Introduction

This blog contains regular postings relating to the Traditional Latin Liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. It includes regular commentary on the saints days and the liturgical cycle, with brief background and extracts from the liturgy both in Latin and English. Much of the material has been extracted from the 'St Andrew's Daily Missal', Dom Gueranger's 'Liturgical Year', or similar sources.

Related website: http://www.liturgialatina.org/





Friday, 18 April 2014

Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday

Station at St John Lateran

The Station is at St. John Lateran, the mother church of the Christian world, and it is here that the Church celebrated the First Mass of Easter and that formerly she received into her bosom the many catechumens who were baptized on this day. First dedicated to our blessed Saviour, this basilica was subsequently consecrated to St. John the Baptist with the baptistry attached to it.

In former times the Church held no special service on this morning. Apart from any gathering for the Station, a meeting was held in the course of the afternoon for the seventh and last scrutiny which almost immediately preceded the baptism. It was at this gathering that the rite of exorcism took place, and the rite of Ephpheta, which recalls the miracles worked by Jesus when He cured the deaf and dumb, and the renunciation of Satan pronounced by the catechumen after being anointed with the oil for catechumens. He then recited the Symbol, a proceeding known as "the rendering of the Symbol." We discover these rites again in the present ceremonies of baptism following those that took place at the third scrutiny.

At night was held the Watch or solemn Vigil of Easter, towards the end of which, before daybreak, the catechumens plunged in the water of the baptistry were, so to speak, buried with Jesus; and at the very hour at which Christ rose triumphantly from the sepulchre, they were born to the life of grace.

Later the great ceremonies were anticipated, being held first in the evening, and subsequently in the morning of Holy Saturday. They reveal a sudden change from sorrow to joy, and disclose certain anomalies which this notice helps to explain.

THE BLESSING OF THE NEW FIRE

The Church, blessing as she does all elements of which she makes use for divine worship, made a practice of blessing every evening the new fire that was to provide the light for the office of Vespers. The liturgy of Holy Saturday maintains this custom. She also blesses the five grains of incense which are to be fixed in the Paschal candle, the offering of which to God will thenceforward be accepted as a sweet savour.

At a convenient hour the altars are covered with linen cloths, but the candles are not lighted until the beginning of Mass. Meanwhile fire is struck from a flint outside the church and the coals are kindled. At the end of None, the priest vested in amice, alb, girdle, and stole to which he adds, if possible, a violet cope, accompanied by his ministers with processional cross, holy water and incense, goes outside the church door, if it can be conveniently done, or stands in the entrance of the church and blesses the new fire.

Deus, qui per Filium tuum, angularem scilicet lapidem, claritatis tuae ignem fidelibus contulisti: productum e silice, nostris profuturum usibus, novum hunc ignem sanctifica: et concede nobis, ita per haec festa paschalia caelestibus desideriis inflammari; ut ad perpetuae claritatis, puris mentibus, valeamus festa pertingere.
O God, who through Thy Son, the corner stone, hast bestowed on the faithful the fire of Thy glory, sanctify this new fire produced from a flint that it may be profitable to us: and grant that by this paschal festival we may be so inflamed with heavenly desires, that with pure minds we may come to the feast of perpetual light.

He then blesses the five grains of incense which will presently be set in the Pascal candle. During the blessing of the grains of incense an acolyte, taking some of the blessed coals, places them in the thurible. Having finished the foregoing prayer, the priest takes some incense from the incense boat and puts it in the thurible, blessing it in the usual manner. He then sprinkles the grains of incense and the new fire three times with holy water, reciting the antiphon Asperges me without the psalm, afterwards incensing them thrice.

Then the deacon, in a white dalmatic, takes a reed with a triple candle fixed on the top, symbolical of the three Divine Persons in whose name the catechumens are this day baptized.

The thurifer goes with an acolyte carrying in a vessel the five grains of incense; next comes the subdeacon bearing the cross, followed by the clergy in order; then the deacon with the reed, and finally the celebrant. As soon as the deacon has entered the church he lowers the reed, and the acolyte carrying the candle lighted from the new fire lights one of the three candles set on the top. Then the deacon, raising the reed, genuflects as do all the rest with the exception of the subdeacon who carries the cross, and sings:

Lumen Christi. R. Deo gratias.
The light of Christ, R. Thanks be to God.

On arriving at the middle of the church the deacon lights the second branch candle, and again genuflecting sings on a higher tone:

Lumen Christi. R. Deo gratias.
The light of Christ, R. Thanks be to God.


He then advances to the foot of the altar, where the third candle is lighted, and once more genuflecting he sings on a still higher tone:

Lumen Christi. R. Deo gratias.
The light of Christ, R. Thanks be to God.


THE BLESSING OF THE PASCHAL CANDLE

The celebrant then goes up to the Epistle side of the altar, and the deacon, giving the reed to an acolyte, takes the book, asks a blessing of the priest as at the Gospel.

The deacon goes to the lectern, puts down the book and incenses it. At his right stand the subdeacon with the cross and the thurifer; at his left the two acolytes, one holding the reed and the other the vessel containing the five blessed grains of incense to be set in the Paschal candle. All rise and stand as at the Gospel, and the deacon sings the Exsultet, in which the Church expounds the beautiful symbolic meaning of the Paschal candle. He sings of the night of happy memory which witnessed the escape of the children of Israel from Egypt, conducted by a pillar of a fire illumined with the splendour of Christ.

Exsultet jam Angelica turba caelorum: exsultent divina mysteria: et pro tanti Regis victoria, tuba insonet salutaris. Gaudeat et tellus tantis irradiata fulgoribus: et aeterni Regis splendore illustrata, totius orbis se sentiat amisisse caliginem. Laetetur et mater Ecclesia, tanti luminis adornata fulgoribus: et magnis populorum vocibus haec aula resultet. Quapropter adstantes vos, fratres carissimi, ad tam miram hujus sancti luminis claritatem, una mecum, quaeso, Dei omnipotentis misericordiam invocate. Ut qui me non meis meritis intra Levitarum numerum dignatus est aggregare: luminis sui claritatem infundens, Cerei hujus laudem implere perficiat. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium suum: qui cum eo vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. R. Amen.
Let the angelic choir of heaven now rejoice; let the divine mysteries be celebrated with joy; and let the trumpet of salvation resound for the victory of so great a King. Let the earth also rejoice, illumined with such resplendent rays; and enlightened with the brightness of the eternal King, let it feel that the darkness of the whole world is dispersed. Let also our mother the Church rejoice, adorned with the brightness of so great a light; and may this temple resound with the joyful voices of the people. Wherefore I beseech you, most dear brethren, who are here present in the wonderful brightness of this holy light, to invoke with me the mercy of almighty God. That He who has vouchsafed to number me, without any merits of mine, among the Levites, would pour forth His brightness upon me, and enable me to celebrate the praise of this light. Through our Lord Jesus Christ His Son, who with and reigneth one God, world without end. R. Amen.

THE PROPHECIES

After the blessing of the Paschal candle the deacon lays aside his white dalmatic and puts on a violet stole and maniple. He then goes to the celebrant, who after laying aside his cope puts on a violet maniple and chasuble. The Prophecies are then chanted without any introduction, while the priest standing on the Epistle side of the altar reads them in a low voice.

The reading of the twelve Prophecies served the object formerly of a final initiation of the catechumens.

1) Genesis 1:1-31; 2:1-2

Through baptism the souls of men will recover the rights which they enjoyed in Eden before the fall of Adam.


2) Genesis 5; 6; 7; 8 passim
God, through baptism, brings souls into the Church, which is the Ark of Salvation. As after the flood, so now the world is renewed, by the saving waters of baptism.

3) Genesis 22:1-19
Through baptism and their faith in Jesus Christ, the converts were enrolled among the children promised by God to Abraham. On Quinquagesima Sunday, when the liturgy was concerned with the history of this patriarch, no mention was made of his sacrifice because, to follow St Augustine, this type of our Lord's sacrifice is held over until Passiontide, when it is fulfilled.

4) Exodus 14: 24-31; 15
By baptism Christ rescues the catechumens from the yoke of Satan as Moses freed the Israelites from the captivity of Egypt.

