Monday Within the Octave of Corpus Christi
|Christum regem adoremus dominantem gentibus, qui se manducantibus dat spiritus pingudeninem.||Let us adore Christ, the King, who ruleth the nations; who giveth fatness of spirit to them that eat him.|
The Lord hath sworn, and he will not repent him of his oath: he hath sworn: “Thou art a Priest for ever, according to the order of Melchisedech!” Thus did the sons of Levi sing, to the expected Messias, in one of the loveliest of their Psalms. This noble and privileged family, this corona fratrum, standing, in all its glory, around the altar, whence there daily ascended the smoke of the victims burned on it,—this community of brethren celebrated, on the sacred harp, the Priesthood of the good things to come, and announced their own being set aside. Shadow and figure as it was, their own priesthood was to disappear, when the brightness of the divine realities of Calvary came. They were indebted to the infidelity of the nations, for their being called to perpetuate the worship of the true God, in his one single Temple; but this precarious honor would cease when the reconciliation of the world took place. Being son of Juda, through David, the High Priest Christ receives nought of Aaron. When the inspired Psalmist sings a hymn in honour of our Jesus’ Priesthood, he goes back, in thought, to the ages beyond Moses; he passes the time of the twelve Patriarchs and their father Israel; and there, in the distant past, he meets with the type of a Priesthood, which is to have no limits, either of place or time: it is Melchisedech. Melchisedech receives, through Abraham, the homage of Abraham’s son, Levi; the priest of the uncircumcised nations gives a blessing to the venerable holder of the promise; and this mighty blessing, which is extended to the patriarch’s entire race, derives its efficacy from a mysterious sacrifice:—the peaceful offering of bread and wine to the Most High.
The priesthood of the King of justice and peace not only precedes that of Aaron as to time, but it is also to outlive it. And observe, it is at the very time when God was making a covenant with one single race, and thereby seemed to be turning away from all other nations, and was establishing the priestly order to their exclusion,—it is precisely then that the King-Priest of Salem, who has neither beginning of days nor end of life suddenly comes before us as the imposing image of our Eternal Priest, who offers the divine Memorial, which is to perpetuate the great Sacrifice on the earth, and forever take the place of the bloody sacrifices of the Mosaic dispensation.
The Sacrifice of the Cross lasts all ages of time and fills eternity. And yet, as to time, it was the offering of one single day; and as to place, it was made but on one spot. It matters not: in every place, in every age, man must have the sacrifice ceaselessly offered up in his presence; he must have its offering renewed daily in his midst. As we have already seen, sacrifice is the center of the whole of religion; and man cannot dispense with religion, for it unites him to God as the sovereign Lord, and constitutes the primary bond of social life. As, then, to satisfy the imperious necessity, which showed itself from the very beginning of the world, divine Wisdom appointed those figurative offerings, which foretold the one great Sacrifice, and from which they derived what merit soever they possessed; so, in like manner, once the oblation of the great Victim made, it is again to supply the demands of mankind, and provide the world with a permanent Sacrifice; it is to be a Memorial, and not a Figure; it destroys not the unity of the Sacrifice of the Cross; and it applies the fruits of that one Sacrifice to each member of each future generation.
We will not here describe the Lord’s Supper, and the institution of that new Priesthood, which is as far above its predecessor as the promises it holds are more glorious, and the covenant, of which it forms the basis is more divine. We have had all the details of that marvellous history related to us on Maundy Thursday. It was on that day,—that day expected from all eternity; it was at that hour (cum facta esset Hora), that Hour so long put off, that divine Wisdom sat down to the supper and banquet of the New Covenant; he sat down, having with him the Twelve Apostles, who represented mankind. Putting an end to figures by a final immolation of the Paschal Lamb, Jesus exclaimed: With desire (that is, with immense desire), I have desired to eat this Pasch with you! The Man-God thus eased his Sacred Heart, which had so long waited for this Hour; he had so loved it! and it is now come! Then, forestalling the Jews, he immolates his victim,—the divine Lamb, signified by Abel, foretold by Isaias, shown by John the Precursor; and, by a miraculous anticipation, there is already in the holy chalice the Blood which, in a few hours hence, is to be flowing on Calvary; bread now changed into his Body, which has become the ransom of the world: Take, says this Jesus, take ye and eat: this is my Body, which shall be delivered for you! Take and drink this Chalice, which is the new testament in my Blood! This do ye for the commemoration of me: that is, “As I am now anticipating, for your sakes, the death I am to suffer on the morrow, so you, when I have left this world, do this same for the commemoration of me.”
