Holy Week

Solemn High Mass of Easter Sunday narrated by Venerable Fulton J.Sheen; & Regina Caeli Laetare – videos with Online Missal

16 April 2017

resurrection

 

Ordo Missae for Dominica Resurrectionis begins on page 436 from Sancta Missa.org.

Regina Caeli Laetare begins on page 498.

Archbishop Fulton J Sheen narrated this Solemn High Mass on Easter Sunday, 1941. His cause for canonization is currently in progress. For more info please go to: Archbishop Sheen Cause

Editor’s Note: Thank you to trady & vianinigiovanni on You Tube


@AlwaysCatholic Wishes You All A Most Blessed & Happy Easter!

15 April 2017

He is Risen!

He is truly Risen!

The Resurrection is depicted in “Christ Risen from the Tomb,” a painting by Italian Renaissance artist Bergognone. The artwork is from the Samuel H. Kress Collection at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. Easter, the feast of the Resurrection, is April 16th in the Latin-rite church this year. (CNS photo/courtesy of the National Gallery of Art) (March 27, 2012)

Praeconium Paschale – Exsultet (Latin Version)
The Singing of the Paschal Proclamation

Sir, give me Thy blessing.
C. May the Lord be on thy heart and on thy lips, that thou mayest worthily and fittingly proclaim His Paschal praise.
R. Amen.
Let the angelic choirs of Heaven now rejoice; let the divine Mysteries rejoice; and let the trumpet of salvation sound forth the victory of so great a King. Let the earth also rejoice, made radiant by such splendor; and, enlightened with the brightness of the eternal King, let it know that the darkness of the whole world is scattered. Let our mother the Church also rejoice, adorned with the brightness of so great a light; and let this temple resound with the loud acclamations of the people.

Wherefore I beseech you, most beloved brethren, who are here present in the wondrous brightness of this holy light, to invoke wtih me the mercy of almighty God. That He who has vouchsafed to admit me among the Levites, without any merits of mine, would pour forth the brightness of His light upon me, and enable me to perfect the praise of this wax candle. Through our Lord Jesus Christ His Son, Who with Him and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth one God for ever and ever. R. Amen.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.
V. Lift up thy hearts.
R. We have them lifted up to the Lord.
V. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God..
R. It is meet and just.

It is truly meet and right to proclaim with all our heart and all the affection of our mind, and with the ministry of our voices, the invisible God, the Father almighty, and His only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ, who repaid for us to His eternal Father the debt of Adam, and by the merciful shedding of His Blood, cancelled the debt incurred by original sin. For this is the Paschal Festival; in which that true Lamb is slain, with Whose Blood the doorposts of the faithful are consecrated.

This is the night in which Thou didst formerly cause our forefathers, the children of Israel, when brought out of Egypt, to pass through the Red Sea with dry foot. This, therefore, is the night which dissipated the darkness of sinners by the light of the pillar. This is the night which at this time throughout the world restores to grace and unites in sanctity those that believe in Christ, and are separated from the vices of the world and the darkness of sinners. This is the night in which, destroying the chains of death, Christ arose victorious from the grave. For it would have profited us nothing to have been born, unless redemption had also been bestowed upon us. O wondrous condescension of Thy mercy towards us! O inestimable affection of love: that Thou mightest redeem a slave, Thou didst deliver up Thy Son! O truly needful sin of Adam, which was blotted out by the death of Christ! O happy fault, that merited to possess such and so great a Redeemer! O truly blessed night, which alone deserved to know the time and hour when Christ rose again from hell! This is the night of which it is written: And the night shall be as clear as the day; and the night is my light in my delights. Therefore the hallowing of this night puts to flight all wickedness, cleanses sins, and restores innocence to the fallen, and gladness to the sorrowful. It drives forth hatreds, it prepares concord, and brings down haughtiness.

Wherefore, in this sacred night, receive, O holy Father, the evening sacrifice of this incense, which holy Church renders to Thee by the hands of Thy ministers in the solemn offering of this wax candle, made out the work of bees. Now also we know the praises of this pillar, which the shining fire enkindles to the honor of God. Which fire, although divided into parts, suffers no loss from its light being borrowed. For it is nourished by the melting wax, which the mother bee produced for the substance of this precious light. O truly blessed night, which plundered the Egyptians and enriched the Hebrews! A night in which heavenly things are united to those of earth, and things divine to those which are of man.

We beseech Thee, therefore, O Lord, that this wax candle hallowed in honor of Thy Name, may continue to burn to dissipate the darkness of this night. And being accepted as a sweet savor, may be united with the heavenly lights. Let the morning star find its flame alight. That star, I mean, which knows no setting. He Who returning from hell, serenely shone forth upon mankind. We beseech Thee therefore, O Lord, that Thou wouldst grant peaceful times during this Paschal Festival, and vouchsafe to rule, govern, and keep with Thy constant protection us Thy servants, and all the clergy, and the devout people, together with our most holy Father, Pope N., and our Bishop N.. Have regard, also, for those who reign over us, and, grant them Thine ineffable kindness and mercy, direct their thoughts in justice and peace, that from their earthy toil, they may come to their heavenly reward with all Thy people. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who with Thee liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God: World without end. R. Amen.