5) Isaias 54:17;55:1-11
Through baptism souls are incorporated in the new nation with which God enters into a covenant immeasurably superior to the covenant of Sinai.

6) Baruch 3:9-38
The souls of the baptised will enjoy eternal peace if they observe the lessons of life and of wisdom which the Church teaches them on behalf of God.

7) Ezechiel 37:1-14
Baptism infuses new life into our souls. This is what is meant by the dry bones which at the command of Ezechiel stood up unto their feet, put on flesh and became a mighty army.

8) Isaias 4:1-6
Christ, after purifying our souls in baptism, will take them under His protection.

9) Exodus 12: 1-11
All who have been baptized shall eat the flesh of the Lamb of God of which the Paschal Lamb is the figure.

10) Jonas 3:1-10
Like the Ninevites of old, our souls in baptism will obtain mercy from God.

11) Deuteronomy 31:22-30
The souls of those that have been baptized must bear in mind, like the people led by Moses, the law of God and His munificence.

12) Daniel 3:1-24
The souls of those who have been baptized are shielded by God in the midst of all danger, as were the three young men in the furnace.

THE BLESSING OF THE FONT
(In churches where there is no baptismal font all the following is omitted as far as the Litany.)

In earlier times the clergy at this point went to the baptistry of the Lateran, where the Sovereign Pontiff blessed, by virtue of the Cross, the water that was to be used for the baptism. The Paschal candle, which he dipped three several times in it, recalled to mind the incident of the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan, whereby He sanctified the water and imparted to it the power of regeneration. The catechumens were then questioned for the last time on the Creed, were baptized and then confirmed, and the white garments in which they were then clothed became the mystical robe which entitled them to sit at the holy table and make their first communion.

The rites which were then observed are still found in the ceremonies for the administration of baptism. The priest changes his violet stole for a white one, as baptism was administered during the night, when the Paschal festivities began. He asks the three questions which summarize the whole of the Creed, he baptizes, anoints with the holy chrism, puts a white linen cloth upon the person baptized and gives him a lighted candle.

At the end of the reading of the Prophecies, if there is a baptismal font in the church the priest who is about to bless it puts on a violet cope and, preceded by the processional cross, the candelabra and the lighted blessed candle, goes to the font with his ministers and the clergy, while the following Tract is sung:

Sicut cervus desiderat ad fontes aquarum: ita desiderat anima mea ad te, Deus. V. Sitivit anima mea ad Deum vivum: quando veniam, et apparebo ante faciem Dei? V. Fuerunt mihi lacrimae meae panes die ac nocte, dum dicitur mihi per singulos dies: Ubi est Deus tuus?
As the hart panteth after the fountains of water, so my soul panteth after Thee, O God. V. My soul hath thirsted for the living God: when shall I come and appear before the face of God? V. My tears have been my bread day and night, while they say to me daily: Where is thy God?
(Psalm 12:2-4)

Having blessed the font, if there are any to be baptized he baptizes them in the usual way. Then, while the priest and his ministers return to the altar, two cantors begin the Litany.

THE LITANY OF THE SAINTS

The celebrant puts aside his chasuble, and with his ministers prostrates himself before the altar. All the rest kneel and two cantors in the middle of the choir sing the Litany, both sides repeating each invocation.

At the invocation Peccatores, te rogamus, audi nos the priest and his ministers rise and go into the sacristy, where they put on white vestments for the solemn celebration of Mass. Meanwhile the candles are lighted on the altar.

MASS AND VESPERS

During the singing of the Litany the neophytes re-entered the church, and the Mass was begun which inaugurated the solemn services of Easter (Secret). This celebrates the glory of the risen Christ (Gospel), and that of the souls who, through baptism, have entered on a new life, a pledge of their future resurrection (Epistle, Collect, Hanc igitur). Hence the joyful Alleluia that is sung, the pealing of the organ and the ringing of the bells.

The Vespers, which follow the Communion, remind us of the holy women who were the first to realize the great mystery of the Resurrection.

Let us show our gratitude to God for the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Holy Eucharist, which have made it possible for us to pass with Jesus from the death of sin to the life of grace.

At the end of the Litany the cantors sing the solemn Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison, each invocation being repeated thrice. Meanwhile the priest attended by his ministers, all in white vestments, goes to the altar, recites the Judica me adding the Gloria Patri, and makes the confession in the usual way? Then, ascending the steps, he kisses the altar, incenses it as usual, and as soon as the choir has finished the Kyrie eleison, he intones the Gloria in excelsis Deo; the organ is played and the bells are rung.

Deus, qui hanc sacratissimam noctem gloria Dominicae Resurrectionis illustras: conserva in nova familiae tuae progenie adoptionis spiritum, quem dedisti; ut corpore et mente renovati, puram tibi exhibeant servitutem.
O God, who makest this most sacred night illustrious by the glory of the resurrection of our Lord : preserve in the new children of Thy family the spirit of adoption which Thou hast given, that renewed in body and soul, they may give Thee a pure service.
(Collect)

Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Colossians.
Brethren : If you be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God : mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth. For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ shall appear, who is your life, then you also shall appear with Him in glory.
(Colossians 3:1-4)

At the end of the Epistle the celebrant begins the Alleluia. He sings it three times, each time upon a higher tone, and the choir repeats it in the same manner. The choir proceeds:

V. Confitemini Domino quoniam bonus: quoniam in saeculum misericordia ejus.
V. Give praise to the Lord, for He is good : for His mercy endureth for ever.
(Verse Psalm 107:1)

Laudate Dominum, omnes gentes: et collaudate eum, omnes populi. V. Quoniam confirmata est super nos misericordia ejus: et Veritas Domini manet in aeternum.
O praise the Lord, all ye nations: and praise Him, all ye people, V. For His mercy is confirmed upon us: and the truth of the Lord remaineth for ever.
(Tract Psalm 116:1-2)

At the Gospel, lights are not carried but only incense and everything else is done as usual.

Continuation of the holy Gospel according to Saint Matthew.
And in the end of the sabbath, when it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalen and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And behold there was a great earthquake. For an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and coming, rolled back the stone and sat upon it: and his countenance was as lightning and his raiment as snow. And for fear of him the guards were struck with terror and became as dead men. And the angel answering, said to the women : Fear not you: for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified : He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come and see the place where the Lord was laid. And going quickly, tell ye His disciples that He is risen: and behold He will go before you into Galilee: there you shall see Him. Lo, I have foretold it to you.
(St. Matthew 28:1-7)

Suscipe, quaesumus, Domine, preces populi tui, cum oblationibus hostiarum: ut paschalibus initiata mysteriis, ad aeternitatis nobis medelam, te operante, proficiant.
Receive, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the prayers of Thy people with the offering of this sacrifice; that what we have begun at these Easter mysteries, may, through Thy power, profit us as a saving remedy unto life everlasting.
(Secret)

The Pax Domini is said, but the kiss of peace is not given. The Agnus Dei is omitted, but the three prayers before Communion are said as usual. Holy Communion may be distributed to the faithful.

Instead of a Communion antiphon, the choir sings Vespers as follows:

Antiphon : Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Psalm 116
Laudate Dominum, omnes gentes, * laudate eum, omnes populi.
Quoniam confirmata est super nos misericordia ejus: * et Veritas Domini manet in aeternum.
Gloria Patri, etc.
O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise Him, all ye people.
For His mercy is confirmed upon us: and the truth of the Lord remaineth for ever.
Glory be to the Father, etc.

Repeat the antiphon.

The chapter, hymn and verse are omitted, the celebrant at once intoning the antiphon at the Magnificat:

Vespere autem sabbati * quae lucescit in prima sabbati: venit Maria Magdalene, et altera Maria, videre sepulcrum, alleluia.
And in the end of the sabbath, when it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalen, and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre, alleluia.
(Antiphon at the Magnificat: Matthew 28:1)

During the Magnificat the altar is incensed as at Solemn Vespers. The antiphon is then repeated, and the priest says the final Collect of the Vespers and Postcommunion of the Mass:

Spiritum nobis, Domine, tuae caritatis infunde: ut, quos sacramentis Paschalibus satiasti, tua facias pietate concordes.
Pour forth upon us, O Lord, the spirit of Thy love, that by Thy loving kindness Thou mayest make to be of one mind, those whom Thou hast fed with these paschal sacraments.

