Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday)
THE NIGHT OFFICE
The Office of Matins and Lauds, for the last three days of Holy Week, differs, in many things, from that of the rest of the year, all is sad and mournful, as though it were a funeral-service: nothing could more emphatically express the grief that now weighs down the heart of our holy mother the Church. Throughout all the Office of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, she forbids herself the use of those formulas of joy and hope, wherewith, on all other days, she begins her praise of God. The Domine, labia mea aperies (0 Lord, thou shalt oioen my lips): the Deus, in adjutorium meum intende (Incline unto mine aid, God): the Gloria Patri, at the end of the Psalms, Canticles, and Responsories — all are taken away. So likewise are those soul-stirring additions, which have been gradually made, in the different ages; and nothing is left, but what is essential to the form of the Divine Office: Psalms, Lessons, and Chants expressive of grief. Each Canonical Hour ends with the Psalm Miserere, and with a commemoration of the Death and Cross of our Redeemer.
The name of Tenebræ has been given to the Matins and Lauds of the last three days of Holy Week, because this Office used formerly to be celebrated during the night: and even when the hour was anticipated, the name of Tenebræ was kept up for another reason, namely, that it began with daylight, but ended after the sun had set. There is an impressive ceremony, peculiar to this Office, which tends to perpetuate its name. There is placed in the Sanctuary, near the Altar, a large triangular candlestick, holding fifteen candles. These candles, and the six that are on the Altar, are of yellow wax, as in the Office for the Dead. At the end of each Psalm or Canticle, one of these fifteen candles is extinguished; but the one, which is placed at the top of the Triangle, is left lighted. During the singing of the Benedictus, at Lauds, the Six candles on the Altar are also put out. Then the Master of Ceremonies takes the lighted candle from the Triangle, and holds it upon the Altar, whilst the Choir repeats the antiphon after the Canticle: after which, he hides it behind the Altar during the recitation of the Miserere and the Prayer, which follows the Psalm. As soon as this Prayer is finished, a noise is made with the seats of the stalls in the choir, which continues until the candle is brought from behind the Altar, and shows, by its light, that the Office of Tenebræ is over.
Let us now study the meaning of these ceremonies. The glory of the Son of God was obscured, and, so to say, eclipsed, by the ignominies He endured during His Passion. He, the Light of the world, powerful in word and work, who, but a few days ago, was proclaimed King by the citizens of Jerusalem, is now robbed of all His honours; He is, says Isaias, the Man of sorrows, — a leper; (Isaiah 53:3-4) He is, says the royal prophet, a worm of the earth, and no man; (Psalm 21:7) He is, as He says of Himself, an object of shame even to His own Disciples, for they are all scandalized in Him, (Mark 14:27) and abandon him, yea, even Peter protests that he never knew Him. This desertion on the part of His Apostles and Disciples is expressed by the candles being extinguished, one after the other, not only on the Triangle, but on the Altar itself. But Jesus, our Light, though despised and hidden, is not extinguished. This is signified by the candle which is momentarily placed on the altar; it figures our Redeemer suffering and dying on Calvary. In order to express His burial, the candle is hid behind the altar; its light disappears. A confused noise is heard in the House of God, where all is now darkness. This noise and gloom express the convulsions of nature, when Jesus expired on the cross: the earth shook, the rocks were split, the dead came forth from their tombs. But the candle suddenly reappears; its light is as fair as ever; the noise is hushed, and homage is paid to the Conqueror of Death.
After the Pater, Ave, and Credo, have been said secretly, the first Nocturn begins as follows.
THE FIRST NOCTURN
The first psalm was written by David, when obliged to flee from the persecution of his son Absalom, who sought his death. It refers to Christ, and describes various incidents of His Passion. The gall and vinegar, here mentioned, show us that this psalm is prophetic, for David never received any such treatment from his enemies.
|Ant. Zelus domus tuae comedit me, et opprobria exprobrantium tibi ceciderunt super me||Ant. The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee, are fallen upon me.|
|Salvum me fac, Deus, quoniam intraverunt aquae usque ad animam meam.
Infixus sum in limo profundi et non est substantia.
Veni in altitudinem maris; et tempestas demersit me.
Laboravi clamans, raucae factae sunt fauces meae; defecerunt oculi mei, dum spero in Deum meum.
Multiplicati sunt super capillos capitis mei qui oderunt me gratis. Confortati sunt qui persecuti sunt me inimici mei injuste; quae non rapui, tunc exsolvebam.
Deus, tu scis insipientiam meam; et delicta mea a te non sunt abscondita.
Non erubescant in me qui exspectant te, Domine, Domine virtutum; non confundantur super me qui quaerunt te, Deus Israel.
Quoniam propter te sustinui opprobrium; operuit confusio faciem meam.
Extraneus factus sum fratribus meis, et peregrinus filiis matris meae.
Quoniam zelus domus tuae comedit me, et opprobria exprobrantium tibi ceciderunt super me.
Et operui in jejunio animam meam, et factum est in opprobrium mihi.
Et posui vestimentum meum cilicium; et factus sum illis in parabolam.
Adversum me loquebantur qui sedebant in porta, et in me psallebant qui bibebant vinum.
Ego vero orationem meam ad te, Domine : tempus beneplaciti, Deus, in multitudine misericordiae tuae; exaudi me in veritate salutis tuae.
Eripe me de luto, ut non infigar; libera me ab iis qui oderunt me, et de profundis aquarum.
Non me demergat tempestas aquae, neque absorbeat me profundum, neque urgeat super me puteus os suum.
Exaudi me, Domine, quoniam benigna est misericordia tua; secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum respice in me.
Et ne avertas faciem tuam a puero tuo; quoniam tribulor, velociter exaudi me.
Intende animae meae, et libera eam; propter inimicos meos eripe me.
Tu scis improperium meum, et confusionem meam, et reverentiam meam; in conspectu tuo sunt omnes qui tribulant me.
Improperium exspectavit cor meum et miseriam; et sustinui qui simul contristaretur, et non fuit; et qui consolaretur, et non inveni.
Et dederunt in escam meam fel, et in siti mea potaverunt me aceto. Fiat mensa eorum coram ipsis in laqueum, et in retributiones, et in scandalum.
Obscurentur oculi eorum, ne videant; et dorsum eorum semper incurva.
Effunde super eos iram tuam; et furor irae tuae comprehendat eos.
Fiat habitatio eorum deserta; et in tabernaculis eorum non sit qui inhabitet. Quoniam quem tu percussisti persecuti sunt, et super dolorem vulnerum meorum addiderunt.
Appone iniquitatem super iniquitatem eorum et non intrent in justitiam tuam.
Deleantur de libro viventium, et cum justis non scribantur.
Ego sum pauper et dolens; salus tua, Deus, suscepit me.
Laudabo nomen Dei cum cantico; et magnificabo eum in laude; et placebit Deo super vitulum novellum, cornua producentem et ungulas.
Videant pauperes, et laetentur; quaerite Deum, et vivet anima vestra, quoniam exaudivit pauperes Dominus, et vinctos suos non despexit. Laudent illum caeli et terra; mare, et omnia reptilia in eis.
Quoniam Deus salvam faciet Sion, et aedificabuntur civitates Juda, et inhabitabunt ibi, et haereditate acquirent eam.
Et semen servorum ejus possidebit eam; et qui diligunt nomen ejus habitabunt in ea.
Ant. Zelus domus tuae comedit me, et opprobria exprobrantium tibi ceciderunt super me.
|SAVE me, O God: for the waters are come in even unto my soul.
I stick fast in the mire of the deep: and there is no sure standing.
I am come into the depth of the sea: and a tempest hath overwhelmed me.
I have laboured with crying; my jaws are become hoarse: my eyes have failed, whilst I hope in my God.
They are multiplied above the hairs of my head, who hate me without cause.
My enemies are grown strong who have wrongfully persecuted me: then did I pay that which I took not away.
O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my offences are not hidden from thee:
Let not them be ashamed for me, who look for thee, O Lord, the Lord of hosts.
Let them not be confounded on my account, who seek thee, O God of Israel.
Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face.
I am become a stranger to my brethren, and an alien to the sons of my mother.
For the zeal of thy house hath eaten me up: and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.
And I covered my soul in fasting: and it was made a reproach to me.
And I made haircloth my garment: and I became a byword to them.
They that sat in the gate spoke against me: and they that drank wine made me their song.
But as for me, my prayer is to thee, O Lord; for the time of thy good pleasure, O God.
In the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.
Draw me out of the mire, that I may not stick fast: deliver me from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.
Let not the tempest of water drown me, nor the deep swallow me up: and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me.
Hear me, O Lord, for thy mercy is kind; look upon me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies.
And turn not away thy face from thy servant: for I am in trouble, hear me speedily.
Attend to my soul, and deliver it: save me because of my enemies.
Thou knowest my reproach, and my confusion, and my shame.
In thy sight are all they that afflict me; my heart hath expected reproach and misery.
And I looked for one that would grieve together with me, but there was none: and for one that would comfort me, and I found none.
And they gave me gall for my food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
Let their table become as a snare before them, and a recompense, and a stumblingblock.
Let their eyes be darkened that they see not; and their back bend thou down always.
Pour out thy indignation upon them: and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them.
Let their habitation be made desolate: and let there be none to dwell in their tabernacles. Because they have persecuted him whom thou hast smitten; and they have added to the grief of my wounds.
Add thou iniquity upon their iniquity: and let them not come into thy justice.
Let them be blotted out of the book of the living; and with the just let them not be written.
But I am poor and sorrowful: thy salvation, O God, hath set me up.
I will praise the name of God with a canticle: and I will magnify him with praise.
And it shall please God better than a young calf, that bringeth forth horns and hoofs.
Let the poor see and rejoice: seek ye God, and your soul shall live.
For the Lord hath heard the poor: and hath not despised his prisoners.
Let the heavens and the earth praise him; the sea, and every thing that creepeth therein.
For God will save Sion, and the cities of Juda shall be built up.
And they shall dwell there, and acquire it by inheritance.
And the seed of his servants shall possess it; and they that love his name shall dwell therein.
Ant. The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee, are fallen upon me.
The second psalm was written by David, under the same circumstances as the previous one. He begs God to defend him against the enemies that are seeking to destroy him, This psalm is prophetic of the lot reserved to the Messias.
|Ant. Avertantur retrorsum, et erubescant, qui congitant mihi mala.||Ant. Let them that devise evils against me be turned back, and let them blush for shame.|
|Deus, in adjutorium meum intende; Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina.
Confundantur, et revereantur, qui quaerunt animam meam.
Avertantur retrorsum, et erubescant, qui volunt mihi mala; avertantur statim erubescentes qui dicunt mihi : Euge, euge!
Exsultent et laetentur in te omnes qui quaerunt te; et dicant semper : Magnificetur Dominus, qui diligunt salutare tuum.
Ego vero egenus et pauper sum; Deus, adjuva me. Adjutor meus et liberator meus es tu; Domine, ne moreris.
Ant. Avertantur retrorsum, et erubescant, qui congitant mihi mala.
|O God, come to my assistance; O Lord, make haste to help me.
Let them be confounded and ashamed that seek my soul:
Let them be turned backward, and blush for shame that desire evils to me:
Let them be presently turned away blushing for shame that say to me: Tis well, tis well.
Let all that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee; and let such as love thy salvation say always: The Lord be magnified.
But I am needy and poor; O God, help me. Thou art my helper and my deliverer: O Lord, make no delay
Ant. Let them that devise evils against me be turned back, and let them blush for shame.
The third psalm refers to the same period of David’s life; but whilst it describes the dangers to which this holy king was exposed, it also expresses the wonderful confidence he had that God would crown him with victory over all his enemies. In its prophetic signification, this psalm shows us how the Man-God, even in the lowest depths of His anguish, confided in His Father’s help.
|Ant. Deus meus, eripe me de manu peccatoris.||Ant. Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the sinner.|
|In te, Domine, speravi; non confundar in aeternum; in justitia tua libera me, et eripe me : inclina ad me aurem tuam, et salva me.
Esto mihi in Deum protectorem, et in locum munitum, ut salvum me facias : quoniam firmamentum meum et refugium meum es tu. Deus meus, eripe me de manu peccatoris, et de manu contra legem agentis, et iniqui : quoniam tu es patientia mea, Domine; Domine, spes mea a juventute mea.
In te confirmatus sum ex utero; de ventre matris meae tu es protector meus; in te cantatio mea semper.
Tamquam prodigium factus sum multis; et tu adjutor fortis.
Repleatur os meum laude, ut cantem gloriam tuam, tota die magnitudinem tuam.
Ne projicias me in tempore senectutis; cum defecerit virtus mea, ne derelinquas me.
Quia dixerunt inimici mei mihi : et qui custodiebant animam meam consilium fecerunt in unum; dicentes : Deus dereliquit eum : persequimini et comprehendite eum, quia non est qui eripiat.
Deus, ne elongeris a me; Deus meus, in auxilium meum respice.
Confundantur et deficiant detrahentes animae; operiantur confusione et pudore qui quaerunt mala mihi.
Ego autem semper sperabo, et adjiciam super omnem laudem tuam.
Os meum annuntiabit justitiam tuam, tota die salutare tuum. Quoniam non cognovi litteraturam, introibo in potentias Domini; Domine, memorabor justitiae tuae solius.
Deus, docuisti me a juventute mea; et usque nunc pronuntiabo mirabilia tua. Et usque in senectam et senium, Deus, ne derelinquas me, donec annuntiem brachium tuum generationi omni quae ventura est, potentiam tuam, et justitiam tuam, Deus, usque in altissima; quae fecisti magnalia, Deus : quis similis tibi?
Quantas ostendisti mihi tribulationes multas et malas! et conversus vivificasti me, et de abyssis terrae iterum reduxisti me.
Multiplicasti magnificentiam tuam; et conversus consolatus es me.
Nam et ego confitebor tibi in vasis psalmi veritatem tuam, Deus; psallam tibi in cithara, sanctus Israel.
Exsultabunt labia mea cum cantavero tibi; et anima mea quam redemisti.
Sed et lingua mea tota die meditabitur justitiam tuam, cum confusi et reveriti fuerint qui quaerunt mala mihi.
Ant. Deus meus, eripe me de manu peccatoris.
V. Avertantur retrorsum, et erubescant.R. Qui cogitant mihi mala.
|In thee, O Lord, I have hoped, let me never be put to confusion:
Deliver me in thy justice, and rescue me. Incline thy ear unto me, and save me.
Be thou unto me a God, a protector, and a place of strength: that thou mayst make me safe.
For thou art my firmament and my refuge. Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the sinner, and out of the hand of the transgressor of the law and of the unjust.
For thou art my patience, O Lord: my hope, O Lord, from my youth;
By thee have I been confirmed from the womb: from my mother’s womb thou art my protector. Of thee shall I continually sing: I am become unto many as a wonder, but thou art a strong helper. Let my mouth be filled with praise, that I may sing thy glory; thy greatness all the day long.
Cast me not off in the time of old age: when my strength shall fail, do not thou forsake me.
For my enemies have spoken against me; and they that watched my soul have consulted together,
Saying: God hath forsaken him: pursue and take him, for there is none to deliver him.
O God, be not thou far from me: O my God, make haste to my help.
Let them be confounded and come to nothing that detract my soul; let them be covered with confusion and shame that seek my hurt.
But I will always hope; and will add to all thy praise.
My mouth shall shew forth thy justice; thy salvation all the day long. Because I have not known learning,
I will enter into the powers of the Lord: O Lord, I will be mindful of thy justice alone.
Thou hast taught me, O God, from my youth: and till now I will declare thy wonderful works.
And unto old age and grey hairs: O God, forsake me not, Until I shew forth thy arm to all the generation that is to come:
Thy power, and thy justice, O God, even to the highest great things thou hast done: O God, who is like to thee?
How great troubles hast thou shewn me, many and grievous: and turning thou hast brought me to life, and hast brought me back again from the depths of the earth:
Thou hast multiplied thy magnificence; and turning to me thou hast comforted me.
For I will also confess to thee thy truth with the instruments of psaltery: O God, I will sing to thee with the harp, thou holy one of Israel.
My lips shall greatly rejoice, when I shall sing to thee; and my soul which thou hast redeemed. Yea and my tongue shall meditate on thy justice all the day; when they shall be confounded and put to shame that seek evils to me.
Ant. Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the sinner.
V. Let them be turned back, and let them blush for shame.R. That devise evil things against me.
Here is said the Pater noster, but all in secret.
The lessons of the first nocturn for each of these three days are taken from the Lamentations of Jeremias, which describe the miserable state of Jerusalem, when, in punishment for her idolatry, her people were led captive into Babylon. How visibly is the anger of God shown in these ruins of the great city, over which Jeremias pours forth his inspired words of mourning! And yet, this first disaster was but a figure of a more terrible one to come. When the Assyrians took Jerusalem, and well nigh reduced her to a wilderness, she lost not her name; and the very prophet who laments over her destruction had foretold that the desolation was not to last beyond seventy years. But in her second destruction, the faithless city forfeited even her name. rebuilt by her conquerors, she went, for two hundred years, under the name of AElia Adriana; and when, after peace was granted to the Church, she was again called Jerusalem, it was not a restitution of honour to Juda, but a homage that was paid to the God of the Christians, whom Juda had crucified in her capital. Neither St. Helen’s and Constantine’s devotedness, nor the heroism of the crusaders, could raise Jerusalem to the position to even a second-rate city; she is doomed to be a slave, and a slave to infidels, to all but the very end of time. She drew this frightful curse upon herself by the crimes she committed against the Son of God; and nothing could give us a better idea of the enormity of those crimes, than the plaintive words of such a prophet as Jeremias. This is the reason that his Lamentations are chosen for the lessons of Tenebrae. The mournful chant to which they are sung is probably the one used by the Jews themselves. The names of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, which divide the stanzas of this inspired elegy, show us that it was written by the prophet as an acrostic. The Jewish custom of singing these Lamentations has been retained in the Christian Church.
|Incipit Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae
ALEPH. Quomodo sedet sola civitas plena populo! Facta est quasi vidua domina gentium; princeps provinciarum facta est sub tributo.
BETH. Plorans ploravit in nocte, et lacrimae ejus in maxillis ejus : non est qui consoletur eam, et omnibus caris ejus; omnes amici ejus spreverunt eam, et facti sunt ei inimici.
GHIMEL. Migravit Judas propter afflictionem, et multitudinem servitutis; habitavit inter gentes, nec invenit requiem : omnes persecutores ejus apprehenderunt eam inter angustias.
DALETH. Viae Sion lugent, eo quod non sint qui veniant ad solemnitatem : omnes portae ejus destructae, sacerdotes ejus gementes; virgines ejus squalidae, et ipsa oppressa amaritudine.
HE. Facti sunt hostes ejus in capite; inimici ejus locupletati sunt : quia Dominus locutus est super eam propter multitudinem iniquitatum ejus. Parvuli ejus ducti sunt in captivitatem ante faciem tribulantis.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum.
R. In Monte Oliveti oravit ad Patrem: Pater, si fieri potest, transeat a me calix iste: spiritus quidem promptus est, caro autem infirma.
V. Vigilate, et orate, ut non intretis in tentationem.* Spiritus quidem promptus est: caro autem infirma.
|Here beginneth the Lamentations of Jeremias the Prophet.
Aleph. How doth the city sit solitary that was full of people! how is the mistress of the Gentiles become as a widow: the princes of provinces made tributary!
Beth. Weeping she hath wept in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: there is none to comfort her among all them that were dear to her: all her friends have despised her, and are become her enemies.
Ghimel. Juda hath removed her dwelling place because of her affliction, and the greatness of her bondage: she hath dwelt among the nations, and she hath found no rest: all her persecutors have taken her in the midst of straits.
Daleth. The ways of Sion mourn, because there are none that come to the solemn feast: all her gates are broken down: her priests sigh: her virgins are in affliction, and she is oppressed with bitterness.
He. Her adversaries are become her lords, her enemies are enriched: because the Lord hath spoken against her for the multitude of her iniquities: her children are led into captivity: before the face of the oppressor.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord thy God.
R. He prayed to his Father on Mount Olivet: Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me: the spirit, indeed, is willing, but the flesh is weak.