Posted by Deo volente at his blog, Traditional Latin Mass in Maryland


Our Lord’s Obituary: A Must Read for Holy Saturday via BattleBeadsBlog

15 April 2017

… because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world!

How often have we gazed upon a Crucifix in our lives? If we grew up in a Catholic family, we likely can’t even count how often our eyes fell upon this sometimes uncomfortable Image. But why do we sometimes feel an uncomfortableness? How many times have we looked at it as if it were nothing more than a picture or statue of some familiar object? How many have really taken just 5 solid minutes to seriously LOOK at a Crucifix and meditate on the Savior of the world, thinking how He hung there for all humanity, knowing how He’d be ridiculed, scorned and despised? This Good Friday, I challenge EVERYONE to pray for the grace to truly behold His Suffering and not take it for granted because we’re used to seeing it from children. To really study, consider and open our hearts to the Truth of His Eternal Love and Mercy. Yet while we were still sinners He suffered and died for us.

Do we sometimes look away from the Cross?

Read the rest of this post from the writer herself at BattleBeadsBlog here>>>

Beautiful post Mary! Perfect for Holy Saturday…

#Meditations for Each Day of #Lent by St Thomas #Aquinas – #HolySaturday

15 April 2017

“Holy Saturday”

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas

Holy Saturday

Why our Lord went down to Limbo

From the descent of Christ to hell we may learn, for our instruction, four things:

1. Firm hope in God. No matter what the trouble in which a man finds himself, he should always put trust in God’s help and rely on it. There is no trouble greater than to find oneself in hell. If then Christ freed those who were in hell, any man who is a friend of God cannot but have great confidence that he too shall be freed from what-ever anxiety holds him. Wisdom forsook not the just when he was sold, but delivered him from sinners; she went down with him into the pit and in bands she left him not (Wis. x. 13-14). And since to His servants God gives a special assistance, he who serves God should have still greater confidence. He that fear eth the Lord shall tremble at nothing and shall not be afraid: for he is his hope (Ecclus. xxxiv. 16).

2. We ought to conceive fear and to rid our selves of presumption. For although Christ suffered for sinners, and went down into hell to set them free, he did not set all sinners free, but only those who were free of mortal sin. Those who had died in mortal sin He left there. Wherefore for those who have gone down to hell in mortal sin there remains no hope of pardon. They shall be in hell as the holy Fathers are in heaven, that is for ever.

3. We ought to be full of care. Christ went down into hell for our salvation, and we should be careful frequently to go down there too, turning over in our minds hell’s pain and penalties, as did the holy king Ezechias as we read in the prophecy of Isaias, I said : In the midst of my days I shall go to the gates of hell (Isaias xxxviii. 10).< ?blockquote>


Holy Saturday Reflections including “The Most Holy Winding-Sheet”

15 April 2017

“Holy Saturday”

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

The Most Holy Winding-Sheet

Luke xxiii. 53: “And taking Him down, he wrapped Him in fine linen and laid Him in a sepulchre.”

 

The glories of that sacred winding-sheet
Let every tongue record;
Which from the cross received with honour meet
The body of the Lord.
Ah! who, beholding these sad images,
Can tears control?
Can check the throbs of swelling grief that rise
Up from his inmost soul?
O Dear Memorial! on which we see,
In bloody stains impressed,
The form sublime in awful majesty,
Of our Redeemer blest.
Jesu! my sin it was that laid Thee low,
And through Thy death I live;
That life, which to Thy torments sore I owe,
Henceforth to Thee I give.
How doth the grievous sight of Thee recall
Those dying throes to mind,
Which Christ, compassionating Adam’s fall,
Endured for lost mankind.
Glory to Him who to redeem us bore
Such bitter dying pains;
Who with th’ Eternal Father evermore,
And Holy Spirit reigns.

His wounded side, His hands and feet pierced through,
Mirrored in Thee appear;
His lacerated limbs, His gory brow
And thorn-entangled hair.

The particular Circumstances which occurred from our

Lord’s Death to His Resurrection.

He dies

Jesus! all hail, who for my sin
Didst die, and by that death didst win
Eternal life for me;
Send me Thy grace, good Lord! that I
Unto the world and flesh may die,
And hide my life with Thee.
He is buried
Jesus! in spices wrapped, and laid
Within the garden’s rocky shade,
By jealous seals made sure
Embalm me with Thy grace, and hide
Thy servant in Thy wounded side,
A heavenly sepulchre!
His side is pierced through
Jesus! from out Thy open side,
Thou hast the thirsty world supplied
With endless streams of love;
Come ye who would your sickness quell,
Draw freely from this sacred well:
Its heavenly virtues prove.
He descends into Hell
Jesus! who to the spirits went,
And preached the new enfranchisement
Thy recent death had won;
Absolve me, Lord, and set me free
From self and sin, that I may be
Bondsman to Thee alone.
The inscription upon the Cross
Jesus! around Thy sacred head
There is an ominous brightness shed,
The name which Pilate wrote;
Save us, Thou royal Nazarene!
For in Thy Threefold Name are seen
The gifts Thy Passion brought.

The Descent of Jesus Christ to Limbus

“He descended into Hell.”