Good Friday

Good Friday



Station at Holy Cross in Jerusalem


The Station is at the basilica which in Rome represents Jerusalem whose name it bears. It is consecrated to our Redeemer's Passion and contains earth from Calvary, some important fragments of the true cross, and one of the nails used in the crucifixion of our Lord.

On this day, the anniversary of our Saviour's death, the Church gives her temples an appearance of desolation, and clothes her ministers in the garb of mourning.

THE MASS OF THE CATECHUMENS


The first part of to-day's liturgy recalls the gatherings that took place in the synagogues on the Sabbath Day. The first Christian communities, composed as they were of convert Jews, took these assemblies as their model, at the same time subjecting them to necessary modifications, especially by early associating them with the liturgy of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. It is in the Mass of the Catechumens that these are told that the mercies of God are soon to descend on the Christian people, just as chastisement will fall on the faithless nations Ephraim and Juda; for at the very moment when the multitude of the children of Israel will be offering the Paschal Lamb (second Lesson), the Jews will be putting to death the Lamb of God on the Cross. This death is described for us in the story of our Lord's Passion according to St. John.

None having been said in choir, the celebrant and the sacred ministers, in black vestments and without lights or incense, come before the altar where they prostrate themselves and pray for some moments. Meanwhile, the acolytes spread a single altar cloth upon the altar. The celebrant and ministers having finished praying, go up the steps to the altar which the celebrant kisses, as usual, in the middle, afterwards going to the Epistle side.

After this a reader, in the place where the Epistle is read, lessons are sung in the tone of the prophecies, from the books of Osee and Exodus.

First Prophecy
Thus saith the Lord: In their affliction they will rise early to Me: Come, and let us return to the Lord: for He hath taken us, and He will heal us: He will strike, and He will cure us. He will revive us after two days: on the third day He will raise us up and we shall live in His sight. We shall know and we shall follow on, that we may know the Lord. His going forth is prepared as the morning light and He will come to us as the early and the latter rain to the earth. What shall I do to thee, O Ephraim? What shall I do to thee, O Juda? Your mercy is as a morning cloud and as the dew that goeth away in the morning. For this reason have I hewed them by the prophets, I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgements shall go forth as the light. For I desired mercy and not sacrifice: and the knowledge of God more than holocausts.
 (Osee 6:1-6)

This is followed by the singing of the account of the Passion according to St John. (John 18:1-40; 19:1-42)


The drama of the Passion is universal and in one sense will end only with the world itself, for all men, by their sins, have taken a share in the death of Christ. Jesus was bound to triumph through those very atoning sufferings by which He became the Victim of every passion which shall agitate the human race until the end of the world. For He has atoned for the pride of those who share that hatred of truth which turned the Jews into murderers; the avarice of those who are possessed by the demon of greed which drove Judas to sell his master; the lust of all who indulge in sensual delights like Herod, who mocked Jesus and sent him back to Pilate; the cruelty of those who love to cause suffering like the soldiers, who struck our Lord and insulted Him; and the cowardice of all who leave the path of duty like the Apostles, who forsook Him to whom they owed everything.

Our Lord's Passion is the whole of humanity, hurling itself upon its divine healer and yet cured by Him; yet also it is the anointed of God, the King of Martyrs, who in face of all the generations who persecute Him and before the whole world offers to His Father a supreme token of submission, that of blood itself.

Christ on the Cross! What a model of death to all our sins, of resistance to every temptation, of warfare against all evildoers, and of the testimony which we in our turn ought to render to God, even, if necessary, at the cost of our very life.

The priest then, standing at the Epistle side of the altar, with hands joined, proceeds at once with the following prayers.

THE SOLEMN PRAYERS


In the second part of to-day's liturgy we have a relic of prayers which were also a feature of the primitive gatherings referred to above. Of these prayers the only trace existing in the Roman Mass is the Oremus,
said before the Offertory. [In the Eastern Churches this part of the liturgy recurred daily and was called "The Mass of the Penitents". In the Western Church it was suppressed and the penitents were not dismissed until the Communion.]

These liturgical prayers show us that the effects of our Lord's death extend to all necessities of the Church and of the human race. They even foresee the conversion of the deicide race who will one day recognize that Jesus is the Messias.

Prayer for the Church
Let us pray, dearly beloved, for the holy Church of God: that our God and Lord may be pleased to give it peace, keep its unity and preserve it throughout the world: subjecting to it principalities and powers; and may He grant us, while we live in peace and tranquillity, grace to glorify God the Father almighty.

Let us pray.
Let us kneel. R. Arise.

Almighty and eternal God, who in Christ hast revealed Thy glory to all nations, preserve the works of Thy mercy, that Thy Church, spread over all the world, may persevere with a steadfast faith in the confession of Thy name. Through the same our Lord.
R. Amen.


THE ADORATION OF THE CROSS

This ceremony owes its origin to a custom which prevailed at Jerusalem in the fourth century, of venerating on this day the wood of the true Cross. Meanwhile the Improperia, or tender reproaches of Christ to His people, to whom He had done nothing but good, were sung in Greek, which language was still partly in use in the Mass of every day.

When the prayers are finished the celebrant takes off the chasuble. Then turning towards the people, standing on the Epistle side (near the back-corner of the altar-table, or if more convenient, below the steps), he unveils the upper part of the cross and sings the words:

Ecce lignum Crucis,
Behold the wood of the Cross,

The ministers continue with the celebrant:
in quo salus mundi pependit.
on which hung the Saviour of the world.

The choir reply, while all except the celebrant kneel:
Venite adoremus.
Let us adore.

Then the celebrant goes to the front-corner of the altar at the Epistle side above the steps, uncovers the right arm of the cross and the head of the figure of our Lord again singing on a higher note Ecce lignum, etc. All kneel while the response is made as before.

Finally the celebrant reaches the middle of the altar and uncovers the whole cross which he holds up, repeating Ecce lignum for a third time on a still higher note. All again adore while the response is made. Then the celebrant carries the cross to the place prepared for it before the altar, kneels and place it there. Then he removes his shoes and goes to adore the cross. He prostrates himself three times and finally bends and kisses the feet of the crucifix. This done he returns to his seat and puts on his shoes and the chasuble. Immediately after him the ministers and the other clergy, followed by the faithful, two and two, go up, prostrate themselves, and adore as above.

While the adoration is taking place, the Reproaches are sung, according to the number of those taking part in the adoration. Meanwhile, the priest seated, reads them with his ministers.

Popule meus, quid fecit tibi? aut in quo contristavi te? Responde mihi!
My people, what have I done to thee? Or in what have I grieved thee? Answer me!

Quia eduxi te de terra Aegypti: parasti Crucem Salvatori tuo.
Because I brought thee out of the land of Egypt: thou hast prepared a cross for thy Saviour.

Agios o theos. Sanctus Deus.
Agios ischyros. Sanctus fortis.
Agios athanatos, eleison imas. Sanctus immortalis, miserere nobis.

O Holy God.
Holy and Strong.
Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.

The following Antiphon is then sung:

Crucem tuam * adoramus, Domine: et sanctam resurrectionem tuam laudamus, et glorificamus: ecce enim propter lignum venit gaudium in universo mundo.
Ps. lxvi. 2. Deus misereatur nostri, et benedicat nobis: illuminet vultum suum super nos, et misereatur nostri. Crucem. 

We adore Thy Cross, O Lord : and we praise and glorify Thy holy resurrection: for behold by the wood of the Cross joy came into the whole world.
Ps. May God have mercy on us, and bless us: may He cause the light of His countenance to shine upon us, and have mercy on us. We adore.

The Crux fidelis is then sung, the first and second part of it in turn following each verse of the Pange lingua.


Crux fidelis, inter omnes
Arbor una nobilis:
Nulla silva talem profert,
Fronde, flore, germine. 

* Dulce lignum, dulces clavos,
Dulce pondus sustinet.

Faithful Cross, O tree all beauteous, Tree all peerless and divine: Not a grove on earth can show us Such a leaf and flower as thine. * Sweet the nails and sweet the wood. Laden with so sweet a load.

