Devotion to the Holy Face

Devotion to the Holy Face

“This salutary reparation to the Holy Face of Jesus is a divine work, destined to save modern society.” ~ Pope Pius XI

All those who honour my face in a spirit of reparation will by doing so perform the office of the pious Veronica. According to the care they take in making reparation to my Face, disfigured by blasphemers, so will I take care of their souls which have been disfigured by sin. My Face is the seal of the Divinity, which has the virtue of reproducing in souls the image of God.
Those who by words, prayers or writing defend My cause in this work of reparation I will defend before My Father, and will give them My Kingdom.
By offering My Face to My eternal Father, nothing will be refused, and the conversion of many sinners will be obtained.
By My Holy Face, they will work wonders, appease the anger of God and draw down mercy on sinners.
As in a Kingdom they can procure all that is desired with a coin stamped with the Kings effigy, so in the Kingdom of Heaven they will obtain all they desire with the precious coin of my Holy Face.
Those who on earth contemplate the wounds of My Face shall in Heaven behold it radiant with glory.
They will receive in their souls a bright and constant irradiation of My Divinity, that by their likeness to My Face they shall shine with particular splendor in Heaven.
I will defend them, I will preserve them and I assure them of Final Perseverance.

Devotion to the Holy Face was revealed by Jesus to Sr. Marie of St. Peter (1816-1848) a Carmelite nun of Tours in France.

The primary purpose of the devotion is to make reparation for sins against the first three commandments:
1) Denial of God,
2) Blasphemy,
3) and the profanation of Sundays and Holy Days.

The devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus, based on the life and writings of Sr. Marie of St. Peter, was eventually approved by Pope Leo XIII in 1885 who established the devotion as an Arch-confraternity for the whole world. In January 1849 Pope Pius IX had the relic of Veronica’s veil placed for public veneration in Rome. During this time, the Divine Face appeared distinctly, as if living, and was illuminated by a soft light. Reproductions of the veil were later printed, touched to the original and sent abroad for veneration.

The Holy Man of Tours – Leo Dupont

Leo Dupont heard of the reported visions of Jesus and Mary by the Carmelite nun Sister Marie of St Peter from 1844 to 1847. Based on this, Dupont started to burn a vigil lamp continuously before a picture of the Holy Face of Jesus based on the painted image on the Veil of Veronica. Dupont used that image because the existence of a clear image on the Shroud of Turin was not known to anyone at that time for the somewhat faded image of the face on the Shroud can not easily be seen with the naked eye and was only observed in May 1898 via the negative plate of Secondo Pia’s first photograph. In 1851 Dupont formed the “Archconfraternity of the Holy Face” in Tours. He prayed for and promoted the case for a devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus for around 30 years.

The Holy Man of Tours had more miracles than St. Vincent Ferrer, but you never heard of Leo. Here is a link of some of the Miracles of the Holy Face in the Home of Ven. Leo Dupont (1851-81). The miracles accumulated to such a point that Pope Pius IX stated that Leo Dupont was perhaps the greatest miracle worker in Church history!

Blessed Maria Pierina de Micheli & The Holy Face of Jesus Devotion & Medal

At the age of twelve, when she was in her Parish Church during the 3pm Good Friday service, she heard a Voice saying quite distinctly: “No one gives me a kiss of love on My Face to make amends for the Kiss of Judas.”

In her childlike simplicity, she believed that the voice was heard by everyone and was pained to see that only the wounds were kissed but not the face. In her heart exclaiming, “Have patience, dear Jesus, I will give you a kiss of love”, and when her turn came she lovingly and devoutly imprinted a kiss on His Face. Mother Maria Pierina de Micheli obtained permission from her spiritual Director and although she did not have any financial means to get medals of the Holy Face made. She obtained the permission of the photographer Bruner to take copies of the Holy Shroud as reproduced by him, and she received the permission to do so by the Archdiocese of Milan on the August 9, 1940. Since then the devotion and the medal have been spread worldwide with much enthusiasm, accompanied all the while by wonderful graces, conversions and cures as a testament and heavenly sign of God’s institution and approval of both.

This devotion to the Holy face of Jesus so inspired St Therese that she took the full title: ‘Sr. Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face’.

On the first Friday of Lent 1936, Mother Maria Pierina de Michelli (beatified 30th May 2010) reported a vision of Jesus. In further visions she was urged to make a medal bearing the Holy Face of Jesus. She was given permission to reproduce the face of the Holy Shroud of Turin and authorisation by the Curia to proceed in 1940 with the medal.

Click the Image to Order a Medal

One side has the image of the Holy Shroud of Turin and the words of Ps 66:2 “illumina Domine Vultum Tuum super nos” (may the light of your Face, O Lord, shine upon us).

On the other side the sacred host. The letters IHS and “Mane nobiscum Domine” (stay with us O Lord) Pope Pius XII approved the devotion and medal in 1958. She also reported Jesus’ desire of a special feast day on the Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday each year (Shrove Tuesday), to be preceded by a 9 day novena of prayer.

The medal became famous for the miracles and spiritual favours associated with its use. In Our Blessed Mother’s own word, the medal is “a weapon for defense, a shield for courage, a token of love & mercy in these troubled days of lust, evil, loss of faith and hatred for God and for His Church.

Whoever wears this scapular (medal) and, if possible, pays a weekly visit to the Blessed Sacrament on Tuesdays in a spirit of reparation to the Holy Face will be granted the gift of a strong Faith and the grace to fly to its defence conquering if need be all interior and exterior difficulties. Moreover, they will meet their death peacefully, under the loving gaze of my divine son.” (from Biography of Blessed Pierina p33).

In 1958, Pope Pius XII declared the feast of the Holy Face of Jesus for all Roman Catholics to be the day before Ash Wednesday (Shrove Tuesday).

A visit to the Blessed Sacrament on a Tuesday in a spirit of reparation to the Holy Face bestows particular graces.

Jesus appeared to Blessed Mother Maria Pierina de Micheli covered with blood and very sadly said to her:
“Do you see how I suffer? Yet, very few understand me. Those who say they love me are very ungrateful! I have given my heart as the sensible object of my great love to men and I give My Face as the sensible object of my sorrow for all the sins of men. I wish that it be venerated by a special feast on Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. I wish that the feast be preceded by a novena in which the faithful make reparation with me, joining together and sharing in my sorrow.”

In 1939 Jesus said again:

“I wish that My Holy Face be honored in a particular manner on Tuesdays”.

Our Lady said to Blessed Maria Pierina de Micheli

“A visit to the Blessed Sacrament every Tuesday in reparation for the outrages that the Holy Face of my Son Jesus received during His Passion and is still receiving in the Holy Eucharist every day,
– will be strengthened in the Faith, and will be made ready to defend it,
– will overcome all difficulties, internal and external
– and they will have a peaceful death under the loving gaze of my Divine Son”

Sr. Mary of St. Peter writes: “In the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, His adorable Face is more dazzling than the sun. He then once more promised me to imprint His Divine Likeness upon the souls of those who honour the features of His Face” (Autobiography p187)

St. Gaetana Catanoso (canonised by Pope Benedict XVI) said: “If we wish to adore the real Face of Jesus…, we can find it in the divine Eucharist, where with the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, the Face of Our Lord is hidden under the white veil of the Host”.

Prayers of the Holy Face
A Heaven- revealed Remedy to the Ills of our Times

Introductory Prayer

Dear Lord, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary I (we) offer you these prayers in reparation for the sins which offend God the most in these modern times – the sins of blasphemy and the profanation of Sunday and Your Holy Days of Obligation.

Prayer to offer the Holy Face of Jesus to God the Father to appease his justice and draw down mercy upon us.

Almighty and Eternal Father, since it has pleased Our Divine Saviour to reveal to mankind in modern times the power residing in His Holy Face, we now avail ourselves of this treasure in our great need. Since our Savior Himself promised that by offering to you His Holy face disfigured in the passion we can procure the settlement of all the affairs of our household, and that nothing whatsoever will be refused to us, we now come before Your throne. Eternal Father, turn away Your angry gaze from our guilty people whose face has become unsightly in your eyes. Look instead upon the Face of Your Beloved Son; for this is the Face of Him in whom you are well pleased. We now offer You His Holy face covered with blood, sweat, dust, spittle and shame, in reparation for the worst crimes of our age, which are atheism, blasphemy and the desecration of Your holy days. We thus hope to appease Your anger justly provoked against us. The All-Merciful Advocate opens His mouth to plead our cause; listen to His cries, behold His tears, O God, and through the merits of His Holy Face, hearken to Him when he intercedes for us poor miserable sinners.

LITANY OF THE HOLY FACE OF JESUS

(composed by Sister Mary St. Peter)

I salute Thee, I adore Thee and I love Thee, O adorable Face of Jesus, my Beloved, noble Seal of the Divinity! outraged anew by blasphemers. I offer Thee, through the heart of Thy blessed Mother, the worship of all the Angels and Saints, most humbly beseeching Thee to repair and renew in me and in all men Thine Image disfigured by sin.

O adorable Face which was adored, with profound respect, by Mary and Joseph when they saw Thee for the first time, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which ravished with joy, in the stable of Bethlehem, the Angels, the shepherds and the magi, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which transpierced with a dart of love in the Temple, the saintly old man Simeon and the prophetess Anna, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which filled with admiration the Doctors of the Law when Thou appeared in the Temple at the age of twelve years, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which possesses beauty always ancient and always new, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which is the masterpiece of the Holy Ghost, in which the Eternal Father is well pleased, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which is the ineffable mirror of the divine perfections, have mercy on us,

O adorable Face of Jesus which was so mercifully bowed down on the Cross, on the day of Thy Passion, for the salvation of the world! Once more today in pity bend down towards us poor sinners. Cast upon us a glance of compassion and give us Thy peace.

O adorable Face which became brilliant like the sun and radiant with glory, on the Mountain of Tabor, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which wept and was troubled at the tomb of Lazarus, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which was rendered sad at the sight of Jerusalem, and shed tears on that ungrateful city, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which was bowed down to the ground in the Garden of Olives, and covered with confusion for our sins, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which was covered with the sweat of blood, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which was struck by a vile servant, covered with a veil of shame, and profaned by the sacrilegious hands of Thine enemies, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which by Its divine glance, wounded the heart of St. Peter with a dart of sorrow and love, have mercy on us, Be merciful to us, O my God!

Do not reject our prayers, when in the midst of our afflictions, we call upon Thy Holy Name and seek with love and confidence Thine adorable Face.

O adorable Face which was washed and anointed by Mary and the holy women and covered with a shroud, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which was all resplendent with glory and beauty on the day of the Resurrection, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which is hidden in the Eucharist, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which will make sinners tremble, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which will fill the just with joy for all eternity, have mercy on us,

O Lord, show us Thy Face, and we shall be saved!
O Lord, show us Thy Face, and we shall be saved!
O Lord, show us Thy Face, and we shall be saved!

O adorable Face which will appear at the end of time in the clouds with great power and great majesty, have mercy on us,
O adorable Face which merits all our reverence, our homage and our adoration, have mercy on us,

Prayer of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus to the Holy Face

O Jesus, who in Thy bitter Passion didst become “the most abject of men, a man of sorrows”, I venerate Thy Sacred Face whereon there once did shine the beauty and sweetness of the Godhead; but now it has become for me as if it were the face of a leper! Nevertheless, under those disfigured features, I recognize Thy infinite Love and I am consumed with the desire to love Thee and make Thee loved by all men.

The tears that thou hast shed so abundantly appear to me as so many precious pearls that I love to gather up, in order to purchase the souls of poor sinners by means of their infinite value. O Jesus, whose adorable Face ravishes my heart, I implore Thee to fix deep within me Thy divine Image, to set me on fire with Thy Love, and to make me worthy to contemplate in Heaven Thy glorious Face. Amen.

 Chaplet of Sister Marie of St Peter

The following Chaplet of Reparation contains prayers composed by Sister Marie of St Peter after Jesus asked her to battle in prayer against the “enemies of God”, especially communists.
(Even if you do not have the ‘chaplet’ of beads, you can still pray the prayers).

The Holy Face Chaplet beads consists of 33 beads made up of 5 sets of 6 beads each to make reparation for the sins of blasphemy against Our Lord’s Holy Face through His five senses and the last three beads in honour of the three years of our Lord’s public ministry on earth.

On the Crucifix say:

Eternal Father I offer You the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ and all the other instruments of His Holy Passion, that You may put division in the camp of Your enemies; for as Your Beloved Son has said, “A kingdom divided against itself shall fall.”

On the next five beads say:

1) May God arise and let His enemies be scattered and let those who hate Him flee before His Face!
2) May the thrice Holy Name of God overthrow all their plans!
3) May the Holy Name of the Living God split them up by disagreements!
4) May the terrible Name of the God of Eternity stamp out all their godlessness!
5) Lord, I do not desire the death of the sinner, but that he be converted and live. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

On the medal say: the “Golden Arrow” prayer.

THE “GOLDEN ARROW” PRAYER

(Dictated by Our Lord to Sister Mary of St. Peter)

This “Golden Arrow” prayer was given to Sr. Mary of St. Peter to atone for the sins of blasphemy against God’s name. Just as sins of blasphemy were like a ‘poisoned arrow’ continually wounding God’s Heart, she saw in a vision that this “Golden Arrow” had the power to wound him “delightfully”.

Our Lord revealed to her the inseparable connection in honouring the unutterable name of God through the Golden Arrow prayer and in venerating the Holy Face of Jesus. She saw how its recitation caused torrents of graces to stream for the conversion of sinners.

It is the central prayer in the devotion to the Holy Face.

“May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and unutterable Name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Amen.”

On the thirty three white beads say:

Arise, O Lord, and let Your enemies be scattered, and let those that hate You flee before Your Face.

On each of the six large beads say:

My Jesus, mercy” and one “Glory Be..”

On the medal at the end say:

Eternal Father, I offer You the Holy Face of Jesus, covered with blood, sweat, dust and spittle, in reparation for the crimes of communists, blasphemers, and for the profaners of the Holy Name and of the Holy Day of Sunday. (This exclamation is also recommended to be recited frequently throughout the day).

BOOKS

 

Prayers Pope Benedict XVI requested for All the Laity to know in Latin

From the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church

A) COMMON PRAYERS 

The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son,
our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell; the third day
He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven, and sits at
the right hand of God the Father
almighty, from thence He shall come
to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body
and life everlasting.
Amen.

Symbolum Apostolicum

Credo in Deum Patrem omnipoténtem, Creatorem cæli et terræ,  et in Iesum Christum, Filium Eius unicum, Dominum nostrum, qui concéptus est de Spíritu Sancto, natus ex Maria Virgine, passus sub Póntio Piláto, crucifixus, mórtuus, et sepúltus, descéndit ad ínfernos, tértia die resurréxit a mórtuis, ascéndit ad cælos, sedet ad déxteram Dei Patris omnipoténtis, inde ventúrus est iudicáre vivos et mórtuos.

Credo in Spíritum Sanctum,
sanctam Ecclésiam cathólicam,
sanctórum communiónem,
remissiónem peccatórum,
carnis resurrectiónem,
vitam ætérnam. Amen.

The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed

I believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

I believe one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
one in Being with the Father.
Through Him all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation,
He came down from heaven: by the
power of the Holy Spirit He was
born of the Virgin Mary,
and became Man.

For our sake He was crucified
under Pontius Pilate;
He suffered, died, and was buried.

On the third day He rose again
in fulfillment of the Scriptures;

He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the
Father. He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
and His kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the Giver of life,
Who proceeds from the Father and
the Son. With the Father and the Son
He is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic,
and apostolic Church.

I acknowledge one Baptism
for the forgiveness of sins.
I look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.

Amen.

