Easter Sunday ~ DOM PROSPER GUÉRANGER

THE LITURGICAL YEAR

BY THE VERY REV. DOM PROSPER GUÉRANGER, ABBOT OF SOLESMES

PASCHAL TIME


EASTER SUNDAY

[Easter is the Anglo- Saxon word for April, and was derived, as Venerable Bede tells us, (in his book De temporum ratione c. 13,) from Easter, a goddess of our pagan ancestors. Others derive Easter from Oest, Oost the Saxon for rising, or the east: and hence, Osteren, the Resurrection. Tr. from Butler’s Moveable Feasts.]

HAEC DIES QUAM FECIT DOMINUS; EXSULTEMUS ET LAETEMUR IN EA! THIS IS THE DAY WHICH THE LORD HATH MADE; LET US BE GLAD AND REJOICE THEREIN!

MORNING

The night between Saturday and Sunday has well nigh run its course, and the day-dawn is appearing. The Mother of sorrows is waiting, in courageous hope and patience, for the blissful moment of her Jesus’ return. Magdalene and the other holy women have spent the night in watching, and are preparing to start for the sepulchre. In limbo, the Soul of our crucified Lord is about to give the glad word of departure to the myriads of the long-imprisoned holy souls, who cluster round Him in adoring love. Death is still holding his silent sway over the sepulchre, where rests the Body of Jesus. Since the day when he gained his first victim, Abel, he has swept off Countless generations; but never has he held in his grasp a prey so noble as this that now lies in the tomb near Calvary. Never has the terrible sentence of God, pronounced against our first parents, received such a fulfilment as this; but, never has death received such a defeat as the one that is now preparing. It is true, the power of God has, at times, brought back the dead to life: the son of the widow of Naim, and Lazarus, were reclaimed from the bondage of this tyrant death; but he regained his sway over them all. But his Victim of Calvary is to conquer him for ever, for this is He of whom it is written in the prophecy: ‘O death! I will be thy death!’ [Osee, xiii, 14]. Yet a few brief moments and the battle will be begun, and life shall vanquish death.

As divine justice could not allow the Body that was united to the Word to see corruption, and there wait, like ours must, for the Archangel’s word to ‘rise and come to judgement,’ so neither could it permit the dominion of death to be long over such a Victim. Jesus had said to the Jews: ‘A wicked generation seeketh a sign; and a sign shall not be given it, but that of Jonas the prophet.’ [St. Matth. xii, 39]. Three days in the tomb, – the afternoon and night of Friday, the whole of Saturday, and a few hours of the Sunday, – yes, these are enough: enough to satisfy divine justice; enough to certify the death of the Crucified, and make His triumph glorious; enough to complete the martyrdom of that most loving of mothers, the Queen of sorrows.

‘No man taketh away my life from Me: I lay it down of Myself: I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again.’ [St. John, x, 18].  Thus spoke our Redeemer to the Jews before His Passion: now is the hour for the fulfilment of His words, and death shall feel their whole force. The day of light, Sunday, has begun, and its early dawn is struggling with the gloom. The Soul of Jesus immediately darts from the prison of limbo, followed by the whole multitude of the holy souls that are around Him. In the twinkling of an eye, it reaches and enters the sepulchre, and reunites itself with that Body, which, three days before, it had quitted amidst an agony of suffering. The sacred Body returns to life, raises itself up, and throws aside the winding-sheet, the spices, and the bands. The bruises have disappeared, the Blood has been brought back to the veins; and from these limbs that bad been torn by the scourging, from this head that had been mangled by the thorns, from these hands and feet that had been pierced with nails, there darts forth a dazzling light that fills the cave. The holy Angels had clustered round the stable and adored the Babe of Bethlehem; they are now around the sepulchre, adoring the conqueror of death. They take the shrouds, and reverently folding them up, place them on the slab, whereon the Body bad been laid by Joseph and Nicodemus.

But Jesus is not to tarry in the gloomy sepulchre. Quicker than a ray of light through a crystal, He passes through the stone that closes the entrance of the cave. Pilate had ordered his seal to be put upon this stone, and a guard of soldiers is there to see that no one touches it. Untouched it is, and unmoved; and yet Jesus is free! Thus, as the holy Fathers unanimously teach us, was it at His birth: He appeared to the gaze of Mary, without having offered the slightest violence to her maternal womb. The birth and the resurrection, the commencement and the end of Jesus’ mission, these two mysteries bear On them the seal of resemblance: in the first, it is a Virgin Mother; in the last, it is a sealed tomb giving forth its captive God.

And while this Jesus, this Man-God, thus breaks the sceptre of death, the stillness of the night is un disturbed. His and our victory has cost Him no effort. 0 death! where is now thy kingdom? Sin had made us thy slaves; thy victory was complete; and now, lo! thou thyself art defeated! Jesus, whom thou didst exultingly hold under thy law, has set
1 Apec. 1, 5. 2 I. Cor. xv, 26.
‘Ibid. 56.
Himself free; and we, after thou hast domineered over us for a time, we too shall be free from thy grasp. The tomb thou makest for us, will become to us the source of a new life, for He that now conquers thee is ‘the First-born among the dead ; ~1 and to-day is the Pasch, the Passover, the deliverance, for Jesus and for us, His brethren. He has led the way; we shall follow; and the day will come, when thou, the enemy, that destroyest all things, shalt thyself be destroyed by immortality.2 Thy defeat dates from this moment of Jesus’ resurrection, and, with the great Apostle, we say to thee: ‘O death! where is thy victory? O death! where is thy sting ? ‘

 

But the sepulchre is not to remain shut: it must be thrown open, and testify to men, that He, whose lifeless Body lay there, is indeed risen from the dead. As when our Jesus expired upon the Cross, so now, immediately after His resurrection, an earthquake shook the foundations of the world; but, this time, it was for joy. ‘The Angel of the Lord descended from heaven, 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 fell on the ground ‘as dead men.’ God has mercy on them; they return to themselves, and quitting the dread sepulchre, they hasten to the city, and relate what they have seen.
Meanwhile, our risen Jesus, seen by no other mortal eye, has sped to His most holy Mother. He is the Son of God; He is the vanquisher of death; but He is, likewise, the Son of Mary. She stood near Him to the last, uniting the sacrifice of her mother’s heart with that He made upon the Cross; it is just, therefore, that she should be the first to partake of the joy of His resurrection. The Gospel does not relate the apparition thus made by Jesus to His Mother, whereas all the others are fully described. It is not difficult to assign the reason. The other apparitions were intended as proofs of the resurrection; this to Mary was dictated by the tender love borne to her by her Son. Both nature and grace required that His first visit should be to such a Mother, and Christian hearts dwell with delight on the meditation of the mystery. There was no need of its being mentioned in the Gospel; the tradition of the holy Fathers, beginning with St. Ambrose, bears sufficient testimony to it; and even had they been silent, our hearts would have told it us. And why was it that our Saviour rose from the tomb so early on the day He had fixed for His resurrection? It was because His filial love was impatient to satisfy the vehement longings of His dearest and most afflicted Mother. Such is the teaching of many pious and learned writers; and who that knows aught of Jesus and Mary could refuse to accept it?