MASS OF THE PRESANCTIFIED


Good Friday being the anniversary of our Lord's death, there stands out before the whole world, the blood-stained throne of the Cross from which the God-Man reigns. The Church does not celebrate the Holy Mass which is the memorial of that of the Cross; she contents herself with consuming the sacred species previously consecrated: which, in the Greek rite is the daily practice during Lent, except on Saturdays and Sundays. From this comes the name Mass of the Presanctified, since the offerings are sanctified (consecrated) before.

Towards the end of the Adoration of the Cross the candles are lighted on the altar, and the deacon taking the burse, spreads the corporal in the usual way, placing the purificator near it. When the adoration is finished, he takes the cross reverently and replaces it on the altar. The procession is then formed to go to the altar where the Blessed Sacrament has reposed since the day before. At the altar of repose, candles are lighted and remain so until after the Communion. The deacon takes the chalice from the tabernacle and hands it to the celebrant. The procession then forms in the same order as before. During the procession the hymn
Vexilla Regis is sung.

At the altar the celebrant puts the consecrated Host on the paten and at once places the Host on the corporal. Meanwhile the deacon pours wine into the chalice, and the subdeacon water which is not blessed, nor is the usual prayer said, the celebrant placing the chalice on the altar, in silence. He puts incense in the thurible without blessing it, incenses the offerings and the altar as usual, saying the prayers: Incensum, Dirigatur, Accendat.

Then standing below the steps, on the Epistle side, he washes his hands without saying the Lavabo. Returning to the middle of the altar, he bows down with joined hands and says:

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.
Accept us, O Lord, in the spirit of humility and with a contrite heart: and may our sacrifice be so performed this day in Thy sight, that it may be pleasing to Thee, O Lord God.

Then turning towards the people, but from the Gospel side of the altar, and without completing the circle, he says as usual:

Orate, fratres, ut meum ac vestrum sacrificium acceptabile fiat apud Deum Patrem omnipotentem. 
Brethren, pray that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God the Father almighty.

At once, he sings the Pater noster, and having said Amen silently, says the Libera nos aloud. He genuflects, and placing the paten under the Sacred Host, he elevates it that it may be seen by those present; he then divides the Host into three parts, dropping the last of these into the chalice, in silence. He does not say the
Pax Domini or Agnus Dei and the Pax is not given.

Omitting the first two of the prayers before Communion, the celebrant says the third: Perceptio. Then, having genuflected, he takes the paten on which rests the Lord's Body, and with the greatest humility and deepest reverence, he says as usual Panem caelestem and then thrice, Domine, non sum dignus, then Corpus Domini. He receives the Sacred Host with reverence and immediately afterwards the wine with the fragment of the Host in the chalice. Having washed his fingers, he bows in the middle of the altar with joined hands and says:

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

 Grant, O Lord, that what we have taken with our mouth we may receive with a pure heart: and that from a temporal gift it may become to us an everlasting remedy.

The celebrant and ministers then leave the sanctuary, the choir reciting vespers. The altar is stripped without ceremony.

[Note - this is the traditional version of the Good Friday Liturgy, according to the Roman Rite, prior to the reforms introduced in 1955. These reforms make a number of amendments to these texts and ceremonies. Prior to 1955, only the priest communicated. It is now common for the faithful to do so as well.]

Thursday, 17 April 2014

17th April, St Anicetus, Pope and Martyr

St Anicetus, Pope and Martyr

The Paschal Cycle surrounds the King of Martyrs, whose triumph it celebrates, with a bevy of saints who "followed Him bearing their crosses and who, having lost their lives for His sake," found the life of which Jesus risen again is the model (Gospel).

St Anicetus invested with full sacerdotal power (Introit) succeeded St. Pius as Pope. He governed the Church from 150 to 161 and took such a part in the sufferings of Christ (Epistle) that although he did not shed his blood for the faith he was given the title of martyr.

He preserved his flock from the heresies of Valentinus and Marcion and "filled with the consolations of Jesus, he was enabled in turn to console those who suffered" (Epistle). The great St. Polycarp came to him at Rome to confer especially about the date of the celebration of Easter, for by the coincidence of this feast with that of the Jews it was right to claim that the mysteries of the death and resurrection of Jesus had realized and taken the place of the immolation of the paschal Lamb.

"Let us rejoice for the annual solemnity of blessed Anicetus" (Collect). This feast reminds us of the date when, after having died with Christ on earth, this holy martyr went to share the glory of His resurrection in heaven.

Protexisti me, Deus, a conventu malignantium, alleluja: a multitudine operantium iniquitatem, alleluja, alleluja. * Exaudi, Deus, orationem meam cum deprecor: a timore inimici eripe animam meam.
Thou hast protected me, O God, from the assembly of the malignant, alleluia: from the multitude of the workers of iniquity, alleluia, alleluia. * Hear, O God, my prayer, when I make supplication to Thee: free my soul from the fear of the enemy.
(Psalm 63:3,2 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui nos beati Aniceti Martyris tui atque Pontificis annua solemnitate laetificas: concede propitius ; ut, cujus natalitia colimus, de ejusdem etiam protectione gaudeamus.
O God, who dost gladden us by the annual solemnity of blessed Anicetus, Thy martyr and bishop, mercifully grant that we who celebrate his heavenly birthday may ever rejoice in his protection.
(Collect)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01514a.htm

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday

Station at St John Lateran

The Station is held at St. John Lateran, originally called the Basilica of Saint Saviour.

The Liturgy of Maundy Thursday is full of memories of the Redemption. It provided formerly for the celebration of three Masses: the first for the reconciliation of public Penitents, the second for the consecration of the holy oils, and the third for a special commemoration of the institution of the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper. This last Mass is the only one that has been preserved, and at it the Bishop, attended by twelve Priests, seven Deacons and seven Subdeacons, blesses the holy oils in his Cathedral church.

THE RECONCILIATION OF PUBLIC PENITENTS

Sinners who had undergone a course of penance were granted on this day "the abundant remission of their sins", "which were washed away in the blood of Jesus". Dying with Christ, they were "cleansed of all their sins, and clad in the nuptial robe they were admitted once more to the banquet of the Most Holy Supper".

THE BLESSING OF THE HOLY OILS

This blessing took place with a view to the baptism and confirmation of the catechumens during Easter night. The bishop exorcised the oil, praying God "to instil into it the power of the Holy Ghost", so that "the divine gifts might descend on those who were about to be anointed". (Collects for Blessing of Holy Oil).

Before the prayer Per quem haec omnia there used to be a form of blessing of the good things of the earth, with mention of their different kinds (fruits, milk, honey, oil, etc.) of which we still find examples in the Leonine Sacramentary. Of this form there remains nothing in the Canon of the Mass except the conclusion, which on Holy Thursday retains its natural meaning, since it immediately follows the blessing of the holy oils.

The oil of the sick, which is the matter of the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, is the first to be blessed, before the Pater. Formerly this used also to be blessed on other days.

The Holy Chrism, which is the matter of the Sacrament of Confirmation, is the noblest of the holy oils, and the blessing of it takes place with greater pomp after the clergy have communicated. It is used for the consecration of bishops, in the rite of baptism, in the consecration of churches, altars and chalices, and in the baptism or blessing of bells.

The third holy oil, which is blessed immediately after, is that of the catechumens. It is used to anoint the breast and between the shoulders of the person to be baptized, for the blessing of baptismal fonts on Holy Saturday and on the Vigil of Pentecost, at the ordination of priests, at the consecration of altars and for the coronation of kings and queens.

"Oil", says St. Augustine, "signifies something great." Through the ages and in many a land it has always played a mystical and religious part. Soothing and restoring by its very nature, it symbolizes the healing wrought by the Holy Ghost (Extreme Unction); a source of light, it denotes the graces of the Holy Ghost which enlighten the heart; flowing and penetrating it represents the infusion of the Holy Spirit into souls (Baptism, Confirmation); softening in its effects, it shows forth the action of the Holy Ghost, who bends our rebellious wills and arms us against the enemies of our salvation. The Holy Ghost is especially represented by the olive oil, according to the Blessings of Oil and of Palms, because the dove, a symbol of the Holy Ghost carried an olive branch in her beak; because the Holy Ghost came down upon Christ the anointed One; and because the olive branches cast by the Jews in our Lord's path foreshadowed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which was to be given to the Apostles at Pentecost. The balm which is added to the oil to make the sacred Chrism signifies by its sweet perfume the good odour of all Christian virtues. Also it preserves from corruption; another respect in which it is a symbol of supernatural grace that protects us from the contagion of sin.(Catechism of the Council of Trent).