The covenant, the alliance, is now made. The New Testament is declared, and like its predecessor, is sealed by Blood. If as yet it be of no force, save in prevision of the Testator’s real death, the reason is because this Jesus, who is the victim of the divine vengeance for the salvation of the whole world, has made a solemn covenant with his eternal Father, that this universal redemption is not to be effected but by the morrow’s cruel work. He has made himself the Head of guilty mankind; he has made himself responsible to God for the crimes of his own race; for the destruction of sin, therefore, he willingly submits to the stern laws of expiation, and by the torments he undergoes, reveals to the world how immense are the claims of eternal justice. Notwithstanding all this, the earth, from that very Thursday night, is in possession of the Chalice which is to announce the Saviour’s death until he come, by communicating to each member of the human family Christ’s real and true Blood, shed for our sins. And surely it was most fitting that our adorable High Priest himself, and without all that display of outward violence,—which, a few hours later, is to disconcert the whole Apostolic college,—should offer himself, with his own hands, as a true sacrifice to his Father; he would thus evince how spontaneous was his death, and do away with our ever having such a thought as that the treachery, or violence, or crime, of a handful of men, could be the origin and cause of the whole world’s salvation.
It is on this account that, lifting up his eyes to his Father (et elevatis oculis in cœlum ad te Deum Patrem suum omnipotentem), and giving thanks, he says, and in the present (as the Greek text gives the words): This is my Body, which is given for you; this is my Blood, which is shed for you. These words,—which he bequeaths, and with all their efficacy of power, to the representatives of his Priesthood,—really produce what they express. They not only change the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ; but as a mystical sword, they truly separate under the twofold species, and as far as their own power is concerned, they offer separately to the Father, the Body and Blood of our Lord, which are, indeed, united, but they are so by the omnipotent will of the infinite Majesty of God, who was abundantly and eternally satisfied by the offering made on Calvary. As often, then, as the words of Consecration, which may be likened to those which drew the world out of nothing, are pronounced over wheaten bread and wine of the grape, by the mouth of a Priest,—no matter how long may be the time, or how distant the place, from the Sacrifice offered on Calvary,—that same moment, the august Victim, our Jesus, is then and there really present. It was one and the same Victim both at the Last Supper, and on the Cross, and It continues the same in the oblation made to the Father, now and to the end of time, and in all places, by the One High Priest, Christ our Lord, who borrows and makes them his own, the hands and voice of the Priests of his Church, who have been chosen and consecrated, in the Holy Ghost, for this dread Ministry.
Oh! how great will not these men be, who have been taken from among the rest of men, by the imposition of hands! New Christs, that is, new anointed Priests, identified, by their ministry, with the Son of Mary, they are the privileged members of divine Wisdom; they are closely united, by love, with the power which he himself has; they are the companions of this Jesus in the doing that grand work which he, Wisdom, is ever doing throughout all ages: that is, the immolation of the great Victim, and the mingling of the Chalice, wherein our humanity, blended with its Head in the unity of the one same Sacrifice, derives also love for both its God and its fellow members, and is made to be partaker of the divine nature, as St. Peter words the mystery of union.
Praise, then, and glory be to our Jesus, the sovereign High Priest, for these noble sons of the human race! they are a marvel to heaven, and the pride of our earth! Surrounded by them, as is the palm tree with its victory-speaking palms, or the cedar, with its incorruptible branches, this divine Pontiff of ours comes forward like the olive tree budding forth its young plants, in which he puts, and with such an overflowingness, dignity, power, and holiness. And as the cypress tree that rears itself on high, hides its vigorous trunk beneath the forest of its ever-green branches,—so hiding his own direct action, and, as it were, retreating behind the countless Priests on earth, who derive all their power and unction from Him, our true High Priest draws them all to unity with his own adorable Self.
