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Monday of the Fourth Week after Easter
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)

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℣. In resurrectione tua Christe, alleluia. 
℣. In thy resurrection, O Christ, alleluia.

℟. Cœli et terra lætentur, alleluia. 
℟. Let heaven and earth rejoice, alleluia.

Our Risen Jesus is not satisfied with establishing his Church and constituting the Hierarchy which is to govern it in his name to the end of time; he also confides to his Disciples his divine word, that is, the truths he is come to reveal to mankind, and into which truths he has given them an insight during the three years preceding his Passion. The Word of God, which is also called Revelation, is, together with Grace, the most precious gift that heaven could bestow upon us. It is by the Word of God that we know the mysteries of his Divine Essence, the plan according to which he framed the Creation, the supernatural end he destined for such of his creatures as he endowed with understanding and free-will, the sublime work of redemption by the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity—in a word, the means whereby we are to honor and serve him, and attain the end for which we were made.

From the very commencement of the world, God revealed his Word to man; later on, he spoke by the Prophets; but when the fullness of time came, he sent upon the earth his Only Begotten Son, that he might complete this first Revelation. We have seen how, for three years, Jesus has been teaching men, and how, in order that he might make them the more easily understand his words, he has stooped to their littleness. Though his teaching was of the sublimest possible character, yet did he make it so intelligible that no instruction could be compared to his in clearness. It was for this reason that me made use of simple parables, whereby he conveyed his divine truths to the mind of his hearers. His Apostles and Disciples, who were afterwards to preach his Gospel to the world, received from him frequent special instructions; although, until the accomplishment of the mysteries of his Death and Resurrection, they were slow in understanding his teaching. Since his Resurrection, they are better able to appreciate his instructions, for not only are his words more telling now that he is in the glory of his triumph over death, but the minds of his hearers have become more enlightened by the extraordinary events that have occurred. If he could say to them at the Last Supper: I will not now call you Servants; but I have called you my Friends: because all things whatsoever I have heard from my Father, I have made known unto you; how must he not treat them now that he has repeated to them the whole of his teaching, given them the world Word of God, and is on the eve of sending the Holy Spirit upon them, in order to perfect their understanding, and give them power to preach the Gospel to the entire world?

O holy Word of God! O holy Revelation! through thee are we admitted into divine Mysteries, which human Reason could never reach. We love thee, and are resolved to be submissive to thee. It is thou that givest rise to the grand virtue without which it is impossible to please God; the virtue which commences the work of man’s salvation, the without which this work could neither be continued nor finished. This virtue is Faith. It makes our Reason bow down to the Word of God. There comes from its divine obscurity a light far more glorious than are all the conclusions of Reason, how great soever may be their evidence. This virtue is to be the bond of union in the new society, which our Lord is now organizing. To become a member of this society, man must begin by believing; that he may continue to be a member, he must never, not even for one moment, waver in his faith. We shall soon be hearing our Lord saying these words: He that believeth and is baptised, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be condemned. The more clearly to express the necessity of Faith, the members of the Church are to be called by a beautiful name of the Faithful: they who do not believe are to be called Infidels.

Faith, then, being the first link of the supernatural union between man and God, it follows that this union ceases when Faith is broken, that is, denied; and that he who, after having once been thus united to God breaks the link by rejecting the word of God, and substituting error in its place, commits one of the greatest of crimes. Such a one will be called a Heretic, that is, one who separates himself; and the Faithful will tremble at his apostasy. Even were his rebellion to the Revealed Word to fall upon only one article, still he commits enormous blasphemy; for he either separates himself from God as being a deceiver, or he implies that his own created, weak, and limited reason is superior to eternal and infinite Truth.

As time goes on, Heresies will rise up, each attacking some dogma or other; so that scarcely one truth will be left unassailed: but all this will serve for little else than to bring out the Revelation purer and brighter than before. There will, however, come a time, and that time is our own, when Heresy will not confine itself to some one particular article of faith; but will proclaim the total independence of Reason, and declare Revelation to be a forgery. This impious system will give itself the high-sounding name of Rationalism, and these are to be its leading doctrines: Christ’s mission, a failure and his teaching false; his Church, an insult to man’s dignity: the eighteen centuries of Christian civilization, a popular illusion! The followers of this school, the so-called Philosophers of modern times, would have subverted all society, had not God come to its assistance, and fulfilled the promise he made of never allowing his Revealed Word to be taken away from mankind, nor the Church, to whom he confided his Word, to be destroyed.

Others go not so far as this. They do not pretend to deny the benefits conferred on the world by the Christian Religion—the facts of history are too evident to be contested: still, as they will not submit their reason to the mysteries revealed by God, they have a way peculiar to themselves for eliminating the element of Faith from this world. As every revealed truth, and every miracle confirmatory of divine interposition, is disagreeable to them, they attribute to natural causes every fact which bears testimony to the Son of God being present among us. They do not insult Religion, they simply pass it by; they hold that the Supernatural serves no purpose; people, they say, have taken appearances for realities. The laws of history and common sense count for nothing. Agreeably to their system, which they call Naturalism, they deny what they cannot explain; they maintain that the people of the past eighteen centuries have been deceived, and that the Creator cannot suspend the laws of Nature, just as the Rationalists teach that there is nothing above Reason.

Are Reason and Nature, then, to be obstacles to our Redeemer’s love for mankind? Thanks be to his infinite power, he would not have it so! As to Reason, he repairs and perfects her by Faith; and he suspends the laws of Nature, that we may cheerfully believe the word whose truth is guaranteed by the testimony of miracles. Jesus is truly risen; let Reason and Nature rejoice; for he has ennobled and sanctified them by the glad Mystery!

Let us proclaim the triumph of the Redeemer, whom we adore. Let us make our own this Sequence of the Cluny Missal of 1523.


Ecce vicit radix David,
Leo de tribu Juda.

Lo! the Root of David, the Lion of the Tribe of Juda, hath conquered.

Mors vicit mortem,
Et mors nostra est vita.

Death hath conquered death; and that Death is our Life.

Mira bella, et stupenda satis
Inter oves victoria.