But who is there would attempt to describe the joy of such a meeting? Those eyes, that had grown dim from wakefulness and tears, now flash with delight at beholding the brightness which tells her Jesus is come. He calls her by her name; not with the tone of voice which pierced her soul when He addressed her from the Cross, but with an accent of joy and love, such as a son would take when telling a mother that he had triumphed. The Body, which, three days ago, she had seen covered with Blood and dead, is now radiant with life, beaming with the reflections of divinity. He speaks to her words of tenderest affection, He embraces her, He kisses her. Who, we ask, would dare to describe this scene, which the devout Abbot Rupert says so inundated the soul of Mary with joy, that it made her forget all the sorrows she had endured.
Nor must we suppose that the visit was a short One, In one of tl~e ~eve1atjons ~rante4 to t1~e 8era~hiQ St. Teresa, our Lord told her, that when He appeared to His blessed Mother immediately after His resurrection, He found her so overwhelmed with grief that she would soon have died; that it was not until several moments had passed, that she was able to realize the immense joy of His presence; and that He remained a long time with her, in order to console her.’
Let us, who love this blessed Mother and have seen her offer up her Son on Calvary for our sake, let us affectionately rejoice in the happiness wherewith Jesus now repays her, and let us learn to compassion ate her in her dolours. This is the first manifesta tion of our risen Jesus: it is a just reward for the unwavering faith which has dwelt in Mary’s soul during these three days, when all but she had lost it. But it is time for Him to show Himself to others, that so the glory of His resurrection may be made known to the world. His first visit was to her who is the dearest to Him of all creatures, and who well deserved the favour; now, in His goodness, He is about to console those devoted women, whose grief is, perhaps, too human, but their love is firm, and neither death nor the tomb have shaken it.

Yesterday, when sun-set proclaimed to the Jews the end of the great Sabbath and the commencement of the Sunday, Magdalene and her companions went into the city and bought perfumes, wherewith, this morning at break of day, they purpose embalming the Body of their dear Master. They have spent a sleepless night. Before the dawn of day, Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James), and Salome, axe on the road that leads to Calvary, for the sepulchre is there. So intent are they on the one object, that it never occurs to them, until it is too late, to provide for the removing of the heavy stone, which closes the
1 Life of St. Teresa, written by herself: in the Additions. See in the translation by David Lewis, 1870.
1 St. Mark, xvi. 6.
2 ibid. 8. ‘ St. Luke, xxiv, 5, 6, 7.
‘St Mark, xvi. 7.
sepulchre. There is the seal, too, of the Governor, which must be broken before they can enter; there are the soldiers who are keeping guard: these difficulties are quite overlooked. It is early daybreak when they reach the tomb. The first thing that attracts their attention is, that the stone has been removed, so that one can see into the sepulchre. The Angel of the Lord, who had received the mission to roll back the stone, is seated on it, as upon a throne; he thus addresses the three holy women, who are speechless from astonishment and fear: ‘Be not affrighted! Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: He is risen, He is not here.’ Then encouraging them to enter the sepulchre, he adds: ‘Behold the place where they laid Him ! ‘1

These words should fill them with joy: but no; their faith is weak, and, as the Evangelist says, ‘a trembling and fear seize them.’2 The dear Remains they are in search of are gone: the Angel tells them so: his saying that Jesus is risen fails to awaken their faith in the resurrection: they had hoped to find the Body! While in the sepulchre, two other Angels appear to them, and the place is filled with light. St. Luke tells us that Magdalene and her companions ‘bowed down their heads,’ for they were overpowered with fear and disappointment. Then the Angels said to them: ‘Why seek ye the Living with the dead? flemember how He spake auto you, when He was yet in Galilee, saying: “The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of~ sinful men, and be cruci fied, and the third day rise again!” “ These words make some impression upon the holy women, and they begin to remember something of what our Lord had said of His resurrection. ‘Go!’ said one of the Angels, ‘tell His disciples and Peter, that He is going before you into Galilee.’4
1 St. Luke~ xxiv. 11.
2 ~ John, xx. 2,
‘.i’bid. 8.
‘Ibid. 6.
The three Women leave the sepulchre and return with haste to the city; they are full of fear, and yet there is an irresistible feeling of joy mingled with their fear. They relate what they have seen: they have seen Angels, and the sepulchre open, and Jesus’ Body was not there. All three agree in their account; but the Apostles, as the Evangelist tells us, set it down to womanish excitement: ‘Their words seem idle tales and they believe them not.’1 The Resurrection, of which their divine Master had so clearly and so often spoken, never once crosses their mind. It is particularly to Peter and John that Magdalene relates the wonderful things she has seen and heard; but her own faith is still so weak! She went with the intention of embalming the Body of Jesus, and she found it not! She can speak of nothing but her disappointment: ‘They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid Him ! ~2

Peter and John determine to go themselves to the sepulchre. They enter. They see the ‘linen cloths lying ‘3 upon the slab whereon the Body of Jesus had been placed; but the Angels who are now keeping guard in the holy cave appear not to them. Saint John tells us, that this was the moment he received the faith in the resurrection: he believes.4 We are now merely giving the history of the events of this greatest of days, in the order in which they occurred: we will afterwards meditate upon them more leisurely, when the holy Liturgy brings them before us.

So far, Jesus has appeared to no one save His blessed Mother; the holy women have only seen the Angels, who spoke to them. These heavenly spirits bade them go and announce the resurrection of their Master to the disciples and Peter. They are not told
‘St. John, xx.
to bear the message to Mary; the reason is obvious: Jesus has already appeared to His Mother, and is with her while all these events are happening. The sun is now shedding his beams upon the earth, and the hours of the grand morning are speeding onwards: the Man-God is about to proclaim the triumph He has won for us over death. Let us reverently follow Him in each of these manifestations, and attentively study the lessons they teach us.

As soon as Peter and John have returned, Magdalene hastens once more to the tomb of her dear Master. A. soul like hers, ever earnest, and now tormented with anxiety, cannot endure to rest. Where is the Body of Jesus? Perhaps being insulted, by His enemies? Having reached the door of the sepulchre, she bursts into tears. Looking in, she sees two Angels, seated at either end of the slab on which her Jesus had been laid. They speak to her, for she knows not what to say: ‘Woman! why weepest thou? ‘—‘ Be cause they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him.’ Without waiting for the Angels to reply, she turns as though she would leave the sepulchre; when lo! she sees a man standing before her, and this Man is Jesus.’ She does not recognize Him: she is in search of the dead Body of her Lord; she is absorbed in the resolution of giving it a second burial! Her love distracts her, for it is a love that is not guided by faith; her desire to find Him, as she thinks Him to be, blinds her from seeing Him as He really is,—living, and near her.
Jesus, with his wonted condescension, speaks to her: ‘Woman! why weepest thou :~ Whom seekest thou?’ Magdalene recognizes not this voice; her heart is dulled by an excessive and blind sentiment of grief; her spirit does not as yet know Jesus. Her eyes are fixed upon Him; but her imagination persuades her that this man is the gardener, who has care of the ground about the sepulchre. She thinks within herself, ‘This perhaps, is he that has taken my Jesus!’ and thereupon she thus speaks to him:

1 St. ~ohn, xx. 15,
2.Ibid, 16, ~ .Thid, 17,
‘Sir, if thou hast taken Him hence, tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away.1 How is our loving Redeemer to withstand this? If He praised her for the love she showed Him in the pharisee’s house, we may be sure He will now reward this affectionate simplicity. A single word, spoken to her with the tone of voice she so well understood, is enough:—’ Mary ! ‘—‘ Master! ‘ exclaims the delighted and humble Magdalene.2 All is now clear: she believes.
She rushes forward: she would kiss those sacred feet, as on the happy day when she received her pardon; but Jesus stays her; this is not the time for such a demonstration of her affection. Magdalene, the first witness of the resurrection, is to be raised, in reward of her love, to the high honour of publishing the great mystery. It is not fitting that the blessed Mother should reveal the secret favour she has received from her Son: Magdalene is to pro claim what she has seen and heard at the sepulchre, and become as the holy Fathers express it, the Apostle of the very Apostles. Jesus says to her:
‘Go to my brethren, and say to them: I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”
The second apparition of Jesus, then, is to Mary Magdalene: it is the first in testimony of His resurrection, for the one to his blessed Mother was for an other object. The Church will bring it before us on the Thursday of this week, and we will then make it the subject of our meditation. At present, let us adore the infinite goodness of our Redeemer, who, before
1 St. John, xx. 18.
2 St. Matth. xxviii. 9.
seeking to fix the faith of His resurrection in them that are to preach it to all nations, deigns to recompense the love of this woman, who followed Turn even to the Cross, was faithful to Him after His death, and loved Him most, because most forgiven. By thus showing Himself to Magdalene, Jesus teaches us, that He is more anxious to satisfy the love He bears His faithful creature than to provide for His own glory.

Magdalene loses no time in doing her Master’s bidding. She hastens back to the city, and having come to the disciples, says to them: ‘I have seen the Lord, and these things He said to me.” But as yet, they have not faith; John alone has received that gift, although he has seen nothing more than the empty sepulchre. Let us remember, that, after having fled like the rest of the disciples, he followed Jesus to Calvary, was present at His death, and was made the adopted son of Mary.

Meanwhile, Magdalene’s two companions, Salome, and Mary the mother of James, are following her, though slowly and at some distance, to Jerusalem. Jesus meets them, and greets them, saying; ‘All hail.’2 Overcome with joy they fall down and adore Him, and kiss His sacred feet. it is the third apparition; and they that are favoured with it, are permitted to do what was denied to the more favoured and fervent Magdalene. Before the day is over, Jesus will show Himself to them whom He has chosen as the heralds of His glory; but He first wishes to honour those generous women, who, braving every danger, and triumphing over the weakness of their sex, were more faithful to Him, in His Passion, than the men He had so highly honoured as to make them His Apostles. When He was born in the stable at Bethlehem, the first he called to worship Him in His crib, were some poor shepherds; He sent his Angels to invite them to go to Him, before He sent the star to call the magi. So now,—when He has reached the summit of His glory, put the finish to all His works by His resurrection, and confirmed our faith in His divinity by the most indisputable miracle,—He does not begin by instructing and enlightening His Apostles, but by instructing, consoling, and most affectionately honouring, these humble but courage ous women. How admirable are the dispensations of our God! How sweet, and yet, how strong! 1 Well does He say to us by His prophet: ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts ! ‘2

‘W~ad. viii. 1. ‘Is. lv, 8, ‘1, Ocr. i. 24,
Let us suppose, for a moment, that we had been permitted to arrange the order of these two mysteries. We should have summoned the whole world, kings and people, to go and pay homage at the crib. We should have trumpeted to all nations the miracle of miracles, the resurrection of the Crucified, the victory over death, the restoration of mankind to immortality! But He who is ‘the power and wisdom of God,” Christ Jesus our Lord, has followed a very different plan. When born in Bethlehem He would have for His first worshippers a few simple minded shepherds, whose power to herald the great event was confined to their own village: and yet the birthday of this little Child is now the era of every civilized nation. For the first witnesses of His resurrection, He chose three weak women; and yet, the whole earth is now, at this very moment, celebrating the anniversary of this resurrection. There is in it a mysterious feeling of joy unlike that of any other day throughout the year: no one can resist it, not even the coldest heart. The infidel who scoffs at the believer, knows at least that this is Easter Sunday. Yea, in the very countries where paganism and idolatry are still rife, there are Christians whose voices unite with ours in singing the glorious Alleluia to our risen Jesus. Let us, then, cry out as Moses did, when the Israelites had crossed the Red Sea, and were keeping their first Pasch: ‘Who, O Lord, is like unto Thee, among the strong ?‘ 1 We will resume our history of the resurrection, when we come to the hour of each apparition. It is now time for us to unite with the Church in her Office of Matins. She has spent the greatest part of the night in administering that holy Sacrament of regeneration, which gives her a new people; and now she is about to offer to God the wonted tribute of her praise.
1 Exod. xv. 11.

The Office of Lauds being over, the faithful retire from the church: but they will soon return, to assist at the solemn Sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb. In order the better to understand the holy Liturgy of our Easter, we will again imagine ourselves to be in one of the cathedral churches of the 4th or 5th century, where the sacred rites were carried out in all their magnificence.

The city is filled with strangers. The priests of the country churches have come to assist at the consecration of the oils, at the administration of Baptism, and at the grand functions of Easter. The inhabitants are not allowed to undertake any journey that would prevent them from assisting at the Offices of the Church; for we find several councils forbid ding even the nobles to go beyond the city walls until the Paschal solemnity is over. We shall not
1 Is. xlii. 3.
be surprised at these regulations, if we remember what we have already stated with regard to Palm Sunday, how the monks of the East, who had obtained permission from their Abbots to leave their monasteries at the beginning of Lent, and retire into the desert, there to live with God alone, were obliged to return for the celebration of Easter. St. Pachomius, – who was the first to organize, in the desert of the east, a congregation or confederation of all the houses that had sprung from his celebrated monastery of Tabenna, – insisted upon all his disciples convening every year in this central monastery, for the purpose of celebrating the 1~esurreet.ion. On some of these occasions, there were to be seen encamped around Tabenna as many as fifty thousand monks.

Even now, notwithstanding all the deplorable in juries done to the spirit of Christianity by heresy, our churches are crowded on the great Paschal solemnity. Even they that never think of entering the House of God on any other day of the year, make an exception for Easter Sunday, as though they could not resist the i)o~~’er of the great mystery of Jesus’ triumph. It is the last remnant of faith left in these men; it keeps them from total forgetfulness of their religion. When their last hour comes, their celebration of Easter, though so imperfect, may draw down upon them the mercy of their Saviour ; but if their Easters have been but so many neglects of the Sacraments, what consolation, what hope, can they yield? those slighted invitations to mercy will then cry out for vengeance, and give to the Resurrection the awful triumph of justice !—But these are thoughts far too sad for our festivity: let us turn them into a prayer to our risen Jesus, that He ‘break not the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax ; ‘ I let us delight in the thought of those bright days of the past, when faith made Easter so glorious a sight for heaven and earth; let us exult in the reflection, that the same faith is still that of millions, and will be so till the end of time!

And before going to Mass, let us aid our enthusiasm by a remembrance of the Martyrs of Easter. Yes, the grand solemnity was once consecrated by the blood of Saints, and the Church chronicles the event in her Martyrology. In the year 459, Easter Sunday fell upon the 5th of April. The Church in Africa was then suffering persecution from the Vandals; they were Arians, and had been brought into the country by their kings, Genserie and Hunnerio. The Catholics of the city of Regia were assembled in the church for the celebration of the Resurrection, and, in order to keep out the heretics, they had closed the doors. The Arians, marshalled by one of their priests, forced an entrance, and rushed in, brandishing their swords. At that very moment a lector was in the ambo, singing the Alleluia; an arrow, shot by one of the barbarians, pierced his throat; he fell, and finished his song in heaven. The Vandals fell upon the faithful, and the church streamed with blood. They dragged others from the holy place, and executed them by order of their king. The little children were the only ones spared. Let us unite with the Church, who honours these noble victims of Easter on the 5th of April.