On that night ever blessed, that night of the divine Supper, when, as he said, the hour had come for the Father and Son to glorify one the other; it was just as he was on the point of ascending the blood-stained steps of the altar of the Cross, where was to be consummated the perfection of glory; yes, it was then, and thus early, that he manifested the power of his own divine Priesthood. Under the likeness and name of Simon, Son of Onias, who did such great things for the Temple, and saved his people from destruction; we have our Jesus, whose praises are inspired and celebrated by the Holy Spirit, in that last of the Books descriptive of eternal Wisdom,—Ecclesiasticus. It is into the as yet feeble hands of his Apostles, whom he vouchsafes to call his friends, and his Brethren, that our Lord entrusts the oblation, which was to immortalize, and so, in a manner, extend his sacrifice to the King of Ages. His divine hands are stretched out, offering, as a libation, the blood of the grape: he pours it forth at the very foot of the altar, which is already being put up; and the fragrance of that offering makes its way to the Most High Prince. Our High Priest saw into the future; he heard the songs of triumph which would hymn the praises of the divine Memorial; he heard the sacred Psalmody, which would fill the great House, the Church, with ceaseless and sweet harmony, around the Tabernacle of his Presence; he saw millions prostrate in the adoration of Him, the Lord their God, and paying to the Almighty their now perfect homage. Then did he rise from the table of the Supper; he went out in his strength and his love, that he might, for a whole long day, stretch forth his hands in presence of the crowd of unbelieving and hostile children of Israel; he renewed his oblation, consummated his Sacrifice by his Blood, for, by the Cross, he wished to show the power of God.
“The evening Sacrifice, which was the Passion of Christ,” says St. Augustine, “became, in his Resurrection, the oblation of the morning.” It was a Sacrifice whose mysterious transformation was signified under the Law by the solemnly presenting to the Lord of a sheaf of the first-fruits of the wheat harvest; the presentation was to be made on the third day following the slaying of the Paschal Lamb. But the time for offering the very bread itself, the true wheat and food of souls, was not as yet come; and the law subjoined as follows: Ye shall count, therefore, from the morrow after the Sabbath, wherein ye offered the sheaf of the first-fruits, seven full weeks, even unto the morrow after the seventh week be expired, that is to say, fifty days: and then ye shall offer a new Sacrifice unto the Lord:—two loaves of flour,—the first-fruits of the Lord.
Fifty days were to transpire, in the New Covenant, before the divine agent came, who alone could transform these gifts, this Bread and Wine. Pentecost, the glorious Pentecost, arose at last; and the creating Spirit came with a mighty wind. The flesh of the Word, and the divine Blood, which he formed at the very onset, and are still in his keeping, awaited for their being reproduced in the sacred Mysteries, the incommunicable operation of Him whose glorious masterpiece they are. “It was by Him who is eternal Fire, that is, by the Spirit,” says the Abbot Rupert, “that Mary conceived; it was by him that Jesus offered himself, a living Victim, to the living God; and it is by the same Fire that he now burns on our altars, for it is by the operation of the Holy Ghost that the Bread is changed into his Body.” So, too, St. Denis the Areopagite, the great disciple of the Apostle St. Paul, teaches us that our Jesus, the supreme Hierarch, when he called his disciples to share in his sovereign priesthood,—although, as God, he was the author of all consecration, yet did he leave the consummation of their priesthood to the Holy Ghost; and he bade his Apostles not to depart from Jerusalem, but there wait for the promise of the Father, that is, for their being baptized with the Holy Ghost a few days later on.
“The Priest,” says St. John Chrysostom, “comes forth, carrying, not fire, as under the Law, but the Holy Ghost.” “It is a man who appears before us, but it is God who works.” How shall this be done, said Mary to the Angel, for I know not man. Gabriel answers her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. “And thou now askest me,” says St. John Damascene to an inquirer, “’How do the bread and wine and water become the Body and Blood of Christ?’ I answer thee: The Holy Ghost overshadows the Church, and achieves this Mystery, which is beyond all word and all imagination.”
Therefore it is that, as St. Fulgentius observes, “the Church cannot have any better reason for praying the coming of the Holy Ghost, than for the consecration of the Sacrifice, wherein, as under the shadow of the Spirit in the Virgin’s womb, the Wisdom of the Father united himself with the Man chosen by him for the divine espousal, so the Church herself is united, by the Holy Ghost, to Christ, as a bride is to her spouse, or the body to its head.” It is on account of all this that the hour of Tierce (our hour of nine o’clock), the hour wherein the divine Paraclete came into this world, is the one set apart, by the Church, on each of her Festivals, for the solemn celebration of the great Sacrifice, over which this Blessed Spirit presides in the omnipotence of his operation.