Strange was the war, and stupendous the victory that was seen by the flock of Christ,

Ut moriens superaret fortem
Cum callida versutia.

When he, by his Death, vanquished the strong and crafty enemy.

Domum ejus ingressus
Est Rex æternus,
Et averni confregit vasa.

The Eternal King forced the enemy’s house, and broke the armor of hell.

Drachmam secum quæ perierat
Asportavit, et patefecit regni claustra.

He brought back the groat that was lost, and opened the gates of heaven.

Paradisi porta
Quæ clausa fuerat
Per lignum vetitum
Et lethale in primævo.

Heaven’s gate, that had been shut, at the beginning of the world, by the forbidden fruit, which brought death;

Quam clauserat Eva conditori,
Clauseratque cunctis
Postmodum natis
De stirpe sua.

The gate, which Eve had closed against him from whom she had been formed, and against all the children that were to be born of her race;

Quæ commisit protoplastus,
Reseravit dextra per stirpis materiam.

Yea, what our First Parent thus sinfully closed, was thrown open by the right hand of the God that assumed our flesh.

Susceperat mors indemnem,
Quem tenere numquam potuerat propter culpam.

Death laid hands on Him on whom it had no claim, because free from sin;

Dum ambiit illicita,
Quæ tenebat juste
Perdidit acquisita.

And by thus coveting what was not its own, it lost what it hitherto had justly held.

Ampliare voluerat in secessu,
Et remansit evacuata.

By wishing to add to its prey, it was made to yield up what it had devoured.

Hic verus est agnus legalis
Qui multis se manifestavit figuris,
Tandem se hostiam pro mundo
Dedit Patri ut redimeret membra sua.

Christ is the true Lamb, that was foretold in the Law under manifold figures, and who, at length, offered himself to the Father as a Victim for the world’s redemption.

Hic lapis est angularis,
Quem reprobaverunt ædificantes.

This is the Corner-Stone, rejected by the builders.

Jam factus est in caput anguli
Super omnes in excelso.

He is now the Head of the Corner, set high above all the rest.

Regnum ejus magnum
Et potestas ejus prima per sæcula.Amen.

His kingdom is great, and his power supreme: they are for ever and ever. Amen.
Tuesday of the Fourth Week After Easter
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)

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℣. In resurrectione tua Christe, alleluia. 
℣. In thy resurrection, O Christ, alleluia.

℟. Cœli et terra lætentur, alleluia. 
℟. Let heaven and earth rejoice, alleluia.

We are bound to believe the Word of God: but this Word is accompanied with every proof of its really coming from God. When Jesus told men that he was the Son of God, he gave ample proof of his being such: in the same manner, he insists on our believing what he reveals, but he gives us a guarantee of its being the truth. What is this guarantee? Miracles. Miracles are the testimony which God bears to himself. A Miracle rouses man’s attention, for he knows that it is by God’s will alone that the laws of nature can be suspended. If God employ a Miracle to make his will known, he has a right to find man obedient. The Israelites were convinced that it was God who was leading them, for the sea opened a passage to them, immediately that Moses stretched forth his hand over its waters.

Now Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, did not demand our belief in the truths he revealed to us, until he had proved the divinity of his mission by Miracles. The works which I do, said he, give testimony of me. And again: If you will not believe Me, believe my works. And what are these works? When St. John the Baptist sent some of his disciples to Jesus, that they might ask him if he were the promised Messias, Jesus gave them this answer; Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen. The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are made clean, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, the poor have the Gospel preached unto them.

Such is the motive of our Faith. Jesus requires of us that we receive his Word, as being that of the Son of God—for he has proved himself to be so by the Works he has wrought. Truly may we exclaim with the Psalmist: Thy testimonies, O Lord, are become exceedingly credible! Whom shall we believe, if we refuse to believe Him? And what must be the guilt of them who refuse to believe! Let us hearken to our Jesus speaking of those proud men who, though they had witnessed his miracles, rejected his teaching: If, says he, I had not done among them the works that no other man hath done, they would not have sin. It is their incredulity that led them astray, but their incredulity showed itself when, after witnessing such Miracles as the raising Lazarus to life, they refused to acknowledge the Divinity of him who bore testimony to himself by such works as these.

But our Risen Jesus is soon to ascend into Heaven; the Miracles he wrought will be things of a long past; are we, henceforth, to have no testimony for his Word, which is the object of our Faith? Let us not fear. Do we forget that historical documents, when genuine, bring the same conviction to our minds, with regard to past events, as though we ourselves had been witnesses of those events? Is it not a law of the human mind—is it not a basis of certainty—that we yield assent to the testimony of our fellow men, as often as we have evidence that they are neither deceived themselves, nor wish to deceive us? The Miracles wrought by Jesus will be handed down to the end of time, supported by guarantees of authenticity which no facts of history could possibly have. If the authority of history is what all acknowledge it to be, then is he a fool who doubts the Miracles which we are told were worked by our Savior. Though we have not been eyewitnesses of them, yet such is our certainty of their having been done, that our Faith is as strong and as docile as though we had assisted at the admirable scenes described in the Gospel.

Our Lord had sufficiently provided for our yielding our Faith to his Word, by letting us know that he had confirmed his teaching by his Miracles. But he would do more. He gives his disciples the power to do what he himself had done, and this in order that our Faith might be strengthened by these supernatural evidences. It was on one of the forty days spent with his Apostles, before his Ascension, that he spoke these words to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be condemned. We have already stated the basis on which this Faith was to rest—the Miracles of the God-Man who demands our Faith. But there were to be other Miracles superadded to his own. Let us continue the text just quoted: And these signs shall follow them that believe: in my name, they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they shall drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they shall recover. Here, then, we find the power of working Miracles given to Jesus’ Disciples. He bids them go and preach his Word to men, and men must yield their Faith; he, therefore, gives his Disciples a power over nature, which will prove them to be the Ambassadors of the Most High. Their word is not their own; it is that of God. They are the Ministers of the Incarnate God, and we must believe their teaching. By believing them, we are, in reality, believing Him who sends them, and who, to make sure of their rightful authority, gives them the credentials which he himself deigned to show to men, when he spoke with his own lips.