Symbolum Nicænum Costantinopolitanum

Credo in unum Deum,
Patrem omnipoténtem,
Factorem cæli et terræ,
visibílium ómnium et invisibilium
Et in unum Dóminum Iesum
Christum,
Filium Dei unigénitum
et ex Patre natum
ante ómnia sǽcula:
Deum de Deo, Lumen de Lúmine,
Deum verum de Deo vero,
génitum, non factum, consubstantiálem Patri: per quem ómnia
facta sunt;
qui propter nos hómines
et propter nostram salútem,
descéndit de cælis, et incarnátus est
de Spíritu Sancto ex Maria Víirgine
et homo factus est, crucifíxus étiam
pro nobis sub Póntio Piláto, passus
et sepúltus est, et resurréxit tértia
die secúndum Scriptúras,
et ascéndit in cælum, sedet ad
déxteram Patris, et íterum ventúrus
est cum glória, iudicáre vivos et
mórtuos, cuius regni non erit finis.

Et in Spíritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificántem, qui ex Patre
Filióque procédit, qui cum Patre et
Fílio simul adorátur et conglorificátur, qui locútus est per prophétas.

Et unam sanctam cathólicam
et apostólicam Ecclésiam.

Confíteor unum Baptísma
in remissiónem peccatórum.
Et exspécto resurrectiónem mortuórum,
et vitam ventúri sæculi.

Amen.         

Our Father

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day
our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Pater Noster

Pater noster, qui es in cælis:
sanctificétur Nomen Tuum:
advéniat Regnum Tuum:
fiat volúntas Tua,
sicut in cælo, et in terra.
Panem nostrum
quotidianum da nobis hódie,
et dimítte nobis débita nostra,
sicut et nos
dimíttimus debitóribus nostris.
et ne nos indúcas in tentatiónem;
sed líbera nos a Malo.

The Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father
and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Signum Crucis

In nómine Patris
et Fílii
et Spíritus Sancti. Amen.

Glory be to the Father

Glory be to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning
is now, and ever shall be
world without end. Amen.

Gloria Patri

Glória Patri
et Fílio
et Spirítui Sancto.
Sicut erat in princípio,
et nunc et semper
et in sæ´cula sæculórum. Amen.

The Hail Mary

Hail, Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

Ave, Maria

Ave, María, grátia plena,
Dóminus tecum.
Benedícta tu in muliéribus,
et benedíctus fructus ventris tui, Iesus.
Sancta María, Mater Dei,
ora pro nobis peccatóribus,
nunc et in hora mortis nostræ.
Amen.

Angel of God

Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
to whom His love commits me here,
ever this day be at my side,
to light and guard, to rule and guide.
Amen.

Angele Dei

Ángele Dei,
qui custos es mei,
me, tibi commíssum pietáte supérna,
illúmina, custódi,
rege et gubérna.
Amen.

Eternal Rest

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace. Amen.

Requiem Æternam

Réquiem ætérnam dona eis, Dómine,
et lux perpétua lúceat eis.
Requiéscant in pace. Amen.

The Angelus

V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done unto me according to thy word.
Hail Mary.

V. And the Word was made flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary.

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray;

Pour forth, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ, thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by his Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of his Resurrection. Through the same Christ, our Lord.
Amen.

Glory be to the Father…

 

Angelus Domini

Ángelus Dómini nuntiávit Maríæ.
Et concépit de Spíritu Sancto.

Ave, María…

Ecce ancílla Dómini.
Fiat mihi secúndum verbum tuum.

Ave, María…

Et Verbum caro factum est.
Et habitávit in nobis.

Ave, María…

Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei génetrix.
Ut digni efficiámur promissiónibus Christi.

Orémus.

Grátiam tuam, quæsumus,
Dómine, méntibus nostris infúnde;
ut qui, Ángelo nuntiánte,
Christi Fílii tui incarnatiónem cognóvimus,
per passiónem eius et crucem,
ad resurrectiónis glóriam perducámur.

Per eúndem Christum Dóminum nostrum. Amen.

Gloria Patri…

 

The Regina Caeli

UK VERSION

Queen of heaven, rejoice, alleluia!
for he whom you were worthy to bear, alleluia!
has risen as he said, alleluia!
Pray for us to God, alleluia!

USA VERSION

Queen of heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
The Son whom you merited to bear, alleluia,
has risen as he said, alleluia.
Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia!
For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

THEN FOR BOTH VERSIONS

Let us pray;

O God, who through the resurrection of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, did vouchsafe to give joy to the world; grant, we beseech you, that through his Mother, the Virgin Mary, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Regina Cæli

Regína cæli lætáre, allelúia.
Quia quem meruísti portáre, allelúia.Resurréxit, sicut dixit, allelúia.
Ora pro nobis Deum, allelúia.Gaude et lætáre, Virgo María, allelúia.
Quia surréxit Dóminus vere, allelúia.

Orémus.

Deus, qui per resurrectiónem Fílii tui Dómini nostri Iesu Christi mundum lætificáre dignátus es, præsta, quæsumus, ut per eius Genetrícem Vírginem Maríam perpétuæ capiámus gáudia vitæ.
Per Christum Dóminum nostrum. Amen.

 

 

Hail Holy Queen

UK VERSION

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
Hail our life, our sweetness and our hope!
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.
To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears! Turn, then, most gracious Advocate,
thine eyes of mercy toward us,
and after this, our exile,
show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving,
O sweet Virgin Mary.

USA VERSION

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To you do we cry,
poor banished children of Eve.
To you do we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this valley of tears
Turn then, most gracious advocate,
your eyes of mercy toward us,
and after this exile
show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb,
Jesus.
O clement, O loving,
O sweet Virgin Mary.

 

Salve, Regina

Salve, Regína,
Mater misericórdiæ,
vita, dulcédo et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamámus,
éxsules fílii Evæ.
Ad te suspirámus geméntes et flentes
in hac lacrimárum valle.
Eia ergo, advocáta nostra,
illos tuos misericórdes óculos
ad nos convérte.
Et Iesum benedíctum fructum ventris tui,
nobis, post hoc exsílium, osténde.
O clemens, o pia, o dulcis Virgo María!

The Magnificat

UK VERSION

My soul glorifies the Lord,
My spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.
He looks on his servant in her lowliness;
Henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
The Almighty works marvels for me.
Holy his name!
His mercy is from age to age,
on those who fear him.
He puts forth his arm in strength
And scatters the proud hearted.
He casts the mighty from their thrones
And raises the lowly.
He fills the starving with good things,
Sends the rich away empty.
He protects Israel, his servant,
remembering his mercy,
the mercy promised to our fathers,
to Abraham and his sons for ever.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

USA VERSION

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

  

Magnificat

Magníficat ánima mea Dóminum,
et exsultávit spíritus meus
in Deo salvatóre meo,
quia respéxit humilitátem
ancíllæ suæ.Ecce enim ex hoc beátam
me dicent omnes generatiónes,
quia fecit mihi magna,
qui potens est,
et sanctum nomen eius,
et misericórdia eius in progénies
et progénies timéntibus eum.
Fecit poténtiam in bráchio suo,
dispérsit supérbos mente cordis sui;
depósuit poténtes de sede
et exaltávit húmiles.
Esuriéntes implévit bonis
et dívites dimísit inánes.
Suscépit Ísrael púerum suum,
recordátus misericórdiæ,
sicut locútus est ad patres nostros,
Ábraham et sémini eius in sæcula.
Glória Patri et Fílio
et Spirítui Sancto.
Sicut erat in princípio,
et nunc et semper,
et in sæcula sæculórum.
Amen.

Under Your Protection

We fly to thy protection,
O holy Mother of God.
Despise not our petitions
in our necessities,
but deliver us always
from all dangers
O glorious and blessed Virgin.

Sub tuum præsidium

Sub tuum præsídium confúgimus,
sancta Dei Génetrix;
nostras deprecatiónes ne despícias
in necessitátibus;
sed a perículis cunctis
líbera nos semper,
Virgo gloriósa et benedícta.

The Benedictus

UK VERSION

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel!
He has visited his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up for us a mighty saviour
In the house of David his servant,
As he promised by the lips of holy men,
Those who were his prophets from of old.
A saviour who would free us from our foes,
From the hands of all who hate us.
So his love for our fathers is fulfilled
And his holy covenant remembered.
He swore to Abraham our father to grant us,
that free from fear, and saved from the hands of our foes,
we might serve him in holiness and justice
all the days of our life in his presence.
As for you, little child, you shall be called a prophet of God, the Most High.
You shall go ahead of the Lord
To prepare his ways before him.
To make known to his people their salvation
Through forgiveness of all their sins,
The loving-kindness of the heart of our God
Who visits us like the dawn from on high.
He will give light to those in darkness,
Those who dwell in the shadow of death,
And guide us into the way of peace.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

USA VERSION

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
he has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
Through his holy prophets he promised of old
that he would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath he swore to our father
Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life.
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

 

Benedictus

Benedíctus Dóminus, Deus Ísrael,
quia visitávit
et fecit redemptiónem plebi suæ,
et eréxit cornu salútis nobis
in domo David púeri sui,
sicut locútus est per os sanctórum,
qui a sæculo sunt, prophetárum eius,
salútem ex inimícis nostris
et de manu ómnium,
qui odérunt nos;
ad faciéndam misericórdiam
cum pátribus nostris
et memorári testaménti sui sancti,
iusiurándum, quod iurávit
ad Ábraham patrem nostrum,
datúrum se nobis,
ut sine timóre,
de manu inimicórum liberáti,
serviámus illi
in sanctitáte et iustítia coram ipso
ómnibus diébus nostris.
Et tu, puer,
prophéta Altíssimi vocáberis:
præíbis enim ante fáciem Dómini
paráre vias eius,
ad dandam sciéntiam salútis
plebi eius
in remissiónem peccatórum eórum,
per víscera misericórdiæ Dei nostri,
in quibus visitábit nos óriens ex alto,
illumináre his, qui in ténebris
et in umbra mortis sedent,
ad dirigéndos pedes nostros
in viam pacis.
Glória Patri et Fílio
et Spirítui Sancto.
Sicut erat in princípio,
et nunc
et semper,
et in sæcula sæculórum. Amen.

The Te Deum

UK VERSION

We praise you, O God:
We acclaim you as Lord.
Everlasting Father,
All the world bows down before you.
All the angels sing your praise,
The hosts of heaven and all the angelic powers,
All the cherubim and seraphim
Call out to you in unending song:
Holy, Holy, Holy,
Is the Lord God of angel hosts!
The heavens and the earth are filled
With your majesty and glory.
The glorious band of apostles,
The noble company of prophets,
The white-robed army who shed their blood for Christ,
All sing your praise.
And to the ends of the earth
Your holy Church proclaims her faith in you:
Father, whose majesty is boundless,
Your true and only son, who is to be adored,
The Holy Spirit sent to be our Advocate.
You, Christ, are the king of glory,
Son of the eternal Father.
When you took our nature to save mankind
You did not shrink from birth in the Virgin’s womb.
You overcame the power of death
Opening the Father’s kingdom to all who believe in you.
Enthroned at God’s right hand in the glory of the Father,
You will come in judgement according to your promise.
You redeemed your people by your precious blood.
Coe, we implore you, to our aid.
Grant us with the saints
a place in eternal glory.
Lord, save your people
And bless your inheritance.
Rule them and uphold them
For ever and ever.
Day by day we praise you:
We acclaim you now and to all eternity.
In your goodness, Lord, keep us free from sin.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.
May your mercy always be with us, Lord,
For we have hoped in you.
In you, Lord, we put our trust:
We shall not be put to shame.

USA VERSION

You are God: we praise you;
You are God: we acclaim you;
You are the eternal Father:
All creation worships you.
To you all angels, all the powers of heaven,
Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God of power and might,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you.
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you.
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.
Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you:
Father, of majesty unbounded,
Your true and only Son, worthy of all worship,
And the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory,
The eternal Son of the Father.
When you became man to set us free
You did not spurn the Virgin’s womb.
You overcame the sting of death,
And opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.
You are seated at God’s right hand in glory.
We believe that you will come, and be our judge.
Come then, Lord, and help your people,
Bought with the price of your own blood,
And bring us with your saints
To glory everlasting.
Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance.
Govern and uphold them now and always.
Day by day we bless you.
We praise your name forever.
Keep us today, Lord, from all sin.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.
Lord, show us your love and mercy;
For we put our trust in you.
In you, Lord, is our hope:
And we shall never hope in vain.

 

Te Deum

Te Deum laudámus:
te Dóminum confitémur.
Te ætérnum Patrem,
omnis terra venerátur.
tibi omnes ángeli,
tibi cæli et univérsæ potestátes:
tibi chérubim et séraphim
incessábili voce proclámant:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus,
Dóminus Deus Sábaoth.
Pleni sunt cæli et terra
maiestátis glóriæ tuæ.
Te gloriósus
apostolórum chorus,
te prophetárum
laudábilis númerus,
te mártyrum candidátus
laudat exércitus.
Te per orbem terrárum
sancta confitétur Ecclésia,
Patrem imménsæ maiestátis;
venerándum tuum verum
et únicum Fílium;
Sanctum quoque
Paráclitum Spíritum.
Tu rex glóriæ, Christe.
Tu Patris sempitérnus es Fílius.
Tu, ad liberándum susceptúrus
hóminem,
non horruísti Vírginis úterum.
Tu, devícto mortis acúleo,
aperuísti credéntibus regna cælórum.
Tu ad déxteram Dei sedes,
in glória Patris.
Iudex créderis esse ventúrus.
Te ergo quæsumus,
tuis fámulis súbveni,
quos pretióso sánguine redemísti.
Ætérna fac cum sanctis tuis
in glória numerári.
Salvum fac pópulum tuum, Dómine,
et bénedic hereditáti tuæ.
Et rege eos, et extólle illos
usque in ætérnum.
Per síngulos dies benedícimus te;
et laudámus nomen tuum
in sæculum, et in sæculum sæculi.
Dignáre, Dómine,
die isto sine peccáto nos custodíre.
Miserére nostri, Dómine, miserére nostri.
Fiat misericórdia tua,
Dómine, super nos,
quemádmodum sperávimus in te.
In te, Dómine, sperávi:
non confúndar in ætérnum.

Come, Creator Spirit

Come, Holy Spirit, Creator come,
From your bright heavenly throne!
Come, take possession of our souls,
And make them all your own.
You who are called the Paraclete,
Best gift of God above,
The living spring, the living fire,
Sweet unction, and true love!
You who are sevenfold in your grace,
Finger of God’s right hand,
His promise, teaching little ones
To speak and understand!
O guide our minds with your blessed light,
With love our hearts inflame,
And with your strength which never decays
Confirm our mortal frame.
Far from us drive our hellish foe
True peace unto us bring,
And through all perils guide us safe
Beneath your sacred wing.
Through you may we the Father know,
Through you the eternal Son
And you the Spirit of them both
Thrice-blessed three in one.
All glory to the Father be,
And to the risen Son;
The same to you, O Paraclete,
While endless ages run. Amen.

Veni, Creator Spiritus

Veni, creátor Spíritus,
mentes tuórum vísita,
imple supérna grátia,
quæ tu creásti péctora.
Qui díceris Paráclitus,
altíssimi donum Dei,
fons vivus, ignis, cáritas,
et spiritális únctio.
Tu septifórmis múnere,
dígitus patérnæ déxteræ,
tu rite promíssum Patris,
sermóne ditans gúttura.
Accénde lumen sénsibus,
infúnde amórem córdibus,
infírma nostri córporis
virtúte firmans pérpeti.
Hostem repéllas lóngius
pacémque dones prótinus;
ductóre sic te prævio
vitémus omne nóxium.
Per Te sciámus da Patrem
noscámus atque Fílium,
teque utriúsque Spíritum
credámus omni témpore.
Deo Patri sit glória,
et Fílio, qui a mórtuis
surréxit, ac Paráclito,
in sæculórum sæcula. Amen.