V. Watch and pray, that ye may not enter into temptation.* The spirit, indeed, is willing, but the flesh is weak.
|VAU. Et egressus est a filia Sion omnis decor ejus; facti sunt principes ejus velut arietes non invenientes pascua, et abierunt absque fortitudine ante faciem subsequentis.
ZAIN. Recordata est Jerusalem dierum afflictionis suae, et praevaricationis, omnium desiderabilium suorum, quae habuerat a diebus antiquis, cum caderet populus ejus in manu hostili, et non esset auxiliator : viderunt eam hostes, et deriserunt sabbata ejus.
HETH. Peccatum peccavit Jerusalem, propterea instabilis facta est; omnes qui glorificabant eam spreverunt illam, quia viderunt ignominiam ejus : ipsa autem gemens conversa est retrorsum. TETH. Sordes ejus in pedibus ejus, nec recordata est finis sui; deposita est vehementer, non habens consolatorem. Vide, Domine, afflictionem meam, quoniam erectus est inimicus.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum.
R. Tristis est anima mea usque ad mortem: sustinete hic, et vigilate mecum: nunc videbitis turbam quae circumdabit me: Vos fugam capietis, et ego vadam immolari pro vobis.
V. Ecce appropinquat hora, et Filius hominis tradetur in manus peccatorum.
* Vos fugam capietis, et ego vadam immolari pro vobis.
|Vau. And from the daughter of Sion all her beauty is departed: her princes are become like rams that find no pastures: and they are gone away without strength before the face of the pursuer. Zain. Jerusalem hath remembered the days of her affliction, and prevarication of all her desirable things which she had from the days of old, when her people fell in the enemy’s hand, and there was no helper: the enemies have seen her, and have mocked at her sabbaths.
Heth. Jerusalem hath grievously sinned, therefore is she become unstable: all that honoured her have despised her, because they have seen her shame: but she sighed and turned backward. Teth. Her filthiness is on her feet, and she hath not remembered her end: she is wonderfully cast down, not having a comforter: behold, O Lord, my affliction, because the enemy is lifted up.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord thy God.
R. My soul is sorrowful even to death: stay here, and watch with me: now ye shall see a multitude, that will surround me: Ye will take to flight, and I shall go to be sacrificed for you.
V. Behold the hour is at hand, when the Son of Man shall be delivered into the hands of sinners.* Ye will take to flight, and I shall go to be sacrificed for you.
|JOD. Manum suam misit hostis ad omnia desiderabilia ejus, quia vidit gentes ingressas sanctuarium suum, de quibus praeceperas ne intrarent in ecclesiam tuam.
CAPH. Omnis populus ejus gemens, et quaerens panem; dederunt pretiosa quaeque pro cibo ad refocillandam animam. Vide, Domine, et considera quoniam facta sum vilis!
LAMED. O vos omnes qui transitis per viam, attendite, et videte si est dolor sicut dolor meus! quoniam vindemiavit me, ut locutus est Dominus, in die irae furoris sui.
MEM. De excelso misit ignem in ossibus meis, et erudivit me : expandit rete pedibus meis, convertit me retrorsum; posuit me desolatam, tota die moerore confectam.
NUN. Vigilavit jugum iniquitatum mearum; in manu ejus convolutae sunt, et impositae collo meo. Infirmata est virtus mea : dedit me Dominus in manu de qua non potero surgere.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum.
R. Ecce vidimus eum non habentem speciem, neque decorum; aspectus ejus in eo non est: hic peccata nostra portavit et pro nobis dolet: ipse autem vulneratus est propter iniquitates nostras:
* Cujus livore sanati sumus.
V. Vere languores nostros ipse tulit, et dolores nostros ipse portavit.
* Cujus livore sanati sumus.Here is repeated: Ecce vidimus
|Jod. The enemy hath put out his hand to all her desirable things: for she hath seen the Gentiles enter into her sanctuary, of whom thou gavest commandment that they should not enter into thy church.
Caph. All her people sigh, they seek bread: they have given all their precious things for food to relieve the soul: see, O Lord, and consider, for I am become vile.
Lamed. O all ye that pass by the way, attend, and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow: for he hath made a vintage of me, as the Lord spoke in the day of his fierce anger.
Mem. From above he hath sent fire into my bones, and hath chastised me: he hath spread a net for my feet, he hath turned me back: he hath made me desolate, wasted with sorrow all the day long.
Nun. The yoke of my iniquities hath watched: they are folded together in his hand, and put upon my neck: my strength is weakened: the Lord hath delivered me into a hand out of which I am not able to rise.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord thy God.R. Lo! we have seen him as one not having beauty nor comeliness; there is no sightliness in him: he hath borne our sins, and he grieves for us: and he was wounded for our iniquities:
* By his wounds we have been healed.
V. Surely he hath borne our infirmities, and carried our sorrows.
* By his wounds we have been healed.
Here it is repeated: Lo! we have seen.
THE SECOND NOTURN
The fourth psalm, which celebrates in such glowing terms the glories of the Son of David, would seem, at first sight, to be inappropriate for this Office, which commemorates only His humiliations. We sang this fine canticle on the night of our Emmanuel’s birth at Bethlehem; how comes it to be among our present chants, which are all so sorrowful? The Church has chosen it, because one of the glories here prophesied of Jesus is, that He shall deliver the poor from the mighty; and the needy that had no helper. Mankind is this poor one; satan is the mighty one; Jesus is about to deliver us from his power, by suffering what we have deserved by our sins.
|Ant. Liberavit Dominus pauperem a potente, et inopem, cui non erat adjutor.||Ant. The Lord hath delivered the poor from the mighty; and the needy that had no helper.|
|Deus, judicium tuum regi da, et justitiam tuam filio regis; judicare populum tuum in justitia, et pauperes tuos in judicio.
Suscipiant montes pacem populo, et colles justitiam.
Judicabit pauperes populi, et salvos faciet filios pauperum, et humiliabit calumniatorem.
Et permanebit cum sole, et ante lunam, in generatione et generationem.
Descendet sicut pluvia in vellus, et sicut stillicidia stillantia super terram.
Orietur in diebus ejus justitia, et abundantia pacis, donec auferatur luna.
Et dominabitur a mari usque ad mare, et a flumine usque ad terminos orbis terrarum.
Coram illo procident Aethiopes, et inimici ejus terram lingent.
Reges Tharsis et insulae munera offerent; reges Arabum et Saba dona adducent; et adorabunt eum omnes reges terrae, omnes gentes servient ei.
Quia liberabit pauperem a potente, et pauperem cui non erat adjutor.
Parcet pauperi et inopi, et animas pauperum salvas faciet.
Ex usuris et iniquitate redimet animas eorum, et honorabile nomen eorum coram illo.
Et vivet, et dabitur ei de auro Arabiae; et adorabunt de ipso semper, tota die benedicent ei.
Et erit firmamentum in terra in summis montium; superextolletur super Libanum fructus ejus, et florebunt de civitate sicut foenum terrae.
Sit nomen ejus benedictum in saecula; ante solem permanet nomen ejus.
Et benedicentur in ipso omnes tribus terrae; omnes gentes magnificabunt eum.
Benedictus Dominus, Deus Israel, qui facit mirabilia solus.
Et benedictum nomen majestatis ejus in aeternum, et replebitur majestate ejus omnis terra. Fiat, fiat.
Ant. Liberavit Dominus pauperem a potente, et inopem, cui non erat adjutor.
|Give to the king thy judgment, O God: and to the king’s son thy justice:
To judge thy people with justice, and thy poor with judgment.
Let the mountains receive peace for the people: and the hills justice.
He shall judge the poor of the people, and he shall save the children of the poor: and he shall humble the oppressor.
And he shall continue with the sun, and before the moon, throughout all generations.
He shall come down like rain upon the fleece; and as showers falling gently upon the earth.
In his days shall justice spring up, and abundance of peace, till the moon be taken away.
And he shall rule from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.
Before him the Ethiopians shall fall down: and his enemies shall lick the ground.
The kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer presents: the kings of the Arabians and of Saba shall bring gifts:
And all kings of the earth shall adore him: all nations shall serve him.
For he shall deliver the poor from the mighty: and the needy that had no helper.
He shall spare the poor and needy: and he shall save the souls of the poor.
He shall redeem their souls from usuries and iniquity: and their names shall be honourable in his sight.
And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Arabia, for him they shall always adore: they shall bless him all the day.
And there shall be a firmament on the earth on the tops of mountains, above Libanus shall the fruit thereof be exalted: and they of the city shall flourish like the grass of the earth.
Let his name be blessed for evermore: his name continueth before the sun. And in him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed: all nations shall magnify him.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone doth wonderful things.
And blessed be the name of his majesty for ever: and the whole earth shall be filled with his majesty. So be it. So be it.
Ant. The Lord hath delivered the poor from the mighty; and the needy that had no helper.
The fifth psalm conveys a moral teaching, which, if listened to, would correct many a false judgment of the world. It often happens that men are shaken at seeing the wicked prosperous, and the virtuous afflicted. It was the temptation which overcame the apostles, when, seeing their divine Master in the hands of His enemies, they lost their faith in Him as the Messias. The psalmist owns that he himself was troubled by the same kind of thought; but God enlightened him to see the truth, that if divine Providence permit iniquity to triumph for a time, the day is sure to come when He will punish the wicked, and avenge the just that have suffered persecution.
|Ant. Cogitaverunt impii, et locuti sunt nequitiam: iniquitatem in excelso locuti sunt.||Ant. The ungodly have thought and spoken wickedness: they have spoken iniquity on high.|
|Quam bonus Israel Deus, his qui recto sunt corde! Mei autem pene moti sunt pedes, pene effusi sunt gressus mei; quia zelavi super iniquos, pacem peccatorum videns.
Quia non est respectus morti eorum, et firmamentum in plaga eorum.
In labore hominum non sunt, et cum hominibus non flagellabuntur.
Ideo tenuit eos superbia; operti sunt iniquitate et impietate sua.
Prodiit quasi ex adipe iniquitas eorum; transierunt in affectum cordis.
Cogitaverunt et locuti sunt nequitiam; iniquitatem in excelso locuti sunt.
Posuerunt in caelum os suum, et lingua eorum transivit in terra.
Ideo convertetur populus meus hic, et dies pleni invenientur in eis.
Et dixerunt : Quomodo scit Deus, et si est scientia in excelso?
Ecce ipsi peccatores, et abundantes in saeculo, obtinuerunt divitias.
Et dixi : Ergo sine causa justificavi cor meum, et lavi inter innocentes manus meas; et fui flagellatus tota die, et castigatio mea in matutinis.
Si dicebam : Narrabo sic; ecce nationem filiorum tuorum reprobavi.
Existimabam ut cognoscerem hoc; labor est ante me : donec intrem in sanctuarium Dei, et intelligam in novissimis eorum.
Verumtamen propter dolos posuisti eis; dejecisti eos dum allevarentur.
Quomodo facti sunt in desolationem? subito defecerunt; perierunt propter iniquitatem suam. Velut somnium surgentium, Domine, in civitate tua imaginem ipsorum ad nihilum rediges.
Quia inflammatum est cor meum, et renes mei commutati sunt; et ego ad nihilum redactus sum, et nescivi; ut jumentum factus sum apud te, et ego semper tecum.
Tenuisti manum dexteram meam, et in voluntate tua deduxisti me, et cum gloria suscepisti me. Quid enim mihi est in caelo? et a te quid volui super terram?
Defecit caro mea et cor meum; Deus cordis mei, et pars mea, Deus in aeternum.
Quia ecce qui elongant se a te peribunt; perdidisti omnes qui fornicantur abs te.
Mihi autem adhaerere Deo bonum est, ponere in Domino Deo spem meam; ut annuntiem omnes praedicationes tuas in portis filiae Sion.
Ant. Cogitaverunt impii, et locuti sunt nequitiam: iniquitatem in excelso locuti sunt.
|How good is God to Israel, to them that are of a right heart!
But my feet were almost moved; my steps had well nigh slipped.
Because I had a zeal on occasion of the wicked, seeing the prosperity of sinners.
For there is no regard to their death, nor is there strength in their stripes.
They are not in the labour of men: neither shall they be scourged like other men.
Therefore pride hath held them fast: they are covered with their iniquity and their wickedness. Their iniquity hath come forth, as it were from fatness: they have passed into the affection of the heart.
They have thought and spoken wickedness: they have spoken iniquity on high.
They have set their mouth against heaven: and their tongue hath passed through the earth. Therefore will my people return here and full days shall be found in them.
And they said: How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?
Behold these are sinners; and yet abounding in the world they have obtained riches.
And I said: Then have I in vain justified my heart, and washed my hands among the innocent.
And I have been scourged all the day; and my chastisement hath been in the mornings.
If I said: I will speak thus; behold I should condemn the generation of thy children.
I studied that I might know this thing, it is a labour in my sight:
Until I go into the sanctuary of God, and understand concerning their last ends.
But indeed for deceits thou hast put it to them: when they were lifted up thou hast cast them down.
How are they brought to desolation? they have suddenly ceased to be: they have perished by reason of their iniquity.
As the dream of them that awake, O Lord; so in thy city thou shalt bring their image to nothing.
For my heart hath been inflamed, and my reins have been changed:
And I am brought to nothing, and I knew not.
I am become as a beast before thee: and I am always with thee.
Thou hast held me by my right hand; and by thy will thou hast conducted me, and with thy glory thou hast received me.
For what have I in heaven? and besides thee what do I desire upon earth?
For thee my flesh and my heart hath fainted away: thou art the God of my heart, and the God that is my portion for ever.
For behold they that go far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that are disloyal to thee.
But it is good for me to adhere to my God, to put my hope in the Lord God: That I may declare all thy praises, in the gates of the daughter of Sion.
Ant. The ungodly have thought and spoken wickedness: they have spoken iniquity on high.
The sixth psalm is a reproach made to the enemies of the divine worship. The Jews used it for many ages against the Gentiles; the Christians now apply it to the Synagogue, which, after having crucified the Son of God, did its utmost to destroy His Church, by putting many of her children to death, and forbidding the apostles to preach the name of Christ.
|Ant. Exsurge, Domine, et judica causam meum.||Ant. Arise, O Lord, and judge my cause.|
|Ut quid, Deus, repulisti in finem, iratus est furor tuus super oves pascuae tuae?
Memor esto congregationis tuae, quam possedisti ab initio. Redemisti virgam haereditatis tuae, mons Sion, in quo habitasti in eo.
Leva manus tuas in superbias eorum in finem. Quanta malignatus est inimicus in sancto!
Et gloriati sunt qui oderunt te in medio solemnitatis tuae; posuerunt signa sua, signa; et non cognoverunt sicut in exitu super summum. Quasi in silva lignorum securibus exciderunt januas ejus in idipsum; in securi et ascia dejecerunt eam.
Incenderunt igni sanctuarium tuum, in terra polluerunt tabernaculum nominis tui.
Dixerunt in corde suo cognatio eorum simul : quiescere faciamus omnes dies festos Dei a terra. Signa nostra non vidimus; jam non est propheta; et nos non cognoscet amplius.
Usquequo, Deus, improperabit inimicus? irritat adversarius nomen tuum in finem?
Ut quid avertis manum tuam, et dexteram tuam de medio sinu tuo in finem?
Deus autem rex noster ante saecula, operatus est salutem in medio terrae.
Tu confirmasti in virtute tua mare; contribulasti capita draconum in aquis.
Tu confregisti capita draconis; dedisti eum escam populis Aethiopum.
Tu dirupisti fontes et torrentes; tu siccasti fluvios Ethan.
Tuus est dies, et tua est nox; tu fabricatus es auroram et solem.
Tu fecisti omnes terminos terrae; aestatem et ver tu plasmasti ea.
Memor esto hujus, inimicus improperavit Domino, et populus insipiens incitavit nomen tuum.
Ne tradas bestiis animas confitentes tibi, et animas pauperum tuorum ne obliviscaris in finem.
Respice in testamentum tuum, quia repleti sunt qui obscurati sunt terrae domibus iniquitatum.
Ne avertatur humilis factus confusus; pauper et inops laudabunt nomen tuum.
Exsurge, Deus, judica causam tuam; memor esto improperiorum tuorum, eorum quae ab insipiente sunt tota die.
Ne obliviscaris voces inimicorum tuorum : superbia eorum qui te oderunt ascendit semper.
Ant. Exsurge, Domine, et judica causam meum.
V. Deus meus, eripe me de manu peccatoris.R. Et de manu contra legem agentis et iniqui.
|O God, why hast thou cast us off unto the end: why is thy wrath enkindled against the sheep of thy pasture?
Remember thy congregation, which thou hast possessed from the beginning. The sceptre of thy inheritance which thou hast redeemed: mount Sion in which thou hast dwelt.
Lift up thy hands against their pride unto the end; see what things the enemy hath done wickedly in the sanctuary.
And they that hate thee have made their boasts, in the midst of thy solemnity. They have set up their ensigns for signs,
And they knew not both in the going out and on the highest top. As with axes in a wood of trees,
They have cut down at once the gates thereof, with axe and hatchet they have brought it down. They have set fire to thy sanctuary: they have defiled the dwelling place of thy name on the earth.
They said in their heart, the whole kindred of them together: Let us abolish all the festival days of God from the land.
Our signs we have not seen, there is now no prophet: and he will know us no more.
How long, O God, shall the enemy reproach: is the adversary to provoke thy name for ever?
Why dost thou turn away thy hand: and thy right hand out of the midst of thy bosom for ever?
But God is our king before ages: he hath wrought salvation in the midst of the earth.
Thou by thy strength didst make the sea firm: thou didst crush the heads of the dragons in the waters.
Thou hast broken the heads of the dragon: thou hast given him to be meat for the people of the Ethiopians.
Thou hast broken up the fountains and the torrents: thou hast dried up the Ethan rivers.
Thine is the day, and thine is the night: thou hast made the morning light and the sun.
Thou hast made all the borders of the earth: the summer and the spring were formed by thee. Remember this, the enemy hath reproached the Lord: and a foolish people hath provoked thy name.
Deliver not up to beasts the souls that confess to thee: and forget not to the end the souls of thy poor.
Have regard to thy covenant: for they that are the obscure of the earth have been filled with dwellings of iniquity.
Let not the humble be turned away with confusion: the poor and needy shall praise thy name. Arise, O God, judge thy own cause: remember thy reproaches with which the foolish man hath reproached thee all the day.
Forget not the voices of thy enemies: the pride of them that hate thee ascendeth continually.
Ant. Arise, O Lord, and judge my cause.
V. O my God, deliver me out of the hand of the sinner.R. And out of the hand of the transgressor of the law, and of the unjust.
Here is said, in secret, the Pater noster.
For the lessons of the second nocturn the Church reads, each of these three days, a passage from Saint Augustine’s Enarrations on the psalms which are prophetic of our Lord’s Passion.
|Ex tractatu Sancti Augustini Episcopi super Psalmos.
Exaudi, Deus, orationem meam, et ne despexeris deprecationem meam: intende mihi et exaudi me. Satagentis, solliciti, in tribulatione positi verba sunt ista. Orat multa patiens, de malo liberari desiderans. Superest ut videamus in quo malo sit; et cum dicere coeperit, agnoscamus ibi nos esse: ut communicata tribulatione, conjungamus orationem. Contristatus sum, inquit, in exercitatione mea, et conturbatus sum. Ubi contristatus? Ubi conturbatus? In exercitatione mea, inquit. Homines malos, quos patitur, commemoratus est: eamdemque passionem malorum hominum, exercitationem suam dixit. Ne putetis gratis esse malos in hoc mundo, et nihil boni de illis agere Deum. Omnis malus, aut ideo vivit, ut per illum bonus exerceatur.
R. Amicus meus osculi me tradidit signo: quem osculatus fuero, ipse est, tenete eum: hoc malum fecit signum, qui per osculum adimplevit homicidium.
* Infelix praetermisit pretium sanguinis, et in fine laqueo se suspendit.
V. Bonum erat ei, si natus non fuisset homo ille.* Infelix praetermisit pretium sanguinis, et in fine laqueo se suspendit.
|From the treatise of Saint Augustine, Bishop, upon the Psalms.