Neither is this all. If we carefully weigh his words, we shall see that he does not intend the gift of Miracles to cease with his first Disciples. It is true that history proves how faithfully Jesus fulfilled his promise, and that, when the Apostles went forth commanding the world to believe what they preached, they gave testimony of their divine mission by countless miracles—but our Risen Lord promised more than this. He said not: “These are the signs which shall follow my Apostles,” but These are the signs which shall follow them that believe. By these words he perpetuated in his Church the gift of Miracles; he made it one of her chief characteristics, and one of the grounds of our Faith. Before his Passion, he had gone so far as to say: He that believeth in me, the works that I do, he also shall do, and greater than these shall he do. It is now that he graces her with this prerogative: so that, dating from that hour, we must not be surprised at finding that his Saints perform Miracles, greater even, at times, than his own. He promised that it should be so, and he has kept his word; thus showing us how desirous he is that Faith (which is one of the main objects of a Miracle) should be fostered and made vigorous in his Church. Far, then, be from every loyal child of the Church that fear, that uneasy feeling, yea, that indifference, which some people evince when they hear or read of a Miracle. The only thing we should look to is, are the witnesses trustworthy? If so, a true Catholic should receive the account with joy and gratitude; he should give thanks to our Jesus who thus mercifully fulfils his promise, and keeps such a watchful eye over the preservation of Faith.

Let us adore him in that miracle of miracles, his Resurrection. Let us enter into the sentiments of the following fine Sequence; it dates from the 9th century, and is from the rich treasury of Saint Gall’s.
Laudes Salvatoris
Voce modulemur supplici,
Et devotis melodiis
Cœlesti Domino
Jubilemus Messiæ:
Qui seipsum exinanivit,
Ut nos perditos
Liberaret homines. 

Let us suppliantly sing the praises of our Savior; let us joyously offer our devout melodies to the God of heaven, our Messias; who emptied himself, that he might deliver us men from the perdition whereinto we had fallen.

Carne gloriam Deitatis occulens
Pannis tegitur in præsepi,
Miserans præcepti transgressorem,
Pulsum patria Paradisi nudulum. 

He hides under a human body the glory of his Divinity; he is wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger; for he has pity on man that transgressed the command, and was driven naked from the land of Paradise.

Joseph, Mariæ, Simeoni subditur,
Et legali hostia mundatur,
ut peccator,
Nostra qui solet relaxare crimina. 

He is subject to Joseph, Mary, and Simeon; he is circumcised; and he that is wont to forgive us our sins, deigns to be ransomed, as a sinner, by the offering prescribed in the Law.

Servi subit manus baptizandus,
Et perfert fraudes tentatoris,
Fugit persequentum lapides. 

He bows down beneath the hand of his servant, and is baptized by him; he permits the tempter to lay snares for him; he has to fly from his enemies, who seek to stone him.

Famen patitur,
Dormit et tristatur,
Ac lavat discipulis pedes
Deus homo,
Summus humilis. 

He suffers hunger, sleep, and sadness: he, God and yet Man, Infinite and yet humble, washes his Disciples’ feet.

Sed tamen
Inter hæc objecta corporis
Ejus Deitas
Nequaquam quivit latere,
Signis variis,
Et docrinis prodita. 

But, notwithstanding these outward humiliations, his Divinity could not be hid; it was made evident by his miracles and teaching.

Aquam nuptiis
Dat saporis vini. 

He gives water the taste of wine at the marriage feast.

Cæcos oculos
Claro lumine vestivit. 

He gives to the blind the light of day.

Lepram luridam
Tactu fugat placido. 

He, by his gentle touch, drives hideous leprosy away.

Patres suscitat mortuos,
Membraque curat debilia. 

He raises the dead to life; he cures them that are maimed.

Fluxum sanguinis constrinxit,
Et saturavit quinque de panibus
Quina millia. 

He stays a flux of blood; and, with five loaves, feeds five thousand men.

Stagnum peragrat fluctuans,
Ceu siccum littus,
Ventos sedat. 

He walks upon the waters as though they were dry land; he calms the winds.

Linguam reserat constrictam,
Reclusit aures privatus vocibus;
Febres depulit. 

He makes the dumb to speak, and the deaf to hear; he drives fever away.

Post hæc mira miracula taliaque,
Sponte sua comprehenditur,
Et damnatur, et se cricifigi
Non despexit,
Sed sol ejus mortem
Non aspexit. 

After these and other such wonderful miracles, he allows himself to be taken by his enemies, and condemned; he refuses not to suffer crucifixion; but the sun refuses to witness his Death.

Illuxit dies,
Quam fecit Dominus,
Mortem devastans,
Et victor suis apparens dilectoribus vivens,
Primo Mariæ,
Dehinc Apostolis;
Docens Scripturas,
Cor aperiens,
Ut clausia de ipso reserarent. 

Then comes the Day which the Lord hath made: it lays waste to death. Jesus triumphs; he returns to life; he appears to them that love him, to Mary first, and then to the Apostles. He explains the Scriptures to his Disciples, opening their hearts that they might understand what was there written concerning him.

Favent igitur resurgenti Christo
Cuncta gaudiis. 

All creatures keep a feast of joy at the Resurrection of Jesus.

Flores, segetes redivivo fructo
Et volucres gelu tristi terso
Dulce jubilant. 

Flowers spring up, meadows are again clothed in their rich verdure, and birds, now that gloomy winter’s past, carol in sweet jubilation.

Lucent clarius sol, et luna
Morte Christi turbida. 

The sun and moon, that mourned at Jesus’ death, are brighter now than ever.

Tellus herbida
Resurgenti plaudit Christo,
Quæ tremula ejus morte
Se casuram minitat. 

The earth, that shook at his death, and seemed ready to fall to ruin, now puts on her richest green to greet her Risen God.

Ergo die ista exsultemus
Qua nobis viam vitæ
Resurgens patefecit Jesus. 

Let us, therefore, be glad on this day, whereon our Jesus, by his Resurrection, opened to us the way of life.

Astra, solum, mare jocundentur,
Et cuncti gratulentur in cœlis
Spiritales chori Trinitati.