O holy hour of Tierce! O sacred Nine o’Clock, as men call that third hour! it is then that the Bride, the Church of Christ, feels an alleviation of her exile; for though still on earth, she gives to her God an homage that is worthy of him, and receives back from him every grace wherewith to bless her dear children. In this sense, the Mass is her fortune, her dower; it belongs to her to regulate its celebration, to prescribe the formulas and the ceremonies, and to receive its fruits. The Priest is her minister: she prays; he immolates the Victim, and gives her prayer an infinite power. The indelible character of the Priesthood, stamped by God himself, on the Priest’s soul, makes him the exclusive depositary of the marvellous, the divine, power, and gives to the Sacrifice, offered by his hands, a validity which no human power can control; but he may not, licitly and lawfully, make the oblation, save in and with the Church.
This mutual dependence, this union which confounds not, of the Priest and the Church in the Sacred Mysteries, was deeply impressed on the minds of the early Christians. In the cemetery of Saint Callixtus,—that central point of the Roman cemeteries, and the one set apart for the burial of the Bishops of the Mother Church during the entire 3rd Century,—there is a whole series of paintings going back as far as the beginning of the Catacomb itself. These were a symbolic teaching of the initiated how the dogma of the Eucharist was instituted by our Lord, as basis of the religion, whereof the Popes, who were buried there in the papal crypt, had been the faithful guardians. The repast of the seven disciples, for whom, during their mysterious fishing, Jesus himself has been preparing bread and a fish roasted on hot coals, is painted in one of the rooms, on the center of the wall facing the entrance door. On either side of this central subject, there are two other smaller ones: one is the sacrifice of Abraham, with its well known meaning; the other represents a non-historic scene, which, however, evidently forms a counterpart with the one on the other side; it speaks of the Sacrifice of the Christian Church; and symbolism so thoroughly hides the secret of the Mysteries from the profane, that we may expect the symbolism to be deep in proportion. On a table lies a loaf, whose meaning is made plain enough by the fish, the eucharistic icthus, being placed near it. On the spectator’s right hand is an aged female; she is standing, with her arms stretched out as an Orante, and is offering up her prayer to heaven; on the left is the figure of a young man; he wears a simple pallium, which was the usual garb of the Christian cleric in the 2nd Century; with an air of authority, he is holding his open hands over the table and its gifts. We know the meaning of all this; it is the Church, who is united, in the consecration, with the Priest, her minister and her son.
With what fidelity does not this queen, who is in mourning for her Spouse, carry out the Testament which left her in the Sacrifice, the eternal and undying remembrance of his Death,—and he gave her that Testament at his Last Supper! While he gives his whole Self to her in the mystery of love, she is forcibly reminded, by the state of immolation in which she sees Him, that she is not to be taken up so much with the joy this sweet presence of his causes her, as with the duty of completing and continuing his work, by immolating herself together with Him. Under the Altar, where she and her Jesus meet, she, the valiant woman, has laid the relics of her Martyrs, for she is aware that the Passion of her Lord demands, from her children, who are his members, a something which will fill up what is wanting of his sufferings. She was produced from his open Side, when on his Cross, and she was espoused to him in Death; that first embrace, which, from her very birth, put her Spouse’s Bleeding Body into her arms, has communicated to the soul of this second Eve the same inebriation of devotedness and love, which sent the heavenly Adam into his deep sleep on Calvary.
To this Church, then, to this Mother of the living, the immense human family runs with all its manifold miseries and countless wants. She makes good use of the treasure confided to her; that treasure is the Mass, and it supplies every necessity; and, by that same, she is enabled to fulfill all her duties, both as Bride and Mother. Each day identifying herself, more and more, with the universal Victim, who imparts to her sacrifice his own infinite worth, the Church adores God’s sovereign Majesty, gives him thanks for his favors, sues for the pardon of the past and present sins of her children, and asks for them the bestowal of blessings temporal and eternal. The precious Blood of her Jesus flows from her Altar upon the suffering souls in Purgatory, assuages their fire of expiation, or leads them to the place of refreshment, light, and peace.