MASS FOR MAUNDY THURSDAY

The Church, which commemorates throughout the year in the Holy Eucharist all the mysteries of our Lord's life, to-day lays special stress on the institution of that Sacrament and of the Priesthood. This Mass carries out more than any other the command of Christ to His priests to renew the Last Supper, during which He instituted His immortal presence among us at the very moment His death was being plotted. The Church, setting aside her mourning to-day, celebrates the Holy Sacrifice with joy. The crucifix is covered with a white veil, her ministers are vested in white, and the bells are rung at the Gloria in excelsis. They are not rung again until Holy Saturday.

St. Paul tells us in the Epistle that the Mass is a "memorial of the death of Christ". The Sacrifice of the Altar is necessary if we are to partake in the Victim of Calvary and share in His merits. And the Eucharist, which derives all its virtue from the Sacrifice of the Cross, makes it universal as regards time and space in a sense unknown so far. To love the Blessed Sacrament is "to glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Introit). Christ takes on Himself to perform the ablutions prescribed by the Jews during the supper (Gospel), to show forth the purity and charity that God requires of those who desire to communicate for, as in the case of Judas (Collect), "whosoever eats this bread unworthily is guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord " (Epistle).

After the Mass the altar is stripped in order to show that the Holy Sacrifice is interrupted and will not be offered again to God until Holy Saturday. The priest therefore has consecrated two hosts, for on Good Friday the Church refrains from renewing on the altar the sacrifice of Calvary.

On this Holy Thursday, when the Epistle and Gospel describe for us the details of the institution of the priesthood and the Eucharistic sacrifice, let us receive from the priest's hands that Holy Victim who offers Himself upon the altar, and in this holy manner fulfil our Easter duty.

Nos autem gloriari oportet in cruce Domini nostri Jesu Christi: in quo est salus, vita, et resurrectio nostra: per quem salvati, et liberati sumus. * Deus misereatur nostri, et benedicat nobis: illuminet vultum suum super nos, et misereatur nostri.
But it behoves us to glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ : in whom is our salvation, life, and resurrection : by whom we are saved and delivered. * May God have mercy on us, and bless us: may He cause the light of His countenance to shine upon us; and may He have mercy on us.
(Galatians 6:14 and Psalm 66:2 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, a quo et Judas reatus sui poenam, et confessionis suae latro praemium sumpsit, concede nobis tuae propitiationis effectum; ut, sicut in passione sua Jesus Christus Dominus noster diversa utrisque intulit stipendia meritorum; ita nobis, ablato vetustatis errore, resurrectionis suae gratiam largiatur.
O God, from whom Judas received the punishment of his guilt, and the thief the reward of his confession, grant us the effect of Thy clemency : that as our Lord Jesus Christ in His passion gave to each a different recompense according to his merits, so may He deliver us from our old sins and grant us the grace of His resurrection.
(Collect)

Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to John
Before the festival day of the pasch, Jesus knowing that his hour was come, that he should pass out of this world to the Father: having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them unto the end. And when supper was done, (the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray him,) Knowing that the Father had given him all things into his hands, and that he came from God, and goeth to God; He riseth from supper, and layeth aside his garments, and having taken a towel, girded himself. After that, he putteth water into a basin, and began to wash the feet of the disciples, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. He cometh therefore to Simon Peter. And Peter saith to him: Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered, and said to him: What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith to him: Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him: If I wash thee not, thou shalt have no part with me. Simon Peter saith to him: Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him: He that is washed, needeth not but to wash his feet, but is clean wholly. And you are clean, but not all. For he knew who he was that would betray him; therefore he said: You are not all clean. Then after he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, being set down again, he said to them: Know you what I have done to you? You call me Master, and Lord; and you say well, for so I am. If then I being your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you do also.
(St John 13:1-15)

THE WASHING OF THE FEET


After the stripping of the altars, the clergy at a convenient hour meet to perform the ceremony known as the Mandatum. The prelate or priest puts on over the amice and alb a violet stole and cope. Then the deacon, in white vestments (as is also the subdeacon) sings the Gospel Ante diem festum Paschae (as above) in the usual way. The officiating priest then removes his cope, girds himself with a cloth and, assisted by his ministers begins the washing of the feet of thirteen clerics or thirteen poor people chosen for the ccremony. It is obvious that the number was originally twelve, in remembrance of the twelve Apostles. According to a tradition, the alteration was made by St. Gregory the Great. This holy Pope, when washing the feet of twelve poor men, noticed one more, of a very beautiful countenance. When he tried to know who he was, after the ceremony, the mysterious poor had disappeared. St. Gregory believed it was an angel or our Lord himself. The official liturgical book known as the "Ceremonial of the Bishops" prescribes the number of thirteen.

The officiating priest kneels before each one of them, washes, wipes and kisses the foot presented, using the cloth tendered by the deacon. Meanwhile a number of antiphons are sung.

Mandatum novum do vobis: * ut diligatis invicem, sicut dilexi vos, dicit Dominus.  Ps. Beati immaculati in via: qui ambulant in lege Domini. Mandatum novum.
A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, says the Lord. Ps. Blessed are the undefiled in the way: who walk in the law of the Lord. A new commandment.
(From John 13:34 and Psalm 118:1)

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Explanation of the Passion according to the Four Evangelists

Explanation of the Passion according to the Four Evangelists
from the St Andrew Daily Missal



Events preceding the Passion

Towards evening on the Tuesday in Holy Week, after leaving the Temple, our Lord ascended the mount of Olives; "You know " He said to His disciples, "that after two days shall be the Pasch, and the Son of Man shall be delivered up to be crucified." Now among the Jews the days are reckoned to begin on the previous evening; Wednesday had already begun and it was on the following Friday that our Lord was put to death. The Passover corresponded with the full moon of the Spring equinox since it was then that the Hebrews left Egypt. In the hurry of their departure they had no time to prepare unleavened bread, in memory of which fact the Jews abstained from leavened bread throughout this Feast.

[To the Hebrews this moon was the mark of the first month of their year called Nisan. "And in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, shall be the Phase of the Lord." (Numbers, XXVIII, 16.) So the day in which the Last Supper and the Crucifixion took place, reckoned In Jewish fashion from Thursday to Friday evening, was the 14th of Nisan or the eve of the Passover. (See St. John, XIII, 1.) To show that Christ is the true Paschal Lamb of the true Passover, almighty God willed that He should be received as food by the apostles, and sacrificed by the Jews on the same day when the Israelites were eating the lambs offered in sacrifice which were types of Him. The Passover, or the time of our Lord's passing from this world to His Father and of our deliverance from sin, took place at the time when the Jews were keeping the anniversary of the passing of the angel over the land of Egypt and of the freeing of Israel which was the type of that deliverance. The Church therefore, to emphasize the fact that: "This New Feast, the old repealing, Newer King and Pasch revealing, Ushers In a newer rite " (Lauda Sion), has decreed that Easter, like the Jewish Passover, shall always take place at the Paschal moon. But since she wished to keep the Feast of the Resurrection on a Sunday, the day on which it actually took place, she decided at the Council of Nicea that in each year it should kept on the Sunday following the full moon of the Spring Equinox which was supposed to always fall on the 21st of March, as was actually the case in 325 A.D., the year of the Council. If the full moon falls before the 21st, it is the following full moon which will mark the date of Easter which varies between the 22nd of March and the 25th of April.]

