; all ye choirs of blessed Spirits, who are waiting for your ranks to be filled up by the elect of earth;—intercede for your brethren, your clients!
John the Baptist, Precursor of the Lamb of God; Joseph, Spouse of Mary Immaculate, and foster-father of the Son of God; Patriarchs, the glorious forefathers of the human race, and ancestors of the Messias; Prophets, who foretold his coming, and described the events of his life, that so the earth might recognize him as the promised Redeemer; remember us who are living in this exile, through which you also passed!
Peter, universal Pastor, that holdest the keys of the kingdom of heaven; Paul, Apostle of the Gentiles, armed with the sword of the word, and immolated by the sword of Martyrdom; Andrew, crucified like thy Master; James the Greater, son of thunder, founder of the “Catholic Kingdom;” John, the Beloved Disciple, the adopted son and guardian of Mary, Evangelist and Prophet; Thomas, Apostle of the Indies, pierced to death by a spea; James the Less, surnamed “the Brother of the Lord;” Philip, who didst preach the Gospel to the Scythians, and wast crucified at Hierapolis; Bartholomew, the teacher and martyr of Armenia; Matthew, the Evangelist, who didst carry the faith into the scorching regions of Ethiopia; Simon, by whose zeal Mesopotamia was led to the knowledge of Christ; Thaddeus, the courageous destroyer of the idols of Egypt; Matthias, chosem to fill up the place of the Traitor Judas, and well worthy of the honor; Barnabas, Paul’s companion, and the light of the isle of Cyprus; Luke, disciple of the Apostle of the Gentiles, and historian of the Incarnate Word; Mark, disciple of Peter, under whose direction thou wrotest the Gospel of salvation;—we devoutly honor you as our Fathers in the Faith; pray for and with us!
Disciples of our Lord, who, though not raised to the rank of Apostles, were chosen by him to be their fellow-laborers, and who, on the Day of Pentecost, were filled with the Holy Ghost; dear Innocents of Bethlehem, first-fruits of the Martyrs;—deign to join us in our supplications!
Stephen the Crowned, Laurence the brave and cheerful winner of immortal laurels, Vincent the Victorious,—the glorious triumvirate of Deacons; Fabian, Pontiff designated by a dove sent from heaven; Sebastian, dauntless soldier of holy Church; John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian, Gervasius and Protasius, Brothers by nature and martyrdom; oh! all ye holy Martyrs, protect us under the shadow of your palms!
Sylvester, Pontiff of Peace; Gregory, Vicor both of the meekness and authority of Christ; Ambrose, whose eloquence was sweet as honey, and whose courage was as that of a lion; Augustine, Doctor of Doctors and apostle of divine charity; Jerome, inspired interpreter of the Scriptures; Martin, Thaumaturgus of the West, and Nicholas, wonder-worker in the East; holy Pontiffs, holy Doctors of the Church, lead back to Christ all his sheep that are gone astray!
Antony, the glory of the desert, and the conqueror of Satan; Benedict, the Abraham of the New Testament, whose children are countless as the stars of heaven; Bernard, pillar of the Church, and favorite of the Mother of God; Dominic, Preacher of divine truth, and scourge of heresy; Francis, friend and spouse of poverty, crucified together with Christ;—we honor you all; enkindle within our souls the desire of Christian perfection!
Priests of the Lord; holy Monks, and Hermits, and Confessors;—pray for us who implore your aid!
Mary Magdalene, once a sinner, but afterwards a Saint; whose devotedness to Jesus was so generous and fervent; obtain for us that compunction of heart, which makes amends for sin by love!
Agatha and Lucy, beautiful flowers of fair Sicily; Agnes, who followest the Lamb whithersoever he goeth; Cecily, wreathed with thy roses and lilies, and queen of sweet melody; Catharine, the wise virgin that confoundest the false wisdom of philosophers; Anastasia, the valiant woman that didst triumph over the trials of life and the severity of tortures; oh! all ye holy Virgins, Spouses of Jesus, look with compassion on us who are dwelling in this land of exile!
All ye holy men and women, Saints of God, who now reign of heaven above, think of us your brethren, who mourn in this vale of tears. We, too, are created for eternal happiness; and yet the vanities of time engross our thoughts and affections. Make intercession for us, that, henceforth, we may walk worthy of God, who hath called us unto his kingdom and glory!
The Litany is finished; and, for the third time, the Holy Sacrifice is about to work reconciliation between our God, and us his guilty children. Let us hope that he will make this a year of peace and plenty; and next year, when the Church invites us to join her in this public supplication for pardon, may the number of those who respond to her call, be such as to merit an increase of every blessing!
Let us assist at the Mass with a deep conviction of our own insufficiency to make atonement for our sins, and yet with a firm confidence in the infinite merits of the Paschal Lamb, our Risen Jesus.