Let stars, and earth, and sea rejoice: let all the Choirs of the Blessed in heaven give praise to the Trinity. Amen.
Wednesday of the Fourth Week After Easter
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)

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℣. In resurrectione tua Christe, alleluia. 
℣. In thy resurrection, O Christ, alleluia.

℟. Cœli et terra lætentur, alleluia. 
℟. Let heaven and earth rejoice, alleluia.

The Son of God is soon to ascend to his Father. He has said to his Apostles: Going, teach all nations: preach the Gospel to every creature. Thus, then, the Nations are not to receive the Word from the lips of Jesus, but through his Ministers. The glory and happiness of being instructed directly by the Man-God were for none but the Israelites, and even for them for only three short years.

The impious may murmur at this, and say, in their pride, “Why should there be Men between God and us?” God might justly answer: “And what right have you to expect me to speak to you myself, seeing that you can otherwise be as certain of my Word as though you heard it from myself?” Was the Son of God to lose his claim to our Faith, unless he remained on this earth to the end of time?—If we reflect on the infinite distance there is between the Creator and Creature, we shall detest such a blasphemy. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater: and how can we reject it? Can we call that testimony human, which was given by the Apostles, when, in proof of their being sent by God, they showed the power, conferred on them by their Divine Master, of working miracles? Of course, the pride of reason may rebel; it may protest, and refuse to believe men who speak in God’s name. Did not the very Son of God meet with more unbelievers than believers? And why? Because he affirmed himself to be God, yet showed nothing exteriorly but his human nature. So that there was an act of Faith to be made, even when Jesus himself spoke; and pride might rebel, and say: “I will not believe;” just as it will do when the Apostles speak in his name. The two cases are alike. God demands of us, as long as we are in this world, that we give him our Faith; and Faith is not possible without humility. God confirms his word by Miracles; but man has always the power to resist, and for that very reason, Faith is a virtue.

If it be asked—why, when God took his Son from this earth, he did not commission his Angels to teach us in his name, instead of giving such a sublime office to men, frail and mortal as we ourselves are who receive their teaching?—the reason is that man could not be raised up from the state of degradation into which he had fallen by pride, except by submission and humility; and consequently, it was fitting that the ministry of the Divine Word should not be entrusted to Angels, inasmuch as our pride might have been flattered by our having, for our Teachers, beings so noble and exalted. We believed the Serpent when he spoke to us, and we had the pride to think that we might one day become Gods: our merciful Creator, in order to save us, has imposed it as a law upon us, that we should yield submission to men, when they speak in his name.

These men, therefore, are to preach the Gospel to every creature; and he that believeth not, shall be condemned. O Word of God! thou heavenly seed planted in the field of the Church, how fruitful hast thou not been! Yet one little while, and the harvest will be ripe. Faith will have spread throughout the world; the Faithful shall be found in every land. And how came they by the Faith? By hearing, answers the great Apostle of the Gentiles. They heard the Word, and they believed. How honored above the rest our senses is our Hearing, at least in this present life! Let us listen to St. Bernard, speaking on this subject. “One would have thought that the Truth would have entered into our souls by that noblest of our senses, the Eye: but no, my soul! that is reserved for the future life, when we shall see, face to face. For the present, let the remedy come in by the same door, through which crept the malady; let life, and light, and the antidote of truth, come to us in the track previously taken by death, and darkness, and the serpent’s poison. Thus the troubled Eye will be cured by the Ear, and will see, when calm, what she cannot when troubled. The Ear was the first door of death; let it be the first to be opened to life. The Ear took away our Light; let it now restore our Light; for unless we believe, we shall not understand. [The Saint seems to be here quoting the celebrated Septuagint version of Isaias, vii. 9.—See here.] Hearing, therefore, is the instrument of our merit; Sight is to be our reward. … Observe, too, how the Holy Ghost follows this order in the spiritual education of the soul: he forms the Ear, before he gladdens the Eye. He says to her: Hearken, O Daughter, and see! Forget thine Eye, for the present: it is thine Ear I now ask for. Dost thou wish to see Christ? First hear him; hear what is said of him: that so, when thou dost see him, thou mayest say: As we have heard, so have we seen! The brightness is immense; thine Eye is weak; and thou canst not bear the splendor. But what thine Eye cannot do, thine Ear can; … only let this Ear of thine be fervent, and watchful, and faithful. Faith will give to thine Eye the clearness it lost by sin; disobedience shut it, but obedience will open it.”

To the glory of Him who has sent us his Word by his Ambassadors, and whom we have received as himself—let us recite this ancient Sequence of Saint Gall’s:
it expresses the Faith of our Fathers and theirs is ours.
Grates Salvatori,
Ac Regi Christo Deo
Solvant omnes insularum incolæ, 

Let the inhabitants of all islands render thanks to Christ, our Savior, King, and God,

Quem exspectatum dies jam tenent,
Et leges ejus
Mentibus captent promptulis. 

The Expected One, who is at length come, and whose Law is now devoutly obeyed by mankind.

Quos derelicto populo
Delegit Judæo,
De Abrahæ carne genito, 

He cast off the Jewish people, who were born of Abraham, according to the flesh;

Et per fidem
Quos Abrahæ natos fecit,
Et cognatos
Suum sanctum per sanguinem. 

And he chose, for his own, them that he made children of Abraham by faith, them that he had made his Brethren by his precious Blood.

O Christe,
Consanguinee naturæ nostræ,
Nos fove, 

O Jesus! united to us by the bond of consanguinity! protect us,

Atque per divinam potentiam
Tuere ab omni incursu inimici,
Et insidiis. 

And, by thy divine power, defend us from every attack and snare of the enemy.

Quem per carnis edulium
Delusisti hamo tuæ Majestatis,
Fili Dei. 

Thou, O Son of God! showedst him the Flesh thou hadst assumed, and he, taking it, was taken by the hook of thy Divinity.

Tu resurgens imperitas,
non moriturus amplius. 

Rising again, thou triumphest, for death is no longer to triumph over thee.

Tu mortalem nostram,
Et terream naturam
Resurgens incorruptivam fecisti,
Atque cœlis invexisti.