Hear my prayer, O God, and despise not my petition: attend to me and hear me. These are the words of a man in trouble, solicitude, and affliction. He prays in his great sufferings, desiring to be freed from some evil. Let us now see what evil he lies under: and when he has told it to us, let us acknowledge ourselves in it: that by partaking of the affliction, we may join in his prayer. I am become sorrowful in my exercise, says he, and I am troubled. Where is he become sorrowful? Where is he troubled? He says, In my exercise. He speaks of the wicked men whom he suffers, and calls such suffering of wicked men his exercise. Think not that the wicked are in the world for nothing, and that God works no good with them. Every wicked man lives, either to amend his life, or to exercise the good man.
R. My friend hath betrayed me by the sign of a kiss: Whom I shall kiss, that is he; hold him fast: this was the wicked sign given by him, who committed murder by a kiss.
* The unhappy wretch returned the price of Blood, and, in the end, hanged himself.
V. It had been well for that man, had he never been born.* The unhappy wretch returned the price of Blood, and, in the end, hanged himself.
|Utinam ergo qui nos modo exercent, convertantur, et nobiscum exerceantur: tamen quamdiu ita sunt, ut exerceant nos, non eos oderimus: quia in eo quod malus est quis eorum, utrum usque in finem perseveraturus sit, ignoramus. Et plerumque cum tibi videris odisse inimicum, fratrem odisti, et nescis. Diabolus, et angeli ejus in Scripturis sanctis manifestati sunt nobis, quod ad ignem aeternum sint destinati: ipsorum tantum desperanda est correctio, contra quos habemus occultam luctam: ad quam luctam nos armat apostolus, dicens: non est nobis colluctatio adversus principes, et potestates, et rectores mundi, tenebrarum harum. Ne forte cum dixisset, mundi, intelligeres daemones esse rectores coeli et terrae: mundi dixit, tenebrarum harum: mundi dixit, amatorum mundi: mundi dixit, impiorum et iniquorum: mundi dixit, de quo dicit Evangelium: Et mundus eum non congnovit.
R. Judas mercator pessimus osculo petiit Dominum: ille ut agnus innocens non negavit Judae osculum
* Denariorum numero Christum Judaeis tradidit.
V. Melius illi erat, si natus non fuisset.* Denariorum numero Christum Judaeis tradidit.
|Would to God, then, they that now exercise us were converted and exercised with us: but let us not hate them, though they continue to exercise us; for we know not whether they will persevere to the end in their wickedness. And many times, when you imagine that you hate your enemy, it is your brother you hate, though you are ignorant of it the holy Scriptures plainly show us the devil and his angels are doomed to eternal fire. It is only their amendment we may despair of, with whom we wage an invisible war; for which the apostle arms us, saying: Our conflict is not with flesh and blood, that is not with the men you see before your eyes, but with princes, and powers, and rulers of the world of this darkness. And lest by his saying, of the world, you might think perhaps, that the devils are rulers of heaven and earth, he added, of this darkness. By the world, then, he meant the lovers of the world: by the world, he meant the impious and the wicked: by the world, he meant that which the Gospel speaks of: And the world knew him not.
R. Judas, the impious trader, betrayed his Lord with a kiss: He, as an innocent Lamb, refused not the kiss to Judas:
*Who, for a few pence, delivered Christ up to the Jews.
V. It would have been better for him, had he not been born.*Who, for a few pence, delivered Christ up to the Jews.
|Quoniam vidi iniquitatem et contradictionem in civitate. Attende gloriam crucis ipsius. Jam in fronte regum crux illa fixa est, cui inimici insultaverunt. Effectus probavit virtutem: domuit orbem non ferro, sed ligno. Lignum crucis contumeliis dignum visum est inimicis, et ante ipsum lignum stantes caput agitabant, et dicebant: Si Filius Dei est, descendat de cruce. Extendebat ille manus suas ad populum non credentem, et contradicentem. Si enim justus est qui ex fide vivit, iniquus est qui non habet fidem. Quod ergo hic ait, iniquitatem, perfidiam intellige. Videbat ergo Dominus in civitate iniquitatem et contradictionem, et extendebat manus suas ad populum non credentem: et tamen ipsos exspectans dicebat: Pater, ignosce illis, quia nesciunt quid faciunt.
R. Unus ex discipulis meis tradet me hodie: vae illi per quem tradar ergo!
* Melius illi erat, si natus non fuisset. V. Qui intingit mecum manum in paropside, hic me traditurus est in manus peccatorum.
|For I have seen injustice and strife in the city. See the glory of the cross! That cross, which was an object of derision to his enemies, is now placed on the foreheads of kings. The effect is a proof of his power: he conquered the world not by the sword, but by the wood. The wood of the cross was though a subject of scorn by his enemies, who, as they stood before it, shook their heads and said: If he be the Son of God, let him come down from the cross. He stretched forth his hands to an unbelieving and seditious people. For if he is just that lives by faith, he is unjust that has not faith. By injustice then here you must understand infidelity. Our Lord, therefore, saw injustice and strife in the city, and stretched forth his hands to an unbelieving and seditious people: and yet he waited for them, saying: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
R. One of my disciples will this day betray me: woe to him, by whom I shall be betrayed!
* It had been better for him, if he had not been born.
V. He that dips his hand with me in the dish, he it is that is about to betray me into the hands of sinners.* It had been better for him, if he had not been born.
THE THIRD NOCTURN
The seventh psalm declares the vengeance of God on those that excite His anger. It shows us what will happen to the Synagogue; after having obliged the Messias to drink the bitter chalice of His Passion, its own turn shall come, and it shall drink the cup of God’s wrath, even to the very dregs thereof.
|Ant. Dixi iniquis: Nolite loqui adversus Deum iniquitatem.||Ant. I said the wicked: Speak not iniquity against God.|
|Confitebimur tibi, Deus, confitebimur, et invocabimus nomen tuum; narrabimus mirabilia tua.
Cum accepero tempus, ego justitias judicabo. Liquefacta est terra et omnes qui habitant in ea, ego confirmavi columnas ejus.
Dixi iniquis : Nolite inique agere, et delinquentibus : Nolite exaltare cornu.
Nolite extollere in altum cornu vestrum; nolite loqui adversus Deum iniquitatem.
Quia neque ab oriente, neque ab occidente, neque a desertis montibus.
Quoniam Deus judex est; hunc humiliat, et hunc exaltat : quia calix in manu Domini vini meri, plenus misto. Et inclinavit ex hoc in hoc, verumtamen faex ejus non est exinanita; bibent omnes peccatores terrae.
Ego autem annuntiabo in saeculum; cantabo Deo Jacob.
Et omnia cornua peccatorum confringam; et exaltabuntur cornua justi.
Ant. Dixi iniquis: Nolite loqui adversus Deum iniquitatem.
|We will praise thee, O God: we will praise, and we will call upon thy name. We will relate thy wondrous works:
When I shall take a time, I will judge justices.
The earth is melted, and all that dwell therein: I have established the pillars thereof.
I said to the wicked: Do not act wickedly: and to the sinners: Lift not up the horn.
Lift not up your horn on high: speak not iniquity against God.
For neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the desert hills:
For God is the judge. One he putteth down, and another he lifteth up:
For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup of strong wine full of mixture. And he hath poured it out from this to that: but the dregs thereof are not emptied: all the sinners of the earth shall drink.
But I will declare for ever: I will sing to the God of Jacob.
And I will break all the horns of sinners: but the horns of the just shall be exalted.
Ant. I said the wicked: Speak not iniquity against God.
The eighth psalm was written after David had conquered his enemies. He speaks of the peace that was restored to Sion, and of the sudden vengeance of God that overtook the wicked. The enemies of our Saviour were sleeping their sleep; when suddenly, the earth trembled, and God arose to judge them.
|Ant. Terra tremuit et quievit, dum exsurgeret in judicio Deus.||Ant. The earth trembled, and was still, when God arose in judgment.|
|Notus in Judaea Deus; in Israel magnum nomen ejus.
Et factus est in pace locus ejus, et habitatio ejus in Sion.
Ibi confregit potentias arcuum, scutum, gladium, et bellum.
Illuminans tu mirabiliter a montibus aeternis;
turbati sunt omnes insipientes corde. Dormierunt somnum suum, et nihil invenerunt omnes viri divitiarum in manibus suis.
Ab increpatione tua, Deus Jacob, dormitaverunt qui ascenderunt equos.
Tu terribilis es; et quis resistet tibi? ex tunc ira tua.
De caelo auditum fecisti judicium : terra tremuit et quievit cum exsurgeret in judicium Deus, ut salvos faceret omnes mansuetos terrae.
Quoniam cogitatio hominis confitebitur tibi, et reliquiae cogitationis diem festum agent tibi. Vovete et reddite Domino Deo vestro, omnes qui in circuitu ejus affertis munera terribili, et ei qui aufert spiritum principum; terribili apud reges terrae.
Ant. Terra tremuit et quievit, dum exsurgeret in judicio Deus.
|In Judea God is known: his name is great in Israel. And his place is in peace: and his abode in Sion: There hath he broken the powers of bows, the shield, the sword, and the battle.
Thou enlightenest wonderfully from the everlasting hills.
All the foolish of heart were troubled. They have slept their sleep; and all the men of riches have found nothing in their hands.
At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, they have all slumbered that mounted on horseback.
Thou art terrible, and who shall resist thee? from that time thy wrath.
Thou hast caused judgment to be heard from heaven: the earth trembled and was still,
When God arose in judgment, to save all the meek of the earth.
For the thought of man shall give praise to thee: and the remainders of the thought shall keep holiday to thee.
Vow ye, and pay to the Lord your God: all you that are round about him bring presents. To him that is terrible, Even to him who taketh away the spirit of princes: to the terrible with the kings of the earth.
Ant. The earth trembled, and was still, when God arose in judgment.
The ninth psalm tells us of David’s tribulation when his son Absalom, the type of the Jewish people, raised the standard of revolt against him. The royal prophet, who is the figure of Christ, loses not his confidence in the midst of his trials. The recollection of the wonderful works wrought by God in favour of His people, animates his courage, and he feels that this same merciful God will deliver him.
|Ant. In die tribulationis meae Deum exquisivi manibus meis.||Ant. In the day of my tribulation, I sought God with my hands raised up in prayer.|
|Voce mea ad Dominum clamavi; voce mea ad Deum, et intendit mihi.
In die tribulationis meae Deum exquisivi; manibus meis nocte contra eum, et non sum deceptus. Renuit consolari anima mea; memor fui Dei, et delectatus sum; et exercitatus sum, et defecit spiritus meus.
Anticipaverunt vigilias oculi mei; turbatus sum, et non sum locutus.
Cogitavi dies antiquos, et annos aeternos in mente habui.
Et meditatus sum nocte cum corde meo, et exercitabar, et scopebam spiritum meum. Numquid in aeternum projiciet Deus?
aut non apponet ut complacitior sit adhuc?
aut in finem misericordiam suam abscindet, a generatione in generationem?
aut obliviscetur misereri Deus? aut continebit in ira sua misericordias suas?
Et dixi : Nunc coepi; haec mutatio dexterae Excelsi.
Memor fui operum Domini, quia memor ero ab initio mirabilium tuorum; et meditabor in omnibus operibus tuis, et in adinventionibus tuis exercebor.
Deus, in sancto via tua : quis Deus magnus sicut Deus noster?
Tu es Deus qui facis mirabilia : notam fecisti in populis virtutem tuam.
Redemisti in brachio tuo populum tuum, filios Jacob et Joseph.
Viderunt te aquae, Deus; viderunt te aquae, et timuerunt; et turbatae sunt abyssi.
Multitudo sonitus aquarum; vocem dederunt nubes. Etenim sagittae tuae transeunt; vox tonitrui tui in rota. Illuxerunt coruscationes tuae orbi terrae; commota est, et contremuit terra.
In mari via tua, et semitae tuae in aquis multis, et vestigia tua non cognoscentur.
Deduxisti sicut oves populum tuum, in manu Moysi et Aaron.
Ant. In die tribulationis meae Deum exquisivi manibus meis.
|I cried to the Lord with my voice; to God with my voice, and he gave ear to me.
In the day of my trouble I sought God, with my hands lifted up to him in the night, and I was not deceived. My soul refused to be comforted:
I remembered God, and was delighted, and was exercised, and my spirit swooned away.
My eyes prevented the watches: I was troubled, and I spoke not.
I thought upon the days of old: and I had in my mind the eternal years.
And I meditated in the night with my own heart: and I was exercised and I swept my spirit.
Will God then cast off for ever? or will he never be more favourable again?
Or will he cut off his mercy for ever, from generation to generation?
Or will God forget to shew mercy? or will he in his anger shut up his mercies?
And I said, Now have I begun: this is the change of the right hand of the most High.
I remembered the works of the Lord: for I will be mindful of thy wonders from the beginning.
And I will meditate on all thy works: and will be employed in thy inventions.
Thy way, O God, is in the holy place: who is the great God like our God?
Thou art the God that dost wonders. Thou hast made thy power known among the nations:
With thy arm thou hast redeemed thy people the children of Jacob and of Joseph.
The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee: and they were afraid, and the depths were troubled.
Great was the noise of the waters: the clouds sent out a sound. For thy arrows pass:
The voice of thy thunder in a wheel. Thy lightnings enlightened the world: the earth shook and trembled.
Thy way is in the sea, and thy paths in many waters: and thy footsteps shall not be known.
Thou hast conducted thy people like sheep, by
the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Ant. In the day of my tribulation, I sought God with my hands raised up in prayer.
|De Epistola prima Beati Pauli Apostoli ad Corinthios.
Hoc autem praecipio : non laudans quod non in melius, sed in deterius convenitis. Primum quidem convenientibus vobis in ecclesiam, audio scissuras esse inter vos, et ex parte credo. Nam oportet et haereses esse, ut et qui probati sunt, manifesti fiant in vobis. Convenientibus ergo vobis in unum, jam non est Dominicam coenam manducare. Unusquisque enim suam coenam praesumit ad manducandum, et alius quidem esurit, alius autem ebrius est. Numquid domos non habetis ad manducandum, et bibendum? aut ecclesiam Dei contemnitis, et confunditis eos qui non habent? Quid dicam vobis? laudo vos? in hoc non laudo.
R. Eram quasi agnus innocens: ductus sum ad immolandum, et nesciebam: consilium fecerunt inimici mei adversum me, dicentes:
* Venite mittamus lugnum in panem ejus, et eradamus eum de terra viventium.V. Omnes inimici mei adversum me cogitabant mala mihi: verbum iniquum mandaverunt adversum me, dicentes:
* Venite mittamus lugnum in panem ejus, et eradamus eum de terra viventium.
|From the first Epistle of Saint Paul, the Apostle, to the Corinthians.
Now this I ordain: not praising you, that you come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all I hear that when you come together in the church, there are schisms among you; and in part I believe it. For there must be also heresies: that they also, who are approved, may be made manifest among you. When you come therefore together into one place, it is not now to eat the Lord’s supper. For every one taketh before his own supper to eat. And one indeed is hungry and another is drunk. What, have you not houses to eat and to drink in? Or despise ye the church of God; and put them to shame that have not? What shall I say to you? Do I praise you? In this I praise you not.
R. I was like an innocent lamb; I was led to be sacrificed, and I knew it not: my enemies conspired against me, saying:
* Come, let us put wood on his bread, and root him out of the land of the living.
V. All my enemies devised evil things against me: they uttered a wicked speech against me, saying:* Come, let us put wood on his bread, and root him out of the land of the living.
|Ego enim accepi a Domino quod et tradidi vobis, quoniam Dominus Jesus in qua nocte tradebatur, accepit panem, et gratias agens fregit, et dixit : Accipite, et manducate : hoc est corpus meum, quod pro vobis tradetur : hoc facite in meam commemorationem. Similiter et calicem, postquam coenavit, dicens : Hic calix novum testamentum est in meo sanguine : hoc facite quotiescumque bibetis, in meam commemorationem. Quotiescumque enim manducabitis panem hunc, et calicem bibetis, mortem Domini annuntiabitis donec veniat.
R. Una hora non potuistis vigilare mecum, qui exhortabamini mori pro me?
* Vel Judam non videtis, quomodo non dormit, sed festinate tradere me Judaeis?
V. Quid dormitis? Surgite, et orate, ne intretis in tentationem.* Vel Judam non videtis, quomodo non dormit, sed festinate tradere me Judaeis?
|For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread. And giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye, and eat: this is my body, which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me. In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me. For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come.
R. Could ye not watch one hour with me, ye that exhorted each other to die for me?
* Or see ye not how Judas sleepeth not, but maketh speed to deliver me up to the Jews?
V. Why sleep ye? Arise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.* Or see ye not how Judas sleepeth not, but maketh speed to deliver me up to the Jews?
|Itaque quicumque manducaverit panem hunc, vel biberit calicem Domini indigne, reus erit corporis et sanguinis Domini. Probet autem seipsum homo: et sic de pane illo edat, et de calice bibat. Qui enim manducat et bibit indigne, judicium sibi manducat et bibit, non dijudicans corpus Domini. Ideo inter vos multi infirmi et imbecilles, et dormiunt multi. Quod si nosmetipsos dijudicaremus, non utique judicaremur. Dum judicamur autem, a Domino corripimur, ut non cum hoc mundo damnemur. Itaque fratres mei, cum convenitis ad manducandum, invicem exspectate. Si quis esurit, domi manducet, ut non in judicium conveniatis. Cetera autem, cum venero, disponam.
R. Seniores populi consilium fecerunt,
* Ut Jesum dolo tenerent, et occiderent: cum gladiis et fustibus exierunt tamquam ad latronem.
V. Colligerunt pontifices et pharisaei Concilium.
* Ut Jesum dolo tenerent, et occiderent: cum gladiis et fustibus exierunt tamquam ad latronem.
Here is repeated: Seniores populi.
|Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord. Therefore are there many infirm and weak among you, and many sleep. But if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But whilst we are judged, we are chastised by the Lord, that we be not condemned with this world. Wherefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. If any man be hungry, let him eat at home; that you come not together unto judgment. And the rest I will set in order, when I come.
R. The ancients of the people consulted together,
* How they might, by craft, apprehend Jesus, and kill him: they went forth with swords and clubs, as to a thief.
V. The priests and pharisees held a council.
* How they might, by craft, apprehend Jesus, and kill him: they went forth with swords and clubs, as to a thief.
Here is repeated: The ancients.
The first psalm is thee one written by David after his sin, in which he so feelingly and so humbly breathes forth his repentance. The Church invariably makes use of this psalm, when she sues to God for mercy; and of all the canticles of the royal prophet there is not one so familiar to the faithful as this.
|Ant. Justificeris, Domine, in sermonibus tuis, et vincas cum judicaris.||Ant. Be thou justified, O Lord, in thy words, and over come, when thou art judged.|
|Miserere mei, Deus, secundum magnam misericordiam tuam; et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum, dele iniquitatem meam. Amplius lava me ab iniquitate mea, et a peccato meo munda me.
Quoniam iniquitatem meam ego cognosco, et peccatum meum contra me est semper.
Tibi soli peccavi, et malum coram te feci; ut justificeris in sermonibus tuis, et vincas cum judicaris.
Ecce enim in iniquitatibus conceptus sum, et in peccatis concepit me mater mea.
Ecce enim veritatem dilexisti; incerta et occulta sapientiae tuae manifestasti mihi.
Asperges me hyssopo, et mundabor; lavabis me, et super nivem dealbabor.
Auditui meo dabis gaudium et laetitiam, et exsultabunt ossa humiliata.
Averte faciem tuam a peccatis meis, et omnes iniquitates meas dele.
Cor mundum crea in me, Deus, et spiritum rectum innova in visceribus meis.
Ne projicias me a facie tua, et spiritum sanctum tuum ne auferas a me.
Redde mihi laetitiam salutaris tui, et spiritu principali confirma me.
Docebo iniquos vias tuas, et impii ad te convertentur.
Libera me de sanguinibus, Deus, Deus salutis meae, et exsultabit lingua mea justitiam tuam. Domine, labia mea aperies, et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam.
Quoniam si voluisses sacrificium, dedissem utique; holocaustis non delectaberis.
Sacrificium Deo spiritus contribulatus; cor contritum et humiliatum, Deus, non despicies. Benigne fac, Domine, in bona voluntate tua Sion, ut aedificentur muri Jerusalem.
Tunc acceptabis sacrificium justitiae, oblationes et holocausta; tunc imponent super altare tuum vitulos.