Thousands of years had come and gone,
And slow the ages seemed to move
To those expectant souls that filled
That prison-house of patient love.
‘Tis God! ’tis Man! the living soul
Of Jesus, beautiful and bright,
The first-born of created things,
Flushed with a pure resplendent light.
It was a weary watch of theirs.
But onward still their hopes would press;
Captives they were, yet happy too,
In their contented weariness.
‘Tis Mary’s Child! Eve saw Him come;
She flew from Joseph’s haunted side,
And worshipped, first of all that crowd,
The soul of Jesus crucified.
As noiseless tides the ample depths
Of some capacious harbour fill,
So grew the calm of that dread place
Each day with increase swift and still.
So after four long thousand years,
Faith reached her end, and Hope her aim,
And from them as they passed away,
Love lit her everlasting flame!
But see! how hushed the crowd of souls!
Whence comes the lift of upper day?
What glorious form is this that finds
Through central earth its ready way?


Good Friday – Extraordinary Form – Videos & Online Missal

14 April 2017


Ordo Missae for Good Friday
from Sancta Missa.org.
Feria VI In Parasceve begins on page 265.


Editor’s Note: Thank you to cathcom (Sacramental Films) on You Tube


St Alphonsus Liquori’s Most Unique Devotion – The Clock of the Passion

13 April 2017

FOR THE USE OF PERSONS DEVOTED
TO THE PASSION OF OUR LORD
THE CLOCK OF THE PASSION

BY

ST. ALPHONSUS DE LIGUORI

hourglass

Sir Anthony van Dyck, Christ Crucified with the Virgin, Saint John, and Mary Magdalene, c. 1628-30

Sir Anthony van Dyck, Christ Crucified with the Virgin, Saint John, and Mary Magdalene, c. 1628-30

St. Alphonsus (1696-1787) devised the Clock of the Passion as a meditation for Passion-tide during Lent to follow Jesus the last twenty-four hours of His life on this earth. His intent was to motivate each person to cherish a tender devotion towards Jesus Christ in His Passion. The events are put in sequence as found in Scripture and Sacred Tradition.

We have assembled beautiful religious art on the Passion of Christ to coincide with St. Aphonsus de Liguori’s time line placed at the top of each painting. In addition, we have added excerpts from approved Church Litanies to encourage prayer as you meditate on the Passion of Our Lord. In addition, new meditations have been added from the book “The Passion Clock” by St. Alphonsus Liguori. The music chosen is Miserere mei, Deus (Have mercy on me, O God) by Gregorio Allegri, who was a priest, composer and singer.

The Passion Clock may be utilized at your own pace and the music lasts for over nine minutes and is set on repeat. If you would rather have no music, simply adjust the volume settings on your computer.

Prayer by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

O my Jesus! I pray Thee make me always remember Thy Passion; and grant that I also, a miserable sinner, overcome at last by so many loving devices, may return to love Thee, and to show Thee, by my poor love some mark of gratitude for the excessive love which Thou, my God and my Saviour, hast borne to me. Amen.

Click HERE to begin the Devotion at Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals


Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday) Extraordinary Form Videos & Online Missal

13 April 2017


Complete Missal online to follow the Mass
Procession of the Blessed Sacrament to the Altar of Repose and the
Stripping of the Altar


Ordo Missae for Holy Thursday from Sancta Missa.org.
Feria V In Cena Domini begins on page 180.

In Cena Domini Gregorian Chants for the Vesperal Mass of Maundy Thursday from F.S.S.P. North American District (Complete audio to accompany text)


Spy Wednesday of Holy Week – Tenebrae

12 April 2017

Tenebrae Service
St. John Cantius Choir, Chicago, Illinois


Part I

Part II

Part III

On the evening of Spy Wednesday, Wednesday in Holy Week, Matins and Lauds is sung in a special form known as Tenebrae.

During the late afternoon of Spy Wednesday (following the practice in Rome), or in the early evening, the service of Tenebrae is sung. Tenebrae is Matins and Lauds, as usual anticipated, of the following liturgical day but the Office of the Triduum shows signs of antiquity and has developed a ceremonial extinguishing of candles that mimetically represent the desertion of the LORD by his disciples and the days of darkness – hence the name.

The altar is vested in violet antependia and the Blessed Sacrament removed if It is present on the choir altar. The altar cross is veiled in violet and the candlesticks, the plainest set used on Good Friday, bearing six lighted candles of unbleached wax.

In Rome Tenebrae in the Papal Chapel was celebrated very early so the rays of the setting sun would pass through a window of the Sistine Chapel. The Caeremoniale Episcoporum mentions Tenebrae starting progressively later each day of the Triduum. In practice the service ‘works best’ if it at least ends in near darkness.

In the sanctuary in about the place where the Epistle is sung is placed the Tenebrae hearse. The hearse, for the Roman rite, bears fifteen lighted candles of unbleached wax. The choir enters, seniores ante inferiores, take their places and kneels to say Aperi, Domine. When the choir rises the sign of the Cross is made as the cantors intone the first antiphon of Matins, Zelus domus tuae. This is sung in full and then the first psalm Salvum me fac, Deus intoned. At the end of the psalm (there is no Gloria Patri during the Triduum) the lowest candle on the Gospel side of the hearse is extinguished. Before the 1911-13 reform the chant books had a special cadence at the end of each psalm, a drop of a fourth, which presumably was an audible indication for the acolyte to extinguish a candle. Then the next antiphon is sung with its psalm etc. After the first three psalms there is a versicle and response and then all stand for a silent Pater noster. During the Triduum there are no absolutions and blessings at Mattins. The psalms of Mattins for Tenebrae on Mandy Thursday are really the first nine of the twelve ferial psalms from the pre-Pius X Breviary for Mattins. In the reformed Breviary they appear ‘proper’ but are in fact the ancient practice. They are: I nocturn, 68, 69, 70; II nocturn, 71, 72, 73; III nocturn, 74, 75, 76.