MASS

It is the hour of Tierce (9 o’clock), and the basilica is crowded with the faithful. The sun is pouring in his brightest beams; and who has not felt the charm of an Easter sun? The pavement is strewed with flowers. Above the glittering mosaics of the apse, the wall is covered with rich tapestry. Fes toons hang from the sanctuary arch to the pillars of the nave and aisles. Lamps, fed with the purest oil, and suspended from the ciborium (or canopy), axe burning around the altar. The Paschal candle, which has been ceaselessly burning since last night, stands on its marble pillar; its bright flame attracts every eye, and the perfumes, wherewith its wick is saturated, fill the sacred edifice with a delicious fragrance. It is the noble symbol of Jesus, our light, and seems to say: ‘Alleluia! Christ is risen!’
But by far the most interesting object is the group of the neophytes, clad in their white garments, like the Angels that appeared at the sepulchre. They are the living expression of the mystery of our Lord’s Resurrection. Yesterday they were dead, by sin; now they are living, by that new life which is the fruit of Jesus’ victory over death. Oh! happy thought of our mother the Church, to choose for the day of their regeneration that on which the Man- God won immortality for us His creatures!
The Station, at Rome, was formerly in the basilica Df Saint Mary Major, the principal church of all bhose that are dedicated to the Mother of God in the holy city. \Vas it not just to associate with the Pasohal solemnity the memory of her, who, more than all other creatures, had merited its joys, not only because of the exceptional share she had had in all the sufferings of Jesus, but also because of the un shaken faith, wherewith, during those long and cruel hours of Ills lying in the tomb, she had awaited His Resurrection? But now the papal Mass is celebrated in St. Peter’s, as being more convenient, by its size and situation, to the immense concourse of the faithful, who flock to Rome, from every part of the Christian world, for the Feast of Easter. The Roman Missal, however, still gives Saint Mary Major as the stational church of to-day; and the indulgences are gamed, as formerly, by those who assist at the Services celebrated there.
In many of the western churches, the foliowing stanzas, written by St. ~‘,~enantius Fortunatus, bishop of Poitiers, used formerly to be sung during the pro-
158
PA5CHAL TIME
There is no water blessed for the Asperges to-day, as is the custom on all other Sundays throughout the year. We assisted, a few hours ago, at the imposing ceremony of the blessing of the water, svhioh was to be used for the Baptism of the catechumens. The water, which is ‘now going to be sprinkled upon the faithful, was taken from the font of regeneration. During this ceremony, the ohoir sings the following
Antiphon:
ANTIPHON
Vidi aquam egredientem de templo a latere dextro, alleluia: et omnes, ad quos pervenit aqua ista, salvi fa cti sunt, et dicent: Alleluia, alleluia.
Es. Confltemini Domino, quoniam bonus: i~uoiii~im in sieculurn niisericordia ejus.
Gloria Patri. Vidi aquam.
t. Ostendenobis, Doinine, misericordiam tuam, alleluia.
it. Et salutare tuum da nobis, alleluia.
OREML5
Exaudi nos, Domine san cte, Pater omnipotens, eter ne Deus: et mittere digneris sanctum Angelum tuum de cmlis, qui custodiat, foveat, protegat, visitet atque do fendat omnes habitantes in hoc habitaculo. Per Cliii stum Dominunt nostrum.
Amen.
I saw water flowing from the right side of the temple, alleluia; and all to whom tbat water came were saved, and they shall say, alleluia.
Es. Praise the Lord, because he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.
Glory, &c. I saw.
t. Show us, U Lord, thy mercy, alleluia.
It. And grant us thy salva tion. allelnia.
LET VS PRAY
Graciously hear us, 0 holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal (I od: and vouchsafe to send the holy Angel from heaven. who mae keef), cherish, pro tect, visit, and defend all who are assembled in ihis place. Through Christ our Lord. A men.
EASTER SUNDAY: MASS
159
cession before to-day’s Mass. We insert them here, feeling assured that they will interest our readers, and assist them to enter more fully into the spirit of the great solemnity, for which our forefathers made them serve as a preparation. We shall find them replete ‘with the same enthusiasm that inspired the author when he composed the Vexilla Regis, and the hymn of the holy chrism: there is the same bold and energetic, almost harsh, diction, the same piety, the same richness of poetry and sentiment. The beautiful chant, to which this hymn was sung, is still extant.
EASTER SONG
Salve, festa dies, toto vene rabilis ~vo;
Qua Deus infernum vincit,
et astra tenet.
Ecce renascentis testatur
gratia mundi,
Omnia cum Domino dona
redisse suo.
Repeat. Salve, festa dies.
Namque triumphanti post
tristia tartara Christo,
Undique fronde nemus, gra Inina fore favent.
Salve, festa dies.
Legibus inferni oppressis,
super astra meantem,
Laudant rite Deum lux, p0-
ins, arva, fretum.
Salve, festa dies.
Qui crucifixus erat Dens,
ecce per omnia regnat;
Hail thou festive, ever ven erable day! whereon hell is conquered and heaven is won by Christ.
Lo! our earth is in her spring; bearing thus her wit ness that. with her Lord, she has all her gifts restored.
Repeat. Hail, thou festive.
For now the woods with their leaves, and the meadows with their flowers, pay homage to Jesus’ triumph over the gloomy tomb.
Hail, thou festive.
Light, firmament, fields and sea, give justly praise to the God that defeats the laws of death, and rises above the stars.
Hail, thou festive.
The crucified God now reigns over all things; and
cuncta every creature to its Creator tells a prayer.
Hail, thou festive.
iafermc
luminis
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PA5CHAL TIME
Dantque creatori creata precem.
Salve, festa dies.
Christe salus rerum, bone conditor, atque redem ptor;
IJnica progenies ex Deitate Patris.
Salve, festa dies,
Qui genus humanum cernens mersum esse profundo,
Ut hominem eriperes, es quoque factus homo.
Salve, festa dies.
Nec voluisti etenim tantum te corpore nasci,
Sed caro quie nasci pertulit, atque mon.
Salve, festa dies.
Funenis exsequias pateris, vita~ auctor et orl)is.
Intrans mortis iter, dando salutis ôpem.
Salve, festa dies.
Tristia cesserunt
vincula legis,
Expavitque chaos
ore premi.
Salve, festa dies.
Depereunt tenebne (‘hristi fulgore fugatie,
£ternte noctis pallia crassa cadunt.
Salve, festa dies.
Pollicitam sed redde fidem precor, alma potestas,
Tertia lux rediit, surge se pulte meus.
Salve, festa dies.
O Jesus! Saviour of the world! Loving Creator and Redeemer! Only-begotten Son of God the Father!
Hail, thou festive.
Seeing the human race was sunk in misery deep, thou wast made Man, that thou mightest rescue man.
Hail, thou festive.
Nor wouldst thou be con tent to be born; but being born in the flesh, in the same wouldst thou suffer death.
Hail, thou festive,
Thou. the author of life and of all creation, wast buried in the tomb; treading the path of death, to give us salvation.
Ilail. thou festive.
The gloomful bonds of hell were broken; the abyss shook with fear, as the light shone
~~i)°” its brink,
IIail, thou festive.
The brightness of Christ put darkness to flight, and made to fall the thick veils of ever lasting night.
Hail, thou festive.
But, redeem thy promise, I beseech thee, merciful King! This is the third day; arise, my buried Jesus!
Hail, thou festive.
M
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Non decet, ut viii tumulo tua membra tegantur,
Neu pretium mundi vilia saxa premant.
Salve, festa dies.
Lintea tolle, precor, sudaria linque sepulchro;
Tu satis es nobis, et sine te nihil est.
Salve, festa dies.
Solve catenatas infer,ii carceris umbras,
Et revoca sursum, quiquid ad itna ruit.
Salve, festa dies.
Redde tuam faciem, videant ut siecula lumen,
Redde diem, qui nos, te moriente, fugit.
Salve, festa dies.
Sed plane implesti reme ans, pie victor, ad orbem;
Tartara pressa jacent, nec sua jura tenent.