The Last Supper in the Cenacle


When the Evangelists speak of the "First day of the Azymes" they mean Thursday evening, that is, in the Jewish reckoning, the beginning of Friday. It was on Thursday that Peter and John were sent by the Master to prepare the supper in the "upper room" of a certain house and there at the fall of evening that is during the first watch lasting until nine o'clock, our Lord went with His disciples. They reclined round the table in eastern fashion on low couches, the left hand supported on cushions, so that John, on our Lord's right, could easily rest his head on the Master's breast. During the meal, taking one of the great cakes of unleavened bread, about eight inches across and very thin, our Lord changed it into His Body, uttering the Eucharistic prayer or grace, just as the father of the family was accustomed to do when eating the Passover lamb, he thanked almighty God for having delivered Israel from her captivity. And then, after supper, when there still remained one more cup to drink, He changed it in the same way into His Blood, using the same words by which Moses had sealed the Old Covenant made in the blood of creatures: "This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord hath made with you," to which our Lord added the words: "This is my Blood of the New Testament". It was when speaking of the Passover, the centre of the whole religious life of the Jewish people, that the great Lawgiver of Israel said: "You shall keep it a feast to the Lord in your generations with an everlasting observance." In the same way our Redeemer commanded the Apostles, "and therefore" adds the Council of Trent, "all their successors in the priesthood, to consecrate in the same way this bread and cup of wine in memory of Him".

For the lamb sacrificed for more than fifteen hundred years by the children of Israel is substituted the Lamb of God which will be sacrificed by us to the end of the world, and the Mass, which is identified with the Passover and Calvary, becomes the religious centre of all Christian people.

Our Lord's last discourse Gethsemane

The Supper over, Jesus uttered the sublime discourse which is the last testament of His love, the second part of it being spoken while He was on His way from the Cenacle to leave the city. Passing through the gate which stood not far from the Pool of Siloam, He traversed the valley of Cedron, by the suburb of Ophel, to enter the Garden of Gethsemane, at the foot of the Mount of Olives. The three apostles who had been witnesses of His Transfiguration were here also as part-witnesses of His thrice renewed agony, and Judas, who had sold his Master for thirty pieces of silver, came with the captain and soldiers of a Roman cohort accompanied by guards commanded by Temple police, sent by the Sanhedrim. In the depth of night they entered Jerusalem with our Lord, climbing the slopes to the north east of the city and went straight to the palace of the High Priests.

Ecclesiastical Trial before Annas and Caiaphas

Here the ecclesiastical trial was about to take place since it pertained to the Jewish religious authorities to examine Jesus on what they called His assumed title of the Son of God. The Sanhedrim consisted of seventy members, at the head of which were the chief priests and their supreme head the High Priest, which office Annas had succeeded in obtaining for his five sons in succession, and then in the year of our Lord's death for his son-in-law,Caiaphas. Faithless to their mission, these official representatives of the Jewish religion no longer looked for any Messias other than a warrior king who should deliver them by main force from the Roman yoke.

Our Lord was at first taken before Annas, the father-in-law as we have seen of the High Priest, but since he was no longer in office it was beyond his competence to judge our Lord when He appeared before him. The affair had been mismanaged and had to be referred to the tribunal of the real High Priest, Caiaphas. He awaited Jesus, in another wing of the Palace, seated, according to custom, with legs crossed, on a slightly raised platform. Around him on the ground, on cushions set in the form of a semicircle, were grouped the other priests. The proceedings were illegal because while they should have taken place in the day-time with witnesses present, it was actually two o'clock in the morning, and such witnesses as there were detected in flagrant imposture. Then Joseph Caiphas, overpowered by rage, solemnly called upon our Lord to tell him if He were the Christ, a measure quite contrary to the Roman Law which in such a case invalidates the confession of the accused; and our Lord who had waited for this moment before speaking, formally declared His Divinity before the Jewish religious authority in full council assembled. They then found Him worthy of death, a sentence which He accepted since it was precisely His character as Son of God which enabled Him to give an infinite value to the sacrifice which He was about to offer to God the Father for His brethren, the sons of men.

The servants of the High Priest Saint Peter Judas

Our Lord was then given over to the mockeries of the High Priest's servants who, uttering blasphemies, covered Him with spittle. It was during this night that Peter, who had followed Jesus afar off, was brought by John into the High Priest's palace where he denied his Master three limes, and after the cock had crowed for the second time, he went out from the palace, and as the Greek text implies, "he wept with a loud voice, with sobs". Towards morning the Sanhedrim met again in order to give some semblance of legality to its sentence which according to law, had to be passed in the day-time. Our Lord appeared before the court and having declared Himself the Son of God was condemned afresh.

Judas now understood the magnitude of his crime, and being consumed with remorse approached the Council of Priests which was still sitting and confessed that he had "sinned in betraying innocent blood". Then the traitor seized with despair, threw down the pieces of silver in the Temple and going out to the pool of Siloam, lost himself in the deep Valley through which flows the mountain stream of Hinnom. In this narrow place known as the Gehenna (Ge-Hinnom) "he hanged himself " and "burst asunder in the midst and all his bowels gushed out ".

The Civil Trial before Pilate

But it was Rome, of whom Palestine was at that time a dependency, that had the sole power of life and death. It was necessary to refer a case of this kind to the Roman Procurator and our Lord was taken to the Judgement Hall of Pontius Pilate, in the fortress of Antonia. Here the Jews did not enter, since in the house of a pagan they would have contracted legal defilement, at this time of the Passover Feast.

Our Lord's civil trial was, in its turn, about to commence. But before this new tribunal a political charge was a necessity. In the Jewish view the Messias was to be an earthly monarch, so they accused Jesus, who said that He was the Messias, of being a rival king to Caesar.

On this new ground was reproduced, point by point, the same procedure as that of the night before, the same silence of our Lord in the face of false witnesses, the same formal assertion of His spiritual kingship before the pagan world, represented this time by those who actually held the world power; the same ill-treatment by subordinates, in this case the Roman soldiery. Our Lord, who in reality guided the whole proceeding, would be condemned only as the Son of God and King of souls. He put the question again on religious ground, when He said: "My kingdom is not of this world."

This was to remove the matter from Pilate's province, and he, up to the very end, declared our Lord perfectly innocent. The Jews then had recourse to intimidation, and Pilate who was too much of a coward to use his authority in the teeth of a mob who would avenge itself by accusing him in high places, looked round for means to safeguard his own interests without altogether ignoring the protests of some remnant of conscience, informed as it was by pagan superstition, which vaguely feared the chastisement of the gods.

Herod Pilate Barabbas The Scourging

As a first expedient, Pilate learning that Jesus was a Galilean, despatched him to Herod the Tetrarch of Galilee. This was the son of Herod the Great who had ordered the massacre of the innocents when the Magi announced that the "King of the Jews" had not long been born. Mortified by our Lord's silence, he sought in his turn to humble the Jews by clothing Jesus in the white robe worn by those who laid claim to that royalty which they denied Him. Pilate's second plan was to propose the exchange with Barabbas. This attempt to establish a parallel between Christ and a murderer met with no better success. His third scheme was to order our blessed Lord to be scourged. This was a shameful punishment reserved only for slaves. The culprit, stripped of his garments, had his hands tied to the iron ring attached to a low pillar, while the executioner armed with a scourge of supple thongs with bone tips, with calculated deliberation lashed with it the back of his victim, bent and taut. The thongs bending pliantly about the body passed from shoulder to breast, ploughing deep furrows from which, while the blood gushed forth, pieces of flesh fell away.

In this state our blessed Lord was brought forth to the mob, wearing His crown of thorns and with a reed for His sceptre. The irony of the scene was not lost on the Jews. How dare they pretend any longer to see Caesar's rival in such a king?

The condemnation of Jesus

They reject Him, therefore, with contempt, on His claim to be the Son of God which was to be the sole cause of His death, and Pilate, shaken by the decisive argument "We will denounce you to Caesar", thinks about finding a last expedient to quiet his conscience. By the symbolic act of washing his hands he shows the Jews that, before his tribunal, Jesus is innocent and that he gives Him up to them only because of their claim that He is condemned by their laws. In this declaration he persisted up to the very last moment when he caused to be attached to the Cross an inscription in three languages, pointing out according to custom, the ground on which the prisoner was condemned. It bore these words: "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews."

Pilate, in his cowardice was guilty of homicide but the Jews in their hatred attacked the Son of God and were the murderers of God Himself.

The Way of the Cross The Crucifixion The Last Agony

At about eleven o'clock, our Lord leaves the Judgment hall of Pilate.