By thy Resurrection, thou gavest incorruptibility to our mortal and earthy nature, and raisedst it to heaven. Amen.
Thursday of the Fourth Week after Easter
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)

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℣. In resurrectione tua Christe, alleluia. 
℣. In thy resurrection, O Christ, alleluia.

℟. Cœli et terra lætentur, alleluia. 
℟. let heaven and earth rejoice, alleluia.

The Apostles have received their mission. The Sovereign Master has bade them divide among themselves the Nations of the earth, and preach everywhere the Gospel, that is, the Good Tidings—the Tidings of man’s Redemption wrought by the Son of God, who was made Flesh, was crucified, and arose again from the dead. But what is to be the grand support of these humble Jews, who have been suddenly transformed into Conquerors, and have to go winning the whole world to Christ? Their support is the solemn promise made to them by Jesus when, after saying, Go, teach all nations! he adds: Lo! I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world! Hereby he promises never to leave them, and ever to direct and guide them. They shall see him no more in this life; and yet he assures them that he will be ever in their midst.

But these men, with whom Christ thus promises that he will abide forever, and preserve them from every fall and from every error in the teachings of his doctrine—these Apostles are not immortal. We shall find them, one after the other, laying down their lives for the faith, and so leaving this world. Are we, then, condemned to uncertainty and darkness, like men who have been abandoned by the light? Is it possible that the appearance of our Emmanuel upon the earth has been but like that of a meteor, which we sometimes behold in the night, emitting a lurid light, and then suddenly disappearing, leaving us in greater darkness than before?

No: the words of our Risen Jesus forbid us to fear such a calamity. He did not say to his Apostles: “Lo! I am with you even to the end of your lives;” but, Lo! I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world. So that those, to whom he addressed himself, were to live to the end of the world! What means this, but that the Apostles were to have successors in whom their rights were to be perpetuated? successors, whom Jesus would ever assist by his presence, and uphold by his power. The work founded by a God, out of his love for man, and at the price of his own precious blood—oh! surely it must be imperishable! Jesus, by his presence amidst his Apostles, preserved their teaching from all error; by his presence, he will also, and forever, guide the teaching of their successors.

O precious and necessary gift of Infallibility in the Church! Gift, without which the mission of the Son of God would have been a failure! Gift, whereby Faith—that essential element of man’s salvation—is preserved upon the earth! Yes, we have the promise; and the effects of this promise are evident even to them that are not of the Church. Where is there an unprejudiced man, who would not recognize the hand of God in the perpetuity of the Catholic Symbol of Faith, whereas everything else on earth is forever changing? Can we attribute to natural causes such a result as this—that a society, whose link is unity of belief, should live through so many ages, and yet lose nothing of the truth it possessed at its commencement, nor imbibe anything of the falseness of the world around it? that it should have been attacked by thousands of sects, and yet have triumphed over them all, survived them all, and be as pure in the faith now, at this present day, as it was on the day when first formed by its divine founder? Is it not an unheard-of prodigy that hundreds of millions of men, differing from each other in country, character, and customs, yea, and frequently enemies to each other—should be united in one like submission to one same authority which, with a single word, governs their reason in matters of faith?

How great is thy fidelity to thy promises, O Jesus! Who could help feeling that thou art in the midst of thy Church, mastering, by thy presence, the warring elements and, by irresistible yet sweet power, subjecting our pride and fickleness to thy dear yoke? And they are men, men like ourselves, who rule and guide our Faith! It is the Pope, the Successor of St. Peter, whose Faith cannot fail, and whose sovereign word is carried through the whole world, producing unity of mind and heart, dispelling doubt, and putting an end to disputation. It is the venerable body of the Bishops united with their Head, and deriving from this union an invincible strength in the proclamation of the one same truth in the several countries of the universe. O yes; men are made infallible because Jesus is with and in them! In everything else, they are men like ourselves; but the Chair, on which they are throned, is supported by the arm of God; it is the Chair of Truth upon the earth.

How grand is our Faith! Miracles gave it birth; and this continued Miracle (of which we have been speaking, and which disconcerts all the calculations of human wisdom) directs it, enlightens it, and upholds it. How stupendous are the wondrous works done by our Risen Jesus during these forty days! So far, he had been preparing his work; now he carries it into effect. May the Divine Shepherd be ever praised for the care he takes of his Sheep! If he exacts their Faith, as the first pledge of their service, we must own that he has made the sacrifice, not only meritorious by our reason’s submitting to it, but most attractive to our heart’s acceptance.

Let us honor his glorious Resurrection by a new Canticle—one from the ancient Missals of Germany.
Laudes Christo redempti,
Voce modulemur supplici. 

Let us, the redeemed, sing, with suppliant voice, our praise to Christ.

Omnis in hac die
Rerum natura jubilans, 

On this day, let all nature, in a transport of joy,

Personet immensas
Filio Dei gratias. 

Sound forth one universal hymn of thanks to the Son of God.

Jam nostri concives,
Cœlestis sanctuarii milites,
Ordines noveni,
In vestra nos adunate gaudia. 

And you, our fellow-citizens, the nine-choired hosts of heaven, permit us to share in your joys.

Hymnite nunc superi,
Pariter resonate inferi, 

Sing a hymn, ye that are highest! Intone a loud canticle, ye that are lowest!

Et omnis in Domino
Spiritus gratuletur ænesi; 

Yea, let every spirit be glad in the Lord, and praise him!

Qui hominis causa, 
Deus homo nascitur; 

For he, God, became Man for man’s salvation.

Et fragili carne,
Se deitas occulens,
Probra sustinuit patiens: 

Hiding his Divinity with the veil of our frail flesh, he patiently endured every insult;

Virtutibus, signis ut Deus emicuit; 

But his power and miracles revealed him as our God.

Et corporis nostri necessitate fruens,
Verus terrigena claruit. 

He subjected himself to all our human wants, and was verily a wayfarer on our earth.

Ab hoste tentatus,
Non est agnitus neque divinitas patuit: 

He was tempted by the enemy: but he made not known his Divinity.