Ant. Justificeris, Domine, in sermonibus tuis, et vincas cum judicaris.
|Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy great mercy. And according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my iniquity.
Wash me yet more from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my iniquity, and my sin is always before me.
To thee only have I sinned, and have done evil before thee: that thou mayst be justified in thy words and mayst overcome when thou art judged.
For behold I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me.
For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.
Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed: thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow.
To my hearing thou shalt give joy and gladness: and the bones that have been humbled shall rejoice.
Turn away thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
Create a clean heart in me, O God: and renew a right spirit within my bowels.
Cast me not away from thy face; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and strengthen me with a perfect spirit.
I will teach the unjust thy ways: and the wicked shall be converted to thee.
Deliver me from blood, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall extol thy justice.
O Lord, thou wilt open my lips: and my mouth shall declare thy praise.
For if thou hadst desired sacrifice, I would indeed have given it: with burnt offerings thou wilt not be delighted.
A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit: a contrite and humbled heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Deal favourably, O Lord, in thy good will with Sion; that the walls of Jerusalem may be built up.
Then shalt thou accept the sacrifice of justice, oblations and whole burnt offerings: then shall they lay calves upon thy altar.
Ant. Be thou justified, O Lord, in thy words, and over come, when thou art judged.
The second psalm is one of those fixed for the Thursday of each week: it is a prayer suitable for the morning. The psalmist confesses the nothingness of man, and the shortness of his life: he asks God to bless the actions of the day. The faithful must not forget that the Office of Lauds is the morning service, and its being said over night, during these three days, is exceptional.
|Ant. Dominus tamquam ovis ad victimam ductus est, et non aperuit os suum.||Ant. The Lord was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and he opened not his mouth|
|Domine, refugium factus es nobis a generatione in generationem.
Priusquam montes fierent, aut formaretur terra et orbis, a saeculo et usque in saeculum tu es Deus.
Ne avertas hominem in humilitatem; et dixisti : Convertimini, filii hominum.
Quoniam mille anni ante oculos tuos tamquam dies hesterna quae praeteriit, et custodia in nocte; quae pro nihilo habentur eorum anni erunt.
Mane sicut herba transeat; mane floreat, et transeat; vespere decidat, induret, et arescat. Quia defecimus in ira tua, et in furore tuo turbati sumus.
Posuisti iniquitates nostras in conspectu tuo, saeculum nostrum in illuminatione vultus tui. Quoniam omnes dies nostri defecerunt; et in ira tua defecimus. Anni nostri sicut aranea meditabuntur; dies annorum nostrorum in ipsis septuaginta anni. Si autem in potentatibus octoginta anni, et amplius eorum labor et dolor; quoniam supervenit mansuetudo, et corripiemur.
Quis novit potestatem irae tuae, et prae timore tuo iram tuam dinumerare? Dexteram tuam sic notam fac, et eruditos corde in sapientia. Convertere, Domine; usquequo? et deprecabilis esto super servos tuos.
Repleti sumus mane misericordia tua; et exsultavimus, et delectati sumus omnibus diebus nostris.
Laetati sumus pro diebus quibus nos humiliasti, annis quibus vidimus mala.
Respice in servos tuos et in opera tua, et dirige filios eorum.
Et sit splendor Domini Dei nostri super nos; et opera manuum nostrarum dirige super nos, et opus manuum nostrarum dirige.
Ant. Dominus tamquam ovis ad victimam ductus est, et non aperuit os suum.
|Lord, thou hast been our refuge from generation to generation.
Before the mountains were made, or the earth and the world was formed; from eternity and to eternity thou art God.
Turn not man away to be brought low: and thou hast said: Be converted, O ye sons of men.
For a thousand years in thy sight are as yesterday, which is past. And as a watch in the night,
Things that are counted nothing, shall their years be.
In the morning man shall grow up like grass; in the morning he shall flourish and pass away: in the evening he shall fall, grow dry, and wither. For in thy wrath we have fainted away: and are troubled in thy indignation.
Thou hast set our iniquities before thy eyes: our life in the light of thy countenance.
For all our days are spent; and in thy wrath we have fainted away. Our years shall be considered as a spider:
The days of our years in them are threescore and ten years. But if in the strong they be fourscore years: and what is more of them is labour and sorrow. For mildness is come upon us: and we shall be corrected.
Who knoweth the power of thy anger, and for thy fear
Can number thy wrath? So make thy right hand known: and men learned in heart, in wisdom. Return, O Lord, how long? and be entreated in favour of thy servants.
We are filled in the morning with thy mercy: and we have rejoiced, and are delighted all our days. We have rejoiced for the days in which thou hast humbled us: for the years in which we have seen evils.
Look upon thy servants and upon their works: and direct their children.
And let the brightness of the Lord our God be upon us: and direct thou the works of our hands over us; yea, the work of our hands do thou direct.
Ant. The Lord was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and he opened not his mouth
The following psalm, like the former, belongs to the Lauds of Thursdays. It speaks of the wicked man rising in the morning with his mind bent upon the evil deeds he has resolved on during the night; it implores God’s protection against him, and sings of the life, the true light, and the abundance of good things reserved for the just in heaven.
|Ant. Contritum est cor meum in medio mei, contremuerunt omnia ossa mea.||Ant. My heart is broken within me; all my bones have trembled.|
|Dixit injustus ut delinquat in semetipso : non est timor Dei ante oculos ejus.
Quoniam dolose egit in conspectu ejus, ut inveniatur iniquitas ejus ad odium.
Verba oris ejus iniquitas, et dolus; noluit intelligere ut bene ageret.
Iniquitatem meditatus est in cubili suo; astitit omni viae non bonae, malitiam autem non odivit.
Domine, in caelo misericordia tua, et veritas tua usque ad nubes.
Justitia tua sicut montes Dei; judicia tua abyssus multa. Homines et jumenta salvabis, Domine, quemadmodum multiplicasti misericordiam tuam, Deus. Filii autem hominum in tegmine alarum tuarum sperabunt.
Inebriabuntur ab ubertate domus tuae, et torrente voluptatis tuae potabis eos; quoniam apud te est fons vitae, et in lumine tuo videbimus lumen.
Praetende misericordiam tuam scientibus te, et justitiam tuam his qui recto sunt corde.
Non veniat mihi pes superbiae, et manus peccatoris non moveat me.
Ibi ceciderunt qui operantur iniquitatem; expulsi sunt, nec potuerunt stare.
Ant. Contritum est cor meum in medio mei, contremuerunt omnia ossa mea.
|The unjust hath said within himself, that he would sin: there is no fear of God before his eyes. For in his sight he hath done deceitfully, that his iniquity may be found unto hatred.
The words of his mouth are iniquity and guile: he would not understand that he might do well.
He hath devised iniquity on his bed, he hath set himself on every way that is not good: but evil he hath not hated.
O Lord, thy mercy is in heaven, and thy truth reacheth, even to the clouds.
Thy justice is as the mountains of God, thy judgments are a great deep. Men and beasts thou wilt preserve, O Lord:
O how hast thou multiplied thy mercy, O God! But the children of men shall put their trust under the covert of thy wings.
They shall be inebriated with the plenty of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the torrent of thy pleasure. For with thee is the fountain of life; and in thy light we shall see light.
Extend thy mercy to them that know thee, and thy justice to them that are right in heart.
Let not the foot of pride come to me, and let not the hand of the sinner move me.
There the workers of iniquity are fallen, they are cast out, and could not stand.
Ant. My heart is broken within me; all my bones have trembled.
The sublime Canticle of Moses, which was sung after the passage through the Red Sea, forms part of Thursday’s Lauds for penitential seasons. It is peculiarly appropriate now, when our catechumens are about to receive holy Baptism. The font will be their Red Sea, wherein all their sins will be drowned, as the Egyptians of old. The Israelites, after having offered the sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb, passed safely between the waves: our catechumens will come to the laver of regeneration full of hope in the Sacrifice of the true Lamb, for His Blood has imparted to the element of water the power of purifying the soul.
|Ant. Exhortatus es in virtute tua, et in refectione sancta tua, Domine.||Ant. Thou hast encouraged us by thy power, and by thy holy refreshment, O Lord!|
CANTICLE OF MOSES
|Cantemus Domino : gloriose enim magnificatus est, equum et ascensorem dejecit in mare. Fortitudo mea, et laus mea Dominus, et factus est mihi in salutem : iste Deus meus, et glorificabo eum : Deus patris mei, et exaltabo eum.
Dominus quasi vir pugnator, Omnipotens nomen ejus, currus Pharaonis et exercitum ejus projecit in mare : electi principes ejus submersi sunt in mari Rubro.
Abyssi operuerunt eos; descenderunt in profundum quasi lapis.
Dextera tua, Domine, magnificata est in fortitudine : dextera tua, Domine, percussit inimicum.
Et in multitudine gloriae tuae deposuisti adversarios tuos : misisti iram tuam, quae devoravit eos sicut stipulam.
Et in spiritu furoris tui congregatae sunt aquae : stetit unda fluens, congregata sunt abyssi in medio mari.
Dixit inimicus : Persequar et comprehendam, dividam spolia, implebitur anima mea : evaginabo gladium meum, interficiet eos manus mea.
Flavit spiritus tuus, et operuit eos mare : submersi sunt quasi plumbum in aquis vehementibus.
Quis similis tui in fortibus, Domine? quis similis tui, magnificus in sanctitate, terribilis atque laudabilis, faciens mirabilia?
Extendisti manum tuam, et devoravit eos terra. Dux fuisti in misericordia tua populo quem redemisti : et portasti eum in fortitudine tua, ad habitaculum sanctum tuum.
Ascenderunt populi, et irati sunt : dolores obtinuerunt habitatores Philisthiim.
Tunc conturbati sunt principes Edom, robustos Moab obtinuit tremor : obriguerunt omnes habitatores Chanaan.
Irruat super eos formido et pavor, in magnitudine brachii tui : fiant immobiles quasi lapis, donec pertranseat populus tuus, Domine, donec pertranseat populus tuus iste, quem possedisti. Introduces eos, et plantabis in monte haereditatis tuae, firmissimo habitaculo tuo quod operatus es, Domine : sanctuarium tuum, Domine, quod firmaverunt manus tuae.
Dominus regnabit in aeternum et ultra.
Ingressus est enim eques Pharao cum curribus et equitibus ejus in mare : et reduxit super eos Dominus aquas maris : filii autem Israel ambulaverunt per siccum in medio ejus.
Ant. Exhortatus es in virtute tua, et in refectione sancta tua, Domine.
|Let us sing to the Lord: for he is gloriously magnified, the horse and the rider he hath thrown into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my praise, and he is become salvation to me: he is my God and I will glorify him: the God of my father, and I will exalt him.
The Lord is as a man of war, Almighty is his name. Pharao’s chariots and his army he hath cast into the sea: his chosen captains are drowned in the Red Sea.
The depths have covered them, they are sunk to the bottom like a stone.
Thy right hand, O Lord, is magnified in strength: thy right hand, O Lord, hath slain the enemy.
And in the multitude of thy glory thou hast put down thy adversaries: thou hast sent thy wrath, which hath devoured them like stubble.
And with the blast of thy anger the waters were gathered together: the flowing water stood, the depth were gathered together in the midst of the sea.
The enemy said: I will pursue and overtake, I will divide the spoils, my soul shall have its fill: I will draw my sword, my hand shall slay them.
Thy wind blew and the sea covered them: they sunk as lead in the mighty waters.
Who is like to thee, among the strong, O Lord? who is like to thee, glorious in holiness, terrible and praiseworthy, doing wonders?
Thou stretchedst forth thy hand, and the earth swallowed them.
In thy mercy thou hast been a leader to the people which thou hast redeemed: and in thy strength thou hast carried them to thy holy habitation.
Nations rose up, and were angry: sorrows took hold on the inhabitants of Philisthiim.
Then were the princes of Edom troubled, trembling seized on the stout men of Moab: all the inhabitants of Chanaan became stiff.
Let fear and dread fall upon them, in the greatness of thy arm: let them become unmoveable as a stone, until thy people, O Lord, pass by: until this thy people pass by, which thou hast possessed.
Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thy inheritance, in thy most firm habitation which thou hast made, O Lord; thy sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established.
The Lord shall reign for ever and ever.
For Pharao went in on horseback with his chariots and horsemen into the sea: and the Lord brought back upon them the waters of the sea: but the children of Israel walked on dry ground in the midst thereof.
Ant. Thou hast encouraged us by thy power, and by thy holy refreshment, O Lord!
Though varying according to the days of the week, the last psalm of the morning Office is always one of praise, which is expressed in its very first word; whence this Hour has received its beautiful name of Lauds.
|Ant. Oblatus est quia ipse voluit; et peccata nostra ipse portavit.||Ant. He was offered because it was his own will, and he himself bore our sins.|
|Laudate Dominum, quoniam bonus est psalmus; Deo nostro sit jucunda, decoraque laudatio. Aedificans Jerusalem Dominus, dispersiones Israelis congregabit;
Qui sanat contritos corde, et alligat contritiones eorum;
Qui numerat multitudinem stellarum, et omnibus eis nomina vocat.
Magnus Dominus noster, et magna virtus ejus; et sapientiae ejus non est numerus.
Suscipiens mansuetos Dominus; humilians autem peccatores usque ad terram.
Praecinite Domino in confessione, psallite Deo nostro in cithara.
Qui operit caelum nubibus, et parat terrae pluviam; qui producit in montibus foenum, et herbam servituti hominum;
Qui dat jumentis escam ipsorum, et pullis corvorum invocantibus eum.
Non in fortitudine equi voluntatem habebit, nec in tibiis viri beneplacitum erit ei.
Beneplacitum est Domino super timentes eum, et in eis qui sperant super misericordia ejus.
Ant. Oblatus est quia ipse voluit; et peccata nostra ipse portavit.
|Praise ye the Lord, because psalm is good: to our God be joyful and comely praise.
The Lord buildeth up Jerusalem: he will gather together the dispersed of Israel.
Who healeth the broken of heart, and bindeth up their bruises.
Who telleth the number of the stars: and calleth them all by their names.
Great is our Lord, and great is his power: and of his wisdom there is no number.
The Lord lifteth up the meek, and bringeth the wicked down even to the ground. Sing ye to the Lord with praise: sing to our God upon the harp. Who covereth the heaven with clouds, and prepareth rain for the earth. Who maketh grass to grow on the mountains, and herbs for the service of men. Who giveth to beasts their food: and to the young ravens that call upon him.
He shall not delight in the strength of the horse: nor take pleasure in the legs of a man.
The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him: and in them that hope in his mercy.
Ant. He was offered because it was his own will, and he himself bore our sins.
The Church now intones the sweet canticle of Zachary, which she repeats every morning. Its joyous accents strangely contrast with the sadness caused in us by the Passion of our Jesus, the Sun of justice. It was during these very days, that the remission of sins was wrought through the bowels of the mercy of our God; but the divine Orient rises not upon us from on high and in His splendour; He is about to set on Calvary by the most cruel of deaths. Let us weep for ourselves, while we weep for Him; but let us look forward to His Resurrection, which is to be ours also.
|Ant. Traditor autem dedit eis signum dicens: Quem osculatus fuero, ipse est, tenete eum.||Ant. But the traitor gave them a sign, saying: He whom I shall kiss, that is he; hold him fast.|
CANTICLE OF ZACHARY
(St Luke, i.)
|Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel, quia visitavit, et fecit redemptionem plebis suae:
Et erexit cornu salutis nobis in domo David pueri sui,
Sicut locutum est per os sanctorum, qui a saeculo sunt, prophetarum ejus :
Salutem ex inimicis nostris, et de manu omnium qui oderunt nos:
Ad faciendam misericordiam cum patribus nostris : et memorari testamenti sui sancti : Jusjurandum, quod juravit ad Abraham patrem nostrum, daturum se nobis
Ut sine timore, de manu inimicorum nostrorum liberati, serviamus illi
In sanctitate et justitia coram ipso, omnibus diebus nostris.
Et tu puer, propheta Altissimi vocaberis : praeibis enim ante faciem Domini parare vias ejus,
Ad dandam scientiam salutis plebi ejus in remissionem peccatorum eorum
Per viscera misericordiae Dei nostri, in quibus visitavit nos, oriens ex alto:
Illuminare his qui in tenebris et in umbra mortis sedent : ad dirigendos pedes nostros in viam pacis.
Ant. Traditor autem dedit eis signum dicens: Quem osculatus fuero, ipse est, tenete eum.
|Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; because he hath visited and wrought the redemption of his people:
And hath raised up an horn of salvation to us, in the house of David his servant:
As he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets, who are from the beginning:
Salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us:
To perform mercy to our fathers, and to remember his holy testament,
The oath, which he swore to Abraham our father, that he would grant to us,
That being delivered from the hand of our enemies, we may serve him without fear,
In holiness and justice before him, all our days.
And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways:
To give knowledge of salvation to his people, unto the remission of their sins:
Through the bowels of the mercy of our God, in which the Orient from on high hath visited us:
To enlighten them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death: to direct our feet into the way of peace.
Ant. But the traitor gave them a sign, saying: He whom I shall kiss, that is he; hold him fast.
As soon as the antiphon is finished, the choir sings, to a most plaintive chant, the following words, which are continually on the lips of the Church, during these three days:
|V. Christus factus est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem.||V. Christ became, for our sake, obedient unto death.|
Immediately after this the Pater noster is said in secret, which is followed by the Psalm Miserere; it is recited with a suppressed voice, by alternate choirs. Finally the first in dignity says the following prayer:
|Respice, quaesumus, Domine, super hanc familiam tuam: pro qua Dominus noster Jesus Christus non dubitavit manibus tradi nocentium, et crucis subire tormentum:||Look down, O Lord, we beseech thee, upon this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ hesitated not to be delivered into the hands of wicked men, and to undergo the punishment of the cross:|
(then the rest in secret:)
|Qui tecum vivit et regnat, in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen||Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.|
The ceremonies of gradually putting out the candles, of taking the one that is left lighted, concealing it an then showing it again, and of making a noise at the end of the Office, have already been explained.
This is the first day of the Azymes, or Feast of the Unleavened Bread. At sunset, the Jews must eat the Pasch in Jerusalem. Jesus is still in Bethania; but he will return to the City before the hour for the Paschal supper. The Law commands this; and, until he has abrogated the Law by the shedding of his Blood, he wishes to observe its ordinances. He therefore sends two of his Disciples to get everything ready for the Pasch, without, however, telling them the great Mystery, wherewith it is to terminate. We who know it, and that it was at this Last Supper that was instituted the Sacrament of the Eucharist, we can understand why he sends Peter and John, in preference to any of the other Disciples, to prepare what is needed. Peter, who was the first to confess the Divinity of Jesus, represents Faith: and John, who leaned upon the breast of the Man-God, represents Love. The mystery, which is to be instituted at tonight’s Supper, is revealed to Love by Faith. It is this that Jesus would have us learn from this choice of the two Apostles; but they themselves see not the intention of their Master.
Jesus, who knew all things, tells them by what sign they are to know the house, which he intends to honor with his presence: they have but to follow a man, whom they will see carrying a pitcher of water. The house to which this man is going belongs to a rich Jew, who recognizes Jesus as the Messias. The two Apostles apprise him of their Master’s wishes; and immediately he puts at their disposal a large and richly furnished room. It was fitting that the place where the most august Mystery was to be instituted should be something above common. This Room, where the reality was to be substituted for all the ancient figures, was far superior to the Temple of Jerusalem. In it was to be erected the first Altar for the offering up of the clean oblation, foretold by the Prophet: in it was to commence the Christian Priesthood: in it, finally, fifty days later on, the Church of Christ, collected together and visited by the Holy Ghost, was to make herself known to the world, and promulgate the new and universal Covenant of God with men. This favored sanctuary of our Faith is still venerated on Mount Sion. The Infidels have profaned it by their false worship, for even they look on it as a sacred place; but as though Divine Providence, which has mercifully preserved unto us so many traces of our Redeemer, would give us an earnest of better days to come—this venerable sanctuary has been recently thrown open to several Priests of the Church, and they have even been permitted to offer up the Holy Sacrifice in the very place where the Eucharist was instituted.
During the course of the day, Jesus has entered Jerusalem, with the rest of His Disciples: He has found all things prepared.