Judea which had been conquered by Pompey had become a tributary state under the Emperor Augustus who was, later on, joined in the supreme power by Tiberius Caesar. Pilate was their representative in Judea and Herod in Galilee.

I he sorrowful way of the Cross begins with the path which leads down into the valley of Tyropoeon and traverses towards the east a steep slope leading up to the gates of the city itself. There, outside the walls, was Mount Golgotha, the spot where executions generally took place, and here in the midst of the intense darkness which reigned from noon until three o'clock and which was noted everywhere in the Roman Empire, our blessed Lord underwent His last torments.

Death on the cross was the most cruel and terrible of tortures, for the victim necessarily compelled to remain in one position, had for several hours to support the whole weight of his body on his out stretched arms. The horrible tension thus inflicted congested the blood at the face and neck, causing intolerable pain of which the chief feature was a burning thirst. To die by crucifixion was to die of pain alone, in anguish of the most agonizing kind.

Towards evening it was the custom to hasten death by breaking the sufferer's legs, the feet being a little more than three feet above the ground.

Jesus' Death and Burial

Then came the decisive moment which was to mark the hour of redemption for the human race. Our blessed Lord is about to sign as with a ncal, the seal of His Blood, all the acts of His life that they may become redemptive in character. Further, to show that it is not by constraint hut through love for His Father and for men that He allows death to work tis will upon Him, He utters a loud cry and expires. Our Divine Redeemer is dead. With Mary His Mother and with St. John let us remain at the l oot of the Cross, and like the handful of Jews who were converted at this moment, strike our breasts, since it is to make satisfaction for our sins that He has offered His life to God.

It was about three o'clock in the afternoon. About five o'clock our Lord was taken down from the Cross and buried in haste since the Sabbath, this week "a great Sabbath Day", began at six. As a matter of fact it coincides with the 15th Nisan, the most important day of the Passover, thus perfectly symbolizing the rest into which our Lord had entered for ever.

The Jews had no cemetery but were accustomed to prepare a monument on their own property, often on both sides of the high road. Joseph, who came from Arimathea, a Judean town, had Jesus laid in the sepulchre which he had made for himself and which stood in a garden near the scene of our Redeemer's death; while Nicodemus brought about "an hundred pound weight of myrrh and aloes" with which to embalm Him provisionally. They then closed the sepulchre with a great stone, shaped like a millstone, which could only be moved with the greatest difficulty. This done the holy women returned to the city where they bought spices, intending to complete our Lord's burial with greater care after the Sabbath rest. The next day, Saturday, the Jews sealed the tomb and placed guards there.

Let it be our joy to-day to repeat with our Lord the Communion prayer: "Father, if this chalice may not pass away, but I must drink it, Thy will be done."

Wednesday in Holy Week (Spy Wednesday)

Wednesday in Holy Week

Station at St Mary Major

From to-day the Stational celebrations of Holy Week are held in Rome at the great basilicas. That of Wednesday is held at St. Mary Major, the largest and most celebrated sanctuary dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, whose sufferings the Church commiserates during these days.

The first passage from the Prophet Isaias bears on the Passion. The blood that dyes the Saviour's garments is His own most precious blood. Instead of crushing the people in His indignation, He suffers and dies for them.

The second passage foretells the principal features of the Passion with such remarkable precision that the Fathers of the Church speak of Isaias as the fifth Evangelist. It is "the Man of Sorrows" who "was led as a sheep to the slaughter and was dumb". "He was covered with wounds and reputed with the wicked." "He was bruised for our sins." "Cut off out of the land of the living, He had the ungodly to guard His sepulchre and the rich to bury Him after His death", "and by His bruises we are healed".

Justifying to the full His title of Saviour, "He became obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross" (Introit) as we are shown it to-day in the Gospel according to St. Luke.

Catechumens and Christian penitents alike, "we were in truth like sheep that had gone astray, each one having turned aside into his own way", and Jesus, "having the iniquity of us all laid on Him, has received in return a multitude of disciples" (Second Lesson). During the Easter festivities the souls of men will become reconciled to God in the sacraments of Baptism and Penance.

Renewing at Mass the mysteries of the Passion of our Lord, let us pray "to be delivered by His merits from the power of the enemy and to obtain the grace of His resurrection" (First and Second Collects, and Secret).


In nomine Jesu omne genu flectatur, caelestium, terrestrium, et infernorum: quia Dominus factus est obediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis: Ideo Dominus Jesus Christus in gloria est Dei Patris. * Domine, exaudi orationem meam : et clamor meus ad te veniat.
In the name of Jesus let every knee bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth; for the Lord became obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. Therefore our Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father. * O Lord, hear my prayer: and let my cry come to Thee.
(Philippians 2:10,8,11 and Psalm 101:2 from the Introit of Mass)

Praesta, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus: ut, qui nostris excessibus incessanter affligimur, per unigeniti Filii tui passionem liberemur.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that we who are continually afflicted by reason of our excesses, may be delivered through the passion of Thine only-begotten Son.
(First Collect)

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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Stations of the Cross

THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS


According to the method of St Alphonsus Liguori.


PRAYER BEFORE THE HIGH ALTAR

O Jesus Christ, my Lord, with what great love didst thou pass over the painful road which led thee to death; and I, how often have I abandoned thee! But now I love thee with my whole soul, and because I love thee I am sincerely sorry for having offended thee. My Jesus pardon me, and permit me to accompany thee in this journey. Thou art going to die for love of me, and it is my wish also, my dearest redeemer, to die for love of thee. My Jesus, in thy love I wish to live. In thy love I wish to die.


At the Cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.



FIRST STATION - JESUS IS CONDEMNED TO DEATH


V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee.
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider how Jesus, after having been scourged and crowned with thorns, was unjustly condemned by Pilate to die on the Cross.


My loving Jesus, it was not Pilate; no, it was my sins that condemned thee to die. I beseech thee, by the merits of this sorrowful journey, to assist my soul in her journey towards eternity.

I love thee, Jesus, my love above all things.
I repent with my whole heart for having offended thee.
Never permit me to separate myself from thee again.
Grant that I may love thee always, then do with me what thou wilt.



May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
All His bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword has passed.



SECOND STATION - JESUS RECEIVES HIS CROSS


V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee.
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider how Jesus, in making this journey with the Cross on His shoulders, thought of us, and offered for us to His Father the death He was about to undergo.


My most beloved Jesus! I embrace all the tribulations thou hast destined for me until death. I beseech thee, by the merits of the pain thou didst suffer in carrying thy Cross, to give me the necessary help to carry mine with perfect patience and resignation.

I love thee, Jesus, my love above all things.
I repent with my whole heart for having offended thee.
Never permit me to separate myself from thee again.
Grant that I may love thee always, then do with me what thou wilt.



May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Oh, how sad and sore distressed
Was that Mother, highly blest
Of the sole-begotten One!



THIRD STATION - JESUS FALLS THE FIRST TIME BENEATH THE CROSS


V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee.
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider, my soul, this first fall of Jesus under His Cross. His flesh was torn by the scourges, His head crowned with thorns, and He had lost a great quantity of blood. He was so weakened that He could scarcely walk, and yet He had to carry this great load upon His shoulders. The soldiers struck Him rudely, and thus He fell several times.


My beloved Jesus, it is not the weight of the Cross, but of my sins, which has made thee suffer so much pain. Ah, by the merits of this first fall, deliver me from the misfortune of falling into mortal sin.

I love thee, Jesus, my love above all things.
 I repent with my whole heart for having offended thee.
 Never permit me to separate myself from thee again.
 Grant that I may love thee always, then do with me what thou wilt.



May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Christ above in torment hangs;
 She beneath beholds the pangs
 Of her dying glorious Son.



FOURTH STATION - JESUS MEETS HIS AFFLICTED MOTHER


V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee.
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider the meeting of the Son and the Mother which took place on this journey. Jesus and Mary looked at each other, and their looks became as so many arrows to wound those hearts which loved each other so tenderly.


My most loving Jesus, by the sorrow thou didst experience in this meeting, grant me the grace of a truly devoted love for thy most holy Mother. And thou, my Queen, who wast overwhelmed with sorrow, obtain for me by thy intercession, a continual and tender remembrance of the Passion of thy Son.