The follows the Lamentations of Jeremy the Prophet as first nocturn lessons. These are from the OT book and have verses based on a Hebrew acrostic. The first verse thus begins with ‘Aleph’. The verses have several special tones in plainsong and have been set to polyphony by various composers. The lessons are sung from a lectern medio chori. A responsory follows the first lessons as usual at Mattins. After the third responsory the second nocturn begins and has lessons from St. Augustine on the psalms. The third nocturn has lessons from St. Paul to the Corinthians on the foundation of the Holy Eucharist. At Tenebrae the Hebodomadarius does not chant the ninth lesson. At the end of Mattins the Tenebrae Hearse has five candles exstinguished on the Gospel side and four on the Epistle side with six remaining lit candles.

Lauds follow immediately. The psalms sung at Lauds are Pss. 50, 89, 35, Cantemus Domino, 146. After each psalm of Lauds a further candle is extinguished so that after the last psalm only the candle on the summit of the hearse is still alight. After the last antiphon is repeated a versicle and response follow. Then the antiphon on the Benedictus is intoned, for Maundy Thursday this is Traditor autem dedit eis signum, dicens: Quem osculatus fuero, ispe est, tenete eum. The concept of the betrayal of Judas is key to the day. The plainsong for the Benedictus is the haunting tone 1g. During the last six verses each of the altar candles is exstinguished beginning with the outside candle on the Gospel side. All other lamps in the church are now also extinguished. During the repetition of the antiphon the MC takes the candle from the hearse and places it on the mensa at the Epistle corner of the altar. All kneel and the choir now sings Christus factus est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem. During this antiphon the MC hides the lit candle behind the altar. A Pater noster is now said in a low voice by all and then psalm 50, the Miserere is chanted in a subdued voice. This has been adapted by many composers into polyphonic masterpieces, perhaps the most famous being by Allegri. The Miserere was part of the ferial preces of Vespers until 1911-13. After the Miserere the collect Respice is chanted by the Hebdomadarius, still kneeling. Then a strepitus or noise is made traditionally by banging books against the stalls.

After the strepitus [the noise that symbolizes the earthquake that took place at Christ’s death, which is made by banging books on the choir stalls. While this symbolism maintains, it is also as if, with the strepitus, we’re begging Christ to come out of the tomb, especially on Holy Saturday. While the strepitus is still going on, the Christ candle–the Light which the darkness cannot overcome–is brought back out and replaced in the hearse, and all depart in silence.source: Michael E, Lawrence, NLM.org] the MC brings forth the candle and returns this symbol of the light of Christ to the top of the hearse. It either remains there or is taken by the MC ahead the procession as the choir processes out of the sanctuary.

In the ‘liturgical books of 1962’ following the ‘Restored’ order of Holy Week dalmatic and tunicle are worn by the deacon and subdeacon rather than folded chasubles. No commemorations are allowed and there is no second collect in the Masses. Any text read by a lector, subdeacon or deacon is not read by the celebrant (extended throughout the year in the 1962 books). OHSI of 1955 orders the Orate fratres to be said in an audible voice and all present to respond. Ferial preces are sung only on Wednesdays at Lauds and Vespers only. The Passion according to St. Mark on Tuesday is shortened: Mark 14: 32-72; 15: 1-46 as is the Passion according to St. Luke on Wednesday: Luke 22: 39-71; 23: 1-53.

Editor’s Note: Thank you to ethicalgop’s You Tube channel for the St. John Cantius videos.
In addition, thank you to The Saint Lawrence Press Ltd for the information above for the Tenebrae on spy Wednesday evening.

Image Credit: A Catholic Life: Luke 22:1-71; 23:1-53 tlm-md.blogspot.com

From the blog of Father John Zuhlsdorf,

What Does The Prayer Really Say?

The term “Spy” Wednesday probably is an allusion to Christ’s betrayal by Judas.

COLLECT
Deus, qui pro nobis Filium tuum
crucis patibulum subire voluisti,
ut inimici a nobis expelleres potestatem,
concede nobis famulis tuis,
ut resurrectionis gratiam consequamur.

This prayer was the Collect for this same day in the 1962 Missale Romanum. It was also in the ancient Gregorian Sacramentary in both the Hadrianum and Paduense manuscripts.

The impressive and informative Lewis & Short Dictionary informs us that patibulum (deriving from pateo) is “a fork-shaped yoke, placed on the necks of criminals, and to which their hands were tied; also, a fork-shaped gibbet”. In turn, English “gibbet” means “an upright post with a projecting arm for hanging the bodies of executed criminals as a warning”.

The verb subeo in its basic meaning is “to come or go under any thing” and by logical extension “to subject one’s self to, take upon one’s self an evil; to undergo, submit to, sustain, endure, suffer”. The L&S explains that “The figure taken from stooping under a load, under blows, etc.)” There are other shades of meaning, including “to come on secretly, to advance or approach stealthily, to steal upon, steal into”. Keep this one in mind.