Salve, festa dies.
Inferus insaturabiliter cava guttura pandens,
Q ui rapuit semper, fit tin prieda, Dens.
Salve, festa dies.
Evomit absorptam trepide fera bellua plebem,
Et de fauce lupi subtrahit agnus oves.
Salve, festa dies.
PASCa. TIME I.
‘Tis not meet, that thy Body lie in the lowly tomb, or that a sepulchral stone should keep imprisoned the ransom of the world.
Hail, thou festive.
Throw off thy shrouds, 1 pray thee! Leave thy winding- sheet in the tomb. Thou art our all; and all else, without thee, is nothing.
Hail, thou festive.
Set free the spirits that are shackled in limbo’s prison. Raise up all fallen things.
Hail, thou festive.
Show us once more thy faco, that all ages may see the light! Bring back the day, which fled when thou didst die.
Hail, thou festive.
But thou hast done all this, o loving conqueror, by return ing to our world: death lies defeated, and its rights are gone.
Hail, thou festive.
The greedy monster, whose huge throat had swallowed all mankind, is now thy prey, 0 God!
Hail, thou festive.
The savage beast now trem bling vomits forth the victims he had made, and the lamb tears the sheep from the jaw of the wolf.
Hail, thou festive.
The preparations completed, the cantors intone the majestic melody of the Introit. Meanwhile, the pontiff, accompanied by the priests, deacons, and other ministers, advances in processioll to the altar- steps. This opening chant is the cry of the Man- God as He rises from the tomb: it is the hymn of Jesus’ gratitude to His eternal Father.
INTROIT
In the Collect, the Church proclaims the grace of
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PASOHAL TIME
Rex sacer, ecce tui radiat pars magna triumphi,
Cum puras animas sacra la vacra beant.
Salve, festa dies.
Candidus egreditur nitidis exercitus undis,
Atque vetus vitium purgat in amne novo.
Salve, festa dies.
Fulgentes animas vestis quo que candida signat,
Et grege de niveo gaudia pastor habet.
Salve, festa dies, toto ye nerabilis invo;
Qua Deus infernum vincit et astra tenet.
Resurrexi, et adhuc tecum sum, alleluia: posuisti super me manum tuam, alleluia:
mirabilis facta est scientia tua. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. Domine, probasti me et cognovisti me: tu cogno visti sessionem meam et re surrectionem meam. ~. Glo ria Patri. Resurrexi.
0 King divine! lo! here a bright ray of thy triumph,— the souls made pure by the holy font.
Hail, thou festive.
The white-robed troop comes from the limuid waters; and the old iniquity is cleansed in the new stream.
Hail, thou festive.
The white garments symbo lize uuspotted souls; and the Shepherd rejoices in his snow- like flock:
Hail, thou festive, ever ve nerable day~ whereon hell is conquered and heaven is won by Christ.
I have risen, and am as yet with thee, alleluia: thou hast stretched forth thy hand to me, ahleluia: thy knowledge is become wonderful. Alleluia, alleluia.
F. Lord. thou hast tried me, and known me: thou hast known my sitting down and my up-rising. ~. Glory, &c. I have risen, &c.
EPISTLE
God commanded the Israelites to use unleavened bread when they ate the Paschal Lamb; hereby teaching them, that, before partaking of this myste rious food, they should abandon their sins, which are signified by kaven. We Ohristians, who are called to the new life which J’esus has created for us by His Resurrection, must, henceforth, be intent on good works, as the unleavened bread wherewith we must receive the Paschal Lamb, our Easter banquet.
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immortality, which our Redeemer’s victory over death restored to mankind. She prays that her children may ambition the glorious destiny thus won for them.
COLLECT
Deus, qui hodierna die per (Inigenitum tuum, ~eterni ~atis nobis aditum, devicta rnorte, reserasti: vota no stra, qua~ pueveniendo a spiras, etiam adjuvando prosequere. Per eumdem.
Lectio Epistolie beati Pauli Apostoli ad Coninthios.
I. Cni’. I’.
Fratres, expurgate vetus fermentum, ut sitis nova conspersio, sicut estis azy mi. Etenim Pascha nostrum iinmolatus est Christus. Ita que epulemur, non in for mento veteri, neque in fer mento malithe et nequitne:
sed in azymis sinceritatis et venjtatis.
O God, who, on this day, by thy only-begotten Son’s vic tory over death, didst open for us a passage to eternity; grant that our prayers, which thy preventing grace inspireth, may by thy help become effec tual, Through the same, &c.
Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the
Corinthians.
I. Cor. V.
Brethren: Purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new paste, as you are unleav ened. For Christ, our pasch, is sacrificed. Therefore let us feast, not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
H~ec dies quam fecit Do- minus: exsultemus et l~ete mur in ea.
~. Confitemini Domino, quoniam bonus: quoniam in s~eculum misericordia ejus.
This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us he glad and rejoice therein.
~. Praise ye the Lord, for he is good: and his mercy endureth for ever.
The Alleluia-Verse expresses one of the motives we have for rejoicing:—a banquet is prepared for us! Jesus is our Lamb. He was slain; now lIe is living:
slain, that we might be redeemed by His Blood; living, that we may share His immortality.
Alleluia, alleluia.
t. Pascha nostrum im molatus est Christus.
Allcluia, alleluia.
t. Christ, our Pasch, sacrificed.
The better to encourage her chillren to be glad, the Church adds to her ordinary chants a hymn full cf enthusiastic admiration for her risen Jesus. It is called a Sequence, because it is a continuation of the Alleluia.
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PASCHAL TIME
The Gradual is formed of those joyous words, which the Church untiringly repeats in all her Offices of this solemnity of the Pasch. They are taken from the 117th Psalm. Joy, on such a day as this, is a duty incumbent on every Christian, both because of the triumph of our beloved Redeemer, and because of the blessings that triumph has won for us. Sadness would be a criminal protestation against the grand things, wherewith God has graced us through His Son, who not only died, but also rose from the grave, for us.
GRAPIAl.
SEQIJENCE
is
Victima~ pasebali laudes Immolent christiani.
Let Christians offer to the Pasclial Victim the sacrifice of praise.
The Church gives her preference to-day to the Evangelist ~t. Mark, who was a disciple of St. Peter, and wrote his Gospel at Rome, under the eye of this prince of the Apostles. It was fitting, that on such a festival as Easter, we should, in some manner, hear him speaking to us, whom our divine Master ap pointed to be the Rock of His Church, and the supreme pastor of all, both sheep and lambs.
GOSPEL
At that time: Mary Magda len, and Mary the mother çf
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Agnus redemit oves:
Christus innocens Patri Reconciliavit peccatores.
Mors et vita duello
Conflixere mirando:
Dux vita~ mortuus
Regnat vivus.
Dic nobis. Maria,
Quid \-idisti in via?
~epulcliruin Christi vi ventis:
Et gloriam vidi resurgentis. Angelicos testes,
Sudarium et vestes.
Surrexit (‘hristus spes
inca:
Priecedet vos in Galilwam.
Scirnus (liristum surre xisse
A mortuis vere
Tu nohis victor Rex, misc rere. Ameii, Alleluia.
Sequentia saiicti Evangelii secundurn tlarcuin.
Cup. X[[.
Tn illo fempore: Maria Magdideiie. et Maria Jacobi,
The Lamb hath redeemed the sheep: the innocent Jesus bath reconciled sinners to his Father.
Death and life fought against each other, and won drous was the duel: the King of life was put to death; yet now he lives and reigns.
Tell us, 0 Mary! what sawest thou on the way?
I saw the sepulchre of the living Christ; I saw the glory of him that had risen.
I saw the Angels that were the witnesses; I saw the winding-sheet and the cloth.
Christ. my hope, bath risen! He shall go before you into Galilee.
We know that Christ hath truly risen from the dead. Do thou, U conqueror and King! have mercy upon us. Amen. Alleluia.
Sequel of the holy Gospel ac cording to Mark.
(h XVI