The Paschal Lamb, after being first presented in the Temple, has been brought to the house, where Jesus is to celebrate the Supper: it is prepared, together with the wild lettuce and the unleavened bread. In a few hours, the Divine Master and his Disciples will be standing round the table, their loins girt, and staves in their hands; and, for the last time, they will observe the solemn rite prescribed by God to his people, when they first went forth from Egypt.
But let us wait for the hour of Mass before going further into the details of this Last Supper. Meanwhile, let us seek edification and instruction in two holy functions which belong to this great day. The first is the Reconciliation of Penitents, which, although not now in use, needs to be described, in order that our readers may have a proper idea of the Lenten Liturgy. The second is the Consecration of the Holy Oils, which is a ceremony confined to Cathedral Churches, but so interesting to the Faithful that we should have scrupled to have excluded it from our volume. After having briefly described these, we will return tot he history of the Institution of the Blessed Sacrament, and assist at Mass. Then we shall have to speak of the preparation for the Mass of the Presanctified for tomorrow’s service, of the Stripping the Altars, and of the Mandatum, or Washing of the Feet. We proceed, therefore, to explain these several ceremonies, which make Maundy Thursday to be one of the most sacred days of the Liturgical Year.
The Reconciliation of Penitents
Three solemn Masses were anciently celebrated on this day; and the first was preceded by the absolution of the public Penitents, and their readmission into the Church. The following was the order of the service for the Reconciliation of Penitents. They presented themselves at the Church door, clad in penitential garb, and barefooted. Their hair of both head and beard had been allowed to grow from Ash Wednesday, the day on which they had received their penance. The Bishop recited, in the sanctuary, the seven Psalms, in which David expresses his sorrow for having offended God. These were followed by the Litany of the Saints.
During these prayers, the Penitents were prostrate in the porch, for entrance into the Church was forbidden them. Thrice during the Litany, the Bishop deputed some of the clergy to go and visit them, in his name, and bear them words of hope and consolation. The first time, two Subdeacons went to them and said: As I live, saith the Lord, I will not the death of the sinner, but rather that he be converted and live. The second time, two other Subdeacons were sent, with this message: Thus saith the Lord: Do penance; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Finally, a Deacon was commissioned to go to them, and say: Lift up your heads; lo! your redemption is nigh.
After these announcements of approaching pardon, the Bishop left the Sanctuary and went towards the Penitents, as far as half-way down the center nave, where was prepared a seat, turned towards the door which led into the porch, where the Penitents were still lying prostrate. The Pontiff being seated the Archdeacon addressed him in these words:
Venerable Pontiff! The acceptable time has come, the day of God’s mercy and of man’s salvation, when death was destroyed, and eternal life began. This is the time, when, in the vineyard of the Lord of Sabaoth, new plants are to be set, and the detestableness of the old growth is to be pruned away. For though there be no period of time, which is not rich in the goodness and mercy of God, yet now indulgence produces a more abundant remission of sins, and grace yields a more plentiful number of the regenerated. Those that are regenerated add to our ranks; those that return, increase our numbers. There is a laver of water; there is a laver of tears. From the one, there is joy because of the admittance of them that are called; from the other, there is gladness because of them that repent. Therefore it is, that these thy suppliant servants—after having fallen into sundry kinds of sins, by the neglect of the divine commandments, and the transgression of the moral law—humbled and prostrate, cry out to the Lord in these words of the Prophet: We have sinned: we have done unjustly; we have committed iniquity: have mercy on us, O Lord! It has not been in vain, that they have heard the words of the Gospel: Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted. As it is written, they have eaten the bread of sorrow; they have watered their couch with tears; they have afflicted their hearts with mourning, and their bodies with fasting, that thus they might recover the health of soul, which they had lost. The grace of penance, therefore, is one; but it profits each one that receives it, and gives help to all in common.
The Bishop then rose, and advanced towards the Penitents. He spoke to them concerning the mercy of God, and how they should live for the time to come. After this exhortation, he thus addressed them: Come, come, come, my children! I will teach you the fear of the Lord. The Choir then sang this Antiphon, taken from the 33rd Psalm: Come ye to him, and be enlightened, and your faces shall not be confounded. Hereupon, the Penitents got up, and, coming to the Bishop, threw themselves at his feet. The Archpriest then pleaded for them in these words:
Make good in them, O Apostolic Pontiff, all that has been corrupted in them by the temptation of the devil! By the merit of thy prayers and intercession, and by the grace of the divine reconciliation, bring these men nigh unto God. Thus, they who, heretofore, suffered by the sins they committed, may now be happy in the hope that, having overcome the author of their death, they may please the Lord, in the land of the living.
The Bishop answered: Knowest thou, if they be worthy of reconciliation? The Archpriest replied: I know, and bear witness, that they are worthy. A Deacon then ordered the Penitents to rise. This done, the Bishop took one of them by the hand, who did the same to his neighbor; and thus all, hand in hand, followed the Bishop to the place prepared in the center of the nave. Meanwhile, the Choir sang the following Antiphons: I say unto you, there is joy to the Angels of God over one sinner doing penance. It behoveth thee, my son, to rejoice; for thy brother was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and is found. The Bishop then offered up to God this prayer, which he sang to the solemn tone of the Preface.
It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should always and in all places give thanks to thee, O Holy Lord, Almighty Father, Eternal God, through Christ our Lord: Whom thou, O Almighty Father, didst will should be born among us by an ineffable Birth, that so he might pay to thee, his Eternal Father, the debt contracted by Adam, and put our death to death by his own, and bear our wounds in his own flesh, and cleanse away our stains by his Blood; hereby enabling us, who had fallen by the envy of the old enemy, to rise again by his mercy. Through him, O Lord, we suppliantly beseech and pray thee that thou mayest graciously hear us making intercession for the sins of others, who are not worthy to plead for our own. do thou, O most merciful Lord, recall to thyself, with thy wonted goodness, these thy servants, who have separated themselves from thee by their sins. For neither didst thou reject the most wicked Achab when he humbled himself before thee, but didst avert from him the punishment he had deserved. So, likewise, didst thou graciously hear Peter, when he wept, and didst afterwards give to him the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and thou didst promise the reward of that same kingdom to the Thief when he trusted in thee. Therefore, O most merciful Lord! mercifully welcome back these for whom we offer to thee our prayers, and restore them to the bosom of the Church, that the enemy may not triumph over them, but that they may be reconciled unto thee by thy co-equal Son, and by Him be cleansed from their guilt, and graciously admitted by Him to the banquet of thy most Holy Supper. May he in such wise refresh them by his Flesh and Blood, as to lead them, after this life’s course is run, to the kingdom of heaven.
After this Prayer, all, both clergy and laity, prostrated themselves, together with the Penitents, before the Divine Majesty, and recited the three Psalms which begin with the word Miserere (that is the 50th, the 55th, and the 56th). The Bishop then stood up, and said over the Penitents (who remained prostrate, as did also all the assistants), six Prayers, from which we select the following sentences.
Give ear, O Lord, to our supplications, and mercifully hear me, though I myself need mercy above all others. Thou hast chosen me to be the minister of this work, not from any merits thou didst see in me, but by the pure gift of thy grace. Grant me courage to fulfill my office, and do thou work, by my ministry, the effects of thine own mercy. It is thou that didst bring back, on thy shoulders, the lost sheep to the fold, and that didst mercifully hear the prayers of the Publican: do thou, also, restore to life these thy servants, whom thou wouldst not have die unto thee. O thou, who abandonest not them that are gone astray, receive these who have returned to thee. We beseech thee, O Lord, let the tearful sighs of these thy servants move thee to clemency: heal their wounds: stretch out thy saving hand to them, and raise them up. Permit not thy Church to be injured in any of her members: let not thy flock suffer loss; let not the enemy exult over the destruction of any of thy family, nor the second death lay hold of them that have been regenerated in the laver of salvation. Pardon, O Lord, these that confess their sins to thee: let them not fall into the punishments of the future judgment to come; let them never know the horrors of darkness or the torments of the flames of hell. They have returned from the way of error to the path of justice; let them not be again wounded, but maintain ever within themselves both what thy grace hath conferred upon them and what thy mercy hath reformed within them.
Having said these Prayers, the Bishop stretched forth his hands over the Penitents, and pronounced the Reconciliation, in this solemn formula:
May our Lord Jesus Christ, who vouchsafed to take away the sins of the whole world by delivering himself up for us, and shedding his spotless Blood; who, also, said unto his Disciples: whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth, shall be loosed also in heaven: and who hath numbered me, though unworthy, among these his ministers: may he deign, by the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God, of the blessed Archangel Michael, of holy Peter the Apostle (to whom he gave the power of binding and loosing), and of all the Saints, to absolve you, by the merits of his Blood shed for the remission of sins, from all whatsoever you have negligently committed in thought, or word, or action; and, having loosed you from the bonds of sin, may he graciously lead you to the kingdom of heaven. Who, with God the Father, and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth for ever and ever. Amen.
The Bishop then advanced towards the Penitents, who were still lying prostrate: he sprinkled them with holy water, and thurified them. Finally, he addressed them in these words of the Apostle: Arise, ye that sleep! arise from the dead, and Christ shall enlighten you! The Penitents stood up; and, in order to express the joy they felt at being reconciled with their God, they immediately went and changed their penitential garb for one more in accordance with gladness, and with the Holy Communion they were now to receive together with the rest of the Faithful.
This Reconciliation of Penitents has given rise to the magnificent ceremony, which takes place at Rome on this day—the Papal Benediction. After Mass, the Sovereign Pontiff, vested in cope, and wearing the tiara, goes to the balcony over the center door of the Vatican Basilica. In the Piazza of Saint Peter’s, there stands an immense crowd of people, come from every country of the world, awaiting the appearance of the Vicar of Christ, who is about to grant them the remission of the punishment due to their sins. One of the Prelates, who surround the Pope’s throne, recites the usual form of the Confession of Sins; he recites it in the name of the assembly below, whom one and the same holy Faith has thus brought before the Father of the Christian World. After a few second of silence, the Pontiff beseeches God to show the riches of his Mercy upon the multitude, who have already purified their conscience in the Tribunal of reconciliation; he invokes upon them the assistance of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul; and then rising, he raises up his hands to heaven, as though to draw thence the treasures of eternal indulgence; and immediately lowering them, he blesses the assembled multitude. This Blessing (incorrectly called a blessing Urbi et Orbi, inasmuch as it is only given to the Faithful who are present at it), which grants a Plenary Indulgence to all that have fulfilled the requisite conditions, was originally given only on Maundy Thursday; afterwards, it was given also on Easter Sunday; and again, later on, was extended to two other days in the year, namely the Ascension (at Saint John Lateran), and the Assumption (at Saint Mary Major).
The Blessing of the Holy Oils
The second Mass which used, formerly, to be said on Maundy Thursday, was that of the Blessing of the Holy Oils. This holy function, which takes place but once each year, requires a Bishop as the consecrator. For now many centuries, this great ceremony is celebrated at the single Mass, which is said, on this day, in commemoration of our Lord’s Supper. As this Blessing only takes place in Cathedral Churches, we will not enter into each detail; and yet we would not deprive our readers of what they ought to know with regard to the Holy Oils. Faith teaches us that, as we are regenerated by water, so are we confirmed and fortified by oil; and that Oil is one of the chief elements chosen by the Divine Author of the Sacraments, whereby to signify and produce grace in our souls.
The reason of the Church’s selecting Maundy Thursday for the Blessing of the Holy Oils, was that they would be so much needed for the Baptism of the neophytes on Easter Eve. It behooves the Faithful to understand the mystery of those sacred elements. We will, therefore, briefly explain it to them, in order that we may excite their hearts to gratitude to our Blessed Lord, who has made material things the instruments of grace and, by his Blood, has given them the sacramental power which resides within them.
The first of the Holy Oils, that is, the first that is blessed by the Bishop, is the one called the Oil of the Sick. It is the matter of the Sacrament of Extreme Unction. It takes away, from the dying Christian, the remnants of sin; it strengthens him in his last combat; and, by the supernatural power it possesses, sometimes restores to him the health of the body. Formerly, it used to be blessed on any day of the year, as often as required: but later on, its Blessing was fixed for this day, that thus the three Oils might be blessed all together. The Faithful should assist, with much devotion, at this ceremony; for the element that is thus sanctified, is one day to anoint and purify their bodies, sinking under sickness. Let them, as they see it being blessed, think upon their last hour, and praise the infinite goodness of their Savior, “whose blood streams so plentifully through this precious fluid.”
The noblest of the three Oils is the Chrism, and its consecration is more solemn, and fuller of mystery, than those of the other two. It is by the Chrism that the Holy Ghost imprints his indelible seal on the Christian, that has already been made a member of Christ by Baptism. The Water gives us our spiritual birth; the Chrism gives us strength; and, until such time as we have received its holy anointing, we have not as yet the perfect character of a Christian. Anointed with holy Oil, the Faithful has a visible sign given him of his being a member of the Man-God, whose name of Christ signifies the unction he has received both as King and Pontiff. This consecration of a Christian by Chrism is so much in accordance with the spirit of our holy Religion that, immediately after Baptism, the child receives upon its head an anointing (though it is not a sacramental one) of this Oil, to show that he is already a sharer of the kingly character of Jesus Christ.
In order to express, by an outward sign, the sacredness of Chrism, an Apostolic tradition requires the Bishop to mix Balm with it. This Balm represents what the Apostle calls the good odor of Christ, of whom it is written: We will run after thee, to the odor of thy ointments. The scarcity and high price of other perfumes has obliged the Latin Church to be content with Balm alone in the mixture of holy Chrism; but in the Eastern Church, where the climate is more favorable than ours, three and thirty species of precious perfumes are put into the Oil, and it thus becomes an ointment of exquisite fragrance.
The holy Chrism, besides its sacramental use in Confirmation, and its being put upon the head of the newly baptised, is also used by the Church in the consecration of her Bishops, in the consecration of Chalices and Altars, in the blessing of Bells, and in the Dedication of a Church, in which last most imposing ceremony, the Bishop pours out the Chrism on the twelve crosses, which are to attest to all succeeding ages, the glory of God’s House.
The third of the holy Oils is that which is called the Oil of Catechumens. Though it be not the matter of any Sacrament, it is, nevertheless, an Apostolic institution. Its blessing is less solemn than that of the Chrism, but more so than that of the Oil of the Sick. The Oil of Catechumens is used in the ceremonies of Baptism, for the anointing the breast and shoulders. It is also used for the anointing of a Priest’s hands in Ordination, and for the coronation of a King or Queen.
These few words of explanation will give the Faithful some idea of the importance of the Blessing of the holy Oils. By this threefold Blessing, says St. Fortunatus (in the beautiful Hymn, which is used during the ceremony), the Bishop acquits the debt he owes, and which none but he can pay.
The holy Church seldom employs such pomp as she does on this occasion. Twelve Priests, seven Deacons, and seven Subdeacons, are present. The Roman Pontifical tells us that the twelve Priests assist as witnesses and cooperators of the holy Chrism. The Mass commences, and goes on as far as the Prayer of the Canon, which immediately precedes the Pater noster. The Bishop then leaves the Altar, and goes to the place prepared for the Blessing. The first phial of Oil that is brought to him is that which is intended for the sick. He prefaces the blessing by pronouncing the words of exorcism over this oil, in order to drive from it the influence of the wicked spirits who, out of hatred for man, are ever seeking to infest the creatures given to us for our use. This done, he blesses it in these words:
We beseech thee, O Lord, send forth from heaven thy Holy Spirit the Paraclete upon this rich juice of the olive, which thou hast graciously produced from the green wood, for the solace of both mind and body. By thy holy blessing, may all they that are anointed with this ointment of heavenly virtue, receive help to mind and body; may it remove from them all pains, all infirmities, and all sickness of mind and body, for it was with oil that thou didst anoint thy Priests, Kings, Prophets, and Martyrs. May this, being blessed by thee, O Lord, become unto us an ointment of perfection, and abide within our whole being. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
One of the seven Subdeacons then carries the phial back, and the Bishop returns to the Altar, and continues the Mass. As soon as he has given Holy Communion to the clergy, he returns to the place prepared for the blessing of the Oils. The twelve Priests, the seven Deacons, and the seven Subdeacons, repair to the place where the other two phials have been put. One contains the oil, which is to become the Chrism of salvation; the other, the oil which is to be sanctified as the oil of Catechumens. The procession is soon seen returning towards the Pontiff. The two phials are carried by two Deacons; a Subdeacon carries the vase of Balm. The Bishop begins by blessing the Balm: he calls it “the fragrant tear of dry bark—the oozing of a favored branch, that gives us the priestly unction.” Before proceeding to bless the oil of the Chrism, he thrice breathes upon it, in the form of a cross. The twelve Priests do the same. The Gospel tells us that our Blessed Savior used this same ceremony over his Apostles. It signifies the power of the Holy Ghost, and expresses his name, which is The Spirit. This Holy Spirit is about to make this oil become an instrument of his Divine power. The Bishop first prepares it for the heavenly dignity by exorcising it. He then celebrates the praises of the Chrism by this magnificent Preface, which has been handed down to us from the earliest ages of our faith.
It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should always, and in all places, give thanks to thee, O Holy Lord, Almighty Father, Eternal God: who, in the beginning, among the rest of thy bounteous gifts, didst command the earth to yield fruitbearing trees, among which should be the olive, which produces this most rich liquor, and whose fruit was to serve for the making holy Chrism. Hence it was that David, foreknowing, by a prophetic spirit, the Sacraments of thy grace, sang that our faces were to be made glad with oil: and when the sins of the world were expiated of old, by the deluge, a dove announced that peace was restored to the earth, by bearing an olive-branch, the type of the gift to come, which has been manifested in these latter ages; for after the waters of Baptism have washed away the sins of men, this anointing of oil gave us joy and calm. Hence, too, thou didst command thy servant Moses to ordain his brother Aaron priest, by pouring oil upon him, after he had been cleansed with water. A greater honor still was, that when thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, bade John baptise him in the waters of the Jordan, thou didst send upon him the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove; that thus, by a voice that bore testimony, thou mightest designate thine Only Begotten Son, in whom thou wast well pleased, and mightest prove, beyond all doubt, that this was the fulfillment of what the Prophet David had foretold, when he sang, that he was to be anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows. We, therefore, beseech thee, O Holy Lord, Almighty Father, Eternal God, through the same Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord, that thou vouchsafe to sanctify, by thy blessing, this thy creature oil, and infuse into it the virtue of the Holy Ghost, through the cooperating power of Christ, thy Son, from whose name it hath borrowed its own of Chrism, and wherewith thou didst anoint the Priests, Kings, Prophets, and Martyrs. Raise this Chrism into a Sacrament of perfect salvation and life, to them that are to be renewed by the spiritual laver of Baptism. That thus, the corruption of their first birth being absorbed by the infusion of this holy anointing, they may become a holy temple, redolent with the fragrance of the innocence of holy living. According to what thou hast appointed in this mystery, bestow upon them the honor of kings, priests, and prophets, by vesting them in the robe of incorruption. May this oil be to them, that are born again from water and the Holy Ghost, a Chrism of salvation, making them partakers of life everlasting, and co-heirs of heavenly glory.
The Bishop then takes the Balm; and having mixed it on a paten with a little oil, he pours it into the Phial. The consecration of the Chrism thus completed, he salutes it with these words: Hail, O Holy Chrism! This he does with the intention of honoring the Holy Ghost, who is to work by this sacramental oil. The same is done by each of the twelve Priests.
The Bishop then proceeds to bless the Oil of Catechumens. After having breathed upon it, and pronounced the exorcism (as before, in the blessing of the holy Chrism), he says this prayer:
O God, the rewarder of every spiritual increase and growth! who strengthenest the beginnings of weakly souls by the power of the Holy Ghost: we beseech thee, O Lord, that thou vouchsafe to pour out thy blessing upon this oil, and grant to them, that come to the laver of holy regeneration, the cleansing of soul and body, by the anointing they receive from this thy creature; that so, if there should be any stains fixed upon them by their spiritual enemies, they may be effaced by the touch of this holy oil. May the wicked spirits find no room there; may the powers, that have been put to flight, have no further sway; may there be no lurking place left to insidious evil ones. May thy servants that come to the faith, and are to be cleansed by the operation of thy Holy Spirit, find in this anointing a preparation for that salvation, which they are to receive in the Sacrament of Baptism, by the birth of a heavenly regeneration. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, who is to come to judge the living, and the dead, and the world by fire. Amen.