Come, Holy Spirit

Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!
Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.
You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul’s most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;
In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.
O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!
Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend:
Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end.

Veni, Sancte Spiritus

Veni, Sancte Spíritus,
et emítte cælitus
lucis tuæ rádium.
Veni, pater páuperum,
veni, dator múnerum,
veni, lumen córdium.
Consolátor óptime,
dulcis hospes ánimæ,
dulce refrigérium.
In labóre réquies,
in æstu tempéries,
in fletu solácium.
O lux beatíssima,
reple cordis íntima
tuórum fidélium.
Sine tuo númine,
nihil est in hómine
nihil est innóxium.
Lava quod est sórdidum,
riga quod est áridum,
sana quod est sáucium.
Flecte quod est rígidum,
fove quod est frígidum,
rege quod est dévium.
Da tuis fidélibus,
in te confidéntibus,
sacrum septenárium.
Da virtútis méritum,
da salútis éxitum,
da perénne gáudium. Amen.

The Anima Christi

Soul of Christ, be my sanctification.
Body of Christ, be my salvation.
Blood of Christ, fill all my veins.
Water of Christ’s side, wash out my stains.
Passion of Christ, my comfort be.
O good Jesus, listen to me.
In Thy wounds I fain would hide,
N’er to be parted from Thy side,
Guard me, should the foe assail me.
Call me when my life shall fail me.
Bid me come to Thee above,
With Thy saints to sing Thy love,
World without end. Amen.

Anima Christi

Ánima Christi, sanctífica me.
Corpus Christi, salva me.
Sanguis Christi, inébria me.
Aqua láteris Christi, lava me.
Pássio Christi, confórta me.
O bone Iesu, exáudi me.
Intra tua vúlnera abscónde me.
Ne permíttas me separári a te.
Ab hoste malígno defénde me.
In hora mortis meæ voca me.
Et iube me veníre ad te,
ut cum Sanctis tuis laudem te
in sæcula sæculórum. Amen

The Memorare

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known
that anyone who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help,
or sought thy intercession,
was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence
I fly unto thee,
O Virgin of virgins, my Mother.
To thee do I come,
before thee I stand,
sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
Amen.

Memorare

Memoráre, o piíssima Virgo María,
non esse audítum a sæculo,
quemquam ad tua curréntem præsídia,
tua implorántem auxília,
tua peténtem suffrágia, esse derelíctum.
Ego tali animátus confidéntia,
ad te, Virgo Vírginum, Mater,
curro, ad te vénio,
coram te gemens peccátor assísto.
Noli, Mater Verbi, verba mea despícere;
sed áudi propítia et exáudi. Amen.

The Rosary

The Joyful Mysteries
(recited Monday and Saturday)

The Annunciation
The Visitation
The Nativity
The Presentation
The Finding in the Temple

The Sorrowful Mysteries
(recited Tuesday and Friday)

The Agony in the Garden
The Scourging at the Pillar
The Crowning with Thorns
The Carrying of the Cross
The Crucifixion

The Glorious Mysteries
(recited Wednesday and Sunday)

The Resurrection
The Ascension
The Descent of the Holy Spirit
The Assumption
The Coronation of Mary Queen of Heaven and Earth

 

Prayer concluding the Rosary

Hail, Holy Queen, etc. as above

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Let us pray.

O God, whose only-begotten Son,
by his life, death and resurrection,
has purchased for us
the rewards of eternal life,
grant, we beseech thee,
that meditating on these mysteries
of the most holy Rosary of the
Blessed Virgin Mary,
we may imitate what they contain
and obtain what they promise,
through the same Christ our Lord.
Amen.

 

Rosarium

Mystéria gaudiósa
(in feria secunda et sabbato)

Annuntiátio.
Visitátio.
Natívitas.
Præsentátio.
Invéntio in Templo.

Mystéria dolorósa
(in feria tertia et feria sexta)

Agonía in Hortu.
Flagellátio.
Coronátio Spinis.
Baiulátio Crucis.
Crucifíxio et Mors.

 

Mystéria gloriósa
(in feria quarta et Dominica)

Resurréctio.
Ascénsio.
Descénsus Spíritus Sancti.
Assúmptio.
Coronátio in Cælo.

 

Oratio ad finem Rosarii dicenda

Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei génetrix.
Ut digni efficiámur promissiónibus Christi.

 

Orémus.

Deus, cuius Unigénitus per vitam,
mortem et resurrectiónem suam
nobis salútis ætérnæ
præmia comparávit,
concéde, quæsumus:
ut hæc mystéria sacratíssimo
beátæ Maríæ Vírginis
Rosário recoléntes,
et imitémur quod cóntinent,
et quod promíttunt assequámur.
Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.
Amen.

Coptic Incense Prayer

O King of peace, give us your peace and pardon our sins. Dismiss the enemies of the Church and protect her so that she never fail. Emmanuel our God is in our midst in the glory of the Father and of the Holy Spirit. May he bless us and purify our hearts and cure the sicknesses of our soul and body. We adore you, O Christ, with your good Father and the Holy Spirit because you have come and you have saved us.

 

Syro-Maronite Farewell to the Altar

Remain in peace, O Altar of God. May the offering that I have taken from you be for the remission of my debts and the pardon of my sins and may it obtain for me that I may stand before the tribunal of Christ without condemnation and without confusion. I do not know if I will have the opportunity to return and offer another sacrifice upon you. Protect me, O Lord, and preserve your holy Church as the way to truth and salvation. Amen.

 

Byzantine Prayer for the Deceased

God of the spirits and of all flesh, who have trampled death and annihilated the devil and given life to your world, may you yourself, O Lord, grant to the soul of your deceased servant N. rest in a place of light, a verdant place, a place of freshness, from where suffering, pain and cries are far removed. Do You, O good and compassionate God forgive every fault committed by him in word, work or thought because there is no man who lives and does not sin. You alone are without sin and your justice is justice throughout the ages and your word is truth. Since you, O Christ our God, are the resurrection, the life and the repose of your deceased servant N., we give you glory together with your un-begotten Father and your most holy, good and life-creating Spirit, now and always and forever and ever.

 

Act of Faith

O my God, I firmly believe
that you are one God in three divine Persons,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
I believe that your divine Son became man
and died for our sins and that he will come
to judge the living and the dead.
I believe these and all the truths
which the Holy Catholic Church teaches
because you have revealed them
who are eternal truth and wisdom,
who can neither deceive nor be deceived.
In this faith I intend to live and die.
Amen.

Actus fidei

Dómine Deus,
firma fide credo et confíteor
ómnia et síngula quæ
sancta Ecclésia Cathólica propónit,
quia tu, Deus, ea ómnia revelásti,
qui es ætérna véritas et sapiéntia
quæ nec fállere nec falli potest.
In hac fide vívere et mori státuo.
Amen.

Act of Hope

O Lord God,
I hope by your grace for the pardon
of all my sins
and after life here to gain eternal happiness
because you have promised it
who are infinitely powerful, faithful, kind,
and merciful.
In this hope I intend to live and die.
Amen.

Actus spei

Dómine Deus, spero per grátiam tuam
remissiónem ómnium peccatórum,
et post hanc vitam ætérnam felicitátem
me esse consecutúrum:
quia tu promisísti, qui es infiníte
potens, fidélis, benígnus, et miséricors.
In hac spe vívere et mori státuo.
Amen.

Act of Love

O Lord God, I love you above all things
and I love my neighbor for your sake
because you are the highest, infinite and perfect
good, worthy of all my love.
In this love I intend to live and die.
Amen.

Actus caritatis

Dómine Deus,
amo te super ómnia
et próximum meum propter te,
quia tu es summum, infinítum,
et perfectíssimum bonum,
omni dilectióne dignum.
In hac caritáte
vívere et mori státuo.
Amen.

Act of Contrition

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because of thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen.

 

Actus contritionis

Deus meus, ex toto corde pænitet me ómnium meórum peccatórum, éaque detéstor, quia peccándo, non solum pœnas a te iuste statútas proméritus sum, sed præsértim quia offéndi te, summum bonum, ac dignum qui super ómnia diligáris. Ídeo fírmiter propóno, adiuvánte grátia tua, de cétero me non peccatúrum peccandíque occasiónes próximas fugitúrum. Amen.

B) FORMULAS OF CATHOLIC DOCTRINE

The two commandments of love:

1. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.
2. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

The Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12):

Do to others as you would have them do to you.

The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12):

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.

The three theological virtues:

1. Faith
2. Hope
3. Charity

The four cardinal virtues:

1. Prudence
2. Justice
3. Fortitude
4. Temperance

The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit:

1. Wisdom
2. Understanding
3. Counsel
4. Fortitude
5. Knowledge
6. Piety
7. Fear of the Lord

The twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit:

1. Charity
2. Joy
3. Peace
4. Patience
5. Kindness
6. Goodness
7. Generosity
8. Gentleness
9. Faithfulness
10. Modesty
11. Self-control
12. Chastity

The five precepts of the Church:

1. You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and remain free from work or activity that could impede the sanctification of such days.
2. You shall confess your sins at least once a year.
3. You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season.
4. You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.
5. You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church.

The seven corporal works of mercy:

1. Feed the hungry.
2. Give drink to the thirsty.
3. Clothe the naked.
4. Shelter the homeless.
5. Visit the sick.
6. Visit the imprisoned.
7. Bury the dead.

The seven spiritual works of mercy:

1. Counsel the doubtful.
2. Instruct the ignorant.
3. Admonish sinners.
4. Comfort the afflicted.
5. Forgive offenses.
6. Bear wrongs patiently.
7. Pray for the living and the dead.

The seven capital sins:

1. Pride
2. Covetousness
3. Lust
4. Anger
5. Gluttony
6. Envy
7. Sloth

The four last things:

1. Death
2. Judgment
3. Hell
4. Heaven

ON HEARING MASS DURING LENT ~ Dom Prosper Gueranger

ON HEARING MASS DURING THE SEASON OF LENT

The Christian who enters into the spirit of the Church during this Season of Lent, will find an increase in his soul of that holy Fear of God, which the Psalmist tells us is the beginning of wisdom [Ps. cx. 10].  The remembrance of his sincs, the practice of the holy penances of Lent, the example of a God expiating our sins by fasting in the desert, the Church’s ceaseless prayer for her guilty children, – all combine to arouse him from the indifference which so easily fastens on the soul. He has need, therefore, of some refuge, some powerful and saving help, which may re-enkindle within his heart that Christian Hope, without which he cannot be in the grace of God. Nay more, – he has need of a Victim of Propitiation, which may appease the divine anger; he has need of a Sacrifice, whereby to stay the arm of God, that he knows is raised to punish his sins.

This Victim is ready; this infinitely efficacious Sacrifice is prepared for us. We shall soon have to celebrate the sad anniversary of his being offered upon the Cross: meanwhile, he is daily offered to the Divine Majesty, and it is by assisting at this Holy Sacrifice that we shall be taking the most efficacious means for obtaining the regeneration of our souls. When, therefore, we would offer to our God the sacrifice of a contrite and humble heart, let us ensure its acceptance by going to the Altar, and supplicating the Victim, who there offers himself for our sakes, that he join His infinite merits with our feeble works. When we leave the House of God, the weight of our sins will be lessened, our confidence in divine mercy will be increased, and our love, renewed by compunction, will be firmer and truer.

We will now endeavour to embody these sentiments in our explanation of the Mysteries of the Holy Mass, and initiate the faithful into these divine secrets; not, indeed, by indiscreetly presuming to translate the sacred formulae, but by suggesting such Acts, as will enable those who hear Mass to enter into the ceremonies and sentiments of the Church and the Priest.

The purple Vestments, and the penitential rites already explained, give to the Holy Sacrifice, during Lent, an air of sadness, which harmonises with the mysteries of this Season. But if, on the week-days, there occur a Saint’s feast, the Church keeps it, and laying aside her purple vestments, she celebrates the Holy Sacrifice in memory of the Saint.

On the Sundays, if the Mass at which the faithful assist be the Parochial, or as it is often called, the Public Mass, two solemn rites precede it, which are full of instruction and blessing;- the Asperges, or sprinkling of the Holy Water, and the Procession.

During the Asperges, let us ask with David, whose words are used by the Church in this ceremony, that our souls may be purified by the hyssop of humility, and become whiter than snow.

ANTIPHON OF THE ASPERGES

Asperges me, Domino, hyssopo, et mundabor; lavabis me, et super nivem dealbabor.
Ps. Miserere mei, Deus, secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
V. Gloria Patri, &c.
Ant. Asperges me, &c.V. Ostende nobis, Domino, misericordiam tuam.
R. Et salutare tuum da nobis.
V. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.
R. Ex clamor meus ad te veniat.
V. Dominus vobiscum.
R. Et cum spiritu tuo.

Oremus.
Exaudi nos, Domine sancte, Pater ornnipotens, aeterne Deus: et mittere digneris sanctum angelum tuum de coelis, qui custodiat, foveat, protegat, visitet atque defendat omnes habitantes in hoc habitaculo. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.
R. Amen.

Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, O Lord, and I shall be cleansed; thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow.
Ps. Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy great mercy.
V. Glory, &c.
Ant. Thou shalt sprinkle me, &c.V. Show us, O Lord, thy mercy.
R. And grant us the Saviour, whom we expect from thee.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto thee.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.
Graciously hear us, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: and vouchsafe to send thy holy angel from heaven, who may keep, cherish, protect, visit, and defend all who are assembled in this place. Through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

The Procession, which immediately precedes the Mass, shows us the ardour wherewith the Church advances towards her God. Let us imitate her fervour, for it is written: The Lord is good to them that hope in him, to the soul that seeketh him [Lament. iii. 25].

But see, Christians, the sacrifice begins! The priest is at the foot of the altar; God is attentive, the angels are in adoration, the whole Church is united with the Priest, whose priesthood and action are those of the great High Priest, Jesus Christ. Let us make the sign of the cross with him.

THE ORDINARY OF THE MASS

In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.
V. Introibo ad altare Dei.
R. Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam.
Judica me Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta ab homine iniquo et doloso erue me.
Quia tu es, Deus, fortitudo mea: quare me repulisti? et quare tristis incedo, dum affligit me inimicus?
Emitte lucem tuam et veritatem tuam: ipsa me deduxerunt et adduxerunt in montem sanctum tuum, et in tabernacula tua.
Et introibo ad altare Dei: ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam.
Confitebor tibi in cithara Deus, Deus meus: quare tristis es anima mea? et quare conturbas me?
Spera in Deo, quoniam adhuc confitebor illi: salutare vultus mei, et Deus meus.
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto.
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
V. Introibo ad altare Dei.
R. Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam.
V. Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini.
R. Qui fecit coelum et terram.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
I unite myself, O my God, with thy Church, who comes to seek consolation in Jesus Christ thy Son, who is the true Altar.
Like her, I beseech thee to defend me against the malice of the enemies of my salvation.
It is in thee that I have put my hope; yet do I feel sad and troubled at being in the midst of the snares which are set for me.
Send me, then, him who is light and truth; it is he that will open to us the way to thy holy mount, to thy heavenly tabernacle.
He is the Mediator and the living Altar; I will draw nigh to him, and be filled with joy.
When he shall have come, I will sing in my gladness. Be not sad, O my soul! why wouldst thou be troubled?
Hope in his coming; he who is thy Saviour and thy God, will soon be with thee.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
I am to go to the altar of God, and feel the presence of him who consoles me!
This my hope comes not from any merits of my own, but from the all-powerful help of my Creator.

