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Taken from Fr. Leonard Goffine's Explanations of the Epistles and Gospels for the Sundays, Holydays, and Festivals throughout the Ecclesiastical Year
36th edition, 1880

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THE Introit of this day's Mass is a canticle of praise and thanks: Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle, alleluia; because the Lord hath done wonderful things, alleluia; he hath revealed his justice in the sight of the Gentiles. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. His right hand hath wrought for him salvation; and his arm is holy. (Ps. xcvii.) Glory, &c.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. O God, who makest the minds of the faithful to be of one will: grant unto Thy people to love what Thou commandest, and to desire what thou dost promise; that amidst the various changes of the world our hearts may there be fixed where true joys abide. Through.

EPISTLE. (James i. 17 — 21.) Dearly beloved, Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration. For of his own will hath he begotten us by the word of truth, that we might be some beginning of his creatures. You know, my dearest brethren. And let every man be swift to hear, but slow to speak, and slow to anger. For the anger of man worketh not the justice of God. Wherefore, casting away all uncleanness, and abundance of naughtiness, with meekness receive the ingrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

Quote:INSTRUCTION. Of all the gifts that come from God, the most excellent is the gospel and regeneration in baptism, by which He has made us His children and heirs of heaven. How great is this honor, and how earnestly we should endeavor to preserve it! To hear the word of God, when preached to us in sermons, will aid our endeavors. The admonition of the apostle to be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, contains true wisdom, for: In the multitude of words there shall not want sin; but he that refraineth his lips is most wise. (Prov. x. 19.)

ASPIRATION. Aid me, O Lord, to preserve the dignity received in baptism, grant me a great love for Thy divine word, and strengthen me to subdue my tongue and to use it only for Thy glory.

GOSPEL. (John xvi. 5 — 14.) At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: I go to him that sent me: and none of you asketh me: Whither goest thou? But because I have spoken these things to you, sorrow hath filled your heart. But I tell you the truth: it is expedient to you that I go ; for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you: but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he is come, he will convince the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment. Of sin, because they believed not in me: and of justice, because I go to the Father, and you shall see me no longer: and of judgment, because the prince of this world is already judged. I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak, and the things that are to come he shall show you. He shall glorify me, because he shall receive of mine, and shall show it to you.

Quote:INSTRUCTION. As the disciples, in their grief at Christ's going to His passion and death, after the accomplishment of which He was to return to His Father, never once asked Him: "Whither goest Thou?" many Christians, because of their attachment to this world and its pleasures, never ask themselves: Whither am I going, whither leads my way? By my sinful life I am perhaps going towards hell, or will my little fervor for the right, my lukewarm prayers take me to heaven? Ask yourself in all earnestness, dear Christian, whither leads the way you are going? Is it the right path? if not, retrace your steps, and follow Jesus who by suffering and death entered heaven.

✠ ✠ ✠

Why could the Paraclete not come before the Ascension of Christ?

Because the work of Redemption had first to be completed, Christ had to die, reconcile man to God, and enter into His glory, before the Spirit of truth and filial adoption could abide in man in the fulness of grace. From this we may learn, that we must purify our hearts, and be reconciled to God, if we wish to receive the gifts of the Holy

How will the Holy Ghost convince the world of sin, of justice, and of judgment?

He will convince the world, that is, the Jews and Gentiles, of sin, by showing them through the preaching, the sanctity and the miracles of the apostles, as well as by gradual inward enlightenment, the grievous sins which they have committed by their infidelity and their vices; of justice, by unveiling their error , and showing them that Christ whom they unjustly rejected; is the fountain of justice; of judgment, by showing them their condemnation in their prince and head, the devil, whom they served. This prince is now driven from idols and from the bodies of men ; and his kingdom is destroyed in the name of Jesus by the apostles.

Why did not Christ tell His apostles all He had to tell them ?

Because they could not yet comprehend and keep it in their memory; because they were still too weak, and too much attached to Jewish customs, and also because they were depressed; He therefore promised them the Holy Ghost, who would fit them for it by His enlightenment, and would teach them all truth.

How does the Holy Ghost teach all truth?

By guiding the Church, that is, its infallible administration, by His light, to the knowledge of the truth necessary for the salvation of souls, preserving it from error; and by advancing those members of the Church who seek His light and place no obstacle in its way, in the necessary knowledge of truth.

What is meant by: He shall not speak of himself, but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak?

That the Holy Ghost will teach us only that which He has heard from all eternity from the Father and Son; His teaching will, therefore, perfectly agree with Christ's teachings, for the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and Son and is equal God to them, and that which He teaches is also their doctrine, which is expressed in the words: He shall receive of mine.