Ars artem delusit,
Donec veteris nodum piaculi secuit. 

Craft by craft was foiled, till the hour came for him to cut the knot of Adam’s sin.

In ara crucis hostiam
Se pro nobis Christus obtulit Deo Patri,
Morte sua nostra mortificans crimina. 

For our sake, he offered himself to his Father a victim upon the altar of the Cross: and, by his Death, he put our sins to death.

Jam victor Christus,
Barathro populato,
Mortis principe vinculato,
Ab inferis pompa regreditur nobili. 

And now, hell being ravaged and the prince of death enchained, Christ returns from Limbo, in all the pageant of his victory.

Hæc est dies
Quæ illuxit,
Post turbida
Regni Æthiopum tempora; 

This is the Day which has shone upon the world, after the stormy times of the Ethiopian sway.

Christus in qua resurrexit
Ultra victurus,
Cum carne quam sumpsit de Maria virgine. 

It is the Day whereon, with the flesh he assumed from the Virgin Mary, Christ rose again, to live for evermore.

Qui ovem,
Cum gaudio Patri quam perdiderat,
Humero revexit suo.

With joy, he carried on his shoulders, to his Father, the sheep that had been lost. Amen.
Friday of the Fourth Week After Easter
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)

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℣. In resurrectione tua Christe, alleluia. 
℣. In thy resurrection, O Christ, alleluia.

℟. Cœli et terra lætentur, alleluia.
 ℟. let heaven and earth rejoice, alleluia.

Praise be to our Risen Jesus, for his having said to us: He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved! Thanks to his infinite mercy—we believe and have been baptized; we are, therefore, in the path of salvation. It is true that Faith will not save us without good works; but on the other hand, good works, without Faith, cannot merit eternal salvation. With what transport of joy ought we not to give thanks to God, for his having produced in us, by his grace, this unspeakable gift, this first pledge of our everlasting happiness! How carefully ought we not to strive to keep it pure, yea and increase it by our fidelity! Faith, like other virtues, has its degrees: we should, therefore, frequently use the prayer addressed to Jesus by his Apostles: Lord! increase our faith!

We are living in an age when Faith is weak amongst the majority of even them that believe; and it is one of the greatest dangers that could befall us in this world. When Faith is weak, Charity must needs grow cold. Our Savior one day asked his Disciples, if they thought that he would find Faith upon the earth when he should come to judge mankind? Have we not reason to fear that we are fast approaching that awful time when the want of Faith will paralyze men’s hearts?

Faith proceeds from our will moved by the Holy Ghost. We believe, because we wish to believe; and for this reason, it is a happiness to believe. The blind man, to whom Jesus restored his sight, said to him, when he bade him believe in the Son of God: Who is he, Lord? that I may believe in him. These same dispositions ought to animate us, when there is question of our making an act of faith—we should believe, in order that we may know that which, without faith, we could not know; then will God manifest himself to both our mind and heart.

You will meet with Christians who seem to make it their business to keep down the Faith of their friends as much as possible. They seem to be jealous of Faith getting too much; are ever talking about the rights of Reason; and will have it that they who are so ready to believe, are guilty of underrating the dignity, range, and divine origin of Reason. Let them that are thus accused, answer: “We are far from denying the existence of that natural light within us, which is called Reason. The teaching of the Church is too express on this point to admit of any doubt; but she also teaches us that this light—even had it retained its primal power, and had not been obscured by original sin—is incapable of discovering, by itself alone, the end for which man was created, and the means whereby that end is to be gained. Faith alone can enable man to attain to such sublime knowledge as this.”

Others, again, maintain that as soon as a Christian comes to the full age of Reason, he has a right to suspend the exercise of his Faith, in order that he may examine for himself whether it be reasonable or not to continue believing. Such an opinion is most false, and has made many an apostate. The Church has ever taught from the days of the Apostles down to our own times, and will so teach to the end of the world—that the child who has received holy Baptism, has also, and at that same instant, received the gift of infused Faith; that he thereby became a member of Christ and child of his Church; and that if, when he comes to the age of Reason, he should be tempted with doubts regarding matters of Faith, he receives grace to resist those doubts by Faith, and that he would be risking his salvation were he to suspend his Faith. This does not imply that the Church forbids him to confirm his Faith by study and science; far from it. This is a totally different thing from suspension of one’s faith; it is, according to the admirable saying of the great St. Anselm, “Faith seeking understanding,” and, we may add, finding it, for God gives this recompense to Faith.

You may probably meet with persons who think it right that there should be found among us a class of men called Free-thinking Philosophers, that is to say, men without Faith, who hold, with regard to God and creatures, doctrines which are wholly independent of Revelation, and who teach a morality that entirely ignores the supernatural element. Is it possible that Catholics can not only countenance and praise such men as these, but even defend them, and be partial towards them?

And what must we say of the sad effects resulting from the living with heretics? Most of us could give instances of the dangerous compromises and deplorable concessions made in consequence of much intercourse with those who are not of the Faith. The terrible line of demarcation specified by St. John, in his second Epistle, is being forgotten; the very mention of it is offensive to modern ears. A strong indication of this is to be found in the frequency of Mixed Marriages, and often, though it may be imperceptibly, lead the Catholic party to religious indifference. Let us listen to the energetic language of that illustrious ascetical writer, Father Faber. “The old fashioned hatred of Heresy is becoming scarce. God is not habitually looked at as the sole Truth; and so the existence of Heresies no longer appals the mind. It is assumed that God must do nothing painful, and his dominion must not allow itself to take the shape of an inconvenience or a trammel to the liberty of his creatures. If the world has outgrown the idea of exclusiveness, God must follow our lead, and lay it aside as a principle in his dealings with us. What the many want they must have at last. This is the rule and the experience of a Constitutional country. Thus discord in religion, and untruth in religion, have come to be less odious and less alarming to men, simply because they are accustomed to them. It requires courage, both moral and mental, to believe the whole of a grand nation in the wrong, or to think that an entire country can go astray. But Theology, with a brave simplicity, concludes a whole world under sin, and sees no difficulty in the True Church being able to claim only a moderate share of the population of the earth. The belief in the facility of salvation outside the Church is very agreeable to our domestic loves and to our private friendships. Moreover, if we will hold this, the world will pardon a whole host of other superstitions in us, and will do us the honor of complimenting the religion God gave, as if it were some literary or philosophical production of our own. Is this such a huge gain? Many seem amazingly pleased with it, and pay dear for it quite contentedly. Now it is plain that this belief must lower the value of the Church in our eyes. It must relax our efforts to convert others. It must relax our efforts to convert ourselves. Those who use the system of the Church least, will of course esteem it least, and see least in it; and are therefore least fitted to be judges of it. Yet it is just these men who are the most forward and the most generous in surrendering the prerogatives of the Church to the exigencies of modern smoothness and universalism.”