The thought of his being about to appear before his God excites in the soul of the Priest a lively sentiment of compunction. He cannot go further in the holy Sacrifice without confessing, and publicly, that he is a sinner, and deserves not the grace he is about to receive. Listen, with respect, to this confession of God’s Minister, and earnestly ask our Lord to show mercy to him; for the priest is your Father; he is answerable for your salvation, for which he every day risks his own. When he has finished, unite with the Servers, or the Sacred Ministers, in this prayer:

Misereatur tui omnipotens Deus, et dimissis peccatis tuis, perducat te ad vitam aeternam. May Almighty God have mercy on thee, and, forgiving thy sins, bring thee to everlasting life.

The Priest having answered Amen, make your confession, saying with a contrite spirit:

Confiteor Deo omnipotenti, beatae Mariae semper Virgini, beato Michaeli Archangelo, beato Johanni Baptistae, sanctis Apostolis Petro et Paulo, omnibus sanctis, et tibi, Pater: quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, verbo et opere: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Ideo precor beatam Mariam semper Virginem, beatum Michaelem Archangelum, beatum Johannem Baptistam, sanctos Apostolos Petrum et Paulum, omnes sanctos, et te, Pater, orare pro me ad Dominum Deum nostrum. I confess to Almighty God, to blessed Mary ever Virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John Baptist, to the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, to all the saints, and to thee, Father, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. Therefore, I beseech the Blessed Mary ever Virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John Baptist, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the Saints, and thee, Father, to pray to our Lord God for me.

Receive with gratitude the paternal wish of the Priest, who says to you:

Misereatur vestri omnipotens Deus, et dimissis peccatis vestris, perducat vos ad vitam aeternam. R. Amen.
Indulgentiam, absolutionem, et remissionem peccatorum nostrorum tribuat nobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus. R. Amen.
May Almighty God be merciful to you, and, forgiving your sins, hung you to life everlasting. R. Amen.
May the Almighty and merciful Lord grant us pardon, absolution, and remission of our sins. R. Amen.

Invoke the divine assistance, that you may approach to Jesus Christ.

V. Deus, tu conversus vivificabis nos.
R. Et plebs tua laetabitur in te.
V. Ostende nobis, Domine misericordiam tuam.
R. Et salutare tuum da nobis.
V. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.
R. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.
V. O God, it needs but one look of thine to give us life.
R. And thy people shall rejoice in thee.
V. Show us, O Lord, thy mercy.
R. And give us the Saviour whom thou hast prepared for us.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto thee.

The Priest here leaves you to ascend to the altar; but first he salutes you:

V. Dominus vobiscum. V. The Lord be with you.

Answer him with reverence:

R. Et cum spiritu tuo.Oremus. R. And with thy spirit.Let us pray.

He ascends the steps, and comes to the Holy of Holies. Ask, both for him and yourself, deliverance from sin:

Aufer a nobis, quaesumus Domine, iniquitates nostras; ut ad Sancta sanctorum puris mereamur mentibus introire. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen. Take from our hearts, O Lord, all those sins, which make us unworthy to appear in thy presence; we ask this of thee by thy divine Son, our Lord.

When the Priest kisses the altar, out of reverence for the relics of the Martyrs which are there, say:

Oramus te, Domine, per merita sanctorum tuorum quorum reliquiae hic sunt, et omnium Sanctorum, ut indulgere digneris omnia peccata mea. Generous soldiers of Jesus Christ, who have mingled your own blood with his, intercede for us that our sins may be forgiven; that so we may like you, approach unto God. Amen.

If it be a High Mass at which you are assisting, the priest incenses the Altar in a most solemn manner; and this white cloud which you see ascending from every part of the Altar, signifies the prayer of the Church, who addresses herself to Jesus Christ; which this Divine Mediator then causes to ascend, united with his own, to the throne of the majesty of his Father.

The Priest then says the Introit. It is a solemn opening anthem, in which the Church, at the very commencement of the Holy Sacrifice, gives expression to the sentiments which fill her heart.

It is followed by nine exclamations which are even more earnest, – for they ask for mercy. In addressing them to God, the Church unites herself with the nine Choirs of angels, who are standing round the altar of Heaven, – one and the same with this before which you are kneeling.

To the Father:

Kyrie eleison.
Kyrie eleison.
Kyrie eleison.
Lord, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!

To the Son:

Christe eleison.
Christe eleison.
Christe eleison.
Christ, have mercy on us!
Christ, have mercy on us!
Christ, have mercy on us!

To the Holy Ghost:

Kyrie eleison.
Kyrie eleison.
Kyrie eleison.
Lord, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!

As we have already mentioned, the Church abstains, during the Season of Lent, from the heavenly Hymn which the Angels sang over the Crib of the Divine Babe. But, if she be keeping the Feast of a Saint, she recites this beautiful Canticle on that day. The beginning of the Angelic Hymn  seems more suitable for heavenly than for earthly voices; but the second part is in no ways out of keeping with the sinner’s wants and fears, for we there remind the Son of the Eternal Father that he is the Lamb, who came down from heaven that he might take away the sins of the world. We beseech him to have mercy on us, and receive our humble prayer. Let us foster these sentiments within us, for they are so appropriate to the present Season.

THE ANGELIC HYMN.

Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis.
Laudamus te: benedicimus te: adoramus te: glorificamus te: gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam.
Domine Deus, Rex coelestis, Deus Pater omnipotens.
Domine, Fili unigenite, Jesu Christe.
Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris.
Qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Qui tollis peccata mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostram.
Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris miserere nobis.
Quoniam tu solus sanctus, tu solus Dominus, tu solus Altissimus, Jesu Christe, cum Sancto Spiritu, in gloria Dei Patris.
Amen.
Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace to men of good will.
We praise thee: we bless thee: we adore thee: we glorify thee: we give thee thanks for thy great glory.
O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father Almighty.
O Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son.
O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father.
Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Who takest away the sins of the world, receive our humble prayer.
Who sittest at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us.
For thou alone art holy, thou alone art Lord, thou alone, O Jesus Christ, together with the Holy Ghost, art most high, in the glory of God the Father.
Amen.

The Priest then turns towards the people, and again salutes them, as it were to make sure of their pious attention to the sublime act, attention to the sublime act, for which all this is but the preparation.

Then follows the Collect or Prayer, in which the Church formally expresses to the divine Majesty the special intentions she has in the Mass which is being celebrated. You may unite in this prayer by reciting with the Priest the Collects, which you will find in their proper places: but on no account omit to join with the server of the Mass in answering Amen.

Then follows the Epistle, which is generally a portion of one or other of the Epistles of the Apostles, or a passage from some Book of the Old Testament. Whilst it is being read, ask of God that you may profit of the instructions it conveys.

The Gradual is an intermediate formula of Prayer between the Epistle and Gospel. It again brings to our attention the sentiments already expressed in the Introit. Read it with devotion, that so you may enter more and more into the spirit of the mystery proposed to you by the Church.

During every other portion of her Year, the Church here repeats her joyous Alleluia; but now she denies herself this demonstration of gladness, until such time as her Divine Spouse has passed through that sea of bitterness, into which our sins have plunged him. Instead of the Alleluia, then, she sings in a plaintive tone some verses from the Psalms, appropriate to the rest of that day’s Office. This is the Tract, of which we have already spoken.

If it be a High Mass, the Deacon, meanwhile, prepares to fulfil his noble office, that of announcing the Good Tidings of salvation. He prays God to cleanse his heart and lips. Then, kneeling before the Priest, he asks a blessing; and having received it, he at once goes to the place where he is to sing the Gospel.

As a preparation for hearing it worthily, you may thus say, together with the Priest and Deacon:

Munda cor meum, ac labia mea, omnipotens Deus, qui labia Isaiae Prophetae calculo mundasti ignito: ita me tua grata miseratione dignare mundare, ut sanctum Evangelium tuum digne valeam nuntiare. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Dominus sit in corde meo, et in labiis meis: ut digne et competenter annuntiem Evangelium suum: In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.
Alas! these ears of  mine are but too often defiled with the world’s vain words; cleanse  them, O Lord, that so I may hear the words of Eternal life, and treasure them in my heart. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Grant to thy ministers thy grace, that they may faithfully explain thy law; that so all, both pastors and flock, may be united to thee for ever, Amen.

You will stand during the Gospel, as though you were waiting the orders of your Lord; and at the commencement, make the sign of the Cross on your forehead, lips, and breast; and then listen to every word of the Priest or Deacon. Let your heart be ready and obedient. While my beloved was speaking, says the Bride in the Canticle, my soul melted within me [Cant. v. 6]. If you have not such love as this, have at least the humble submission of Samuel, and say: Speak, Lord! thy servant heareth [1 Kings iii. 10].

After the Gospel, if the Priest says the Symbol of Faith, the Credo, you will say it with him. Faith is that gift of God, without which we cannot please him. It is that makes us see the Light which shineth in darkness, and which the darkness of unbelief did not comprehend. It is Faith alone that teaches us what we are, whence we come, and the end for which we are made. It alone can point out to us the path whereby we may return to our God, when once we have separated ourselves from him. Let us love this admirable Faith, which, if we but make it fruitful by good works, will save us. Let us, then, say with the Catholic Church, our Mother:

THE NICENE CREED.

Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, factorem coeli et terrae, visibilium omnium et invisibilium.
Et in unum Dominum Jesum Christum, Filium Dei unigenitum. Et ex Patre natum ante omnia saecula. Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero. Genitum non factum, consubstantialem Patri: per quem omnia facta sunt. Qui propter nos homines, et propter nostram salutem, descendit de coelis. Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto, ex Maria Virgine et homo factus est. Crucifixus etiam pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato, passus et sepultus est. Et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas. Et ascendit in coelum; sedet ad dexteram Patris. Et iterum venturus est cum gloria judicare vivos et mortuos; cujus regni non erit finis.
Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem, qui ex Patre Filioque procedit. Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur, et conglorificatur; qui locutus est per Prophetas. Et unam sanctam Catholicam et Apostolicam Ecclesiam. Confiteor unum Baptisma in remissionem peccatorum. Et  exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum, et  vitam venturi saeculi.  Amen.
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God. And born of the Father before all ages; God of God, light of light; true God of true God. Begotten, not made; consubstantial to the Father: by whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven. And became Incarnate by the Holy Ghost, by the Virgin Mary; and was made man. He was crucified also for us, under Pontius Pilate, suffered and was buried. And the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures. And ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of the Father. And he is to come again with glory, to judge the living and the dead; of whose kingdom there shall be no end.
And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son. Who together with the Father and the Son, is adored and glorified; who spoke by the Prophets. And one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the remission of sins. And I expect the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Priest and the people should now have their hearts ready: it is time to prepare the offering itself. And it is here that we come to the second part of the holy Mass; it is called the Oblation, and immediately follows that which was named the Mass of the Catechumens, on account of its being formerly the only part at which the candidates for Baptism had a right to be present.

See then, dear Christians! bread and wine are about to be offered to God, as being the noblest of inanimate creatures, since they are made for the nourishment of man; and yet that is but a poor material image of what they are destined to become in our Christian Sacrifice. Their substance will soon give place to God Himself, and of themselves nothing will remain but the appearances. Happy creatures, thus to yield up their own being, that God may take its place! We, too, are to undergo a like transformation, when, as the Apostle expresses it, that which to us is mortal shall put on immortality [1 Cor. xv. 53].  Until that happy change shall be realized, let us offer ourselves to God as often as we see the Bread and Wine presented to him in the holy sacrifice; and let us prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus, who will transform us, by making us partakers of the divine nature [2 St. Pet. i. 4].

The Priest again turns to the people with the usual salutation, as though he would warn them to redouble their attention. Let us read the Offertory with him, and when he offers the Host to God, let us unite with him and say:

Suscipe, sancte Pater, omnipotens aeterne Deus, hanc immaculatam hostiam, quam ego indignus famulus tuus offero tibi Deo meo vivo et vero, pro innumerabilibus peccatis et offensionibus et negligentiis meis, et pro omnibus circumstantibus, sed et  pro omnibus fidelibus christianis vivis atque defunctis; ut mihi et illis proficiat ad salutem in vitam aternam. Amen. All that we have, O Lord, comes from thee, and belongs to thee; it is just, therefore, that we return it unto thee. But how wonderful art thou in the inventions of thy immense love! This Bread which we are offering to thee, is to give place in a few moments, to the sacred Body of Jesus. We beseech thee, receive, together with this oblation, our hearts, which long to live by thee, and to cease to live their own life of self.

When the Priest puts the wine into the Chalice, and then mingles with it a drop of water, let your thoughts turn to the divine mystery of the Incarnation, which is the source of our hope and our salvation; and say:

Deus qui humanae substantiae dignitatem mirabiliter condidisti, et mirabilius reformasti: da nobis per hujus aquae et vini mysterium, ejus divinitatis esse consortes, qui humanitatis nostrae fieri dignatus est particeps, Jesus Christus Filius tuus Dominus noster: qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen. O Lord Jesus, who art the true Vine, and whose Blood, like a generous wine, has been poured forth under the pressure of the Cross! thou hast deigned to unite thy divine nature to our weak humanity, which is signified by this drop of water. Oh come, and make us partakers of thy divinity, by showing thyself to us by thy sweet and wondrous visit.

The Priest then offers the mixture of wine and water, beseeching God graciously to accept this oblation, which is so soon to be changed into the reality, of which it is now but the figure. Meanwhile, say, in union with the Priest:

Offerimus tibi, Domine, calicem salutaris, tuam deprecantes clementiam: ut in conspectu divinae majestatis tuae, pro nostra et totius mundi salute, cum odore suavitatis ascendat. Amen. Graciously accept these gifts, O sovereign Creator of all things. Let them be fitted for the divine transformation, which will make them, from being mere offerings of created things, the instrument of the world’s salvation.

After having thus held up the sacred gifts towards heaven, the Priest bows down: let us, also, humble ourselves, and say:

In spiritu humilitatis, et in animo contrito suscipiamur a te, Domine; et sic fiat, sacrificium nostrum in conspectu tuo hodie, ut placeat tibi, Domine Deus. Though daring, as we do, to approach thy altar, O Lord, we cannot forget that we are sinners. Have mercy on us, and delay not to send us thy Son, who is our saving Host.

Let us next invoke the Holy Ghost, whose operation is about to produce on the altar the presence of the Son of God, as it did in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary, in the divine mystery of the Incarnation:

Veni Sanctificator omnipotens aeterne Deus, et benedic hoc sacrificium tuo sancto nomini praeparatum. Come, O Divine Spirit, make fruitful the offering which is upon the altar, and produce in our hearts Him whom they desire.

If it be a High Mass, the priest, before proceeding any further with the Sacrifice, takes the thurible a second time. He first censes the bread and wine which have just been offered, and then the altar itself; hereby inviting the faithful to make their prayer, which is signified by the fragrant incense, more and more fervent, the nearer the solemn moment approaches.

But the thought of his own unworthiness becomes more intense than ever in the heart of the Priest. The public confession which he made at the foot of the altar is not enough; he would now at the altar itself express to the people, in the language of a solemn rite, how far he knows himself to be from that spotless sanctity, wherewith he should approach to God. He washes his hands. Our hands signify our works; and the priest, though by his priesthood he bear the office of Jesus Christ, is, by his works, but man. Seeing your Father thus humble himself, do you also make an act of humility, and say with him these verses of the Psalm:

PSALM 25.