He 18 ri8en: He is not here! The Corpse, laid by the hands of them that loved their Lord, on the slab that lies in that cave, is risen; and, without removing the stone that closed the entrance, has gone forth, quickened with a life which can never die. No man has helped Him. No prophet has stood over the dead Body, bidding it return to life. It is Jesus Himself, and by His own power, that has risen. He suffered death, not from necessity, but because He so willed; and again, because He willed, He has delivered Himself from its bondage. 0 Jesus! Thou, that thus mockest death, art the Lord our God! We reverently bend our knee before this empty tomb, which is now for ever sacred, because, for a few hours,
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PASCEAL TIME
et Salome, emerunt aromata ut venientes ungerent Jo- sum. Et valde mane una sabbatorum, veniunt ad mo numentum, orto jam sole. Et dicebant ad invicem:
Quis revolvet nobis lapidem ab ostio monumenti? Et re spicientes viderunt revolu turn lapidem. Erat quippe magnus valde. Et introeun tee in monumentum, vide runt juvenem sedentem in dextris, coopertum stola candida, et obstupuerunt. Qui dixit illis: Nolite expa vescere: Jesum qu~ritis Na zarenum, crucifixum: sur rexit, non est hic; ecce locus ubi posuerunt eum. Sed ite, dicite discipulis ejus, et Pc tro, quia pra~cedit vos in Galil~am: ibi eum videbitis, sicut dixit vobis.
James, and Salome, bought sweet spices, that coming they might anoint Jesus. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they come to the sepulchre, the sun being now risen. And they said one to another: Who shall roll us back the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And looking, they saw the stone rolled hack. For it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side clothed with a white robe: and they were astonished. Who saith to them: Be not aifright ed: you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: he is risen, he is not here, behold the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, that he goeth before you into Galilee: there you shall see him, as he told you.
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Ps. xxix. 6.
it was the place of Thy abode. Behold the place where f/de,ij l(iUf Him! Behold the winding-sheet and bands, which remain to tell the mystery of thy having once been dead! The Angel says to the women: Ye seeh Jesus of Nazareth, who was cruel- fled! The recollection makes us weep. Yes, it was but the day before yesterday, that His Body was carried hither, mangled, wounded, bleeding. Here, in this cave, from which the Angel has now rolled back the stone,—in this cave, which His presence fills with a more than mid-day brightness,—stood the afflicted Mother. It echoed with the sobs of them that were at the burial, John and the two disciples, Magdalene and her companions. The sun sank beneath the horizon, and the first day of Jesus’ burial began. But the prophet had said: ‘In the evening weeping shall have place; and in the morning gladness.” This glorious, happy morning has come, 0 ~Jesus! and great indeed is our gladness, at seeing that this same sepulchre, whither we followed Thee with aching hearts, is now but the trophy of Thy victory! rllhy precious wounds are healed! It was we that caused them; permit us to kiss them. Thou art now living, more glorious than ever, and immortal. And because we resolved to die to our sins, when Thou wast dying in order to expiate them, Thou willest that we, too, should live eternally with Thee; that Thy victory over death should be ours; that death should be for us, as it was for Thee, a mere passage to immortality, and should one day give back, uninjured and glorified, these bodies which are to be lent for a while to the tomb. Glory, then and honour, and love, be to Thee, 0 Jesus! who thdst deign not only to die, but to rise again for us!
The Offertory is composed of the words, wherein David foretold that the earth would tremble, whei~
Terra tremuit et quievit, durn resurgeret in judicio Deus, ahleluia.
The earth trembled, and was silent, when God arose in judgment, alleluia.
Suscipe, qmusumus Dorni ne, preces popuhi tui cum oblationibus hostiarum: ut paschahibus initiata myste riis, ad ~ternitatis nobis medelam, te operante, profi ciant. Per Dominum.
Receive, 0 Lord, we beseech thee, the prayers of thy people, together with the offerings of these hosts: that what is con secrated by these paschal mys teries, may, by the help of thy grace, avail us to eternal life. Through, &c.
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the Man-God arose. This earth of ours has not only witnessed the grandest manifestations of God’s power and goodness, but, by the sovereign will of its Maker, has been frequently made to share in them, by preternatural movements.
OFFERTORY
The whole assembly of the faithful is about to partake of the Paschal banquet; the divine Lamb invites them to it. The altar is laden with the offerings they have presented. The holy Church, in her Secret, invokes upon these favoured guests the graces, which will procure for them the blissful im mortality, whereof they are about to receive a pledge.
SECRET
At the papal Mass, during the middle-ages, while the pontiff recited the Secret, the two youngest car dinal-deacons came forward, vested in white dal matics, and stood at each end of the altar, with their faces turned towards the people. They represented the two Angels who kept guard over our Saviour’s tomb, and announced to the holy women that He had risen. The two deacons remained in that posi tion until the pontiff left the altar at the Agnus
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Del, in order to receive the holy Communion on the throne.
Another impressive custom was observed at Saint Mary Major’s. When the Pope, after breaking the Host, addressed to the faithful the wish of peace, with the usual greeting of Pa~ Domini sit semper vobiscurn, the choir did no~ answer the usual Et elm spiritu tuo. It was the tradition, that St. Gregory the Great was once officiating in this church on Easter Sunday, when, having sung these words, which bring down the Spirit of peace on the assembled people, a choir of Angels responded with such sweet melody, that the singers of earth were silent, for they feared to join in the celestial music. The year following the cantors awaited the angelic response to the words of the pontiff: the favour, how ever, was never renewed, but the custom of not answering the Et corn spuitu tao was observed for several centuries.
The moment has at length come for the faithful to partake of the divine Banquet. It was the practice in the ancient Church of Gaul, to chant the following solemn appeal to the people, who were about to re ceive the Bread of life.’ The music, wldcli accom panied the Antiphon. is most impressive and appro priate. Me give the words, as they will assist the devotion of the faithful.
INVITATION OF THE PTO)PLE TO COMMUNION
Venite popuhi ad sacruin Come, (I) ye people, to the et immortale mysterium. et sacred tuid nnmortal mystery!
hbamen agendum. Come and receive the sacred
libation!
Cum timore, et fide acceda- Let us approach with fear
1 It was sting in cathedral churches even a ~ter the introduction of the Roman Liturgy into irance by Pepin and Charleningne. It was not entirely discontiiiued until the List rentury came with its unsanc tioned and ever to be regretted innovations.
mus manibus mundis, pccni tentim munus communice inus, quoniain pi’opter nos Agnus Dci Patris sacrifi cium propositum est.
Ipsum solum adoremus, ipsum glorificemus: cuin Angelis clamantes, alleluia.
Pascha nostrum irnmola ttis est C’hristiss, alleluia:
itaque epulimur in azvmis sinceritatis ct veritatis. Al leluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Christ, our Pasch, is immo lated, alleluia: therefore, let us feast on the unleavened bread of siiicerity and truth. Alleluin, alleluia, alleluia.