I love thee, Jesus, my love above all things.
I repent with my whole heart for having offended thee.
Never permit me to separate myself from thee again.
Grant that I may love thee always, then do with me what thou wilt.



May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Is there one who would not weep,
Whelm'd in miseries so deep
Christ's dear mother to behold?



FIFTH STATION - SIMON OF CYRENE CARRIES THE CROSS


V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee.
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider how His cruel tormentors seeing that at each step Jesus, from weakness, was on the point of expiring, and fearing that He would die on the way when they wished Him to die the ignominious death of the Cross, constrained Simon of Cyrene to carry the Cross behind Our Lord.


My most sweet Jesus, I will not refuse the Cross as the Cyrenian did; I accept it, I embrace it. I accept in particular the death that thou hast destined for me with all the pains which may accompany it; I unite it to thy
death, I offer it to thee. Thou hast died for love of me, I will die for love of thee, and to please thee. Help me by thy grace.

I love thee, Jesus, my love above all things.
I repent with my whole heart for having offended thee.
Never permit me to separate myself from thee again.
Grant that I may love thee always, then do with me what thou wilt.



May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that Mother's pain untold?



SIXTH STATION - VERONICA WIPES THE FACE OF JESUS


V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee.
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider that the holy woman named Veronica, seeing Jesus so afflicted, and His face bathed in sweat and blood, presented Him with a towel with which He wiped His adorable face, leaving on it the impression of His holy countenance.


My most beloved Jesus, thy face was beautiful before, but in this journey it has lost all its beauty, and wounds and blood have disfigured it. Alas! my soul also was once beautiful, when it received thy grace in baptism; but I have disfigured it since by my sins. Thou alone, my Redeemer, canst restore it to its former beauty. Do this by thy Passion, and then do with me what thou wilt.

I love thee, Jesus, my love above all things.
I repent with my whole heart for having offended thee.
Never permit me to separate myself from thee again.
Grant that I may love thee always, then do with me what thou wilt.



May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
She beheld her tender Child
All with bloody scourges rent.



SEVENTH STATION - JESUS FALLS THE SECOND TIME


V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee.
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider the second fall of Jesus under the Cross, a fall which renews the pain of all the wounds of the head and members of our afflicted Lord.


My most gentle Jesus, how many times thou hast pardoned me and how many times have I fallen again, and begun again to offend thee! Oh, by the merits of this new fall, give me the necessary helps to persevere in thy grace until death. Grant that in all temptations which assail me I may always commend myself to thee.

I love thee, Jesus, my love above all things.
I repent with my whole heart for having offended thee.
Never permit me to separate myself from thee again.
Grant that I may love thee always, then do with me what thou wilt.



May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

For the sins of His own nation,
Saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.



EIGHTH STATION - JESUS SPEAKS TO THE DAUGHTERS OF JERUSALEM


V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee.
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider that those women wept with compassion at seeing Jesus in so pitiable a state, streaming with blood, as He walked along. But Jesus said to them, "Weep not for me but for your children."


My Jesus, laden with sorrows, I weep for the offences that I have committed against thee, because of the pains which they have deserved, and still more because of the displeasure which they have caused thee, who hast loved me so much. It is thy love, more than the fear of hell, which causes me to weep for my sins.

I love thee, Jesus, my love above all things.
I repent with my whole heart for having offended thee.
Never permit me to separate myself from thee again.
Grant that I may love thee always, then do with me what thou wilt.



May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

O thou Mother fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above,
Make my heart with thine accord.



NINTH STATION - JESUS FALLS THE THIRD TIME


V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee.
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.


Consider the third fall of Jesus Christ. His weakness was extreme, and the cruelty of His executioners was excessive, who tried to hasten His steps when He had scarcely strength to move.


Ah, my outraged Jesus, by the merits of the weakness thou didst suffer in going to Calvary, give me strength sufficient to conquer all human respect and all my wicked passions, which have led me to despise thy friendship.

I love thee, Jesus, my love above all things.
I repent with my whole heart for having offended thee.
Never permit me to separate myself from thee again.
Grant that I may love thee always, then do with me what thou wilt.



May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Make me feel as thou hast felt,
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ our Lord.



TENTH STATION - JESUS IS STRIPPED OF HIS GARMENTS


V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee.
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider the violence with which the executioners stripped Jesus. His inner garments adhered to His torn flesh and they dragged them off so roughly that the skin came with them. Compassionate your Saviour thus cruelly treated.


My innocent Jesus, by the merits of the torment that thou hast felt, help me to strip myself of all affection to things of earth, in order that I may place all my love in thee, who art so worthy of my love.

I love thee, Jesus, my love above all things.
 I repent with my whole heart for having offended thee.
 Never permit me to separate myself from thee again.
 Grant that I may love thee always, then do with me what thou wilt.



May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Holy Mother pierce me through;
 In my heart each wound renew
 Of my Saviour crucified.



ELEVENTH STATION - JESUS IS NAILED TO THE CROSS


V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee.
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider that Jesus, after being thrown on the Cross, extended His hands, and offered to His eternal Father the sacrifice of His life for our salvation. Those barbarians fastened Him with nails; and then,
raising the Cross, left Him to die with anguish on that infamous gibbet.



My Jesus, loaded with contempt, nail my heart to thy feet, that it may ever remain there to love thee, and never more to leave thee.

I love thee, Jesus, my love above all things.
I repent with my whole heart for having offended thee.
Never permit me to separate myself from thee again.
Grant that I may love thee always, then do with me what thou wilt.



May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Let me share with thee His pain,
Who for all my sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.



TWELFTH STATION - JESUS DIES ON THE CROSS


V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee.
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider how Jesus, after three hours' agony on the Cross, consumed at length with anguish, abandoned Himself to the weight of His body, bowed His head, and died.


O my dying Jesus, I kiss devoutly the Cross on which thou didst die for love of me. I have merited by my sins to die a miserable death; but thy death is my hope. Ah, by the merits of thy death, give me grace to die, embracing thy feet and burning with love of thee. I commit my soul into thy hands.

I love thee, Jesus, my love above all things.
I repent with my whole heart for having offended thee.
Never permit me to separate myself from thee again.
Grant that I may love thee always, then do with me what thou wilt.



May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Let me mingle tears with thee,
Mourning Him who mourn'd for me,
All the days that I may live.



THIRTEENTH STATION - JESUS IS TAKEN DOWN FROM THE CROSS


V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee.
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider that, Our Lord having expired, two of His disciples, Joseph and Nicodemus, took Him down from the Cross, and placed Him in the arms of His afflicted Mother, who received Him with unutterable tenderness, and pressed Him to her bosom.


O Mother of Sorrow, for the love of this Son, accept me for thy servant and pray to Him for me. And thou, my Redeemer, since thou hast died for me, permit me to love thee; for I wish but thee, and nothing more.

I love thee, Jesus, my love above all things.
I repent with my whole heart for having offended thee.
Never permit me to separate myself from thee again.
Grant that I may love thee always, then do with me what thou wilt.



May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

By the Cross with thee to stay,
There with thee to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of thee to give.



FOURTEENTH STATION - JESUS IS PLACED IN THE TOMB


V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee.
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

Consider that the disciples carried the body of Jesus to bury it, accompanied by His holy Mother, who arranged it in the sepulchre with her own hands. They closed the tomb, and all came sorrowfully
away.



Ah, my buried Jesus, I kiss devoutly the stone that encloses thee. But thou didst rise again on the third day. I beseech thee, by thy resurrection, make me rise glorious with thee at the last day, to be always united with thee in heaven, to praise thee and love thee for ever.

I love thee, Jesus, my love above all things.
I repent with my whole heart for having offended thee.
Never permit me to separate myself from thee again.
Grant that I may love thee always, then do with me what thou wilt.



May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Virgin of all virgins best!
Listen to my fond request,
Let me share thy grief divine.



Let me to my latest breath,
In my body bear the death
Of that dying Son of thine.


Prayers for the Intentions of the Sovereign Pontiff: Pater, Ave, Gloria.