Another sign of the decay of the spirit of Faith, even among many of those who do not neglect their Religion is the disregard for, one might almost say the ignorance of, holy practices recommended by the Church. How many Catholic houses are there not, where there is never to be seen either a drop of Holy Water, or a blessed Candle, or a Palm? These sacred objects, given to us to be a protection, deserve from us that same reverence and love which our forefathers had when they defended them, even at the risk of their lives, against the Protestants of the 16th Century. What a jeering look of incredulity is evinced by many amongst us, when mention is made of any Miracle that is not found in the Bible! With what an air of contemptuous disbelief they hear or read of anything in connection with the Mystic Life, such as ecstasies, raptures, or revelations! How uneasy they seem, when the subject of the heroic acts of penance done by the Saints, or of the simplest practices of bodily mortification, happens to come across them! How loudly and pathetically do they not protest against the noble sacrifices which some favored souls are inspired to make, whereby they break asunder the dearest ties, and shut themselves out of the world, behind the grille of a Monastery or Convent! The spirit of Faith makes a true Catholic appreciate the beauty, the reasonableness, and the sublimity of all these practices and acts; while the want of this spirit makes them be condemned as extravagant, unmeaning, and folly.

Faith longs to believe; for believing is its life. It limits not itself to the strict Creed promulgated by the Church. It knows that this Spouse of Christ possesses all truths, though she does not solemnly declare them all, nor under the pain of anathema. Faith forestalls the declaration of a dogma; it believes piously, before believing under obligation. A secret instinct draws it towards this as yet veiled truth; and when the dogma is published by a Definition of the Supreme Pontiff, then does this same Faith rejoice in the triumph of the truth which was revealed from the very commencement of the Church; and its joy is great in proportion to the fidelity wherewith it honored the truth, when only generous and loyal hearts embraced it.

Glory, then, be to our Risen Jesus, who requited his Mother’s faith, who strengthened that of the Disciples and the holy women, and who, as we humbly pray, will mercifully reward ours. Let us offer him our homage, in the words of a Sequence from the ancient Missals of Saint Gall’s.
Pangamus Creatoris,
Atque Redemptoris gloriam. 

Let us proclaim the glory of our Creator and Redeemer!

Qui bene creatos,
Sed seductos
Astutia callidi serpentis,
Sua refecit gratia. 

By his grace, he gave a new existence to them whom he had created aright, yet who were seduced by the cunning of the crafty serpent.

Futurum ut germen
Sancta proferret fœmina; 

He foretold, that a holy Woman would, one day, bring forth a Fruit,

Quod hostis antiqui
Nociva exsuperaret capita. 

That should crush the baneful head of the old enemy.

Quod primitus perdita,
Serius nostra
Cernunt sæcula. 

Our times have seen fulfilled these promises that were long lost sight of.

Quum splendida flosculo virgula
Novo pollet Maria. 

Mary, the lovely Branch, put forth a new Flower.

Qui editus
Mire edidit miracula. 

His birth was a prodigy, and miracles marked his life.

Nec juvenis tantum,
Sed statim inter suæ nativitatis primordia. 

Not only when he had grown up, but immediately after his birth.

Per sideris lumen,
Per Simeonis verba
Judaica ad se vel corda,
Vel munera
Attrahens nutu gentilia. 

By the light of the star, and by Simeon’s words, he drew to himself the heart of the Jew or the gift of the Gentile.

Quem Pater in voce,
Atque Spiritua Sanctus specie,

He was glorified by the Father’s words, and by the visible form under which the Holy Ghost appeared.

Visentes doctorem, vel archiatrum,
Docent auctoritate sua. 

They that saw this Teacher, this Physician of men, were appointed to teach others in his name.

Qui postquam salutis
Dona dedit multa,
Doctrinæque perplura verba
Ore suo promulgavit saluberrima; 

After bestowing on men abundant gifts of salvation, and promulgating, with his own lips, the doctrine of eternal life,

Ad probra, sputa,
Colahos, et flagella,
Vestem quoque ludo quæsitam,
Et spineum venit sertum
Ad crucia brachia. 

He came to his Passion, in which he was insulted, spit upon, buffeted, scourged, vested as a mock-king, crowned with thorns, and nailed to a Cross.

Qui hodie triumphali
A mortuis resurgens,
Sprevit victoris, ducens secum primitiva
Ad cœlos membra,
Et nuper dispersa
Revocans ovilia. 

But today, by a glorious victory, he rises triumphant from the grave; he takes them that belonged to the generations of old, and leads them, with himself, to heaven; he forms into one fold the then living, but scattered, sheep.

Quæ et nobis in fine speranda,
Licet ultima membra simus,
Spondet dona.

Yes, and to us, though the last of his children, he promises future gifts, and bids us hope. Amen.
Saturday of the Fourth Week After Easter
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)

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℣. In resurrectione tua Christe, alleluia. 
℣. In thy resurrection, O Christ, alleluia.

℟. Cœli et terra lætentur, alleluia. 
℟. let heaven and earth rejoice, alleluia.

Saturday brings us once more to the dear Mother of our Jesus. Last Saturday, when closing our week’s considerations upon the establishment of the Church, we reverently drew a parallel between these two Mothers—Mary and the Church. During the present week, we have been considering how our Savior confided his Doctrine—that is, the object of our Faith—to his Apostles: let us devote this last day to a loving remembrance of the dogmas which Jesus revealed to them regarding the dignity and office of Her whom he chose for his own and our Mother.