Lavabo inter innocentes manus meas et circumdabo altare tuum, Domine.
Ut audiam vocem  laudis: et enarrem universa mirabilia tua.
Domine, dilexi decorem domus tua, et locum habitationis gloriae tuae.
Ne perdas cum impiis, Deus, animam meam, et cum viris sanguinum vitam meam.
In quorum manibus iniquitates sunt: dextera eorum repleta est muneribus.
Ego autem in innocentia mea ingressus sum: redime me, et miserere mei.
Pes meus stetit in directo: in ecclesiis benedicam te, Domine.
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto.
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
I, too, would wash my hands, O Lord, and become like unto those who are innocent, that so I may be worthy to come near thy altar, and hear thy sacred canticles, and then go and proclaim to the world the wonders of thy goodness. I love the beauty of thy house, which thou art about to make the dwelling-place of thy glory. Leave me not, O God, in the midst of them that are enemies both to thee and me. Thy mercy having separated me from them, I entered on the path of innocence, and was restored to thy grace; but have pity on my weakness still: redeem me yet more, thou who hast so mercifully brought me back to the right path. In the midst of these thy faithful people, I give thee thanks. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

The priest, taking encouragement from the act of humility he has just made, returns to the middle of the altar, and bows down, full of respectful awe, begging of God to receive graciously the sacrifice which is about to be offered to Him, and expresses the intentions for which it is offered. Let us do the same.

Suscipe sancta Trinitas, hanc oblationem, quam tibi offerimus ob memoriam Passionis, Resurrectionis, et Ascensionis Jesu Christi Domini nostri: et in honore beatae Mariae semper Virginis, et beati Johannis Baptistae, et sanctorum Apostolorum Petri et Pauli, et istorum, et omnium Sanctorum: Ut illis proficiat ad honorem, nobis autem ad salutem: et illi pro nobis intercedere dignentur in coelis quorum memoriam agimus in terris. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen. O Holy Trinity, graciously accept the Sacrifice we have begun. We offer it in remembrance of the Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. Permit thy Church to join with this intention that of honouring the ever glorious Virgin Mary, the blessed Baptist John, the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, the Martyrs whose relics lie here under our altar awaiting their resurrection, and the Saints whose memory we this day celebrate. Increase the glory they are enjoying, and receive the prayers they address to thee for us.

The Priest again turns to the people; it is for the last time before the sacred Mysteries are accomplished. He feels anxious to excite the fervour of the people. Neither does the thought of his own unworthiness leave him; and before entering the cloud with the Lord, he seeks support in the prayers of his brethren who are present. He says to them:

Orate, fratres: ut meum ac vestrum sacrificium acceptabile fiat apud Deum Patrem omnipotentem. Brethren, pray that my Sacrifice, which is yours also, may be acceptable to God, our Almighty Father.

With this request he turns again to the altar, and you will see his face no more, until our Lord himself shall have come down from heaven upon that same altar. Assure the Priest that he has your prayers, and say to him:

Suscipiat Dominus sacrificium de manibus tuis, ad laudem et gloriam nominis sui, ad utilitatem quoque nostram totiusque Ecclesiae suae sanctae. May our Lord accept this Sacrifice at thy hands, to the praise and glory of his name, and for our benefit and that of his holy Church throughout the world.

Here the Priest recites the prayers called the Secrets, in which he presents the petition of the whole Church for God’s acceptance of the Sacrifice, and then immediately begins to fulfil that great duty of religion, – Thanksgiving. So far he has adored God, and has sued for mercy; he has still to give thanks for the blessings bestowed on us by the bounty of our heavenly Father, the chief of which, during this season, is the enabling us to satisfy his justice by our Lenten mortifications. The Priest, in the name of the Church, is about to give expression to the gratitude of all mankind. In order to excite the faithful to that intensity of gratitude which is due to God for all his gifts, he interrupts his own and their silent prayer by terminating it aloud, saying:

Per omnia saecula saeculorum! For ever and ever!

In the same feeling, answer your Amen! Then he continues:

V. Dominus vobiscum.
R. Et cum spiritu tuo.
V. Sursum corda!
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.
V. Lift up your hearts!

Let your response be sincere:

R. Habemus ad Dominum. R. We have them fixed on God.

And when he adds:

V. Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro. V. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

Answer him with all the earnestness of your soul:

R. Dignum et justum est. R. It is meet and just.

Then the Priest:

THE PREFACE

Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus. Qui corporali jejunio vitia comprimis, mentem elevas, virtutem largiris et praemia, per Christum Dominum nostrum. Per quem majestatem tuam laudant Angeli, adorant Dominationes, tremunt Potestates, Coeli, coelorumque Virtutes, ac beata Seraphim, socia exsultatione concelebrant. Cum quibus et nostras voces, ut admitti jubeas deprecamur, supplici confessione dicentes: 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, Father Almighty, Eternal God, Who by this bodily Fast extinguishest our vices, elevatest our understanding, bestowest on us virtue and its rewards, through Christ our Lord. By whom the Angels praise thy majesty, the Dominations adore it, the Powers tremble before it; the Heavens and the heavenly Virtues, and the blessed Seraphim, with common jubilee, glorify it. Together with whom, we beseech thee that we may be admitted to join our humble voices, saying:

Here unite with the Priest, who on his part, unites himself with the blessed spirits, in giving thanks to God for the unspeakable gift: bow down and say:

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus, Deus sabaoth!
Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua.
Hosanna in excelsis!
Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.
Hosanna in excelsis!
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts!
Heaven and earth are full of thy glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed be the Saviour who is coming to us in the name of the Lord who sends him.
Hosanna be to him in the highest!

After these words commences the Canon, that mysterious prayer, in the midst of which heaven bows down to earth, and God descends unto us. The voice of the Priest is no longer heard; yea, even at the altar, all is silence. Let a profound respect stay all distractions, and keep our senses in submission to the soul. Let us fix our eyes on what the Priest does in the Holy Place.

THE CANON OF THE MASS.

In this mysterious colloquy with the great God of heaven and earth, the first prayer of the sacrificing Priest is for the Catholic Church, his and our Mother.

Te igitur, clementissime Pater, per Jesum Christum Filium tuum Dominum nostrum supplices rogamus ac petimus, uti accepta habeas, et benedicas haec dona, haec munera, haec sancta sacrificia illibata, in primis quae tibi offerimus pro Ecclesia tua sancta Catholica: quam pacificare, custodire, adunare, et regere digneris toto orbe terrarum, una cum famulo tuo Papa nostro N., et Antistite nostro N., et omnibus orthodoxis, atque catholicae et apostolicae fidei cultoribus. O God, who manifestest thyself unto us by means of the mysteries, which thou hast intrusted to thy holy Church, our Mother; we beseech thee, by the merits of this sacrifice, that thou wouldst remove all those hindrances which oppose her during her pilgrimage in this world. Give her peace and unity. Do thou thyself guide our Holy Father the Pope, thy Vicar on earth. Direct thou our Bishop, who is our sacred link of unity; and watch over all the orthodox children of the Catholic Apostolic Roman Church.

Here pray, together with the Priest, for those whose interests should be dearest to you.

Memento, Domine, famulorum famularumque tuarum N. et N., et omnium circumstantium, quorum tibi fides cognita est, et nota devotio; pro quibus tibi offerimus, vel qui tibi offerunt hoc sacrificium laudis, pro se, suisque omnibus, pro redemptione animarum suarum, pro spe salutis et incolumitatis suae; tibique reddunt vota sua aeterno Deo, vivo et vero. Permit me, O God, to intercede with thee in more earnest prayer for those for whom thou knowest that I have a special obligation to pray: * * *  Pour down thy blessings upon them. Let them partake of the the fruits of this divine Sacrifice, which is offered unto thee in the name of all mankind. Visit them by thy grace, pardon them their sins, grant them the blessings of this present life and of that which is eternal.

Here let us commemorate the Saints: they are that portion of the Body of Jesus Christ, which is called the Church Triumphant.

Communicantes, et memoriam venerantes, in primis gloriosae semper Virginis Mariae, Genitricis Dei et Domini nostri Jesu Christi: sed et beatorum Apostolorum ac Martyrum tuorum, Petri et Pauli, Andreae, Jacobi, Johannis, Thomae, Jacobi, Philippi, Bartholomaei, Matthaei, Simonis, et Thaddaei: Lini, Cleti, Clementis, Xysti, Cornelii, Cypriani, Laurentii, Chrysogoni, Johannis et Pauli, Cosmae et Damiani, et omnium Sanctorum tuorum, quorum meritis precibusque concedas, ut in omnibus protectionis tuae muniamur auxilio. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen. But the offering of this Sacrifice, O my God, does not unite us with those only of our brethren who are still in this transient life of trial: it brings us closer to those also, who are already in possession of heaven. Therefore it is, that we wish to honour by it the memory of the glorious and ever Virgin Mary; of the Apostles, Confessors, Virgins, and of all the Saints; that so they may assist us, by their powerful intercession, to become worthy to contemplate thee, as they now do, in the mansions of thy glory.

The Priest, who up to this time, had been praying with his hands extended, now joins them, and holds them over the Bread and Wine, as the high Priest of the Old Law did over the figurative victim: he thus expresses his intention of bringing these gifts more closely under the notice of the divine Majesty, and of marking them as the material offering whereby we profess our dependence, and which, in a few instants, is to yield its place to the living Host, upon whom all our iniquities are to be laid .

Hanc igitur oblationem servitutis nostrae, sed et cunctae familiae tuae, quaesumus Domine, ut placatus accipias: diesque nostros in tua pace disponas, atque ab aeterna damnatione nos eripi, et in electorum tuorum jubeas grege numerari. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Quam oblationem tu Deus in omnibus quaesumus, benedictam, adscriptam, ratam, rationabilem, acceptabilemque facere digneris; ut nobis Corpus et Sanguis fiat dilectissimi Filii tui Domini nostri Jesu Christi.
Vouchsafe, O God to accept this offering which this thy assembled family presents to thee as the homage of its most happy servitude. In return, give us peace, save us from thy wrath, and number us amongst thy elect, through Him who is coming to us, thy Son our Saviour.
Yea, Lord, this is the moment when this bread is to become his sacred Body, which is our food; and this wine is to be changed into his Blood, which is our drink. Ah! delay no longer, but bring us into the presence of this divine Son our Saviour.

And here the Priest ceases to act as man; he now becomes more than a mere minister of the Church. His word becomes that of Jesus Christ, with all its power and efficacy. Prostrate yourself in profound adoration; for God himself is about to descend upon our Altar, coming down from heaven.

Qui pridie quam pateretur, accepit panem in sanctas ac venerabiles manus suas: et elevatis oculis in coelum, ad te Deum Patrem suum omnipotentem, tibi gratias agens, benedixit, fregit, deditque discipulis suis, dicens: Accipite, et manducate ex hoc omnes. HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM. What, O God of heaven and earth, my Jesus, the long-expected Messias, what else can I do at this solemn moment but adore thee, in silence, as my sovereign Master, and open my whole heart to thee, as to its dearest King! Come, then, Lord Jesus, come!

The Divine Lamb is now lying on our altar. Glory and love be to him for ever! But he has come that he may be immolated. Hence, the Priest, who is the minister of the will of the Most High, immediately pronounces over the Chalice those sacred words which will produce the great mystical immolation, by the separation of the Victim’s Body and Blood. The substances of the bread and wine have ceased to exist: the species alone are left, veiling, as it were, the Body and Blood, lest fear should keep us from a mystery, which God gives us in order to give us confidence. Let us associate ourselves to the angels, who tremblingly gaze upon this deepest wonder.

Simili modo postquam coenatum est, accipiens et hunc praeclarum Calicem in sanctas ac venerabiles manus suas: item tibi gratias agens, benedixit, deditque discipulis suis, dicens: Accipite et bibite ex eo omnes. HIC EST ENIM CALIX SANGUINIS MEI, NOVI ET AETERNI TESTAMENTI: MYSTERIUM FIDEI: QUI PRO VOBIS ET PRO MULTIS EFFUNDETUR IN REMISSIONEM PECCATORUM. Haec quotiescumque feceritis, in mei memoriam facietis. O Precious Blood!  thou price of my salvation! I adore thee! Wash away my sins, and make me whiter than snow. Lamb ever slain, yet ever living, thou comest to take away the sins of the world! Come also and reign in me by thy power and by thy love.

The Priest is now face to face with God. He again raises his hands towards heaven, and tells our heavenly Father that the oblation now on the altar is no longer an earthly offering, but the Body and Blood, the whole Person, of his divine Son.

Unde et memores Domine, nos, servi tui, sed et plebs tua sancta ejusdem Christi Filii tui Domini nostri tam beatae Passionis, nec non et ab inferis Resurrectionis, sed et in coelos gloriosae Ascensionis: offerimus praeclarae Majestati tuae de tuis donis ac datis: Hostiam puram, Hostiam sanctam, Hostiam immaculatam: Panem sanctum vitae aeternae et Calicem salutis perpetuae.
Supra quae propitio ac sereno vultu respicere digneris: et accepta habere, sicuti accepta habere dignatus es munera pueri tui justi Abel, et sacrificium Patriarchae nostri Abrahae, et quod tibi obtulit summus Sacerdos tuus Melchisedech, sanctum sacrificium, immaculatam hostiam.
Father of infinite holiness, the Host so long expected is here before thee! Behold this thine eternal Son, who suffered a bitter Passion, rose again with glory from the grave, and ascended triumphantly into heaven. He is thy Son; but he is also our Host, – Host pure and spotless, – our Meat and Drink of everlasting life.
Heretofore thou didst accept the sacrifice of the innocent lambs offered to thee by Abel; and the sacrifice which Abraham made thee of his son Isaac, who, though immolated, yet lived; and lastly the sacrifice, which Melchisedech presented to thee, of bread and wine. Receive our Sacrifice, which is above all those others. It is the Lamb of whom all others could be but figures: it is the undying Victim: it is the Body of thy Son, who is the Bread of Life, and his Blood, which, whilst, a drink of immortality for us, is a tribute adequate to thy glory.

The Priest bows down to the altar, and kisses it as the throne of love on which is seated the Saviour of men.

Supplices te rogamus, omnipotens Deus: jube haec perferri per manus sancti Angeli tui in sublime Altare tuum, in conspectu divinae Majestatis tuae: ut quotquot ex hac altaris participatione, sacrosanctum Filii tui Corpus et Sanguinem sumpserimus, omni benedictione coelesti et gratia repleamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen. But, O God of infinite power, these sacred gifts are not only on this altar here below; they are also on that sublime Altar in heaven, which is before the throne of thy divine Majesty. These two Altars are but one and the same, on which is accomplished the great mystery of thy glory and our salvation. Vouchsafe to make us partakers of the Body and Blood of the august Victim, from whom flow every grace and blessing.

Nor is the moment less favourable for our making supplication for the Church suffering. Let us therefore ask the divine Liberator, who has come down among us, that he mercifully visit, by a ray of his consoling light, the dark abode of Purgatory, and permit his Blood to flow, as a stream of mercy’s dew, from this our altar, and refresh the panting captives there. Let us pray expressly for those among them who have a claim on our suffrages.

Memento etiam Domine, famulorum famularumque tuarum N. et N. qui nos praecesserunt cum signo fidei, et dormiunt in somno pacis. Ipsis, Domine, et omnibus in Christo quiescentibus, locum refrigerii, lucis et pacis, ut indulgeas, deprecamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen. Dear Jesus! let the happiness of this thy visit extend to every portion of thy Church. Thy face gladdens the elect in the holy City: even our mortal eyes can see beneath the veil of our delighted faith; and hide not thyself from those brethren of ours, who are imprisoned in the place of expiation. Be thou refreshment to them in their flames, light in their darkness, and peace in their agonies of torment.