Consequor is very interesting. It signifies “to follow, follow up, press upon, go after, attend, accompany, pursue any person or thing” and then it extends to concepts like “to follow a model, copy, an authority, example, opinion, etc.; to imitate, adopt, obey, etc.” and “to reach, overtake, obtain”. Going beyond even these definitions, there is this: “to become like or equal to a person or thing in any property or quality, to attain, come up to, to equal (cf. adsequor).” I know, I know – mentio non fit expositio. Still it is interesting to make connections in the words, which often have subtle overlaps. Remember that interesting meaning of subeo, above? There is a shade of “pursuit” and “imitation” in the prayer’s vocabulary.

SLAVISHLY LITERAL RENDERING
O God, who willed Your Son to undergo
on our behalf the gibbet of the Cross
so that You might drive away from us the power of the enemy,
grant to us Your servants,
that we may obtain the grace of the resurrection.

This is an austere prayer, razor like, cutting to the heart of the matter. By our sins we are in the clutches of the enemy, who mercilessly attacks us. Christ freed us from dire consequences of slavery to sin by His Passion.

LAME-DUCK ICEL VERSION
Father,
in your plan of salvation
your Son Jesus Christ accepted the cross
and freed us from the power of the enemy.
May we come to share in the glory of his resurrection.

The ancient Romans would have their conquered foes pass under a yoke (iugum), to show that they were now subjugated. Their juridical status changed. Christ went under the Cross in its carrying and then underwent the Cross in its hideous torments. In his liberating act of salvation, we passed from the servitude of the enemy to the service of the Lord, not as slaves, but as members of a family.

We are not merely household servants (famuli), we are according the status of children of the master of the house, able to inherit what He already has.

A Blessed Holy Week to all!.


Palm Sunday Sermon – by Fr. Prosper Gueranger 1870 A.D.

9 April 2017

Entry Into Jerusalem by Pedro Orrente c. 1620
And the multitudes that went before and that followed, cried, saying: Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.–St. Matt 21: 9

Palm Sunday popup Title
(by Fr. Prosper Gueranger 1870)

Today, if ye shall hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Early in the morning of this day, Jesus sets out for Jerusalem, leaving Mary His Mother, and the two sisters Martha and Mary Magdalene, and Lazarus, at Bethania. The Mother of sorrows trembles at seeing her Son thus expose Himself to danger, for His enemies are bent upon His destruction; but it is not death, it is triumph, that Jesus is to receive today in Jerusalem. The Messias, before being nailed to the cross, is to be proclaimed King by the people of the great city; the little children are to make her streets echo with their Hosannas to the Son of David; and this in presence of the soldiers of Rome’s emperor, and of the high priests and pharisees: the first standing under the banner of their eagles; the second, dumb with rage.

The prophet Zachary had foretold this triumph which the Son of Man was to receive a few days before His Passion, and which had been prepared for Him from all eternity. ‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion! Shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold thy King will come to thee; the Just and the Saviour. He is poor, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass.’ [Zach. ix. 9]. Jesus, knowing that the hour has come for the fulfilment of this prophecy, singles out two from the rest of His disciples, and bids them lead to Him an ass and her colt, which they would find not far off. He has reached Bethphage, on Mount Olivet. The two disciples lose no time in executing the order given them by their divine Master; and the ass and the colt are soon brought to the place where He stands.

The holy fathers have explained to us the mystery of these two animals. The ass represents the Jewish people, which had been long under the yoke of the Law; the colt, upon which, as the evangelist says, no man yet hath sat [St. Mark xi. 2], is a figure of the Gentile world, which no one had ever yet brought into subjection. The future of these two peoples is to be decided a few days hence: the Jews will be rejected, for having refused to acknowledge Jesus as the Messias; the Gentiles will take their place, to be adopted as God’s people, and become docile and faithful.

The disciples spread their garments upon the colt; and our Saviour, that the prophetic figure might be fulfilled, sits upon him [Ibid. 7, and St. Luke xix. 35.], and advances towards Jerusalem. As soon as it is known that Jesus is near the city, the holy Spirit works in the hearts of those Jews, who have come from all parts to celebrate the feast of the Passover. They go out to meet our Lord, holding palm branches in their hands, and loudly proclaiming Him to be King [St. Luke xix. 38]. They that have accompanied Jesus from Bethania, join the enthusiastic crowd. Whilst some spread their garments on the way, others cut down boughs from the palm-trees, and strew them along the road. Hosanna is the triumphant cry, proclaiming to the whole city that Jesus, the Son of David, has made His entrance as her King.