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and faith, and hands undefiled. Let us unite ourselves with Hint who is the reward of our repentance, for it is for us that the Lamb of God the Father offered himself in sacrifice.
Let us adore him alone, and
glorify him, singing with the
Angels, allelnia.
While the sacred ministers are distributing the divine Food, the Church celebrates, in her Commu nion-Anthem, the true Paschal Lamb, which has been mystically iml)dolofe(l on the altar, and requires, from them who receive it, that purity of soul, which is signified by tl1e unfI~(u’ened lo’ead, under whose accidents the reality lies hid.
COMMFNION
The latt prayer made by the Church for them that have received their God, is, that the spirit of fraternal charity, which is the spirit of our Paseh, may abide in them. The Son of God, by assuming our nature in the mystery of the Incarnation, has made us to be His brothers; by shedding His Blood for us upon the Cross, He has united us to on o another by the bond of the redemption; and, by us resurrection, He has linked us together in one glorious immortality.
POSTCOMMUNIQN
Spiritum nobis, Domine, Pour forth on us, () Lord, tua~ charitatis infunde: sit the spirit of thy love; that quos sacramentis paschtli- those whom thou hiast filled
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bus satiasti, tua facias pieta- with the Paschal Sacrament, te concordes. Per Dominum. may, by thy goodness, live in
perfect concord. Through, &c.
The pontiff then gives his blessing to the people. They leave the House of God, to return thither for the Vespers, which most solemn Office will conclude the magnificent functions of our solemnity.
At Rome, the Pope descends from the throne, wearing his triple crown, lie ascends the sedia ge.statoria, which is borne on the shoulders of the servants of the palace, and is carried to the great nave. Having reached the appointed place, he descends and humbly kneels down. Then, from the tribune of the cupola, are shown by priests, vested in their stoles, the wood of the true Cross, and the Veil, called the JTeron ici, on which is impressed the face of our Redeemer. This commemoration of the sufferings and humiliations of the Man-God, at the very moment when His triumph over death has been celebrated with all the pomp of the Liturgy, eloquently proclaims the glory and power of our risen Jesus, and shows us how faithfully and how lovingly He fulfilled the mission He had so graciously taken upon 1-limseif, of working our salvation. It was on this very day, that lie Himself said to the disciples of Emmaus: ‘Thus it behoved Christ to suffer and to rise again from the dead the third day.’1 The Christian world, in the person of its supreme pastor, hereby pays its homage to the sufferings and glory of its Redeemer. The pontiff then resumes the triple Crown, and is carried, on the sedia, to the balcony, where he gives the papal benediction to the people assembled in the piazza of Saint Peter’s. We have already described this solemn rite.2
1 St. Luke xxiv. 46.
See Fassiontide: Maunday Thursday, page 359.
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PASCHAL TIME
Formerly, when the Lateran palace was the papal residence, and the Station of Easter Sunday was held at Saint Mary Major’s, the sovereign Pontiff, vested in a cope, and wearing the tiara, went to the basilica on a horse eaparisoned in white. After the Mass, he proceeded to the banquet-hall, called the ~/‘i’iclio lam Leonianum. It was built by St. Leo III. and was decorated with mosaics representing Christ, St. Peter, Constantine and Char leruagne. A repast was pre pared, to which were invited, as guests of the pontiff, five cardinals, five deacons, and the first in dignity (the 1-’rimiceiias,) of the clergy attached to the church of St. John Lateran. Near to the Pope’s own table, a seat was prepared for a twelfth guest,—the prior, called basilicarius. The Paschd Lamb was then served up, laid on a rich dish. The Pope blessed it, and thus signified that the severe law of abstinence was at an end. He himself cut it into portions and sent one to each of his guests; but first of all he cut off a small piece, and gave it to the basiliearius, sav ing to him what would have scented a harsh allusion, but for tite words that followed: ‘What thou hast to do, do quickly! But what was said as a condemnation, I say to thee as a parion’ The repast began with joyous conversation ; but, after some time, the arch deacon gave a signal, and a deacon began to read. The papal choristers were afterwards introduced, and sang such of the favourite sequences as the Pope called for. This done, the choristers kissed the feet of the pontiff, who gave to each of them a cup full of wine from his own table; and each received a piece of money, called a besajif, from the treasurer.
Our object in mentioning such customs as this, is to show our readers the simple manners of the middle- ages. Tile custom of blessing and eating lamb on Easter Sunday still continues, though, in many ~nstanoes, it conveys very little meaning. For those
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who, from idle pretexts, have scarcely observed a day’s abstinence during the whole of Lent, the Paschal lamb is a reproach. rather than a consolation. We here give the blessing as a completion to our Easter rites. The venerable prayer, used by the Church, will take us back in thought to other ages and prompt us to ask of God that He will grant us a return to the simple and practical faith, which gave such soul and grandeur to the every-day life of our Catholic forefathers.
BLESSING OF THE PASUHAL LAMB
Deus, qui per famulum tu inn Moysen, in libcratioae populi tui (IC Egypto, agnum occidi jussisti in similitu dinem Doraini nostri ,Jesn Christi. et utrosque pestes dosinorum de sanguine ejus denit agni perungi prlecepi sti: ita bencdicere, et san ctiflcare digneris bane urea turam carnis, quani sios f a mali tui ad laud eat tuani surnere desidcramus, ~ re— surrectioucul ejusdciu I)onn— ni nostri .J esa Christi. Q ui tecum vivit et regnat in stc cula sa-culorum. Amen.
() God. who, on the deliver ance of thy people from Egypt, dijst command, by thy ser vant Moses, that a lamb should lie slain as a type of our Lord Jesus Christ. and didst ordain that both side- posts of the houses should be
sPrinkled with its hilood:
vi uchsafe also to bless and sanctify this creature of flesh, which we thy servants desire to eat for thy glory, and in honour of the Resurrection of the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. Who liveth and reign eth with thee, for ever and ever. Amen.
The law of Lent forbids not only flesh-meat, but also eggs. It is only by a dispensation that we are allowed to eat them during that holy season of penancç. The Churches of the east have strictly maintained the ancient discipline on this point, and no dispensation is admitted. Here again, the faith ful show their joy, by asking the Church to bless the eggs that are to appear at their Easter repast. The following is the prayer used for this blessing.
Subveniat, qu~sumus Do mine, tu~ benedictionis gra tia huic ovorum creatur~:
ut cibus salubris fiat fideli bu8 tuis in tuarum gratia rum actione sumentibus, ob resurrectionem Domini no stri Jesu Christi. Qui tecum vivjt et re~nat in s~ucula s~ culorum. Amen.
We beseech thee, 0 Lord, to give the favour of thy bless ing to these eggs; that so they may be a wholesome food to thy faithful, who gratefully take them in honour of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who liveth and reigneth with thee, for ever and ever. Amen.
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BLESSING OF THE PASCHAL EGGS
Yes, let our Easter repast, blessed as it is by our mother the Church, be one of joy, and add to the gladness of this great day! The Feasts of religion should always be kept as feasts by Christian families:
but there is not one, throughout the year, that can be compared to this of Easter, which we have waited for so long and in such sorrow, and which has at length comes bringing with it the riches of God’s pardon, and the hope of our immortality.