This duty of charity fulfilled, let us pray for ourselves, sinners, alas! and who profit so little by the visit which our Saviour pays us, let us together with the priest, strike our breast, saying:

Nobis quoque peccatoribus famulis tuis, de multitudine miserationum tuarum sperantibus, partem aliquam et societatem donare digneris cum tuis sanctis Apostolis et Martyribus: cum Johanne, Stephano, Matthia, Barnaba, Ignatio, Alexandro, Marcellino, Petro, Felicitate, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucia, Agnete, Caecilia, Anastasia, et omnibus Sanctis tuis; intra quorum nos consortium, non aestimator meriti, sed veniae, quaesumus, largitor admitte. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Per quem haec omnia, Domine, semper bona creas, sanctificas, vivificas, benedicis, et praestas nobis: per ipsum, et cum ipso, et in ipso, est tibi Deo Patri omnipotenti, in unitate Spiritus Sancti, omnis honor et gloria. Alas! we are poor sinners, O God of all sanctity! yet do we hope that thy infinite mercy will grant us to share in thy kingdom, not, indeed, by reason of our works, which deserve little else than punishment, but because of the merits of this Sacrifice, which we are offering to thee. Remember, too, the merits of thy holy Apostles, of thy holy Martyrs, of thy holy Virgins, and of all thy Saints. Grant us, by their intercession, grace in this world, and glory eternal in the next; which we ask of thee, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son. It is by him thou bestowest upon us thy blessings of life and sanctification; and by him also, with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, may honour and glory be to thee!

While saying these last few words, the priest has taken up the sacred Host, which was on the altar; he has held it over the chalice, thus reuniting the Body and Blood of the divine Victim, in order to show that He is now immortal. Then raising up both Chalice and Host, he offers to God the most noble and perfect homage which the divine Majesty could receive.

This sublime and mysterious rite ends the Canon. The silence of the mysteries is broken. The Priest concludes his long prayers, by saying aloud, and so giving the faithful the opportunity of expressing their desire that his supplications be granted:

Per omnia saecula saeculorum. For ever and ever.

Answer him with faith, and in a sentiment of union with your holy mother the Church:

Amen. Amen! I believe the mystery which has just been accomplished. I unite myself to the offering which has been made, and to the petitions of the Church.

It is now time to recite the prayer which our Saviour Himself has taught us. Let it ascend to heaven together with the sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. How could it be otherwise than heard, when he himself who made it for us is in our very hands now whilst we say it. As this Prayer belongs in common to all God’s children, the Priest recites it aloud, and begins by inviting us all to join in it.

Oremus.
Praeceptis salutaribus moniti, et divina institutione formati, audemus dicere:
Let us pray.
Having been taught by a saving precept, and following the form given us by a divine instruction, we thus presume to speak:

THE LORD’S PRAYER.

Pater noster, qui es in caelis, santificetur nomen tuum: adveniat regnum tuum: fiat voluntas tua, sicut in coelo, et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie: et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris: et ne nos inducas in tentationem. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name: thy kingdom come: thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us: and lead us not into temptation.

Let us answer with deep feeling of our misery:

Sed libera nos a malo. But deliver us from evil.

The Priest falls once more into the silence of the holy mysteries. His first word is an affectionate Amen to your last petition – deliver us from evil – on which he forms his own next prayer: and could he pray for anything more needed? Evil surrounds us everywhere, and the Lamb on our altar has been sent to expiate it and deliver us from it.

Libera nos, quaesumus, Domine, ab omnibus malis, praeteritis, praesentibus, et futuris: et intercedente beata et gloriosa semper Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beatis Apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo, atque Andrea, et omnibus Sanctis, da propitius pacem in diebus nostris: ut ope misericordiae tuae adjuti, et a peccato simus semper liberi, et ab omni perturbatione securi. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus. How many, O Lord, are the evils which beset us! Evils past, which are the wounds left on the soul by our sins, and strengthen her wicked propensities. Evils present, that is, the sins now at this very time upon our soul; the weakness of this poor soul; and the temptations which molest her. There are, also, future evils, that is, the chastisement which our sins deserve from the hand of thy justice. In presence of this host of our Salvation, we beseech thee, O Lord, to deliver us from all these evils, and to accept in our favour the intercession of Mary the Mother of Jesus, of thy holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and Andrew. Liberate us, break our chains, give us peace; through Jesus Christ, thy Son, who with thee liveth and reigneth God.

The Priest is anxious to announce the Peace which he has asked and obtained; he therefore finishes his prayer aloud, saying:

Per omnia saecula saeculorum.
R. Amen.
World without end.
R. Amen.

Then he says:

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum. May the peace of the Lord be ever with you.

To this paternal wish reply:

R. Et cum spiritu tuo. R. And with thy spirit.

The Mystery is drawing to a close: God is about to be united with man, and man with God, by means of Communion. But first, an imposing and sublime rite takes place at the altar. So far the priest has announced the death of Jesus; it is time to proclaim his Resurrection. To this end, he reverently breaks the sacred Host, and having divided it into three parts, he puts one into the Chalice, thus reuniting the Body and Blood of the immortal Victim. Do you adore, and say:

Haec commixtio et consecratio Corporis et Sanguinis Domini nostri Jesu Christi fiat accipientibus nobis in vitam aeternam. Amen. Glory be to thee, O Saviour of the world, who didst, in thy Passion, permit thy precious Blood to be separated from thy sacred Body, afterwards uniting them again together by thy divine power.

Offer now your prayer to the ever-living Lamb, whom St. John saw on the Altar of Heaven standing, though slain: – say to this your Lord and king, who has taken upon himself all our iniquities, in order to wash them away by his Blood:

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, rniserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, give us Peace.

Peace is the grand object of our Saviour’s coming into the world: he is the Prince of Peace. The divine Sacrament of the Eucharist ought therefore to be the Mystery of Peace, and the bond of Catholic Unity; for, as the Apostle says, all we who partake of one bread, are all one Bread and one Body [1 Cor. x. 17]. It is on this account that the priest, now that he is on the point of receiving, in Communion, the Sacred Host, prays that fraternal peace may be preserved in the Church, and more especially in this portion of it which is assembled round the altar. Pray with him, and for the same blessing:

Domine Jesu Christe, qui dixisti Apostolis tuis: Pacem relinquo vobis, pacem meam do vobis: ne respicias peccata mea, sed fidem Ecclesiae tuae: eamque secundum voluntatem tuam pacificare, et coadunare digneris. Qui vivis et regnas, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen. Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst to thy Apostles, “my peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you:” regard not my sins, but the faith of thy Church, and grant her that peace and unity which is according to thy will. Who livest and reignest God for ever and ever. Amen.

If it be a High Mass, the Priest here gives the kiss of peace to the Deacon, who gives it to the Sub-deacon, and he to the Choir. During this ceremony, you should excite within yourself feelings of Christian charity, and pardon your enemies if you have any. Then continue to pray with the priest:

Domine Jesu Christe, Fili Dei vivi, qui ex voluntate Patris, cooperante Spiritu Sancto, per mortem tuam mundum vivificasti; libera me per hoc sacrosanctum Corpus et Sanguinem tuum, ab omnibus iniquitatibus meis, et universis malis, et fac me tuis semper inhaerere mandatis, et a te nunquam separari permittas. Qui cum eodem Deo Patre et Spiritu Sancto vivis et regnas Deus in saecula saeculorum. Amen. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who, according to the will of thy Father, through the co-operation of the Holy Ghost, hast by thy death given life to the world; deliver me by this thy most Sacred Body and Blood from all my iniquities, and from all evils; and make me always adhere to thy commandments, and never suffer me to be separated from thee, who with the same God the Father and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest God for ever and ever. Amen.

If you are going to Communion at this Mass, say the following prayer; otherwise prepare yourself to make a Spiritual Communion:

Perceptio Corporis tui, Domine Jesu Christe, quod ego indignus sumere praesumo, non mihi proveniat in judicium et condemnationem: sed pro tua pietate prosit mihi ad tutamentum mentis et corporis, et ad medelam percipiendam. Qui vivis et regnas cum Deo Patre in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen. Let not the participation of thy Body, O Lord Jesus Christ, which I, though unworthy, presume to receive, turn to my judgment and condemnation; but through thy mercy may it be a safeguard and remedy both to my soul and body. Who with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest God for ever and ever. Amen.

When the Priest takes the host into his hands, in order to his receiving it in Communion, say:

Panem caelestem accipiam, et nomen Domini invocabo. Come, my dear Jesus, come!

When he strikes his breast, confessing his unworthiness, say thrice with him these words, and in the same disposition as the centurion of the Gospel, who first used them:

Domine, non sum dignus, ut intres sub tectum meum: sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea. Lord, I am not worthy thou shouldst enter under my roof; say it only with one word of thine, and my soul will be healed.

Whilst the Priest receives the Sacred Host, if you also are to communicate, adore profoundly your God, who is ready to take up his abode within you, and again say to him with the Bride: Come, Lord Jesus, come!

But should you not be going to receive sacramentally, make a Spiritual Communion. Adore Jesus Christ, who thus visits your soul by His grace, and say to him:

Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi, custodiat animam meam in vitam aeternam. Amen. I give thee, O Jesus, this heart of mine, that thou mayest dwell in it, and do with me what thou wilt.

Then the priest takes the Chalice in thanksgiving and says:

Quid retribuam Domino pro omnibus, quae retribuit mihi? Calicem salutaris accipiam, et nomen Domini invocabo. Laudans invocabo Dominum, et ab inimicis meis salvus ero. What return shall I make to the Lord for all He hath given to me? I will take the Chalice of salvation, and will call upon the name of the Lord. Praising I will call upon the Lord, and I shall be saved from mine enemies.

But if you are to make a Sacramental Communion, you should, at this moment of the Priest’s receiving the precious Blood, again adore the God who is coming to you, and keep to your Canticle: Come, Lord Jesus, come!

If on the contrary, you are going to communicate only spiritually, again adore your divine Master, and say to him:

Sanguis Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam meam in vitam aeternam. Amen. I unite myself to thee, my beloved Jesus! do thou unite thyself to me! and never let us be separated.

It is here that you must approach to the altar, if you are going to Communion. The dispositions suitable for Holy Communion during this season of Lent are given in the next chapter.

The Communion being finished, and whilst the Priest is purifying the Chalice the first time, say:

Quod ore sumpsimus, Domine, pura mente capiamus: et de munere temporali fiat nobis remedium sempiternum. Thou hast visited me, O God, in these days of my pilgrimage; give me grace to treasure up the fruits of this visit for my future eternity.

Whilst the priest is purifying the chalice the second time, say:

Corpus tuum, Domine, quod sumpsi, et Sanguis quem potavi, adhaereat visceribus meis: et praesta ut in me non remaneat scelerum macula, quem pura et sancta refecerunt Sacramenta. Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. Amen. Be thou for ever blessed, O my Saviour, for having admitted me to the sacred mystery of thy Body and Blood. May my heart and senses preserve, by thy grace, the purity which thou hast imparted to them, and I be thus rendered less unworthy of thy divine visit.

The priest, having read the antiphon called the Communion, which is the first part of his Thanksgiving for the favour just received from God, whereby he has renewed his divine presence among us, turns to the people with the usual salutation; after which, he recites the prayers, called the Postcommunion, which are the completion of the thanksgiving. You will join him here also, thanking God for the unspeakable gift he has just lavished on you, and asking him, with most earnest entreaty, that he will bestow upon you a lasting spirit of compunction.

These prayers having been recited, the priest again turns to the people, and, full of joy for the immense favour he and they have been receiving, he says:

Dominus vobiscum. The Lord be with you.

Answer him:

Et cum spiritu tuo.
Ite, Missa est.
R. Deo gratias.
And with thy spirit.
Go, the Mass finished.
R. Thanks be God.

The priest makes a last Prayer, before giving you his blessing: pray with him:

Placeat tibi, sancta Trinitas, obsequium servitutis meae, quod oculis tuae majestatis indignus obtuli, tibi sit acceptabile, mihique, et omnibus, pro quibus illud obtuli, sit te miserante, propitiabile. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Eternal thanks be to thee, O adorable Trinity, for the mercy thou hast shown to me, in permitting me to assist at this divine Sacrifice. Pardon me the negligence and coldness wherewith I have received so great a favour, and, deign to confirm the Blessing, which thy Minister is about to give me in thy Name.

The Priest raises his hand, and thus blesses you:

Benedicat vos omnipotens Deus, Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus.
R. Amen.
May the Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, bless you!
R. Amen.

He then concludes the Mass by reading the first fourteen verses of the Gospel according to St. John, which tell us of the eternity of the Word, and of the mercy which led him to take upon himself our flesh, and to dwell among us. Pray that you may be of the number of those who, now he has come unto his own, receive him, and are made the sons of God.

Initium sancti Evangelii secundum Johannem.Cap 1.

In principio erat Verbum, et Verbum erat apud Deum, et Deus erat Verbum. Hoc erat in principio apud Deum. Omnia per ipsum facta sunt et sine ipso factum est nihil, quod factum est, in ipso vita erat, et vita erat lux hominum: et lux in tenebris lucet, et tenebrae eam non comprehenderunt. Fuit homo missus a Deo, cui nomen erat Johannes. Hic venit in testimonium, ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine, ut omnes crederent per illum. Non erat ille lux, sed ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine. Erat lux vera, quae illuminat omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundum. In mundo erat, et mundus per ipsum factus est, et mundus eum non cognovit. In propria venit, et sui eum non receperunt. Quotquot autem receperunt eum, dedit eis potestatem filios Dei fieri, his, qui credunt in nomine ejus: qui non ex sanguinibus, neque ex voluntate carnis, neque ex voluntate viri, sed ex Deo nati sunt. Et Verbum caro factum est, et habitavit in nobis: et vidimus gloriam ejus, gloriam quasi Unigeniti a Patre, plenum gratiae et veritatis.
R. Deo gratias.

The beginning of the holy Gospel according to John.Ch. I.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was made nothing that was made, in him was life, and the life was the light of men and the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to give testimony of the light, that all men might believe through him. He was not the light, but was to give testimony of the light. That was the true light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them he gave power to be made the sons of God; to them that believe in his name, who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us; and we saw his glory, as it were the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
R. Thanks be to God.

Practice During Lent ~ Dom Prosper Gueranger

PRACTICE DURING LENT

After having spent the three weeks of Septuagesima in meditating upon our spiritual infirmities, and upon the wounds caused in us by sin, – we should be ready to enter upon the penitential season, which the Church has now begun. We have now a clearer knowledge of the justice and holiness of God, and of the dangers that await an impenitent soul; and, that our repentance might be earnest and lasting, we have bade farewell to the vain joys and baubles of the world. Our pride has been humbled by the prophecy, that these bodies would soon be like the ashes that wrote the memento of death upon our foreheads.

During these Forty Days of penance, which seem so long to our poor nature, we shall not be deprived of the company of our Jesus. He seemed to have withdrawn from us during those weeks of Septuagesima, when everything spoke to us of his maledictions upon sinful man;- but this absence has done us good. It has taught us how to tremble at the voice of God’s anger. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom [Ps. c x. 10.]; we have found it to be so;- the spirit of penance is now active within us, because we have feared.

And now, let us look at the divine object that is before us. It is our Emmanuel; the same Jesus, but not under the form of the sweet Babe whom we adored in his Crib. He is grown to the fulness of the age of man, and wears the semblance of a Sinner, trembling and humbling himself before the Sovereign Majesty of his Father, whom we have offended, and to whom he now offers himself as the Victim of propitiation. He loves us with a Brother’s love; and seeing that the season for our doing penance has begun, he comes to cheer us on by his presence and his own example. We are going to spend Forty Days in fasting and abstinence:- Jesus, who is innocence itself, goes through the same penance. We have separated ourselves, for a time, from the pleasures and vanities of the world:- Jesus withdraws from the company and sight of men. We intend to assist at the Divine Services more assiduously, and pray more fervently, than at other times: – Jesus spends forty days and forty nights in praying, like the humblest suppliant; and all this for us. We are going to think over our past sins, and bewail them in bitter grief :- Jesus suffers for them and weeps over them in the silence of the desert, as though He himself had committed them.