Thus did God, in His power over men’s hearts, procure a triumph for His Son, and in the very city which, a few days later, was to clamour for His Blood. This day was one of glory to our Jesus, and the holy Church would have us renew, each year, the memory of this triumph of the Man-God. Shortly after the birth of our Emmanuel, we saw the Magi coming from the extreme east, and looking in Jerusalem for the King of the Jews, to whom they intended offering their gifts and their adorations: but it is Jerusalem herself that now goes forth to meet this King. Each of these events is an acknowledgment of the kingship of Jesus; the first, from the Gentiles; the second, from the Jews. Both were to pay Him this regal homage, before He suffered His Passion. The inscription to be put upon the cross, by Pilate’s order, will express the kingly character of the Crucified: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. Pilate, the Roman governor, the pagan, the base coward, has been unwittingly the fulfiller of a prophecy; and when the enemies of Jesus insist on the inscription being altered, Pilate will not deign to give them any answer but this: ‘What I have written, I have written.’ Today, it is the Jews themselves that proclaim Jesus to be their King: they will soon be dispersed, in punishment for their revolt against the Son of David; but Jesus is King, and will be so for ever. Thus were literally verified the words spoken by the Archangel to Mary, when he announced to her the glories of the Child that was to be born of her: ‘The Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David, His father; and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.’ [St. Luke i. 32]. Jesus begins His reign upon the earth this very day; and though the first Israel is soon to disclaim His rule, a new Israel, formed from the faithful few of the old, shall rise up in every nation of the earth, and become the kingdom of Christ, a kingdom such as no mere earthly monarch ever coveted in his wildest fancies of ambition.

This is the glorious mystery which ushers in the great week, the week of dolours. Holy Church would have us give this momentary consolation to our heart, and hail our Jesus as our King. She has so arranged the service of today, that it should express both joy and sorrow; joy, by uniting herself with the loyal hosannas of the city of David; and sorrow, by compassionating the Passion of her divine Spouse. The whole function is divided into three parts, which we will now proceed to explain.

The first is the blessing of the palms; and we may have an idea of its importance from the solemnity used by the Church in this sacred rite. One would suppose that the holy Sacrifice has begun, and is going to be offered up in honour of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Introit, Collect, Epistle, Gradual, Gospel, even a Preface, are said, as though we were, as usual, preparing for the immolation of the spotless Lamb; but, after the triple Sanctus! Sanctus! Sanctus! the Church suspends these sacrificial formulas, and turns to the blessing of the palms. The prayers she uses for this blessing are eloquent and full of instruction; and, together with the sprinkling with holy water and the incensation, impart a virtue to these branches, which elevates them to the supernatural order, and makes them means for the sanctification of our souls and the protection of our persons and dwellings. The faithful should hold these palms in their hands during the procession, and during the reading of the Passion at Mass, and keep them in their homes as an outward expression of their faith, and as a pledge of God’s watchful love.

It is scarcely necessary to tell our reader that the palms or olive branches, thus blessed, are carried in memory of those wherewith the people of Jerusalem strewed the road, as our Saviour made His triumphant entry; but a word on the antiquity of our ceremony will not be superfluous. It began very early in the east. It is probable that, as far as Jerusalem itself is concerned, the custom was established immediately after the ages of persecution. St. Cyril, who was bishop of that city in the fourth century, tells us that the palm-tree, from which the people cut the branches when they went out to meet our Saviour, was still to be seen in the vale of Cedron [Cateches. x. versus fin.] Such a circumstance would naturally suggest an annual commemoration of the great event. In the following century, we find this ceremony established, not only in the churches of the east, but also in the monasteries of Egypt and Syria. At the beginning of Lent, many of the holy monks obtained permission from their abbots to retire into the desert, that they might spend the sacred season in strict seclusion; but they were obliged to return to their monasteries for Palm Sunday, as we learn from the life of Saint Euthymius, written by his disciple Cyril [Act. SS. Jan. 2O]. In the west, the introduction of this ceremony was more gradual; the first trace we find of it is in the sacramentary of St. Gregory, that is, at the end of the sixth, or the beginning of the seventh, century. When the faith had penetrated into the north, it was not possible to have palms or olive branches; they were supplied by branches from other trees. The beautiful prayers used in the blessing, and based on the mysteries expressed by the palm and olive trees, are still employed in the blessing of our willow, box, or other branches; and rightly, for these represent the symbolical ones which nature has denied us.

The second of today’s ceremonies is the procession, which comes immediately after the blessing of the palms. It represents our Saviour’s journey to Jerusalem, and His entry into the city. To make it the more expressive, the branches that have just been blessed are held in the hand during it. With the Jews, to hold a branch in one’s hand was a sign of joy. The divine law had sanctioned this practice, as we read in the following passage from Leviticus, where God commands His people to keep the feast of tabernacles: And you shall take to you, on the first day, the fruits of the fairest tree, and branches of palm-trees, and boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God [Lev. xxiii. 4O]. It was, therefore, to testify their delight at seeing Jesus enter within their walls, that the inhabitants, even the little children, of Jerusalem, went forth to meet Him with palms in their hands. Let us, also, go before our King, singing our hosannas to Him as the conqueror of death, and the liberator of His people.

During the middle ages, it was the custom, in many churches, to carry the book of the holy Gospels in this procession. The Gospel contains the words of Jesus Christ, and was considered to represent Him. The procession halted at an appointed place, or station: the deacon then opened the sacred volume, and sang from it the passage which describes our Lord’s entry into Jerusalem. This done, the cross which, up to this moment, was veiled, was uncovered; each of the clergy advanced towards it, venerated it, and placed at its foot a small portion of the palm he held in his hand. The procession then returned, preceded by the cross, which was left unveiled until all had re-entered the church. In England and Normandy, as far back as the eleventh century, there was practised a holy ceremony which represented, even more vividly than the one we have just been describing, the scene that was witnessed on this day at Jerusalem: the blessed Sacrament was carried in procession. The heresy of Berengarius, against the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, had been broached about that time; and the tribute of triumphant joy here shown to the sacred Host was a distant preparation for the feast and procession which were to be instituted at a later period.