Holy Church teaches us several truths concerning Mary; and these truths are the object of our faith, on the same ground as the other articles contained in the Catholic Creed. Now they could not be the object of our faith, except inasmuch as they were revealed by the lips of our Divine Lord himself. The Church of our days has received them from the Church of past ages, just as this last named received them from the Apostles, to whom Jesus first confided them. There has been no new revelation since our Savior’s Ascension; consequently, the manifestation of all the dogmas transmitted to the Church and promulgated by her to the world dates from the teaching given by Jesus to his Apostles. It is on this account that we believe them with theological faith—a faith which can only be given to truths directly revealed by God to man.

How beautiful is the affection here shown by the Son of God to his Mother! He revealed to his Apostles the impenetrable secrets of the Divine Essence, the Trinity in Unity, the eternal generation of the Word in the Father’s bosom, the eternal procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son, the union of the two Natures in one Person in the Incarnate Word, the Redemption of the world by the Blood of the Man-God, the restoring of fallen man and the elevating him to a supernatural state by grace. But this same Jesus also reveals the prerogative of his dearest Mother; and we are to believe them, and with the same Faith, as we do the dogmas which relate to God himself! Jesus, the Wisdom of the Father, the Conqueror of death, has revealed to us Mary’s dignity with the same lips that taught us what he himself is; we believe the two revelations with equal faith because he spoke both.

Jesus said to his Apostles, and they, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, communicated his teaching to the Church: “Mary, my Mother, is a daughter of Adam and Eve; but the stain of original sin was not upon her. The decree—that every human being should be conceived in sin—was suspended in her regard. She was full of grace from the first moment of her Conception. Jeremias and John the Baptist were sanctified in their mother’s womb; Mary was Immaculate from the first moment of her existence.“

Jesus also said to his Apostles, and commanded them to repeat his words to the Church: “Mary is truly Mother of God, and must be honored as such by all creatures; for she truly conceived me and gave me birth, according to my human nature, which forms but one Person with my divine nature.”

Jesus also said to his Apostles, and commanded them to repeat his words to the Church: “Mary, my Mother, conceived me in her chaste womb without ceasing to be a Virgin, and she gave me birth without her Virginity suffering any injury.”

Thus, Mary’s Immaculate Conception—which prepared her for her sublime office—her divine Maternity, and her perpetual Virginity, are three dogmas of our faith which were revealed to the Apostles directly by our Lord. holy Church merely repeats them after the Apostle, just as the Apostles repeated them after hearing them from their Divine Master.

But did not Jesus reveal other prerogatives of his august Mother—prerogatives which are consequences of the three magnificent gifts just mentioned? Let us ask the Church what she believes on this subject, and what she teaches, both by her doctrinal utterance, and by her equally infallible practice. Every development, which is produced in her by the action of the Holy Ghost, is based upon the Word of God, which was spoken at the beginning. Thus, it is impossible to doubt but what our Savior made known to his Apostles his intention of raising his Blessed Mother to the dignity of Queen of the universe, of Mediatrix of men, of Mother of grace, of Cooperatrix of our Redemption. Had she not, by the three unparalleled gifts just mentioned, already been raised above all other creatures? No, we cannot doubt it—these glories of the Mother of God were known, revered, and loved by the Apostle; and we, who have received from the Church these same sublime and consoling truths, we too prize and love our knowledge. Should we not be offering violence to every noble feeling of our nature, were we to believe that Jesus ascended into heaven, without having made known to the world the glories of his Mother, whom he loved both as her Son and her God!

What must have been thy sentiments, O Mary, thou most humble of creatures, when Jesus unveiled thy glories to the Disciples? They already reverenced thee, but they could never have known the grand gifts bestowed on thee by God unless that God himself had revealed them. What glorious things were said to thee, O City of God! If thy humility was troubled when the Archangel called thee full of grace and blessed among women; how must thou not have shrunk from the homage paid thee by the Apostles, when they were first told that thou was the Mother of God, the ever spotless Virgin, Immaculate from thy very Conception! But no, Blessed Mother! thou canst not shun the honors that are richly thy due. The prophecy spoken by thyself, in Zachary’s house, must be fulfilled: All generations shall call thee Blessed! The time is at hand: in a few days hence, the preaching of the Gospel will have commenced. Thy name, thy ministry, thy glories are an essential part of the Creed which is to be carried throughout the world. Up to this time, thou hast been shrouded in a veil of mystery; that veil must now be drawn aside—Jesus will have it so—and thou must be known as Mother of the God who, when he came to save us, disdained not to assume our human nature in thy chaste womb. Dearest Mother! Queen of Angels and Men! suffer us to unite our fervent homage with that which the Apostolic College gave thee, when Jesus first revealed to them thy glories!

Let us, in honor of the blessed Mother, recite this Sequence of the Cluny Missal of 1523. It is a graceful imitation of the Victimæ Paschali.

Virgini Mariæ laudes
Intonent Christiani.

Let Christians offer to the Virgin Mary their hymns of praise.

O beata domina,
Tua per suffragia
Reconcilientur peccatores.

O Lady ever blessed! let sinners be reconciled to God by thy prayers.

Fiant per te liberi
A fermento veteri,
Victimæ paschalis

May they that received the Paschal Lamb be, by thy intercession, cleansed from the old leaven.

Da nobis, Maria,
Virgo clemens et pia

Give us, O Mary, thou merciful and loving Virgin!

Aspectu Christi viventis,
Et gloria frui

To enjoy the sight of the living and risen Christ.

Tu prece nos pia,
Christo reconcilia,

Reconcile us with Jesus, by thy holy prayers,

Quæ sola Mater intacta,
Es Genetrix
Verbi Dei facta.

O thou the spotless Mother of the Word of God!

Credendum est ex te Deum
Et hominem natum,

We believe that the God-Man, who was born of thee, hath risen again in glory.

Seimus Christum surrexisse
A mortuis vere;
Conserva Mater nos et tuere. Amen.

We know that Christ hath truly risen from the dead. Do thou, O Mother! preserve and defend us. Amen.