No sooner had he received Baptism from the hands of St. John, than the Holy Ghost led him to the Desert. The time had come for his showing himself to the world; he would begin by teaching us a lesson of immense importance. He leaves the saintly Precursor and the admiring multitude, that had seen the divine Spirit descend upon him, and heard the Father’s voice proclaiming him to be his Beloved Son; he leaves them, and goes into the Desert. Not far from the Jordan, there rises a rugged mountain, which has received, in after ages, the name of Quarantana. It commands a view of the fertile plain of Jericho, the Jordan, and the Dead Sea. It is within a cave of this wild rock that the Son of God now enters, his only companions being the dumb animals who have chosen this same for their own shelter. He has no food wherewith to satisfy the pangs of hunger; the barren rock can yield him no drink; his only bed must be of stone. Here he is to spend Forty Days; after which, he will permit the Angels to visit him and bring him food.

Thus does our Saviour go before us on the holy path of Lent. He has borne all its fatigues and hardships, that so we, when called upon to tread the narrow way of our Lenten Penance, might have His example wherewith to silence the excuses, and sophisms, and repugnances, of self-love and pride. The lesson is here too plainly given not to be understood; the law of doing penance for sin is here too clearly shown, and we cannot plead ignorance;- let us honestly accept the teaching and practise it. Jesus leaves the Desert where he had spent the Forty Days, and begins his preaching with these words, which he addresses to all men: Do penance, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand [St. Matth. iv. 17]. Let us not harden our hearts to this invitation, lest there be fulfilled in us the terrible threat contained in those other words of our Redeemer: Unless ye shall do penance, ye shall perish [St. Luke, xiii. 3].

Now, Penance consists in contrition of the soul, and in mortification of the body; these two parts are essential to it. The soul has willed the sin; the body has frequently co-operated in its commission. Moreover, man is composed of both Soul and Body; both, then, should pay homage to their Creator. The Body is to share with the Soul, either the delights of heaven, or the torments of hell; there cannot, therefore, be any thorough Christian life, or any earnest penance, where the Body does not take part, in both, with the Soul.

But it is the Soul which gives reality to Penance. The Gospel teaches this by the examples it holds out to us of the Prodigal Son, of Magdalene, of Zacheus, and of St. Peter. The Soul, then, must be resolved to give up every sin; she must heartily grieve over those she has committed; she must hate sin ; she must shun the occasions of sin. The Sacred Scriptures have a word for this inward disposition, which has been adopted by the Christian world, and admirably expresses the state of the Soul that has turned away from her sins: this word is, Conversion. The Christian should, therefore, during Lent, study to excite himself to this repentance of heart, and look upon it as the essential foundation of all his Lenten exercises. Nevertheless, he must remember that this spiritual penance would be a mere delusion, were he not to practise mortification of the Body. Let him study the example given him by his Saviour, who grieves, indeed, and weeps over our sins; but he also expiates them by his bodily sufferings. Hence it is, that the Church, – the infallible interpreter of her Divine Master’s will, – tells us, that the repentance of our heart will not be accepted by God, unless it be accompanied by fasting and abstinence.

How great, then, is the illusion of those Christians, who forget their past sins, or compare themselves with others whose lives they take to have been worse than their own; and thus satisfied with themselves, can see no harm or danger in the easy life they intend to pass for the rest of their days! They will tell you, that there can be no need of their thinking of their past sins, for they have made a good Confession! Is not the life they have led since that time a sufficient proof of their solid piety? And why should any one speak to them about God’s Justice and Mortification? – Accordingly, as soon as Lent approaches, they must get all manner of Dispensations. Abstinence is an inconvenience: Fasting has an effect upon their health, it would interfere with their occupations, it is such a change from their ordinary way of living: besides, there are so many people who are better than themselves, and yet who never fast or abstain:- and, as the idea never enters their minds of supplying for the penances prescribed by the Church with other penitential exercises, such persons as these, gradually and unsuspectingly, lose the Christian spirit.

The Church sees this frightful decay of supernatural energy; but she cherishes what is still left, by making her Lenten observances easier, year after year. With the hope of maintaining that little, and of seeing it strengthen for some better future, she leaves to the Justice of God her children who hearken not to her, when she teaches them how they might, even now, propitiate his anger. Alas! these her children, of whom we are speaking, are quite satisfied that things should be as they are, and never think of judging their own conduct by the examples of Jesus and his Saints, or by the undeviating rules of Christian penance.

It is true, there are exceptions; but how rare they are, especially in our large towns! Groundless prejudices, idle excuses, bad example, – all tend to lead men from the observance of Lent. Is it not sad to hear people giving such a reason as this for their not fasting or abstaining, – because they feel them ? Surely, they forget that the very aim of fasting and abstinence is to make these bodies of sin [Rom. vi. 6] suffer and feel. And what will they answer on the Day of Judgment, when our Saviour shall show them how the very Turks, who were the disciples of a gross and sensual religion, had the courage to practise, every year, the forty days’ austerities of their Ramadan?

But their own conduct will be their loudest accuser. These very persons, who persuade themselves that they have not strength enough to bear the abstinence and fasting of Lent, even in their present mitigated form, think nothing of going through incomparably greater fatigues for the sake of temporal gains or worldly enjoyments. Constitutions, which have broken down in the pursuit of pleasures, – which, to say the least, are frivolous, and always dangerous, – would have kept up all their vigour, had the laws of God and his Church, and not the desire to please the world, been the guide of their conduct. But such is the indifference, wherewith this non-observance of Lent is treated, that it never excites the slightest trouble or remorse of conscience; and they who are guilty of it will argue with you, that people who lived in the Middle Ages may perhaps have been able to keep Lent, but that now-a-days it is out of the question: and they can coolly say this in the face of all that the Church has done to adapt her Lenten discipline to the physical and moral weakness of the present generation! How comes it, that whilst these men have been trained in, or converted to, the Faith of their Fathers, they can forget that the observance of Lent is an essential mark of Catholicity; and that when the Protestants undertook to Reform her, in the 16th century, one of their chief grievances was that she insisted on her children mortifying themselves by Fasting and Abstinence!

But, it will be asked, – are there, then, no lawful Dispensations? – We answer, that there are; and that they are more needed now than in former ages, owing to the general weakness of our constitutions. Still, there is great danger of our deceiving ourselves. If we have strength to go through great fatigues, when our own self-love is gratified by them, – how is it we are too weak to observe Abstinence? If a slight inconvenience deter us from doing this penance, how shall we ever make expiation for our sins, for expiation is essentially painful to nature? The opinion of our physician, that Fasting will weaken us, may be false, or it may be correct; – but is not this mortification of the flesh the very object that the Church aims at, knowing that our soul will profit by the body being brought into subjection? But let us suppose the dispensation to be necessary: that our health would be impaired, and the duties of our state of life neglected, if we were to observe the law of Lent to the letter:- do we, in such case, endeavour, by other works of penance, to supply for those, which our health does not allow us to observe:- Are we grieved and humbled to find ourselves thus unable to join with the rest of the Faithful Children of the Church, in bearing the yoke of Lenten discipline? Do we ask of our Lord to grant us the grace, next year, of sharing in the merits of our fellow-Christians, and of observing those holy practices, which give the soul an assurance of mercy and pardon? If we do, the dispensation will not be detrimental to our spiritual interests; and when the Feast of Easter comes, inviting the Faithful to partake of its grand joys, we may confidently take our place side by side with those who have fasted; for though our bodily weakness has not permitted us to keep pace with them exteriorly, our heart has been faithful to the spirit of Lent.

How long a list of proofs we could still give of the negligence, into which the modern spirit of self-indulgence leads so many among us, in regard of Fasting and Abstinence! Thus, there are Catholics to be found in every part of the world who make their Easter Communion, and profess themselves to be Children of the Catholic Church, who yet have no idea of the obligations of Lent. Their very notion of Fasting and Abstinence is so vague, that they are not aware that these two practices are quite distinct one from the other; and that the dispensation from one does not, in any way, include a dispensation from the other. If they have, lawfully, or unlawfully, obtained exemption from Abstinence, it never so much as enters into their minds, that the obligation of fasting is still binding upon them, during the whole Forty Days; or if they have had granted to them a dispensation from Fasting, they conclude that they may eat any kind of food they wish. Such ignorance as this is the natural result of the indifference wherewith the commandments and traditions of the Church are treated.

So far, we have been speaking of the non-observance of Lent in its relation to individuals and Catholics; let us now say a few words upon the influence which that same non-observance has upon a whole people or nation. There are but few social questions which have not been ably and spiritedly treated of by the public writers of the age, who have devoted their talents to the study of what is called Political Economy; and it has often been a matter of surprise to us, that they should have overlooked a subject of such deep interest as this, – the results produced on society by the abolition of Lent, that is to say, of an institution, which, more than any other, keeps up in the public mind a keen sentiment of moral right and wrong, inasmuch as it imposes on a nation an annual expiation for sin. No shrewd penetration is needed to see the difference between two nations, one of which observes, each year, a forty-days’ penance in reparation of the violations committed against the Law of God, and another, whose very principles reject all such solemn reparation. And looking at the subject from another point of view, is it not to be feared that the excessive use of animal food tends to weaken, rather than to strengthen, the constitution?  We are convinced of it, – the time will come, when a greater proportion of vegetable, and less of animal, diet, will be considered as an essential means for maintaining the strength of the human frame.
Let, then, the Children of the Church courageously observe the Lenten practices of penance. Peace of conscience is essential to Christian life; and yet it is promised to none but truly penitent souls. Lost innocence is to be regained by the humble confession of the sin, when it is accompanied by the absolution of the Priest; but let the Faithful be on their guard against the dangerous error, which would persuade them that they have nothing to do when once pardoned. Let them remember the solemn warning given them by the Holy Ghost in the sacred scriptures: Be not without fear about sin forgiven! [Ecclus. v. 5]. Our confidence of our having been forgiven should be in proportion to the change or conversion of our heart the greater our present detestation of our past sins, and the more earnest our desire to do penance for them for the rest of our lives, the better founded is our confidence that they have been pardoned. Man knoweth not, as the same holy Volume assures us, whether he be worthy of love or hatred [Eccles. ix. 1]; but he that keeps up within him the spirit of penance, has every reason to hope that God loves him.

But the courageous observance of the Church’s precept of Fasting and Abstaining during Lent must be accompanied by those two other eminently good works, to which God so frequently urges us in the Scripture: Prayer and Alms-deeds. Just as under the term Fasting the Church comprises all kinds of mortification; so under the word Prayer, she includes all those exercises of piety whereby the soul holds intercourse with her God. More frequent attendance at the services of the Church, assisting daily at Mass, spiritual reading, meditation upon eternal truths and the Passion, hearing sermons, and, above all, the approaching the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist, – these are the chief means whereby the Faithful should offer to God the homage of Prayer, during this holy Season.

Almsdeeds comprise all the works of mercy to our neighbour, and are unanimously recommended by the Holy Doctors of the Church, as being the necessary complement of Fasting and Prayer during Lent. God has made it a law, to which he has graciously bound himself, – that charity shown towards our fellow-creatures, with the intention of pleasing our Creator, shall be rewarded as though it were done to Himself. How vividly this brings before us the reality and sacredness of the tie, which he would have to exist between all men! Such, indeed, is its necessity, that our Heavenly Father will not accept the love of any heart that refuses to show mercy: but, on the other hand, he accepts, as genuine and as done to himself, the charity of every Christian, who, by a work of mercy shown to a fellow-man, is really acknowledging and honouring that sublime union, which makes all men to be one family, with God as its Father. Hence it is, that Alms-deeds, done with this intention, are not merely acts of human kindness, but are raised to the dignity of acts of religion, which have God for their direct object, and have the power of appeasing his Divine Justice.

Let us remember the counsel given by the Arch angel Raphael to Tobias. He was on the point of taking leave of this holy family, and returning to heaven; and these were his words: Prayer is good with fasting and alms, more than to lay up treasures of gold: for alms delivereth from death, and the same is that which purgeth away sins, and maketh to find mercy and life everlasting [Tob. xii, 8, 9]. Equally strong is the recommendation given to this virtue by the Book of Ecclesiasticus: Water quencheth a flaming fire, and alms resisteth sins [Ecclus. iii. 33]. And again: Shut up alms in the heart the poor, and it shall obtain help for thee against all evil [Ibid. xxix. 15]. The Christian should keep these consoling promises ever before his mind, but more especially during the season of Lent. The rich man should show the poor. whose whole year is a fast, that there is a time when even he has his self-imposed privations. The faithful observance of Lent naturally produces a saving; let that saving be given to Lazarus. Nothing, surely, could be more opposed to the spirit of this holy Season, than the keeping up a table, as richly and delicately provided, as at other periods of the year, when God permits us to use all the comforts compatible with the means he has given us. But how thoroughly Christian is it, that during these days of penance and charity, the life of the poor man should be made more comfortable, in proportion as that of the rich shares in the hardships and privations of his suffering brethren throughout the world! Poor and rich would then present themselves, with all the beauty of fraternal love upon them, at the Divine Banquet of the Paschal Feast, to which our Risen Jesus will invite us after these forty days are over.

There is one means more whereby we are to secure to ourselves the grand graces of Lent; it is the spirit of retirement and separation from the world. Our ordinary life, that is, such as it is during the rest of the year, should all be made to pay tribute to the holy Season of penance; otherwise, the salutary impression produced on us by the holy ceremony of Ash Wednesday will soon be effaced. The Christian ought, therefore, to forbid himself, during Lent, all the vain amusements, entertainments, and parties, of the world he lives in. As regards Theatres and Balls, which are the World in the very height of its power to do harm, no one that calls himself a disciple of Christ should ever be present at them, unless necessity, or the position he holds in society, oblige him to it: but if, from his own free choice, he throw himself amidst such dangers during the present holy Season of penance and recollection, he offers an insult to his character, and must needs cease to believe that he has sins to atone for, and a God to propitiate. The world, (we mean that part of it which is Christian,) has thrown off all those external indications of mourning and penance, which we read of as being so religiously observed in the Ages of Faith; let that pass: but there is one thing which can never change: God’s Justice, and man’s obligation to appease that Justice. The world may rebel as much as it will against the sentence, but the sentence is irrevocable: Unless ye do penance, ye shall all perish [St. Luke, xiii. 3]. It is God’s own word. Say, if you will, that few now-a-days give ear to it; but, for that very reason many are lost. They, too, who hear this word, must not forget the warnings given them by our Divine Saviour himself, in the Gospel read to us on Sexagesima Sunday. He told us, how some of the Seed is trodden down by the passers-by, or eaten by the fowls of the air; how some falls on rocky soil, and gets parched; and how, again, some is choked by thorns. Let us be wise, and spare no pains to become that good ground, which not only receives the Divine Seed, but brings forth a hundred-fold for the Easter harvest which is at hand.

An unavoidable feeling will arise in the minds of some of our readers, as they peruse these pages, in which we have endeavoured to embody the spirit of the Church, such as it is expressed, not only in the Liturgy, but also in the decrees of Councils and in the writings of the holy Fathers. The feeling we allude to, is one of regret at not finding, during this period of the Liturgical Year, the touching and exquisite poetry, which gave such a charm to the forty days of our Christmas solemnity. First came Septuagesima, throwing its gloomy shade over those enchanting visions of the Mystery of Bethlehem; and now we have got into a desert land, with thorns at every step, and no springs of water to refresh us. Let us not complain, however; Holy Church knows our true wants, and is intent on supplying them. Neither must we he surprised at her insisting on a severer preparation for Easter, than for Christmas. At Christmas, we were to approach our Jesus as an Infant; all she put us through then, were the Advent exercises, for the Mysteries of our Redemption were but beginning.