So great is the power of the Sacrifice offered in the Church that, of itself, and (as far as the principal effect is concerned) independently of the merits of the Priest or the people present, it fulfils those four ends, whose realization includes the sum total of religion,—that, is Adoration, Thanksgiving, Propitiation, and Impetration;—yes independently of the merits of the human Priest,—for it is the Victim, which gives this Sacrifice its worth; and the Victim on our Altars is the Same that was on Calvary; it is a Victim equal to the Father, who offers himself, as he did on the cross, for these same ends, and in one same Oblation. The Creator of space and time is not bound to observe their laws, and he has proved his divine independence in this mystery. “Just as though offered in many places, it is one and the same Body, and not several bodies,” says St. John Chrysostom, “so is it with the unity of the Sacrifice, though offered in different ages.” Between the Altar and the Cross, there is but the difference of the manner of the offering. Bloody on the Cross, unbloody on the Altar, the offering is one, notwithstanding this diversity of mode. The immolation of the august Victim on the Cross was a visible one, for it was amidst all the cruel horrors which slew Him; but the violence of the executioners concealed the Sacrifice offered to God, by the Incarnate Word, in the spontaneity of his generous love. At our Altar, the immolation is not visible; but the religious worship of the Sacrifice is as patent as the noon-day brightness, and as splendid in its glorious ritual. Upon the earth, which on that terrible Friday, had drunk the stream of its shedding, the precious Blood left the malediction of deicide; but the chalice of salvation held by the Church’s hand sheds benediction throughout our planet.
O glorious condition of this Earth of ours, from whose surface, the Lamb that is slain, who is now receiving, on the Throne of God, the homage due to his triumph, is presenting, each day, in his state of infinite lowliness as Man, total satisfaction to his Father for the sins of the world, and a glory adequate to the perfections of the divine Majesty! The Angels are in admiration as they look down upon this our globe, mere speck as it is amidst the bright heavenly spheres, and yet so loved, from the very onset, by eternal Wisdom; they surround, trembling the while, this Altar on earth, so closely resembling, so one with theirs in heaven, that on the two, the one same High Priest pays homage to the one same God in the one same infinite Offering. Hell from its deepest depths trembles at it; and raging, as it does, against God and vowing vengeance against man, there is no object so hateful to it as this Sacrifice. What untiring efforts has not Satan been making, what artful designs has he not planned, in order to make this much detested Sacrifice cease! And alas! there has been, even in the very heart of Christendom, some partial success to those efforts and designs,—there has been the protestant heresy, which has destroyed thousands of our Altars, especially in our own dear fatherland,—and there is still the spirit of Revolution which is spreading as our modern times grow older, and whose avowed aim is to shut up our Churches, and do away with the Priests who offer sacrifice!
So it is: and therefore, our world, which heretofore used to be set right again after the storms that swept its surface, now complains that the impending ruin is a universal one, and one wherein there is no strength, save in the very chastisements sent by God. It vainly busies itself with its plans of safety, and at each turn, feels that the human legislation it would trust to is but an arm of human folly stretched out to support a decrepit age of proud weakness. The Blood of the Lamb, once the world’s power, no longer flows upon it with its former plenty. And yet, the world goes on; it does so because of that same Sacrifice, which, though despised and in many lands totally suspended, is still offered in thousands of happy spots on earth; and on the world will go, for the time yet to come, until, in a final access of mad frenzy, it shall have put the last Priest to death, and taken away from every Altar here below, the eternal Sacrifice.
The incalculable influence of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, and its unlimited power, are brought forward in the following beautiful formula, which is a continuation of what we have already taken from the Apostolic Constitutions.