A touching ceremony was also practised in Jerusalem during today’s procession, and, like those just mentioned, was intended to commemorate the event related by the Gospel. The whole community of the Franciscans (to whose keeping the holy places are entrusted) went in the morning to Bethphage. There, the father guardian of the holy Land, being vested in pontifical robes, mounted upon an ass, on which garments were laid. Accompanied by the friars and the Catholics of Jerusalem, all holding palms in their hands, he entered the city, and alighted at the church of the holy sepulchre where Mass was celebrated with all possible solemnity.

This beautiful ceremony, which dated from the period of the Latin kingdom in Jerusalem, has been forbidden, for now almost two hundred years, by the Turkish authorities of the city.

We have mentioned these different usages, as we have done others on similar occasions, in order to aid the faithful to the better understanding of the several mysteries of the liturgy. In the present instance, they will learn that, in today’s procession, the Church wishes us to honour Jesus Christ as though He were really among us, and were receiving the humble tribute of our loyalty. Let us lovingly go forth to meet this our King, our Saviour, who comes to visit the daughter of Sion, as the prophet has just told us. He is in our midst; it is to Him that we pay honour with our palms: let us give Him our hearts too. He comes that He may be our King; let us welcome Him as such, and fervently cry out to Him: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’

At the close of the procession a ceremony takes place, which is full of the sublimest symbolism. On returning to the church, the doors are found to be shut. The triumphant procession is stopped; but the songs of joy are continued. A hymn in honour of Christ our King is sung with its joyous chorus; and at length the subdeacon strikes the door with the staff of the cross; the door opens, and the people, preceded by the clergy, enter the church, proclaiming the praise of Him, who is our resurrection and our life.

This ceremony is intended to represent the entry of Jesus into that Jerusalem of which the earthly one was but the figure – the Jerusalem of heaven, which has been opened for us by our Saviour. The sin of our first parents had shut it against us; but Jesus, the King of glory, opened its gates by His cross, to which every resistance yields. Let us, then, continue to follow in the footsteps of the Son of David, for He is also the Son of God, and He invites us to share His kingdom with Him. Thus, by the procession, which is commemorative of what happened on this day, the Church raises up our thoughts to the glorious mystery of the Ascension, whereby heaven was made the close of Jesus’ mission on earth. Alas! the interval between these two triumphs of our Redeemer are not all days of joy; and no sooner is our procession over, than the Church, who had laid aside for a moment the weight of her grief, falls back into sorrow and mourning.

The third part of today’s service is the offering of the holy Sacrifice. The portions that are sung by the choir are expressive of the deepest desolation; and the history of our Lord’s Passion, which is now to be read by anticipation, gives to the rest of the day that character of sacred gloom, which we all know so well. For the last five or six centuries, the Church has adopted a special chant for this narrative of the holy Gospel. The historian, or the evangelist, relates the events in a tone that is at once grave and pathetic; the words of our Saviour are sung to a solemn yet sweet melody, which strikingly contrasts with the high dominant of the several other interlocutors and the Jewish populace. During the singing of the Passion, the faithful should hold their palms in their hands, and, by this emblem of triumph, protest against the insults offered to Jesus by His enemies. As we listen to each humiliation and suffering, all of which were endured out of love for us, let us offer Him our palm as to our dearest Lord and King. When should we be more adoring, than when He is most suffering?

These are the leading features of this great day. According to our usual plan, we will add to the prayers and lessons any instructions that seem to be needed.

This Sunday, besides its liturgical and popular appellation of Palm Sunday, has had several other names. Thus it was called Hosanna Sunday, in allusion to the acclamation wherewith the Jews greeted Jesus on His entry into Jerusalem. Our forefathers used also to call it Pascha Floridum, because the feast of the Pasch (or Easter), which is but eight days off, is today in bud, so to speak, and the faithful could begin from this Sunday to fulfil the precept of Easter Communion. It was in allusion to this name, that the Spaniards, having on the Palm Sunday of 1513, discovered the peninsula on the Gulf of Mexico, called it Florida. We also find the name of Capililavium given to this Sunday, because, during those times when it was the custom to defer till Holy Saturday the baptism of infants born during the preceding months (where such a delay entailed no danger), the parents used, on this day, to wash the heads of these children, out of respect to the holy chrism wherewith they were to be anointed. Later on, this Sunday was, at least in some churches, called the Pasch of the competents, that is, of the catechumens, who were admitted to Baptism; they assembled today in the church, and received a special instruction on the symbol, which had been given to them in the previous scrutiny. In the Gothic Church of Spain, the symbol was not given till today. The Greeks call this Sunday Baphoros, that is, Palm-bearing.

Let us pray:

O almighty and eternal God, who wouldst have our Saviour become man, and suffer on a cross, to give mankind an example of humility; mercifully grant that we may improve by the example of his patience, and partake of his resurrection. Through the same, &c.