The Bishop then salutes the Oil, on which he has conferred these wonderful prerogatives, saying: Haily, O holy Oil! The same act of reverence is repeated by each of the Priests. One of the deacons takes the Chrism, another the Oil of Catechumens, and a procession is again formed for taking them to the place prepared for them. They are covered with veils of silk—the holy Chrism, with white; the Oil of Catechumens, with purple.
We will conclude our outline of this imposing ceremony by giving our readers the beautiful Hymn, composed in the 6th century, by St. Venantius Fortunatus, Bishop of Poitiers. The Church has adopted it for the two processions, which we have already described.
|O Redemptor, sume carmen temet concinentium.||O Redeemer of mankind! receive the hymn of them that sing thy praise.|
|Repeat: O Redemptor.||Repeat: O Redeemer.|
|Audi, judex mortuorum,
Una spes mortalium,
Audi voces proferentum
Donum pacis prævium.
|O judge of the dead! thou only hope of men! hear the prayers of them that carry the emblem of the gift of peace.|
|O Redemptor.||O Redeemer.|
|Arbor fœta alma luce
Hic sacrandum protulit:
Fert hoc prona præsens turba
|A tree made fruitful by the fostering sun, produced this oil that is now to be blessed, which we, the adorers of his holy name, bring to the Savior of the world.|
|O Redemptor.||O Redeemer.|
|Stans ad aram immo supplex
Debitum persolvit omne,
|The mitred Pontiff, too, standing humbly before the altar, is about to pay his debt, by consecrating the Chrism.|
|O Redemptor.||O Redeemer.|
|Consecrare tu dignare,
Rex perennis patriæ,
Hoc olivum, signum vivum
Jura contra dæmonum.
|O King of the everlasting kingdom! deign to consecrate this oil, this instrument of life, that breaks the demon’s power.|
|O Redemptor.||O Redeemer.|
|Ut novetur sexus omnis
Ut sanetur sauciata
|Men and women are renovated by the unction of the Chrism; and their glorious dignity, that had been wounded, is healed by the same.|
|O Redemptor.||O Redeemer.|
|Lota mente sacro fonte
Uncta fronte, sacrosancta
|When the soul is washed in the sacred font, her crimes are put to flight: and holiest graces come upon them, whose brow is anointed with this oil.|
|O Redemptor.||O Redeemer.|
|Corde natus ex Parentis,
Alvum implens Virginis,
Præsta lucem, claude mortem
|O thou the Son of the Eternal Father, and Son of the Virgin-Mother! grant light and life to us whom thou hast made to share in thine own anointing.|
|O Redemptor.||O Redeemer.|
|Sit hæc dies festa nobis
Sit sacrata, digna laude,
Nec senescat tempore.
|May this day be to us an everlasting feast. May it be sacred, praiseworthy, nor grow old with time.|
|O Redemptor.||O Redeemer.|
THE MASS OF MAUNDY THURSDAY
The Church intends, on this day, to renew, in a most solemn manner, the mystery of the Last Supper: for our Lord himself, on this occasion of the institution of the Blessed Sacrament, said to his Apostles: Do this for a Commemoration of me. Let us, therefore, resume the Gospel narrative.
Jesus is in the Supper chamber, where the Paschal Lamb is to be eaten. All the Apostles are with him; Judas is there also, but his crime is not known to the rest. Jesus approaches the table on which the Lamb is to be served. His Disciples stand around him. The ceremonies prescribed by God to Moses are religiously observed. At the beginning of the repast, Jesus speaks these words to his Apostles: With desire I have desired to eat this Pasch with you, before I suffer. In saying this, he does not imply that the Pasch of this year is intrinsically better than those that have preceded it; but, that it is dearer to him, inasmuch as it is to give rise to the institution of the new Pasch, which he has prepared for mankind, and which he is now going to give them as his last gift: for as St. John says, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them unto the end.
During the repast, Jesus, who reads the hearts of all men, utters these words, which cause great consternation among the Disciples: Amen I say to you, that one of you is about to betray me:—he that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, he shall betray me. The sadness with which he speaks is enough to soften any heart; and Judas, who knows his Master’s goodness, feels that they imply a merciful pardon, if he will but ask it. But no: the passion of avarice has enslaved his soul, and he, like the rest of the Apostles, says to Jesus: Is it I, Rabbi? Jesus answers him in a whisper, in order not to compromise him before his brethren: Thou hast said it! But Judas yields not. He intends to remain with Jesus until the hour comes for betraying him. Thus, the august mystery, which is on the point of being celebrated, is to be insulted by his presence!
The legal repast is over. It is followed by a feast, which again brings the Disciples around their Divine Master. It was the custom in the East, that guests should repose two and two on couches round the table; these have been provided by the disciple, who has placed his house at Jesus’ service. John is on the same couch as Jesus, so that it is easy for him to lean his head upon his Master’s breast. Peter is on the next couch, on the other side of Jesus, who is thus between the two Disciples, whom He had sent, in the morning, to prepare the Pasch, and who, as we have already observed, represent faith and love This second repast is a sorrowful one, in consequence of Jesus having told the guests, that one of them is a traitor. The innocent and affectionate John is overwhelmed with grief, and seeks consolation on the Heart of this dear Lord, whom some one is about to deliver to His enemies.
But the Apostles little expect a third Supper. Jesus has not told them of his intention; but he had made a promise, and he would fulfill it before his Passion. Speaking one day to the people, he had said: I am the Living Bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this Bread, he shall live for ever, and the Bread that I will give, is my Flesh for the life of the world … My Flesh is meat indeed, and my Blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my Flesh and drinketh my Blood, abideth in me, and I in him. The time has come for the fulfillment of this his loving promise. But as it was both his Flesh and his Blood that he promised us, he waited till the time of his sacrifice. His Passion has begun; he is sold to his enemies; his life is already in their hands—he may at once, therefore, offer himself in sacrifice, and give to his Disciples the very Flesh and Blood of the Victim.
As soon as the second repast was over, Jesus suddenly rises and, to the astonishment of his Apostles, takes off his upper garments, girds himself, as a servant, with a towel, pours water into a basin, and prepares to wash the feet of the guests. It was the custom, in the East, to wash one’s feet before taking part in a feast; it was considered as the very extreme of hospitality when the master of the house himself did this service to his guest. Jesus is about to regale his Apostles with a Divine Banquet; he wishes to treat them with every possible mark of welcome and attention. But in this, as in every other action of his, there is a fund of instruction: he would teach us, by what he is now doing, how great is the purity wherewith we should approach the Holy Table. He that is washed, says he, needeth not but to wash his feet; as though he would say: “The holiness of this Table is such that they who come to it should not only be free from grievous sins, but they should, moreover, strive to cleanse their souls from those lesser faults which come from contact with the world, and are like the dust that covers the feet of one that walks on the highway.” We will explain further on the teachings conveyed by this action of our Lord.
It is with Peter, the future Head of his Church, that Jesus begins. The Apostle protests; he declares that he will never permit his Master to humble himself so low as this: but he is obliged to yield. The other Apostles (who, as Peter himself, are reclining upon their couches), receive the same mark of love: Jesus comes to each of them in turn, and washes their feet. Judas is not excepted: he has just received a second warning from his merciful Master; for Jesus, addressing himself to all the Apostles, said to them: You are clean; but not all: but the reproach produced no effect upon this hardened heart. Having finished washing the feet of the Twelve, Jesus resumes his place, side by side with John.
Then taking a piece of the unleavened bread that had remained over from the feast, he raises his eyes to heaven, blesses the bread, breaks it, and distributes it to his Disciples, saying to them: Take ye, and eat; this is my Body. The Apostles take the bread, which is now changed into the Body of their Divine Master; they eat;—and Jesus is, now, not only with them, but in them. But as this sacred mystery is not only the most holy of the Sacraments, but, moreover, a true Sacrifice; and as a Sacrifice requires the shedding of blood—our Jesus takes the cup, and changing the wine into his own Blood, he passes it around to his Disciples, saying to them: Drink ye, all, of this; for this is my Blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many, unto remission of sins. The Apostles drink from the sacred chalice thus proffered them; when it comes to Judas, he too partakes of it, but he drinks his own damnation, as he ate his own judgment, when he received the Bread of Life. Jesus, however, mercifully offers the traitor another grace, by saying, as he gives the Cup to his Disciples: The hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table.
Peter is struck by Jesus thus frequently alluding to the crime which is to be committed by one of the Twelve. He is determined to find out who the traitor is. Not daring himself to ask Jesus, at whose right hand he is sitting, he makes a sign to John, who is on the other side, and begs him to put the question. John leans on Jesus’ breast, and says to him in a whisper: Lord, who is it? Jesus answers him in an equally suppressed tone: He to whom I shall reach bread dipped. And having taken one of the pieces of bread that remained over from the repast, he dipped it, and gave it to Judas. It was one more grace offered and refused, for the Evangelist adds: And after the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus again addresses him, saying: That which thou dost, do quickly. The wretch then leaves the room, and sets about the perpetration of his crime.
Such is the history of the Last Supper, of which we celebrate the anniversary on this day. But there is one circumstance of the deepest interest to us, and to which we have, so far, only made an indirect allusion. The institution of the Holy Eucharist, both as a Sacrament and Sacrifice, is followed by another—the institution of a new Priesthood. How could our Savior have Except you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his Blood, you shall not have life in you,—unless he had resolved to establish a ministry upon earth whereby he would renew, even to the end of time, the great Mystery he thus commands us to receive? He begins it today, in the Cenacle. The twelve Apostles are the first to partake of it: but observe what he says to them: Do this for a commemoration of me. By these words, he gives them power to change bread into his Body, and wine into his Blood; and this sublime power shall be perpetuated in the Church, by holy Ordination, even to the end of the world. Jesus will continue to operate, by the ministry of mortal and sinful men, the Mystery of the Last Supper. By thus enriching his Church with the one and perpetual Sacrifice, he also gives us the means of abiding in him, for he gives us, as he promised, the Bread of heaven. Today, then, we keep the anniversary not only of the Institution of the Holy Eucharist, but also of the equally wonderful Institution of the Christian Priesthood.
To offer the faithful an outward expression of the greatness and the unity of this Supper, which our Saviour gave to his Disciples, and, through them, to us, the Church forbids her priests to say private Masses on this day, except in cases of necessity. She would have but one Sacrifice to be offered in each church, at which the other Priests are to assist, and receive Holy Communion from the hands of the Celebrant. When approaching the altar, they put on the stole, the emblem of their priesthood.
The Mass of Maundy Thursday is one of the most solemn of the Year; and although the Feast of Corpus Christi is the day for the solemn honouring the mystery of the Holy Eucharist,still, the Church would have the anniversary of the Last Supper to be celebrated with all possible splendour. The colour of the vestments is white, as it is for Christmas Day and Easter Sunday; the decorations of the Altar and Sanctuary all bespeak joy: and yet, there are several ceremonies during this Mass, which show that the holy Spouse of Christ has not forgotten the Passion of her Jesus, and that this joy is but transient. The Priest entones the angelic hymn, Glory be to God in the highest! and the Bells ring forth a joyous peal, which continues during the whole singing of the heavenly canticle: but, from that moment, they remain silent, and their long silence produces, in every heart, a sentiment of holy mournfulness. But why does the Church deprive us, for so many hours, of the grand melody of these sweet bells, whose voices cheer us during the rest of the year? It is to show us, that this world lost all its melody and joy when its Saviour suffered and was crucified. Moreover, she would hereby remind us, how the Apostles, (who were the heralds of Christ, and are figured by the bells, whose ringing summons the faithful to the house of God,) fled from their Divine Master and left him a prey to his enemies.
The Holy Sacrifice continues as usual; but at the solemn moment of the Elevation of the Holy Host and the Chalice of Salvation, the Bell is silent, and, outside the Church, there is not given to the neighbourhood the usual signal of the descent of Jesus upon the altar. When the time of the holy Communion is near, the priest does not give the kiss of peace to the deacon, who, according to the Apostolic tradition, should transmit it, by the subdeacon, to those that are about to communicate. Our thoughts turn to the traitor Judas, who, on this very day, profaned the sign of friendship by making it an instrument of death. It is out of detestation for this crime, that the Church omits, today, the sign of fraternal charity: it would too painfully remind us of sacrilegious hypocrisy.
Another rite, peculiar to today, is the Priest’s consecrating two Hosts during the Mass. One of these he receives in Communion; the other he reserves, and reverently places it in a chalice, which he covers with a veil. The reason of this is, that, tomorrow, the Church suspends the daily Sacrifice. Such is the impression produced by the anniversary of our Saviour’s Death, that the Church dares not to renew, upon her altars, the immolation which was then offered on Calvary: — or rather, her renewal of it will be by the fixing all her thoughts on the terrible scene of that Friday Noon. The Host reserved from today’s Mass, will be her morrow’s participation. This rite is called the Mass of the Presanctified, because, in it, the priest does not consecrate, but only receives the Host consecrated on the previous day. Formerly, as we shall explain more fully further on, the holy Sacrifice was not offered up on Holy Saturday, and yet the Mass of the Presanctified was not celebrated, as it was on the Friday.
But although the Church suspends, for a few short hours, the oblation of the perpetual Sacrifice, she would not that her Divine Spouse should lose aught of the homage that is due to him in the Sacrament of his Love. Catholic piety has found a means of changing these trying hours into a tribute of devotion to the Holy Eucharist. In every Church is prepared a richly ornamented side-chapel or pavilion where, after today’s Mass, the Church places the Body of her Divine Lord. Though veiled from their view, the Faithful will visit him in this his holy resting place, pay him their most humble adorations, and present him their most fervent supplications. Wheresoever the Body shall be, there shall the eagles be gathered together. In every part of the Catholic world, a concert of prayer, more loving and earnest than at any other period of the Year, will be offered to our Jesus, in reparation for the outrages he underwent, during these very hours, from the Jews. Around this anticipated Tomb will be united both his long-tried and fervant servants, and those who are newly converted, or are preparing for their reconciliation.
At Rome, the Station is in the Lateran Basilica. The metropolitan Church both of the Holy City and the World was deservedly chosen for this great Day of the Reconciliation of Sinners and the Consecration of the Chrism. The Papal function, however, now takes place at the Vatican; and, as we have already stated, the Apostolic Benediction is given by the Sovereign Pontiff from the loggia’ of Saint Peter’s.
In the Introit, the Church makes use of the words of St. Paul, in praise of the Cross of Christ. She is filled with gratitude for this her Redeemer, who has made himself our Salvation, by dying for us; our Life, by the Bread of Heaven he has given us; and our Resurrection, by his having risen from the grave.
|Nos autem gloriari oportet in cruce Domini nostri Jesu Christi, in quo est salus, vita, et resurrectio nostra: per quem salvati, et liberati sumus.||We ought to glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ: in whom is our salvation, life, and resurrection: by whom we have been saved and delivered.|
|Ps. Deus misereatur nostri, et benedicat nobis, illuminet vultum suum super nos, et misereatur nostri.||Ps. May God have mercy on us, and bless us: may his countenance shine upon us, and may he have mercy on us.|
|Nos autem.||We ought.|
In the Collect, the Church reminds us of Judas and the Good Thief: both are guilty: and yet, the one is condemned, the other is pardoned. She prays for us to God, that the Passion of his Son (during which were thus shown the Divine Justice and Mercy) may procure us the forgiveness of our sins and the fullness of grace.
|Deus, a quo et Judas reatus sui pœnam, et confessionis suæ latro præmium sumpsit: concede nobis tuæ propitiationis effectum: ut sicut in passione sua Jesus Christus Dominus noster diversa utrisque intulit stipendia meritorum, ita nobis, ablato vetustatis errore, resurrectionis suæ gratiam largiatur. Qui tecum.||O God, from whom both Judas received the punishment of his sin, and the Thief the reward of his confession: grant us the effects of thy mercy; that as our Lord Jesus Christ, at the time of his Passion, bestowed on both different rewards according to their merits; so, having destroyed the old man in us, he may give us grace to rise again with him. Who liveth, &c.|
|Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Corinthios.||Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.|
|I. Cap. XI.||I. Ch. XI.|
|Fratres: Convenientibus vobis in unum, jam non est Dominicam Cœnam manducare. Unusquisque enim suam cœnam præsumit ad manducandum. Et alius quidem esurit: alius autem ebrius est. Numquid domos non habetis ad manducandum et bibendum? Aut Ecclesiam Dei contemnitis, et confunditis eos, qui non habent? Quid dicam vobis? Laudo vos? In hoc non laudo. Ego enim accepi a Domino, quod et tradidi vobis: quoniam Dominus Jesus in qua nocte tradebatur, accepit panem, et gratias agens fregit, et dixit: Accipite et manducate: hoc est Corpus meum, quod pro vobis tradetur; hoc facite in meam commemorationem. Similiter et calicem postquam cœnavit, dicens: Hic calix novum testamentum est in meo Sanguine. Hoc facite quotiescumque bibetis, in meam commemorationem. Quotiescumque enim manducabitis panem hunc, et calicem bibetis, mortem Domini annuntiabitis donec veniat. Itaque quicumque manducaverit panem hunc, vel biberit calicem Domini indigne, reus erit Corporis et Sanguinis Domini. Probet autem seipsum homo, et sic de pane illo edat, et de calice bibat. Qui enim manducat et bibit indigne, judicium sibi manducat et bibit, non dijudicans Corpus Domini. Ideo inter vos multi infirmi et imbecilles, et dormiunt multi. Quod si nosmetipsos dijudicaremus, non utique judicaremur. Dum judicamur autem, a Domino corripimur, ut non cum hoc mundo damnemur.||Brethren: When you come therefore together into one place, it is not now to eat the Lord’s supper. For every one taketh before his own supper to eat. And one indeed is hungry, and another is drunk. What, have you not houses to eat and drink in? Or despise ye the Church of God, and put them to shame that have not? What shall I say to you? Do I praise you? In this I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye and eat: this is my Body which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me. In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This Chalice is the New Testament in my Blood: this do ye, as often as ye shall drink it, for the commemoration of me. For as often as you shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord, until he come. Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the Body of the Lord. Therefore are there many infirm and weak among you, and many sleep. But if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But whilst we are judged, we are chastised by the Lord, that we be not condemned with this world.|
After having rebuked the Christians of Corinth for the abuses into which they had fallen at the Feasts (called Agape) which had been introduced by a spirit of fraternal charity but were soon abolished—the holy Apostle relates the history of the Last Supper. His account, which corresponds throughout with that given by the Evangelists, rests upon the testimony of our Blessed Savior himself, who deigned to appear to him, and instruct him in person after his conversion. The Apostle does not omit to give the words whereby our Lord empowered his Apostles to renew what he himself had done: he tells us that as often as the Priest consecrates the Body and Blood of Christ, he shows the Death of the Lord, thus expressing the oneness there is between the Sacrifice of the Cross and that of the Altar. We have explained this important doctrine in the 6th Chapter (“On Hearing Mass”) of the introduction to this present Volume. The consequences to be drawn from this teaching is evident; it is contained in these words of the Apostle: Let a man prove himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of the chalice. What could be more just than that having to be initiated in so intimate a manner, with the Mystery of Redemption, and contract so close a union with the Divine Victim—we should banish from our hearts sin and affection to sin? He that eateth my Flesh and drinketh my Blood, abideth in me, and I in him, says our Lord. Could there be a closer union? God and man abiding in each other! Oh! how carefully ought we not to purify our soul, and render our will conformable with the will of Jesus, before approaching this Divine Banquet, to which he invites us! Let us beseech him to prepare us himself, as he did his Apostles, by washing their feet. He will grant us our request not only today, but as often as we go to Holy Communion, provided we are docile to his grace.