|Poscimus te ut super hæc dona placate respicias, tu qui nullius indiges Deus, et beneplaceas in eis ad honorem Christi tui, atque supra hoc sacrificium mittas sanctum tuum Spiritum, testem passionum Domini Jesu: ut participes illius ad pietatem confirmentur, remissionem peccatorum consequantur, diabolo ejusque errore liberentur, Spiritu sancto repleantur, digni Christo tuo fiant, vitam sempiternam impetrent, te illis reconciliato, Domine omnipotens.||We beseech thee that thou mercifully look down upon these gifts, thou, O God, who standest in need of none of our things; and be thou well-pleased in them, for the honor of thy Christ; send down upon this sacrifice thy Spirit, he that was witness of the Lord Jesus’ sufferings; in order that they who are partakers of his (Body and Blood) may be strengthened unto piety, may obtain the remission of their sins, may be delivered from the devil and his deceit, may be filled with the Holy Ghost, may be made worthy of thy Christ, and may obtain life everlasting, by thy being reconciled to them, O almighty Lord.|
|Adhuc oramus te, Domine, pro santa Ecclesia tua, quæ a finibus ad fines extenditur, quam acquisisti pretioso sanguine Christi tui: ut eam inconcussam ac minime fluctuantem conserves usque in sæculi consummationem! item pro universo episcopatu recte verbum veritatis tractante ac distribuente, pro omni presbyterio, pro diaconis, ac universo clero: ut omnes sapientiam a te donatos Spiritu sancto impleas.||We further pray thee, O Lord, for thy holy Church, which is spread from one end of the world to the other, which thou hast purchased by the precious Blood of thy Christ: preserve it unshaken and free from disturbance until the consummation of time; we also pray for the whole episcopacy which rightly treats and distributes the word of truth; for the whole presbytery, for deacons, and the entire clergy; that, having enriched them with Wisdom, thou mayst fill them with the Holy Spirit.|
|Adhuc rogamus te, Domine, pro rege et iis qui in sublimitate sunt et pro cuncto exercitu, ut res nostræ ni pace versentur; quo totum vitæ nostræ tempus in quiete et concordia trajicientes, te per Jesum Christum spem nostram gloria afficiamus.||We further pray thee, O Lord, for the king and them that are in authority, and for the whole army, that all our affairs may be in peace; that, thereby, spending the whole time of our life in quietness and concord, we may glorify thee, through him who is our hope, Christ Jesus.|
|Adhuc offerimus tibi pro omnibus sanctis qui a sæculo placuerunt tibi, patriarchis, prophetis, justis, apostolis, martyribus, confessoribus, episcopis, presbyteris, diaconis, subdiaconis, lectoribus, cantoribus, virginibus, viduis, laicis et omnnibus quorum tu nosti nomina.||We further offer thee (this Sacrifice) for all the saints who have been pleasing to thee from the beginning: patriarchs, prophets, righteous, apostles, martyrs, confessors, bishops, priests, deacons, subdeacons, lectors, chanters, virgins, widows, laity, and all whose names are known to thee.|
|Adhuc offerimis tibi pro populo hoc: ut eum in laudem Christi tui exhibeas regale sacerdotium, gentem sanctam; pro iis qui in virginitate et castitate vivunt; pro viduis Ecclesiæ; pro iis qui in nuptiis honestis degunt; pro infantibus plebis tuæ: uti nostrum neminem rejiciendum habeas.||We further offer it to thee for this people, that thou wilt make them, to the praise of thy Christ, a kingly priesthood and a holy nation; for them that live in virginity and chastity; for the Church’s widows; for them that live in honorable wedlock; for the infants of thy people: that thou mayst not cast any one of us away.|
|Adhuc poscimus te pro urbe hac et habitantibus in ea; pro ægrotis, pro dura servitute afflictis, pro exsulibus, pro proscriptis, pro navigantibus et iter facientibus: ut sis auxiliator, omnium adjutor ac defensor.||We further beseech thee for this city and its inhabitants; for the sick; for them that are in cruel servitude; for them that are in banishment; for them that are in prison; for them that are travelling by sea or land: that thou be their supporter, thou the helper and defender of all.|
|Adhuc rogamus te pro iis qui oderunt nos et propter nomen tuum nos persequuntur, pro iis qui foris sunt ac errant: ut adducas eos ad bonum, et furorem eorum mitiges.||We further beseech thee for them that hate and persecute us for thy name’s sake; for them that are without, and are astray: that thou lead them to what is good, and appease their fury.|
|Adhuc rogamus te et pro Ecclesiæ catechumenis, et pro iis qui ab adversario jactantur, et pro pœnitentiam agentibus fratribus nostris: ut primos quidem perficias in fide, alteros vero mundes a vexatione mali, tertiorum autem pœnitentiam suscipias, condonesque cum iis tum nobis quæ delinquimus.||We further also beseech thee for the Church’s catechumens, and for the possessed by satan, and for our brethren the penitents: that thou mayst perfect the first in faith, cleanse the second from the attacks of the wicked one, and accept the penance of the third, pardoning both them and us the offenses committed by us.|
|Offerimus quoque tibi pro aeris temperatura et frugum ubertate: ut indesinenter bona a te collata percipientes, asidue laudemus te qui das escam omni carni.||We offer it to thee, likewise, for favorable weather and abundant crops: that ever receiving the good things thou bestowest, we may cease not to praise thee, who givest food to all flesh.|
|Etiam rogamus te pro iis qui ob causam probabilem absentes sunt: ut omnes nos in pietate conservatos a te, in Christi tui, Dei universæ naturæ sub sensum et intelligentiam cadentis, regisque nostri regno congreges, immutabiles, inculpatos, irreprehensos.||We also beseech thee for them that are absent for a just cause: that thus, being maintained in holiness by thee, thou mayst unite us all, immoveable, blameless, and without reproach, in the kingdom of thy Christ, who is the God of every creature both sensible and intellectual, and is also our king.|
|Quoniam tibi omnis gloria, veneratio, gratiarum actio, honor, adoratio: Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto, nunc, et semper, et in infinita ac sempiterna sæcula sæculorum.||For to thee be all glory, worship, thanksgiving, honor, adoration, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, now, and ever, and for endless everlasting ages.|
|Atque omnis populis Amen respondeat.||And let all the people answer: Amen.|
We have taken the following fine Sequence from Daniel’s Thesaurus Hymnologicus. Unlike so many other liturgical pieces composed, in the 14th and 15th Centuries, in honor of the Blessed Sacrament, we find in it somewhat of the soul and spirit of the great Christian poets of earlier times.