And of those who went to Jesus’ crib, there were many who, like the poor Shepherds of Bethlehem, might be called simple, at least in this sense, – that they did not sufficiently realise, either the holiness of their Incarnate God, or the misery and guilt of their own conscience. But now that this Son of the Eternal God has entered the path of penance; now that we are about to see him a victim to every humiliation, and suffering even a death upon a Cross; – the Church does not spare us; she rouses us from our ignorance and our self-satisfaction. She bids us strike our breasts, have compunction in our souls, mortify our bodies, – because we are sinners. Our whole life ought to be one of penance; fervent souls are ever doing penance; could anything be more just or necessary, than that we should do some penance during these days, when our Jesus is fasting in the desert, and is to die on Calvary? There is a sentence of this our Redeemer, which he spoke to the daughters of Jerusalem, on the day of his Passion; let us apply it to ourselves: If in the green wood they do these things, what shall be done in the dry? [St. Luke, xxiii. 31]. Oh! what a revelation is here! and yet, by the mercy of the Jesus who speaks it, the dry wood may become the green, and so, not be burned.

The Church hopes, nay her whole energy is labouring, that this may be; therefore, she bids us bear the yoke; she gives us a Lent. Let us only courageously tread the way of penance, and the Light will gradually beam upon us. If we are now far off from our God by the sins that are upon us, this holy Season will be to us what the Saints call the Purgative Life, and will give us that purity, which will enable us to see our Lord in the glory of his victory over death. If, on the contrary, we are already living the Illuminative Life; if, during the three weeks of Septuagesima, we have bravely sounded the depth of our miseries, our Lent will give us a clearer view of Him who is our Light; and if we could acknowledge Him as our God when we saw him as the Babe of Bethlehem, our soul’s eye will not fail to recognize him in the divine Penitent of the Desert, or in the bleeding Victim of Calvary.

The Mystery of Lent – Dom Prosper Gueranger

THE MYSTERY OF LENT

We may be sure, that a season, so sacred as this of Lent, is rich in mysteries. The Church has made it a time of recollection and penance, in preparation for the greatest of all her Feasts; she would, therefore, bring into it everything that could excite the faith of her children, and encourage them to go through the arduous work of atonement for their sins. During Septuagesima, we had the number Seventy, which reminded us of those seventy years’ captivity in Babylon, after which, God’s chosen people, being purified from idolatry, was to return to Jerusalem and celebrate the Pasch. It is the number Forty that the Church now brings before us: – a number, as Saint Jerome observes, which denotes punishment and affliction [In Ezechiel, cap. xxix].

Let us remember the forty days and forty nights of the Deluge (Gen. vii. 12), sent by God in his anger, when he repented that he had made man, and destroyed the whole human race, with the exception of one family. Let us consider how the Hebrew people, in punishment for their ingratitude, wandered forty years in the desert, before they were permitted to enter the Promised Land [Num. xiv. 33]. Let us listen to our God commanding the Prophet Ezechiel to lie forty days on his right side, as a figure of the siege, which was to bring destruction on Jerusalem [Ezech. iv. 6].

There are two, in the Old Testament, who represent, in their own persons, the two manifestations of God: Moses, who typifies the Law; and Elias, who is the figure of the Prophets. Both of these are permitted to approach God, – the first on Sinai [Exod. xxiv. 18], the second on Horeb [3 Kings, xix. 8], – but both of them have to prepare for the great favour by an expiatory fast of forty days.

With these mysterious facts before us, we can understand why it was, that the Son of God, having become Man for our salvation, and wishing to subject himself to the pain of fasting, chose the number of Forty Days. The institution of Lent is thus brought before us with everything that can impress the mind with its solemn character, and with its power of appeasing God and purifying our souls. Let us, there fore, look beyond the little world which surrounds us, and see how the whole Christian universe is, at this very time, offering this Forty Days’ penance as a sacrifice of propitiation to the offended Majesty of God; and let us hope, that, as in the case of the Ninivites, he will mercifully accept this year’s offering of our atonement, and pardon us our sins.

The number of our days of Lent is, then, a holy mystery: let us, now, learn from the Liturgy, in what light the Church views her Children during these Forty Days. She considers them as an immense army, fighting, day and night, against their Spiritual enemies. We remember how, on Ash Wednesday, she calls Lent a Christian Warefare. Yes, – in order that we may have that newness of life, which will make us worthy to sing once more our Alleluia, – we must conquer our three enemies the devil, the flesh, and the world. We are fellow combatants with our Jesus, for He, too, submits to the triple temptation, suggested to him by Satan in person. Therefore, we must have on our armour, and watch unceasingly. And whereas it is of the utmost importance that our hearts be spirited and brave, – the Church gives us a war-song of heaven’s own making, which can fire even cowards with hope of victory and confidence in God’s help: it is the Ninetieth Psalm [Ps. Qui habitat in adjutorio, in the Office of Compline]. She inserts the whole of it in the Mass of the First Sunday of Lent, and, every day, introduces several of its verses in the Ferial Office.

She there tells us to rely on the protection, wherewith our Heavenly Father covers us, as with a shield [Scuto circumdabit to veritas ejus. Office of None.]; to hope under the shelter of his wings [Et sub pennis ejus sperabis. Sext.]; to have confidence in him, for that he will deliver us from the snare of the hunter [Ipse liberavit me de laqueo venantium. Tierce.], who had robbed us of the holy liberty of the children of God; to rely upon the succour of the Holy Angels, who are our Brothers, to whom our Lord hath given charge that they keep us in all our ways [Angelis suis mandavit de te, ut custodiant te in omnibus viis tuis. Lauds and Vespers.], and who, when our Jesus permitted Satan to tempt him, were the adoring witnesses of his combat, and approached him, after his victory, proffering to him their service and homage. Let us get well into us these sentiments wherewith the Church would have us be inspired; and, during our six weeks’ campaign, let us often repeat this admirable Canticle, which so fully describes what the Soldiers of Christ should be and feel in this season of the great spiritual warfare.

But the Church is not satisfied with thus animating us to the contest with our enemies; – she would also have our minds engrossed with thoughts of deepest import; and for this end, she puts before us three great subjects, which she will gradually unfold to us between this and the great Easter Solemnity. Let us be all attention to these soul-stirring and instructive lessons.

And firstly, there is the conspiracy of the Jews against our Redeemer. It will be brought before us in its whole history, from its first formation to its final consummation on the great Friday, when we shall behold the Son of God hanging on the Wood of the Cross. The infamous workings of the synagogue will be brought before us so regularly, that we shall be able to follow the plot in all its details. We shall be inflamed with love for the august Victim, whose meekness, wisdom, and dignity, bespeak a God. The divine drama, which began in the cave of Bethlehem, is to close on Calvary; we may assist at it, by meditating on the passages of the Gospel read to us, by the Church, during these days of Lent.

The second of the subjects offered to us, for our instruction, requires that we should remember how the Feast of Easter is to be the day of new birth for our Catechumens; and how, in the early ages of the Church, Lent was the immediate and solemn preparation given to the candidates for Baptism. The holy Liturgy of the present season retains much of the instruction she used to give to the Catechumens; and as we listen to her magnificent Lessons from both the Old and the New Testament, whereby she completed their initiation, we ought to think with gratitude on how we were not required to wait years before being made Children of God, but were mercifully admitted to Baptism, even in our Infancy. We shall be led to pray for those new Catechumens, who this very year, in far distant countries, are receiving instructions from their zealous Missioners, and are looking forward, as did the postulants of the primitive Church, to that grand Feast of our Saviour’s victory over Death, when they are to be cleansed in the Waters of Baptism and receive from the contact a flew being, – regeneration.

Thirdly, we must remember how, formerly, the public Penitents, who had been separated, on Ash Wednesday, from the assembly of the Faithful, were the object of the Church’s maternal solicitude during the whole Forty Days of Lent, and were to be admitted to Reconciliation on Maundy Thursday, if their repentance were such as to merit this public forgiveness. We shall have the admirable course of instructions, which were originally designed for these Penitents, and which the Liturgy, faithful as she ever is to such traditions, still retains for our sakes. As we read these sublime passages of the Scripture, we shall naturally think upon our own sins, and on what easy terms they were pardoned us; whereas, had we lived in other times, we should have probably been put through the ordeal of a public and severe penance. This will excite us to fervour, for we shall remember, that, whatever changes the indulgence of the Church may lead her to make in her discipline, the justice of our God is ever the same. We shall find in all this an additional motive for offering to his Divine Majesty the sacrifice of a contrite heart, and we shall go through our penances with that cheerful eagerness, which the conviction of our deserving much severer ones always brings with it.

In order to keep up the character of mournfulness and austerity which is so well-suited to Lent, the Church, for many centuries, admitted very few Feasts into this portion of her year, inasmuch as there is always joy, where there is even a spiritual Feast. In the 4th century, we have the Council of Laodicea forbidding, in its fifty-first canon, the keeping a Feast or commemoration of any Saint, during Lent, excepting on the Saturdays or Sundays [Labbe, Concil., tom. i.]. The Greek Church rigidly maintained this point of Lenten Discipline; nor was it till many centuries after the Council of Laodicea that she made an exception for the 25th of March, on which day she now keeps the Feast of our Lady’s Annunciation.

The Church of Rome maintained this same discipline, at least in principle; but she admitted the Feast of the Annunciation at a very early period, and somewhat later, the Feast of the Apostle St. Matthias, on the 24th of February. During the last few centuries, she has admitted several other Feasts into that portion of her general Calendar which coincides with Lent; still, she observes a certain restriction, out of respect for the ancient practice.

The reason of the Church of Rome being less severe on this point of excluding the Saints’ Feasts during Lent, is, that the Christians of the West have never looked upon the celebration of a Feast as incompatible with fasting; the Greeks, on the contrary, believe that the two are irreconcilable, and as a consequence of this principle, never observe Saturday as a fasting-day, because they always keep it as a Solemnity, though they make Holy Saturday an exception, and fast upon it. For the same reason, they do not fast upon the Annunciation.

This strange idea gave rise, in or about the 7th century, to a custom which is peculiar to the Greek Church. It is called the Mass of the Presanctified, that is to say, consecrated in a previous Sacrifice. On each Sunday of Lent, the Priest consecrates six Hosts, one of which he receives in that Mass; but the remaining five are reserved for a simple Communion, which is made on each of the five following days, without the Holy Sacrifice being offered. The Latin Church practises this rite only once in the year, that is, on Good Friday, and this in commemoration of a sublime mystery, which we will explain in its proper place.

This custom of the Greek Church was evidently suggested by the 49th Canon of the Council of Laodicea, which forbids the offering the Bread of sacrifice during Lent, excepting on the Saturdays and Sundays [Labbe, Concil., tom. i.]. The Greeks, some centuries later on, concluded from this Canon, that the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice was incompatible with fasting; and we learn from the Controversy they had, in the 9th century, with the Legate Humbert [Centra Nicetam., tom. iv.], that the Mass of the Presanctified, (which has no other authority to rest on save a Canon of the famous Council in Trullo [Can. 52. Labbe, Concil. tom. vi.] held in 692,) was justified by the Greeks on this absurd plea, – that the Communion of the Body and Blood of our Lord broke the Lenten Fast.

The Greeks celebrate this rite in the evening, after Vespers, and the Priest alone communicates, as is done now in the Roman Liturgy on Good Friday. But for many centuries, they have made an exception for the Annunciation; they interrupt the Lenten fast on this Feast, they celebrate Mass, and the Faithful are allowed to receive Holy Communion.

The Canon of the Council of Laodicea was probably never received in the Western Church. If the suspension of the Holy Sacrifice during Lent was ever practised in Rome, it was only on the Thursdays; and even that custom was abandoned in the 8th century, as we learn from Anastasius the Librarian, who tells us that Pope St. Gregory the Second, desiring to complete the Roman Sacramentary, added Masses for the Thursdays of the first five weeks of Lent [Anastas. In Gregorio II]. It is difficult to assign the reason of this interruption of the Mass on Thursdays in the Roman Church, or of the like custom observed by the Church of Milan on the Fridays of Lent. The explanations we have found in different authors are not satisfactory. As far as Milan is concerned, we are inclined to think, that not satisfied with the mere adoption of the Roman usage of not celebrating Mass on Good Friday, the Ambrosian Church extended the rite to all the Fridays of Lent.

After thus briefly alluding to these details, we must close our present Chapter by a few words on the holy rites, which are now observed, during Lent, in our Western Churches. We have explained several of these in our “Septuagesima.” [See their explanation in the volume for Septuagesima]. The suspension of the Alleluia; the purple vestments; the laying aside the deacon’s Dalmatic, and the subdeacon’s Tunic; the omission of the two joyful canticles, – the Gloria in excelsis, and the Te Deum; the substitution of the mournful Tract for the Alleluia verse in the Mass; the Benedicamus Domino instead of the Ite, Missa est; the additional Prayer said over the people after the Post-communion Collects on Ferial Days ; the saying the Vesper Office before mid-day, excepting on the Sundays; – all these are familiar to our readers. We have only now to mention, in addition, the genuflections prescribed for the conclusion of all the Hours of the Divine Office on Ferias, and the rubric which bids the Choir to kneel, on those same Days, during the Canon of the Mass.

There were other ceremonies peculiar to the season of Lent, which were observed in the Churches of the West, but which have now, for many centuries, fallen into general disuse; we say general, because they are still partially kept up in some places. Of these rites, the most imposing was that of putting up a large veil between the Choir and the Altar, so that neither clergy nor people could look upon the Holy Mysteries celebrated within the Sanctuary. This veil – which was called the Curtain, and, generally speaking, was of a purple colour – was a symbol of the penance to which the sinner ought to subject himself, in order to merit the sight of that Divine Majesty, before whose face he had committed so many outrages. It signified, moreover, the humiliations endured by our Redeemer, who was a stumbling-block to the proud Synagogue. But, as a veil that is suddenly drawn aside, these humiliations were to give way, and be changed into the glories of the Resurrection [Honorius of Autun. Gemma animae. Lib. iii. cap. lxvi.]. Among other places where this rite is still observed, we may mention the Metropolitan Church of Paris, Notre Dame.

It was the custom also, in many Churches, to veil the Crucifix and the Statues of the Saints as soon as Lent began; in order to excite the Faithful to a livelier sense of penance, they were deprived of the consolation which the sight of these holy Images always brings to the soul. But this custom, which is still retained in some places, was less general than the more expressive one used in the Roman Church, and which we will explain in our next volume, – we mean the veiling the Crucifix and Statues only in Passion Time.

We learn from the Ceremonials of the Middle Ages, that, during Lent, and particularly on the Wednesdays and Fridays, processions used frequently to be made from one Church to another. In Monasteries, these Processions were made in the Cloister, and barefooted [Martène. De antiquis Eccles ritibus. Tom. iii. cap. xviii.]. This custom was suggested by the practice of Rome, where there is a Station for every day of Lent, and which, for many centuries, began by a procession to the Stational Church.

Lastly, – the Church has always been in the habit of adding to her prayers during the Season of Lent. Her present discipline is, that, on Ferias, in Cathedral and Collegiate Churches, (which are not exempted by a custom to the contrary,) the following additions are to be made to the Canonical Hours: on Mondays, the Office of the Dead; on Wednesday, the Gradual Psalms; and on Fridays, the Penitential Psalms. In some Churches, during the Middle-Ages, the whole Psaltery was added each week of Lent to the usual Office [Martène. De antiquis Eccles ritibus. Tom. iii. cap. xviii.].