Let us now go over in our minds the other events which happened to our divine Lord on this day of His solemn entry into Jerusalem. St. Luke tells us that it was on His approach to the city, that Jesus wept over it, and spoke these touching words: ‘If thou also hadst known, and that in this thy day, the things that are to thy peace! But now they are hidden from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, and thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and straiten thee on every side, and beat thee flat to the ground, and thy children who are in thee; and they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone; because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation.’ [St. Luke xix. 42-44].

A few days ago, we were reading in the holy Gospel how Jesus wept over the tomb of Lazarus; today He sheds tears over Jerusalem. At Bethania His weeping was caused by the sight of bodily death, the consequence and punishment of sin; but this death is not irremediable: Jesus is the resurrection and the life, and he that believeth in Him shall live [St. John xi. 25]. Whereas, the state of the unfaithful Jerusalem is a figure of the death of the soul, and from this there is no resurrection, unless the soul, while time is given to her, return to the Author of life. Hence it is, that the tears shed by Jesus over Jerusalem are so bitter. Amidst the acclamations which greet His entry into the city of David, His heart is sad; for He sees that many of her inhabitants will not profit of the time of her visitation. Let us console the Heart of our Jesus, and be to Him a faithful Jerusalem.

The sacred historian tells us that Jesus, immediately upon His entrance into the city, went to the temple, and cast out all them that sold and bought there [St. Matt. xxi. 12]. This was the second time that He had shown His authority in His Father’s house, and no one had dared to resist Him. The chief priests and pharisees found fault with Him, and accused Him to His face, of causing confusion by His entry into the city; but our Lord confounded them by the reply He made. It is thus that in after ages, when it has pleased God to glorify His Son and the Church of His Son, the enemies of both have given vent to their rage; they protested against the triumph, but they could not stop it. But when God, in the unsearchable ways of His wisdom, allowed persecution and trial to follow these periods of triumph, then did these bitter enemies redouble their efforts to induce the very people, that had cried Hosanna to the Son of David, to clamour for His being delivered up and crucified. They succeeded in fomenting persecution, but not in destroying the kingdom of Christ and His Church. The kingdom seemed, at times, to be interrupted in its progress; but the time for another triumph came. Thus will it be to the end; and then, after all these changes from glory to humiliation, and from humiliation to glory, the kingdom of Jesus and of His bride will gain the last and eternal triumph over this world, which would not know the time of its visitation.

We learn from St. Matthew [St. Matt. xxi. 17] that our Saviour spent the remainder of this day at Bethania. His blessed Mother and the house of Lazarus were comforted by His return. There was not a single offer of hospitality made to Him in Jerusalem, at least there is no mention in the Gospel of any such offer. We cannot help making the reflection, as we meditate upon this event of our Lord’s life:- an enthusiastic reception is given to Him in the morning, He is proclaimed by the people as their King; but when the evening of that day comes on, there is not one of all those thousands to offer Him food or lodging. In the Carmelite monasteries of St. Teresa’s reform, there is a custom, which has been suggested by this thought, and is intended as a reparation for this ingratitude shown to our Redeemer. A table is placed in the middle of the refectory; and after the community have finished their dinner, the food which was placed upon that table is distributed among the poor, and Jesus is honoured in them.

HYMN: (In Dominica Palmarum)

Lo! the God that sitteth, in the highest heavens, upon the Cherubim, and looketh down on lowly things, cometh in glory and power, all creatures are full of His divine praise. Peace upon Israel, and salvation to the Gentiles!

The souls of the just cried out with joy: Now is prepared a new Covenant for the world, and mankind is renewed by the sprinkling of the divine Blood!

The people fell upon their knees, and, rejoicing with the disciples, sang, with palms in their hands: Hosanna to the Son of David! Praiseworthy and blessed art thou, O Lord God of our fathers!

The simple-hearted people, yea, and little children, (the fittest to adore God) praised Him as King of Israel and of the angels: Praiseworthy and blessed art thou, O Lord God of our fathers!

O Sion! there came to thee Christ, thy King. seated on a young colt: for He came that he might loose mankind from the senseless error of idolatry, and tame the wild passions of all nations; that thus they might praise Thee, singing: Bless the Lord, all ye His works, and extol Him above all for ever!

Christ thy Lord hath reigned for ever. He, as it is written, the meek one, the Saviour, our just Redeemer, came riding on an ass’s colt, that He might destroy the pride of His enemies, who would not sing these words: Bless the Lord, all ye His works, and extol Him above all for ever!

The unjust and obstinate Sanhedrim, the usurpers of the holy temple, are put to flight; for they had made God’s house of prayer a den of thieves, and shut their hearts against the Redeemer, to whom we cry: Bless the Lord, all ye His works, and extol Him above all forever!

God is our Lord, he hath appeared unto us. Appoint a solemn feast, and come, let us rejoice and magnify the Christ, praising Him, with palms and branches in our hands: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord our Saviour!

Why, O ye Gentiles, have ye raged? Why, O ye scribes and priests, have ye devised vain things. saying: Who is this, unto whom children, with palms and branches in their hands, cry aloud this praise: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord our Saviour?

Why, O ye perverse of heart, have ye thrown stumbling-blocks in the way? Your feet are swift to shed the Blood of the Lord. But He will rise again, that He may save all that cry to Him: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord our Saviour!

Source: Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals


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