|De S. Sacramento
Infra Septuagesimam et Quadragesimam.
|De superna Hierarchia,
Vera descendit Sophia
In uterum Virginis:
Optatus Dux in hac via
Venit natus de Maria,
Esse portans hominis.
|True Sophia, true Wisdom, came down, from the hierarchy of heaven, into the Virgin’s womb: our long-desired Guide in this life, came, born of Mary, having the nature of Man.|
|Magnæ Matris magnus Natus,
Modo miro mundo natus,
Mundi tollit crimina:
Aufert morbos, dat salutem,
Ante suos fert virtutem,
Hostis fugans agmina.
|Noble Son of noble Mother, born into this world in a wonderful manner, he takes that world’s sins away: he expels disease, bestows health, leads on his people with power, and puts the hostile ranks to flight.|
In cruce damnatur:
Legis plagis asperis
Pro nobis plagatur.
|He that is wonderful in his love, having become passible, is condemned to the Cross: he that is the giver of the Old Law is, for our sakes, wounded with cruel wounds.|
|Agnus in Cruce levatus,
Et pro nobis immolatus,
Fit salutis hostia:
Vitæ nostræ reparator,
Et virtutum restaurator,
Cœli pandit ostia.
|The Lamb being lifted up on the Cross, and immolated for us, is made the Victim of salvation: the repairer of our life, the restorer of all virtues, opens heaven’s gates.|
|Sacramenta dictat prius,
Cœna magna, bene scius
Quæ jam erant obvia:
Præbens panem benedicit;
Hoc est corpus meum, dicit;
Sit mei memoria.
|At the great Supper, he first declares his mysteries, knowing well what awaited him. Taking bread, he blesses it, This, he says, is my Body: be it a remembrance of me!|
Fit a Dei Filio
Et cum benedicitur,
Tunc sanguis efficitur
|The wine in the cup which he presents, is blessed by him, who is Son of God; and when blessed, it becomes the Blood of the Word made Flesh.|
|Deo nota sunt hæc soli:
Credi debent atque coli,
Justus tantum expers doli
Sumat illa:—sed tu noli
|To God alone are these things understood; we are to believe and worship them, without prying into their depths: let the just man alone approach to receive them, who is of simple faith: if thou art cloaked in vice, approach not!|
|Cave, Juda, ne damneris:
Petre, sume et salveris:
Cibus est fidelium:
Ad cujus mensam armatur
Justus, reus et nudatur,
Præda factus hostium.
|Take heed, thou Judas! for thou wilt find thy condemnation! Thou, O Peter, take and find salvation! This is the food of Believers. At this Table, the just man is clad with armor; but the guilty one is stripped, and is made a prey to the foes.|
|Tua, Christe, sunt hæc mira;
Serva sumentes ab ira Judicii:
Orna nos veste gratiæ,
Defende nos a facie Supplicii.
Dignos cibo nos effice
|These, O Christ, are thy marvelous works: O save us, who receive them, from an angry judgment. Adorn us with the garb of grace! Defend us from punishment. O thou restorer of salvation! O heavenly Physician! make us worthy of the food thou givest us!|
This text is taken from The Liturgical Year, authored by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)