The Gradual is made up of those admirable words, which the Church so often repeats during these three days, and by which St. Paul warns us to gratitude towards the Son of God, who delivered himself up for us.
|Christus factus est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem, mortam autem crucis.||Christ became, for our sakes, obedient unto death, even to death of the Cross.|
|℣. Propter quod et Deus exaltavit illum, et dedit illi nomen, quod est super omne nomen.||℣. For which cause, God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name, which is above all names.|
|Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.||Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.|
|Cap. XIII.||Ch. XIII.|
|Ante diem festum Paschæ, sciens Jesus, quia venit hora ejus, ut transeat ex hoc mundo ad Patrem: cum dilexisset suos, qui erant in mundo, in finem dilexit eos. Et cœna facta, cum diabolus jam misisset in cor, ut traderet eum Judas Simonis Iscariotæ: sciens quia omnia dedit ei Pater in manus, et quia a Deo exivit et ad Deum vadit, surgit a cœna, et ponit vestimenta sua. Et cum accepisset linteum, præciuxit se. Deinde misit aquam in pelvim, et cœpit lavare pedes discipulorum, et extergere linteo, quo erat præcinctus. Venit ergo ad Simonem Petrum, et dicit ei Petrus: Domine, tu mihi lavas pedes? Respondit Jesus, et dixit ei: Quod ego facio, tu nescis modo: scies autem postea. Dicit ei Petrus: Non lavabis mihi pedes in æternum. Respondit ei Jesus: Si non lavero te, non habebis partem mecum. Dicit ei Simon Petrus: Domine, non tantum pedes meos, sed et manus et caput. Dicit ei Jesus: Qui lotus est, non indiget nisi ut pedes lavet, sed est mundus totus. Et vos mundi estis, sed non omnes. Sciebat enim quisman esset qui traderet eum; propteres dixit: Non estis mundi omnes. Postquam ergo lavit pedes eorum, accept vestimenta sua: et cum recubuisset iterum, dixit eis: Scitis quid fecerim vobis? Vos vocatis me Magister et Domine: et bene dicitis: sum etenim. Si ergo ego lavi pedes vestros, Dominus et Magister, et vos debetis alter alterius lavare pedes. Exemplum enim dedi vobis, ut quemadmodum ego feci vobis, ita et vos faciatis.||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 it 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 do you also.|
Our Savior’s washing the feet of his Disciples before permitting them to partake of his Divine Mystery, conveys an instruction to us. The Apostle has just been telling us that we should prove ourselves: and here, we have Jesus saying to his Disciples: You are clean. It is true, he adds: but not all: just as the Apostle assures us that there are some who render themselves guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord. God forbid we should ever be of the number! Let us prove ourselves; let us sound the depths of our conscience, before approaching the Holy Table. Mortal sin, and the affection to mortal sin, would change the Bread of Life into a deadly poison for our souls. But if respect for the holiness of God, who is about to enter within us by Holy Communion, should make us shudder at the thought of our receiving him in the state of mortal sin, which robs the soul of the image of God and gives her that of Satan—ought not that same respect urge us to purify our souls from venial sins, which dim the beauty of grace? He, says our Savior, that is washed, needeth not but to wash his feet. The feet are those earthly attachments, which so often lead us to the brink of sin. Let us watch over our senses, and the affections of our hearts. Let us wash away these stains by a sincere confession, by penance, by sorrow, and by humility; that thus we may worthily receive the Adorable Sacrament, and derive from it the fullness of its power and grace.
In the Offertory-Antiphon, the Soul—confiding in the promise made to her by Christ, that he will feed her with the Bread of Life—gives way to a transport of joy. She praises her God for this Divine nourishment, which keeps death from them that eat.
|Dextera Domini fecit virtutem, dextera Domini exaltavit me; non moriar, sed vivam, et narrabo opera Domini.||The right hand of the Lord hath displayed its might: the right hand of the Lord hath raised me up; I shall not die, but live, and publish the works of the Lord.|
In the Secret, the Church reminds our Heavenly Father that it was on this very day that was instituted the august Sacrifice which she is now celebrating.
|Ipse tibi, quæsumus, Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus, sacrificium nostrum reddat acceptum, qui Discipulis suis in sui commemorationem hoc fieri hodierna traditione monstravit, Jesus Christus Filius tuus Dominus noster: Qui tecum.||We beseech thee, O Holy Lord, Almighty Father, Eternal God, that our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, may make our sacrifice acceptable to thee, who on this day commanded his disciples to celebrate it in memory of him. Who liveth, &c.|
After the Priest has received under both kinds, he puts into a Chalice the Host reserved for tomorrow: he then gives Communion to the Clergy and, afterwards, to the Laity. As soon as the Communion is finished, the Choir sings the following Antiphon, which tells us how Jesus prepared his Disciples for the great Mystery by humbly washing their feet.
|Dominus Jesus postquam cœnavit cum Discipulis suis, lavit pedes euroum, et ait illis: Scitis quid federim vobis, ego Dominus et Magister? Exemplum dedi vobis, ut et vos ita faciatis.||The Lord Jesus, after he had supped with his disciples, washed their feet, and said to them: Do you understand what I have done to you, I your Lord and Master? I have set you an example, that you may do the same.|
Our holy Mother prays for us in the Postcommunion, that we may preserve in ourselves, for all eternity, the Divine Gift just bestowed upon us.
|Refecti vitalibus alimentis, quæsumus, Domine Deus noster: ut quod tempore nostræ mortalitatis exsequimur, immortalitatis tuæ munere consequamur. Per Dominum.||We beseech thee, O Lord, our God, that being nourished with this life-giving food, we may receive by thy grace, in immortal glory, what we celebrate in this mortal life. Through, &c.|
As soon as the Mass is over, a Procession is formed to the place prepared for the sacred Host, which is to be reserved for the morrow. The Celebrant carries it beneath a canopy, as on the Feast of Corpus Christi; it is now however exposed, as on that day of its Triumph, but concealed in a chalice closely veiled. Let us adore this Diving Sun of Justice, whose rising at Bethlehem brought gladness to our hearts: he is now near his setting: a few hours more, and his Light will be eclipsed. Our earth will then be buried in gloom until, on the third day, he will rise again with renewed splendor.
During the Procession, the Choir sings the well-known Hymn of the Blessed Sacrament.
|Pange, lingua, gloriosi
Quem in mundi pretium,
Fructus ventris generosi,
Rex effudit gentium.
|Sing, my tongue, the Mystery of the glorious Body and precious Blood!—that Blood which the King of all nations, the Fruit of Mary’s womb, shed for the world’s redemption.|
|Nobis datus, nobis natus
Ex intacta Virgine,
Et in mundo conversatus,
Sparso verbi semine,
Sui moras incolatus
Miro clausit ordine.
|He gave himself to us; for us was he born from a pure Virgin; he lived among men, sowing the seed of his word, and closed his career on earth by a gift of wondrous love.|
|In supremæ nocte cœnæ
Recumbens cum fratribus,
Observata lege plene
Cibis in legalibus,
Cibum turbæ duodenæ
Se dat suis manibus.
|On the night of the Last Supper, he assembled his Brethren around him; and having observed the law, and eaten the Pasch prescribed, he, with his own hands, gave himself to the Twelve, as their Food.|
|Verbum caro, panem verum
Verbo carnem efficit:
Fitque sanguis Christi merum:
Et si sensus deficit,
Ad firmandum cor sincerum
Sola fides suffit.
|The Word made Flesh changes bread, by his word, into his own Flesh, and the Wine becomes the Blood of Christ. Our senses fail us here: but Faith has power to take all wavering from the Christian heart.|
|Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Præstat fides supplementum
|Let us, therefore, venerate this great Sacrament in prostrate adoration! Let the ancient form give place to the new rite! Let Faith supply what the senses cannot give.|
Laus et jubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio. Amen.
|Be praise and jubilee to the Father and the Son! Salvation, honor, power, yea and benediction, be to them; and to the Spirit that proceeds from both, be one co-equal praise! Amen.|
Having reached the place prepared, the Priest places the Chalice upon the Altar, and censes the Sacred Host. The Deacon takes the Chalice, and puts it in the Tabernacle. After a short prayer in silence, the Procession returns to the Choir, and Vespers are immediately begun. This Office, which, on Feast Days, is celebrated with so much solemnity is, today and tomorrow, deprived of everything that betokens joy. The Psalms are recited, without the slightest chant or even inflection. The Church, as a disconsolate widow, mourns the loss of her Jesus.
The Stripping of the Altars
As soon as Vespers are over, the Celebrant returns to the Sanctuary, assisted by the Deacon and Subdeacon. He goes to the Altar, and takes off the cloths and ornaments. This ceremony signifies the suspension of the Holy Sacrifice. The Altar should be left in this denuded state, until the daily offering can be again presented to the Divine Majesty; that is, when the Spouse of the holy Church shall arise from the Grave, the Conqueror of Death. He is now in the Hands of his enemies, the Jews, who are about to strip him of his garments, just as we strip the Altar. He is to be exposed naked to the insults of the rabble: and for this reason, the Psalm selected to be recited during this mournful ceremony is the 21st, wherein the Messias speaks of the Roman Soldiers’ dividing his garments among them.
|Ant. Diviserunt sibi vestimenta mea, et super vestem meam miserunt sortem.||Ant. They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture they cast lots.|
|Deus, Deus meus, respice in me: quare me dereliquisti: * Longe a salute mea verba delictorum meorum.||O God, my God, look upon me: why hast thou forsaken me? Far from my salvation are the words of my sins.|
|Deus meus, clamabo per diem, et non exaudies: * et nocte, et non ad insipientiam mihi.||O my God, I shall cry by day, and thou wilt not hear: and by night, and it shall not be reputed as folly in me.|
|Tu autem in sancto habitus: * Laus Israël.||But thou dwellest in the holy place, the praise of Israel.|
|In te speraverunt patres nostri: * speraverunt, et liberasti eos.||In thee have our fathers hoped: they have hoped and thou hast delivered them.|
|Ad te clamaverunt, et salvi facti sunt: * in te speraverunt, et non sunt confusi.||They cried to thee, and they were saved: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.|
|Ego autem sum vernis, et non homo: * opprobrium hominum, et abjectio plebis.||But I am a worm, and no man: the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people.|
|Omnes videntes me deriserunt me: * locuti sunt labiis, et moverunt caput.||All they that saw me have laughed me to scorn: they have spoken with the lips, and wagged the head.|
|Speravit in Domino, eripiat eum: * salvum faciat eum, quoniam vult eum.||He hoped in the Lord, let him deliver him: let him save him, seeing he delighted in him.|
|Quoniam tu es, qui extraxisti me de ventre: * spes mea ab uberibus matris meæ. In te projectus sum ex utero.||For thou art he that hast drawn me out of the womb: my hope from the breasts of my mother. I was cast upon thee from the womb.|
|De ventre matris meæ Deus meus es tu: * ne discesseris a me.||From my mother’s womb thou art my God, depart not from me.|
|Quoniam tribulatio proxima est: * quoniam non est qui adjuvet.||For tribulation is very near: for there is none to help me.|
|Circumdederunt me vituli multi: * tauri pingues obsederunt me.||Many calves have surrounded me: fat bulls have besieged me.|
|Aperuerunt super me os suum: * sicut leo rapiens et rugiens.||They have opened their mouths against me, as a lion ravening and roaring.|
|Sicut aqua effusus sum: * et dispersa sunt omnia ossa me.||I am poured out like water: and all my bones are scattered.|
|Factum est cor meum tamquam cera liquiescens: * in medio ventris mei.||My heart is become like wax melting in the midst of my bowels.|
|Aruit tamquam testa virtus mea, et lingua mea, adhæsit faucibus meis: * et in pulverem mortis deduxisti me.||My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue hath cleaven to my jaws: and thou hast brought me down into the dust of death.|
|Quoniam circumdederunt me canes multi: * concilium malignantium obsedit me.||For many dogs have encompassed me: the council of the malignant hath besieged me.|
|Foderunt manus meas et pedes meos: * dinumeraverunt omnia ossa mea.||They have dug my hands and feet: they have numbered all my bones.|
|Ipsi vero consideraverunt et inspexerunt me: * diviserunt sibi vestimenta mea, et super vestem meam miserunt sortem.||And they have looked and stared upon me: they parted my garments amongst them, and upon my vesture they cast lots.|
|Tu autem, Domine, ne elongaveris auxilium tuum a me: * ad defensionem meam conspice.||But thou, O Lord, remove not thy help to a distance from me: look towards my defense.|
|Erue a frames, Deus, animam meam: * et de manu ean is unicam meam.||Deliver, O God, my soul from the sword: my only one from the hand of the dog.|
|Salva me ex ore leonis: * et a cornibus unicornium humilitatem meam.||Save me from the lion’s mouth: and my lowness from the horns of the unicorns.|
|Narrabo nomen tuum fratribus meis: * in medio ecclesiæ laudabo te.||I will declare thy name to my brethren: in the midst of the church will I praise thee.|
|Qui timetis Dominum, laudate eum: * universum semen Jacob, glorificate eum.||Ye that fear the Lord, praise him: all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him.|
|Timeat eum omne semen Israël: * quoniam non sprevit, neque despexit deprecationem pauperis.||Let all the seed of Israel fear him: because he hath not slighted nor despised the supplication of the poor man.|
|Nec avertit faciem suam a me: et cum clamarem ad eum, exaudivit me.||Neither hath he turned away his face from me: and when I cried to him he heard me.|
|Apud te laus me in ecclesia magna: * vota mea reddam in conspectu timentium eum.||With thee is my praise in the great church: I will pay vows in the sight of them that fear him.|
|Edent pauperes, et saturabuntur, et laudabunt Dominum qui requirunt eum: * vivent corda eorum in sæculum sæculi.||The poor shall eat, and shall be filled, and they shall praise the Lord that seek him: their hearts shall live for ever and ever.|
|Reminiscentur, et convertentur ad Dominum: * universi fines terræ.||All the ends of the earth shall remember, and shall be converted to the Lord.|
|At adorabunt in conspectu ejus: * universæ famili&æ gentium.||And all the kindreds of the Gentiles shall adore in his sight.|
|Quoniam Domini est regnum: * et ipse dominabitur gentium.||For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he shall have dominion over the nations.|
|Manducaverunt, et adoraverunt omnes pingues terræ: * in conspectu ejus cadent omnes, qui descendunt in terram.||All the fat ones of the earth have eaten and have adored: all they that go down to the earth, shall fall before him.|
|Et anima mes illi vivet: * et semen meum serviet ipsi.||And to him my soul shall live: and my seed shall serve him.|
|Annuntiabitur Domino generatio ventura: * et annuntiabunt cœli justitiam ejus, populo qui nascetur quem fecit Dominus.||There shall be declared to the Lord a generation to come: and the heavens shall show forth his justice to a people that shall be born, which the Lord hath made.|
|Ant. Diviserunt sibi vestimenta mea, et super vestem meam miserunt sortem.||Ant. They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture they cast lots.|
After having stripped the High Altar, the Celebrant takes off the Cloths from the other Altars that are in the Church. And air of desolation pervades the Temple of God. The very Tabernacle has lost its Divine Guest. The Ciborium (in which the Blessed Sacrament is reserved for Viaticum) has been taken to the place where reposes the Chalice containing the Body of our Lord. The Majesty of our God has withdrawn to that mysterious Sanctuary, into which we enter not but with silence and compunction.
It was the custom in some Churches for the Priest to wash, in the afternoon, the Altars with wine and water, which he sprinkled upon them with a branch of hyssop. This ceremony (which has now ceased to be observed in almost every Church, excepting at St. Peter’s, in Rome) was intended as an homage offered to our Blessed Lord, in return for the humility wherewith he deigned to wash the feet of his Disciples. We find it so explained by St. Isidore of Seville, and St. Eligius, Bishop of Noyon.
The Washing of the Feet
After having, on this day, washed the feet of his Disciples, Jesus said to them: Know ye 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 an other’s feet. For I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you do also. Although the meaning of these words is that after the example of our Divine Master, we should practice works of fraternal charity towards our neighbor—yet the literal imitation of this our Savior’s act has always been observed in the Church.
At the commencement, it was almost a daily practice. St. Paul, when mentioning the qualities which should adorn the Christian Widow, includes that of washing the feet of the Saints, that is, of the Faithful. We find this act of humble charity practiced in the Ages of Persecution, and even later. The Acts of the Saints of the first six centuries, and the Homilies and Writings of the Holy Fathers, are filled with allusions to it. Afterwards, charity grew cold, and this particular way of exercising it was confined, almost exclusively, to Monasteries. Still, from time to time, it was practiced elsewhere. We occasionally find Kings and Queens setting this example of humility. The holy King Robert of France, and later, St. Louis, used frequently to wash the feet of the poor. The holy Queens, St. Margarite of Scotland, and St. Elizabeth of Hungary, did the same. The Church, with that spirit which makes her treasure up every recommendation of her Divine Lord, has introduced this act of humility into her Liturgy, and it is today that she puts the great lesson before her children. In every Church of any importance, the Prelate, or Superior, honors our Savior’s condescension by the ceremony called the Washing of the Feet. The Bishops throughout the world follow the example set them by the Sovereign Pontiff, who performs this ceremony in the Vatican. Yea, there are still to be found Kings and Queens who, on this day, wash the feet of the poor, and give them abundant alms.
The Twelve Apostles are represented by the twelve poor, who, according to the most general practice, are chosen for this ceremony. The Pope, however, washes the feet of thirteen Priests of as many different countries; and this is the reason of the Ceremonial requiring this number for Cathedral Churches. But why thirteen? Some have interpreted it thus: that it represented the full number of the Apostolic College, with is thirteen, for St. Matthias was elected in Judas’ place, and our Lord himself, after his Ascension, called St. Paul to be an Apostle. Other authors, however, among them the learned Pope Benedict the Fourteenth, assert that the reason for this number being chosen was the miracle related in the life of St. Gregory the Great. This holy Pope used, every day, to wash the feet of twelve poor men, whom he afterwards invited to his own table. One day, a thirteenth was present:—it was an Angel, whom God had sent, that he might thereby testify how dear to him was the charity of his Servant.