AFTERNOON

The day is fast advancing, and Jesus has not yet shown Himself to His disciples. The holy women are overpowered with joy and gratitude at the favour they have received. They have told it to the Apostles, assuring them that not only have they seen Angels, but Jesus ilimseif ; that He has spoken to them; that they have kissed His sacred feet. But all their assurances fail to convince these men, who are oppressed with what they have seen of their Master’s Passion. They are cruelly disappointed, and their disappointment makes them deaf to every thing that speaks of consolation. And yet, we shall soon find them laying down their very lives in testi mony of the Resurrection of that Master, whose name and remembrance is now a humiliation to them.
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1 ~ Luke, xxiv. 21-24.
We may form some idea of their feelings, from the conversation of two who have been spending a part of the day with them, and who themselves were disciples of Jesus. This very evening while re turning to Emmaus, they thus express their disap pointment: ‘We hoped that Jesus would have re deemed Isreal: and now besides all this, to-day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company aifrighted us; who, before it was light, were at the sepulchre; and not finding His Body, came, saying that they had also seen a vision of Angels, who say that He is alive. And some of our people went to the sepulchre, and found it so as the women had said; but Him they found not.’ How strange, that the resurrection of which Jesus had so often spoken to them, even in the presence of the Jews, does not recur to their minds! They are still carnal-minded men, and the awful fact of His death stifles within them every idea of that new birth, which our bodies are to receive in the tomb.
But our risen Jesus must now show Himself to these men, who are to preach His divinity to the furthest ends of the world. So far, His manifesta tions have been made to satisfy His affection for His blessed Mother, and His infinite love for those souls, that had done all in their power to testify their gra titude towards iliiii. It is now time for Him to pro vide for His own glory; at least so it would seem to us. But no; having rewarded those that love Him, He would now show the generosity of His Heart; and then, after this, proclaim His triumph. The apostolic college, of which every member fled at the hour of danger, has seen its very head so forgetful of his duty as to deny his divine Master. But, from the mo ment when Jesus cast upon His disciple a look of
176
PASCHAL TIME
1 St. Mark, xvi. 1.
reproach and pardon, Peter has done nothing but shed bitter tears over his fall. Jesus would now console the humble penitent; tell him, with His own lips, that He has pardoned him; and confirm, by this mark of His divine predilection, the sublime prero gatives, that He so recently conferred upon him in the presence of all the other Apostles. As yet, Peter doubts of the resurrection; Magdalene’s testimony has not convinced him; but now, that his offended Master is about to appear to him, his faith will ac knowledge the grand mystery.
We have already heard the Angel sending Jesus’ message by the three women: ‘Go,’ said he, ‘tell His disciples and Peter that He goeth before you into Galilee.” Why this express mention of Peter, but that he may know, that although he has denied Jesus, Jesus has not denied him? Why is he not, on this occasion, mentioned before the others, except to spare him the humiliation of the contrast between his high position and the unworthy conduct he has shown? But this special mention of his name tells him that he is still dear to Jesus, and that he will soon have an opportunity of expiating his sin, by expressing his regret and repentance at the very feet of his ever loving, and now glorified, Master. Yes, Peter is tardy in believing; but his conversion is sincere, and Jesus would reward it.
Suddenly, then, in the course of this afternoon, the Apostle sees standing before him that divine Master, whom, three days previously, he had beheld bound and led away by the servants of Caiphas. This Jesus is now resplendent with light; he is the conqueror, the glorious Messias: and yet, what most affects the Apostle, is the ineffable goodness of this his Lord, who comes to console him, rather than to show him the splendours of His resurrection. Who could
RASTER suNDAY: AFTERNOON
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PA~li. TIME I.
St. Luke, xxii. 32.
N
describe the interview between the penitent and his offended Master; the sorrow of Peter, now that he finds himself treated with such generosity; the loving pardon which comes from Jesus’ lips, and fills the Apostle’s heart with Paschal joy? Blessed be Thy name, 0 Jesus! who thus raisest up from his fall him whom Thou art to leave us for our chief pastor and father, when Thou aseendest into heaven!
It is, indeed, just that we adore the infinite mercy which dwells in the Heart of our risen Jesus, and which he shows with the same profusion and power, as during His mortal life: but let us also admire bow, by this visit, He continues in St. Peter the mystery of the unity of the Church,—a mystery which is to be perpetuated in this Apostle and his successors. At the Last Supper, Jesus spoke these words to him, in the presence of the other Apostles:
‘I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.’ ~ The time is now come for establishing Peter in this faith which is never to fail: Jesus gives it to him. He Himself instructs Peter: He makes him the foun dation of His Church. In a few hours hence, He will manifest Himself to the other Apostles; but Peter will be present with his brethren. Thus, if Peter receive favours not granted to the rest, they never receive any but he has a share in them. It is their duty to believe on Peter’s word: they do so. On Peter’s testimony, they believe in the Resurrection, and proclaim it to others, as we shall soon see. Jesus is to appear likewise to them, for He loves them; He calls them His brethren; He has chosen them to be the preachers of His name throughout the world:
but He will find them already instructed in the faith of His resurrection, because they have believed Peter’s testimony; and Peter’s testimony has effected
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PASCHA~L TIME
1 St. Luke, xxiv. 34.
2 1. Cor. xv. 5.
in them the mystery of that unity, which he will effect in the Church to the end of time.
Jesus’ apparition to the prince of the Apostles rests on the authority of St. Luke’s Gospel’ and St. Paul’s first Epistle to the Corinthians.2 It is the fourth of those that took place on the day of the resurrection.

THE EASTER VESPERS

The Evening-Office, called on that account Vespeis, has brought an immense concourse of the faithful to the church. We continue our description of to-day’s Services as they were formerly celebrated, in order that our readers may the more fully enter into the spirit of the Feast. The solemn administration of Baptism having ceased to form an essential part of the Easter functions, the ancient rites which had reference to it, and especially those used during the Vespers, have fallen almost universally into disuse. We will endeavour to give an idea of them, by blend ing the ancient ceremonies with those that are now in use, and which, in most places, are the same as those of other solemnities throughout the year. It was not so eight hundred years ago.
The bishop vested in his pontifical robes, and accompanied by all the clergy, went to what we should now call the rood-screen, which was richly decorated, and on which stood the crucifix. Here the cantors intoned the Kyrie eleison, which was repeated nine times. Immediately after this, began the Vespers. The Antiphons of the Psalms were not the same as those we now sing, and which are taken from the Lauds. Of course, we only give the latter.
ANI’. Angelus autem Do- Axi’. And the An~’el of the mini descendit do enlo, et Lord descended from heaven; accedons revolvit lapidem, arid going to the stone, rolled

 

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