The Ceremony of the Washing of the Feet is, also, called the Mandatum, from the first word of the first Antiphon. After the Deacon has chanted the Gospel of the Mass of Maundy Thursday, the Celebrant takes off the Cope, girds himself with a towel, and, kneeling down, begins to wash the feet of those who have been chosen. He kisses the right foot of each one, after having washed it. Meanwhile, the Choir sings the following Antiphons:
|Ant. Mandatum novum do vobis: ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos, dicit Dominus. ℣. Beati immaculati in via: * qui ambulant in lege domini. Mandatum.||Ant. I give you a new commandment: that ye love one another, as I have loved you, says our Lord. ℣. Blessed are the immaculate in the way; who walk in the law of the Lord. I give, &c.|
|Ant.Postquam surrexit Dominus a cœna misit aquam in pelvim, et cœpit lavare pedes discipulorum suorum: hoc exemplum reliquit eis. ℣. Magnus Dominus et laudabilis nimis: * in civitate Dei nostri, in monte sancto ejus. Postquam.||Ant.After our Lord was risen from supper, he put water into a basin, and began to wash the feet of his disciples; to whom he gave this example. ℣. Great is the Lord, and exceedingly to be praised: in the city of our God, in his holy mountain. After, &c.|
|Ant. Dominus Jesus, postquam cœnavit cum discipulis suis, lavit pedes eorum, et ait illis: Scitis quid fecerim vobis ego Dominus et Magister? Exemplum dedi vobis, ut et vos ita faciatis. ℣. Benedixisti, Domine, terram tuam; * advertisti captivitatem Jacob. Dominus.||Ant. Our Lord Jesus, after he had supped with his disciples, washed their feet, and said to them: Know you what I your Lord and Master have done to you? I have given you an example, that ye also may do the same. ℣. Thou hast blessed, O Lord, thy land: thou hast delivered Jacob from captivity. Our Lord, &c.|
|Ant. Domine, tu mihi lavas pedes! Respondit Jesus, et dixit ei: Si non lavero tibi pedes, non habebis partem mecum. ℣. Venit ergo ad Simonem Petrum, * et dixit ei Petrus: Domine. ℣. Quod ego facio tu nescis modo: scies autem postea. Domine.||Ant. Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered, and said to him: If I shall not wash thy feet, thou shalt have no part with me. ℣. He came to Simon Peter, and Peter said to him: Lord, &c. ℣. What I do thou knowest not now: but thou shalt know it afterwards. Lord, &c.|
|Ant. Si ego Dominus et Magister vester lavi vobis pedes: quanto magis debetis alter alterius lavare pedes! ℣. Audite hæc, omnes gentes: * auribus percipite qui habitatis orbem. Si ego.||Ant. If I your Lord and Master have washed your feet: how much more ought you to wash the feet of one another? ℣. Hear these things, all ye nations: harken to them, all ye that inhabit the world. If I, &c.|
|Ant. In hoc cognoscent omnes quia discipuli mei estis, si dilectionem habueritis ad invicem. ℣. Dixit Jesus discipulis suis. In hoc.||Ant. In this all shall know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love for one another. ℣. Said Jesus to his disciples. In this, &c.|
|Ant. Maneant in vobis fides, spes, charitas, tria hæc: major autem horum est charitas. ℣. Nunc autem manent fides, spes, charitas, tria hæc: * major horum est charitas. Maneant.||Ant. Let these three, Faith, Hope, and Charity, remain in you: but the greatest of them is charity. ℣. But now remain Faith, Hope, and Charity, these three: but the greatest of them is charity. Let, &c.|
|Ant. Benedicta sit sancta Trinitas atque indivisa unitas: confitebimur ei, quia fecit nobiscum misericordiam suam. ℣. Benedicamus Patrem et Filium, * cum Sancto Spiritu. ℣. Quam dilecta tabernacula tua, Domine virtutum! * concupiscit et deficit anima mea in atria Domini. Benedicta.||Ant. Blessed be the holy Trinity and undivided Unity: we will praise him because he has shown us his mercy. ℣. Let us bless the Father and the Son, with the Holy Ghost. ℣. How lovely are thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts: my soul desires and longs after the house of the Lord. Blessed, &c.|
After these Antiphons, the Choir sings the following Canticle. It is a fervent exhortation to Fraternal Charity, of which the Washing of the Feet is a symbol.
|Ubi charitas, et amor, Deus ibi est.||Where charity and love are, there is God.|
|℣. Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.||℣. The love of Christ hath gathered us together.|
|℣. Exsultemus, et in ipso jocundemur.||℣. Let us rejoice in him, and be glad.|
|℣. Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum.||℣. Let us fear and love the living God.|
|℣. Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.||℣. And let us love one the other with a sincere heart.|
|Ubi charitas et amor, Deus ibi est.||Where charity and love are, there is God.|
|℣. Simul ergo cum in unum congregamur,||℣. When, therefore, we are gathered together,|
|℣. Ne nos mente dividamur caveamus.||℣. Let us take heed we be not divided in mind.|
|℣. Cessent jurgia maligna, cessent lites,||℣. Let wicked quarrels and contentions be at an end,|
|℣. Et in medio nostri sit Christus Deus.||℣. And let Christ our God dwell among us.|
|Ubi charitas et amor, Deus ibi est.||Where charity and love are, there is God.|
|℣. Simul quoque cum bheatis vedeamus,||℣. Let us, also, with the Blessed, see|
|℣. Glorianter, vultum tuum, Christe Deus.||℣. Thy face in glory, O Christ our God!|
|℣. Gaudium, quod est immensum, atque probum,||℣. There to possess an immense and happy joy,|
|℣. Sæcula per infinita sæculorum. Amen.||℣. For endless ages. Amen.|
The Celebrant having resumed his Cope, the ceremony concludes with the following prayers:
|Pater Noster.||Our Father.|
The rest of the Lord’s Prayer is said in silence, as far as the last two petitions.
|℣. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem.||℣. And lead us not into temptation.|
|℟. Sed libera nos a malo.||℟. But deliver us from evil.|
|℣. Tu mandasti mandata tua, Domine,||℣. Thou hast commanded, O Lord,|
|℟. Custodiri nimis.||℟. That thy precept be exactly observed.|
|℣. Tu lavasti pedes discipulorum tuorum.||℣. Thou hast washed the feet of thy disciples.|
|℟. Opera manuum tuarum ne descipicias.||℟. Despise not the work of thy hands.|
|℣. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.||℣. O Lord, hear my prayer.|
|℟. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.||℟. And let my cry come unto thee.|
|℣. Dominus vobiscum.||℣. The Lord be with you.|
|℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.||℟. And with thy spirit.|
|Oremus.||Let us pray.|
|Adesto, Domine, quæsumus, officio servitutis nostræ et quia tu discipulis tuis pedes lavare dignatus es, ne despicias opera manuum tuarum, quæ nobis retinenda mandasti: ut sicut hic nobis, et a nobis exteriora abluuntur inquinamenta, sic a te omnium nostrum interiora laventur peccata. Quod ipse præstare digneris, qui vivis et regnas Deus per omnia sæcula sæculorum.||Accept, O Lord, we beseech thee, this duty of our service, and since thou didst vouchsafe to wash the feet of thy disciples, despise not the work of thy hands, which thou hast commanded us to imitate: that as here the outward stains are washed away by us and from us, so the inward sins of us all may be blotted out by thee. Which be thou pleased to grant, who livest and reignest one God for ever and ever.|
|℟. Amen.||℟. Amen.|
The Office of Tenebræ
At a late hour in the afternoon, the night Office of Good Friday is anticipated, as was done yesterday. The faithful repair to the church at the time specified. Let them remember that the bells are not rung from this till Saturday.
The Office of Tenebrae of Good Friday is given in that entry.
Judas has left the cenacle, and, profiting by the darkness, has reached the place where the enemies of his Savior are assembled. Jesus then turns to His faithful apostles, and says to them: “Now is the Son of Man glorified.” Yes, His Passion is to be followed by triumph and glory; and the Passion has already begun, for Judas has commenced his work of betraying Him. Meanwhile, the apostles, forgetting the trouble into which they had been thrown by Jesus’ telling them that one of the twelve was about to betray Him, begin to dispute among themselves, which of them should seem to be greater. They have not fogotten the words spoken by Jesus to Peter, when He made him the rock on which He would build His Church; and here at the supper, they have seen the divine Master wash the feet of Peter first. On the other hand, John’s affectionate familiarity with Jesus, during this same supper, has made some of them argue that he who was most loved would be most honored.
Jesus puts an end to this dispute, by giving to these future pastors of His Church a lesson of humility. There shall, it is true, be a head among them, but, says our Redeemer, “let him that is the greater among you, become as the younger; and he that is the leader, as he that serveth.” He bids them look at Him: He is their Master, and yet, says He, “I am in the midst of you, as he that serveth.” Then turning towards Peter, thus addresses him: “Simon, Simon! behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.” This last interview is, as it were, our Savior’s testament; He provides for His Church, before leaving her. The apostles are to be Peter’s brethren, but Peter is to be their head. This sublime dignity is to be enhanced by the humility of him that enjoys it: he shall be “the servant of the servants of God.” The apostolic college is to be exposed to the fury of hell; but Peter alone is to confirm his brethren in the faith. His teaching shall ever be conformable to divine truth; it shall ever be infallible: Jesus has prayed that it may be so. Such a prayer is all-powerful; and thereby, the Church, ever docile to the voice of Peter, shall forever maintain the doctrine of Christ.
Jesus, after having provided for the future of His Church by the words He addressed to Peter, thus speaks affectionately to all the eleven: “Little children! yet a little while I am with you. Love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for another.” Peter says to him: “Lord! whither goest Thou?” “Whither I go,” answers Jesus, “thou canst not now follow Me; but thou shalt follow hereafter.” “Why cannot I follow thee now?” again asks Peter: “I will lay down my life for Thee.” “Wilt thou,” replies Jesus, “lay down thy life for Me? Amen, amen, I say to thee: the cock shall not crow, till thou deny Me thrice.” Peter’s love for Jesus had too much of the human about it, for it was not based on humility. Presumption comes from pride: it almost always results in a fall. In order to prepare Peter for his future ministry of pardon, as also to give us a useful lesson, God permits that he, who was soon to be made prince of the apostles, should fall into a most grievous and humiliating sin.
But let us return to the instructions contained in the last words spoken by our Jesus before He leaves His disciples. “I am,” says He, “the way, the truth, and the life. If you love Me, keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Paraclete, that He may abide with you forever. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. If you loved Me, you would indeed be glad, because I go to the Father. I will not now speak many things with you, for the prince of this world cometh, and in Me he hath not anything. But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father hath given Me commandment, so do I: arise, let us go hence.” Deeply impressed by these words, the disciples arise, and, after the hymn of thanksgiving has been said, they accompany Jesus to Mount Olivet.
He continues His instructions as they go along. He takes occasion from their passing by a vine to speak of the effect produced by divine grace, in the soul of man. “I am the true vine,” He says, “and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me, that beareth not fruit, He will take away, and every one that beareth fruit, He will purge it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine; so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches: he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without Me you can do nothing. If any one abideth not in Me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up, and cast him into the fire, and he burneth. You have not chosen Me: but I have chosen you, and have appointed you, that you should go, and should bring forth fruit, and your fruit should remain.”
He next speaks to them of the persecutions that await them, and of the hatred the world will have of them. He renews the promise He had made them of the holy Spirit, the Comforter, and tells them that it is to their advantage that He Himself should leave them. He assures them that they shall obtain whatever they ask of the Father in His name. “The Father,” He adds, “loveth you, because you have loved me, and have believed that I came from God. I come forth from the Father, and am come into the world; again I leave the world, and I go to the Father.” The disciples say to Him: “Now we know that Thou knowest all things, and Thou needest not that any man should ask Thee. By this we believe that Thou camest forth from God.&rdqo; “Do you now believe?” answers Jesus: “Behold! the hour cometh, and it is now come, that you shall be scattered every man to his own, and shall leave Me alone. All you shall be scandalized in Me this night; for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be dispersed.’ But after I shall be risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.”
Peter again protests that he will be faithful to his Master; the rest may abandon Him, if they will, but he will keep with Him to the last! It should, indeed, be so, for he has received so much more from Jesus than the others have: but he is again humbled by being told of his coming speedy fall. Jesus then calmly raising up his eyes to heaven, says: “Father! the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son may glorify Thee. I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do; I have manifested Thy name to the men whom Thou hast given Me. They have known that I came out from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send Me. I pray for them; I pray not for the world. And now I am not in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father! keep them in Thy name, whom Thou hast given Me; that they may be one, as We also are. While I was with them, I kept them in Thy name. Those whom Thou gavest Me, have I kept; and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition, that the Scripture may be fulfilled. I have given them Thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, as I also am not of the world. I pray not that Thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldst keep them from evil. Not for them only do I pray, but for them also who, through their word, shall believe in Me: that they all may be one, as Thou, Father! in Me, and I in Thee: that they also may be one in Us: that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me. Father, I will that where I am, they also, whom Thou hast given Me, may be with Me; that they may see the glory which Thou hast given Me, because Thou hast loved Me before the creation of the world. Just Father! the world hath not known Thee; but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me. And I have made known Thy name to them, and will make it known, that the love, wherewith Thou hast loved Me, may be in them, and I in them.”
Such are the outpourings of the loving Heart of our Jesus, as He crosses the brook of Cedron, and ascends, with His disciples the Mount of Olives. Having come as far as Gethsemani, He goes into a garden, whither He had often led His apostles and rested there with them. Suddenly, His Soul is overpowered with grief; His human Nature experiences, as it were, a suspension of that beatitude which results from its union with the Divinity. This His Humanity will be interiorly supported even to the very last moment of His Passion; but it must bear everything that it is possible for it to bear. Jesus feels such intense sadness, that the very presence of His disciples is insupportable; He leaves them, taking with Him only Peter, James, and John, who, a short time before, had been witnesses of His glorious Transfiguration:—will they show greater courage than the rest, when they see their divine Master in the hands of His enemies? His words show them what a sudden change has come over Him. He whose language was, a few moments before, so calm, His look so serene, and His tone of voice so sweet, now says to them: “My soul is sorrowful even unto death: stay you here, and watch with Me.”
He leaves them, and goes to a grotto, which is about a stone’s throw distant. Even to this day it exists, perpetuating the memory of this terrible event. There does our Jesus prostrate Himself and pray saying: “Father! all things are possible to Thee. Remove this chalice from Me:—but not what I will, but what Thou wilt.” While He is thus praying, a sweat of Blood flows from His Body and bathes the ground. It is not merely a swooning, it is an agony, that he suffers. God sends help to His sinking frame, and it is an angel that is entrusted with the office. Jesus is treated as man; His Humanity, exhausted as it is, is to receive no other sensible aid than that which is now brought Him by an angel (whom tradition affirms to have been Gabriel). Hereupon He rises, and again accepts the chalice prepared for Him. But what a chalice! Every pain that body and soul can suffer; the sins of the whole world taken upon Himself, and crying out vengeance against Him; the ingratitude of men, many of whom will make His sacrifice useless: Jesus has to accept all this, and at the very time when He seems to be left to His human Nature. The power of the Divinity, which is in Him, supports Him: but it does not prevent Him from feeling every suffering, just as though He had been mere Man. He begins His prayer by asking that the chalice may be taken from Him: He ends it by saying to His Father: “Not My will, but Thine be done!”
Jesus then rises, leaving the earth covered with the Blood of His agony: it is the first bloodshedding of His Passion. He goes to His three disciples, and, finding them asleep, says to them: “What! could you not watch one hour with Me?” This is the beginning of that feature of His sufferings which consists in His being abandoned. He twice returns to the grotto, and repeats His sorrowful, but submissive, prayer; twice He returns to His disciples, whom He had asked to watch near Him, but at each time finds them asleep. At length, He speaks to them saying: “Sleep ye now, and take your rest! Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners.” Then resuming the energy of His divine courage, He adds: “Rise! let us go! Behold, he is at hand that will betray Me.”
While He is speaking these last few words, a numerous body of armed men enter the garden with torches in their hands. Judas is at their head. The betrayal is made by a profanation of the sign of friendship. “Judas! dost thou betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” These piercing words should have made the traitor throw himself at his Master’s feet, and ask pardon; but it was too late: he feared the soldiers. But the servants of the high priest cannot lay hands on Jesus, unless He, their Victim, permit them to do so. With a single word, He casts them prostrate on the ground. Then permitting them to rise, He says to them with all the majesty of a King: “If you seek Me, let these go their way. You are come out, as it were against a thief with swords and clubs. When I was daily with you in the temple, you did not stretch forth your hands against Me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” Then turning to Peter, who has drawn and used his sword, He says to him: “Thinkest thou that I cannot ask My Father, and He will give Me presently twelve legions of angels? How then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled?”
And now, Jesus permits Himself to be led. Whereupon, His apostles run away in fear. Peter and another disciple follow Him, but as far off as they can. The soldiers lead Jesus by the same road, along which He had passed on the previous Sunday, when the people met Him with palm and olive branches in their hands. They cross the brook Cedron; and there is a tradition of the Church of Jerusalem that the soldiers, as they passed the bridge, threw Jesus into the water. Thus was fulfilled the prophecy of David: He shall drink of the torrent in the way.
They reach the City walls. The gate is opened, and the divine Prisoner enters. . It is night, and the inhabitants know not the crime that has been committed. It is only on the morrow^, that they will learn, that Jesus of Nazareth, the great Prophet, has fallen into the hands of the Chief Priests and Pharisees. The night is far advanced; but many hours must elapse before the dawn of day. The enemies of Jesus have arranged to take him, in the morning, to Pontius Pilate, and accuse him as being a disturber of the peace: but in the meanwhile, they intend to condemn him as guilty in matters of religion I Their tribunal has authority to judge in cases of this nature, only they cannot pass sentence of death upon a culprit, how guilty soever they may prove him. They, consequently, hurry Jesus to Annas, the father in-law of the High Priest Caiphas. Here is to take place the first examination. These blood-thirsty men have spent these hours in sleepless anxiety. They have counted the very minutes since the departure of their minions for Mount Olivet. They’re not without some doubt as to whether their plot will succeed. At last, their Victim is brought before them, and he shall not escape their vengeance!
Here let us interrupt our History of the Passion, till the morrow shall bring us to the solemn hour, when the great Mystery of our instruction and salvation was accomplished. What a day is this that we have been spending! How full of Jesus’ love! He has given us his Body and Blood to be our Food; he has instituted the Priesthood of the New Testament; he has poured out upon the world the sublimest instructions of his loving Heart. We have seen him struggling with the feelings of human weakness, as he beheld the Chalice of the Passion that was prepared for him; but he triumphed over all, in order to save us. We have seen him betrayed, fettered, and led captive into the holy City, there to consummate his Sacrifice. Let us adore and love this Jesus, who might have saved us by one and the least of all these humiliations; but whose love for us was not satisfied unless he drank, to the very dregs, the Chalice he had accepted from his Father.
The following beautiful Preface of the Gothic missal of Spain will assist us in our devotion towards the mysteries we have been celebrating.
|Dignum et justum est nos tibi, Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, gratias agere: et Jesu Christo Filio tuo. Cujus nos humanitas colligit: humilitas erigit: traditio solvit. pœna redimit: crux salvificat: sanguis emaculat: caro saginat. Qui seipsum pro nobis hodie tradidit; et culpæ nostræ vincula relaxavit. Qui ad commendandam fidelibus bonitatis suæ humilitatisque magnificentiam, etiam traditoris sui non dedignatus est pedes abluere: cujus jam manus prævidebat in scelere. Sed quid mirum: si dum ministerium formæ servilis voluntariæ morti vicinus adimplet, posuit vestimenta sua: qui cum in forma Dei esset, semetipsum exinanivit? Quid mirum si præcinxit se linteo: qui formam servi accipiens, habitu est inventus ut homo? Quid mirum si misit aquam in pelvim: unde lavaret pedes discipulorum: qui in terra sanguinem suum fudit: quo immunditias dilueret peccatorum? Quid mirum, si linteo quo erat præcinctus, pedes quos laverat tersit: qui carne qua erat indutus evangelistarum vestigia confirmavit? Et linteo quidem ut se præcingeret: posuit vestimenta quæ habebat: ut autem formam servi acciperet: quando semetipsum exinanivit; non quod habebat deposuit: sed quod non habebat accepit. Crucifigendus sane suis exspoliatus est vestimentis: et mortuus involutus est linteis: et tota illa ejus passio credentium facta est purgatio. Passurus igitur exitia; præmisit obsequia. Non solum eis pro quibus subiturus venerat mortem; sed etiam illi qui fuerat traditurus illum ad mortem. Tanta quippe est humanæ humilitatis utilitas: ut eam suo commendaret exemplo divina sublimitas. Quia homo superbus in æternum periret: nisi illum Deus humilis inveniret. Ut qui periret superbia deceptoris: salvaretur humilitate piissimi redemptoris. Cui merito omnes Angeli et Archangeli non cessant clamare quotidie: una voce dicentes: Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus.||It is meet and just, that we should give thanks to thee, O holy Lord, almighty Father, and to Jesus Christ thy Son. We have been fostered by his Humanity, exalted by his humility, set free by his betrayal, redeemed by his punishment, saved by his cross, cleansed by his Blood, fed by his Flesh. He, on this day, delivered himself for us; and loosed the bonds of our sin. He showed to his faithful people the riches of his goodness and humility, by deigning to wash the feet of his very betrayer, whose hand he already perceived to be engaged in this wicked deed. But what wonder that he, on the eve of his voluntary death, when about to do the work of a servant, should take off his garments, who, being in the form of God, had emptied himself? What wonder that he should gird himself with a towel, who, taking the form of a servant, was found in the habit of man? What wonder that he should put water into a basin to wash the feet of his disciples, who shed his Blood upon the earth to cleanse away the defilements of sinners? What wonder that with the towel, wherewith he was girt, he should wipe the feet he had washed, who, with the Flesh wherewith he had clothed himself, had strengthened the feet of them that were to preach his Gospel? Before girding himself with the towel, he took off the garments he wore; but, when he took the form of a servant, and emptied himself, he laid not aside what he had, but assumed what he had not. When he was crucified, he was stripped of his garments, and when dead, was wrapped in linen: and his whole Passion was a purification of them that believe. When, therefore, he was on the eve of his sufferings, he prepared for them by benefits, given not only to them for whom he was about to suffer death, but even to him who was about to betray him unto death. Such, indeed, is the importance of humility to man, that the very majesty of God taught it him by his own example. Proud man would have been forever lost, had not the humble God found him: and thus, he that had been ruined by the pride of the seducer, was saved by the humility of the most loving Redeemer, to whom deservedly all the Angels and Archangels cry out daily without ceasing, saying with one voice: Holy! Holy! Holy!|
This text is taken from The Liturgical Year, authored by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)