ASPIRATION. Ah, my Lord and my God! direct my feet in the way of Thy commandments and preserve my heart pure from sin, that Thy Holy Spirit may find nothing in me deserving of reproach, that He may teach me all truth, and lead me to Thee, the eternal Truth, in heaven. Amen.
Fourth Sunday after Easter
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)

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Our Jesus has organized his Church, and confided to his Apostles the sacred deposit of the truths which are to form the object of our faith. We must now follow him in another work, of equal importance to the world, and to which he gives his divine attention during these forty days: it is the institution of the Sacraments. It is not enough that we believe; we must, moreover, be made just, that is, we must bear upon us the likeness of God’s holiness; we must receive, we must have incorporated within us, that great fruit of the Redemption, which is called Grace; that thus being made living members of our divine Head, we may be made joint-heirs with him of the Kingdom of heaven. Now, it is by means of the Sacraments, that Jesus is to produce in us this wondrous work of our justification; he applies to us the merits of his Incarnation and Sacrifice but he applies them by certain means, which he himself, in his power and wisdom, has instituted.

Being the sovereign Master of his own gifts, he can select what means he pleases whereby to convey Grace to us; all we have to do is to conform to his wishes. Thus, each of the Sacraments is a law; so that it is in vain that we hope for a Sacrament to produce its effects, unless we fulfill the conditions specified by our Redeemer. And here, at once, we cannot but admire that infinite goodness, which has so mercifully blended two such widely distinct operations in one and the same act—namely, on the one side, the humble submission of man and, on the other, the munificent generosity of God.

We were showing, a few days back, how the Church, though a spiritual society, is also visible and exterior, because man, for whose sake the Church was formed, is a being composed of body and soul. When instituting the Sacraments, our Lord assigned to each an essential rite; and this rite is outward and sensible. He made the Flesh, which he had united to his Divine Person, become the instrument of our salvation by his Passion and Death on the Cross; he redeemed us by shedding his Blood for us:—so is it in the Sacraments; he follows the same mysterious plan, taking physical things as his auxiliaries in effecting the work of our justification. He raises them to a supernatural state, and makes them the faithful and all-powerful conductors of his grace, even to the most intimate depths of our soul. It is the continuation of the mystery of the Incarnation, the object of which is to raise us, by visible things, to the knowledge of things invisible. Thus is broken the pride of Satan; he despised man because he is not purely a spirit, but is spirit and matter unitedly; and he refused to pay adoration to the Word made Flesh.

Moreover, the Sacraments, being visible signs, are an additional bond of union between the members of the Church: we say additional, because these members have the two other strong links of union—submission to Peter and to the Pastors sent by him, and profession of the same faith. The Holy Ghost tells us, in the Sacred Volume, that a threefold cord is not easily broken. Now we have such a one; and it keeps us in the glorious unity of the Church—Hierarchy, Dogma, and Sacraments, all contribute to make us One Body. Everywhere, from north to south, and from east to west, the Sacraments testify to the fraternity that exists among us; by them, we know each other, no matter in what part of the globe we may be, and by the same we are known by heretics and infidels. These divine Sacraments are the same in every country, how much soever the liturgical formulæ of their administration may differ; they are the same in the graces they produce, they are the same in the signs whereby grace is produced, in a word, they are the same in all the essentials.

Our Risen Jesus would have the Sacraments be Seven. As at the beginning he stamped the Creation of the visible world with this sacred number—giving six days to work and one to rest—so too would he mark the great spiritual creation. He tells us, in the Old Testament, that Wisdom (that is, himself—for he is the Eternal Wisdom of the Father) will build to himself a House, which is the Church; and he adds that he will make it rest on seven pillars. He gives us a type of this same Church in the Tabernacle built by Moses, and he orders a superb Candlestick, to be provided for the giving light, by day and night, to the holy place; but there were to be seven branches to the Candlestick, and on each branch were to be graven flowers and fruits. When he raises his beloved Disciple to heaven, he shows himself to him surrounded by seven candlesticks, and holding seven stars in his right hand. He appears to him as a Lamb, bearing seven horns (which are the symbol of strength), and having seven eyes (which signify his infinite wisdom). Near him lies a Book, in which is written the future of the world; the Book is sealed with seven seals, and none but the Lamb is able to loose them. The Disciple sees seven Spirits, burning like lamps, before the throne of God, ready to do his biddings, and carry his word to the extremities of the earth.

Turning our eyes to the kingdom of Satan, we see him mimicking God’s work, and setting up a seven of his own. Seven capital and deadly sins are the instruments whereby he makes man his slave; and our Savior tells us that when Satan has been defeated, and would regain a soul, he brings with him seven of the wickedest spirits of hell. We read in the Gospel that Jesus drove seven devils out of Mary Magdalene. When God’s anger bursts upon the world, immediately before the coming of the dread Judge, he will announce the approach of his chastisements by seven trumpets, sounded by seven Angels; and seven other Angels will then pour out upon the guilty earth seven vials filled with the wrath of God.

We, therefore, who are resolved to make sure our election; who desire to possess the grace of our Risen Jesus in this life, and to enjoy his vision in the next; oh! let us reverence and love this merciful Seven-fold, these admirable Sacraments! Under this sacred number, he has included all the varied riches of his grace. There is not a want or necessity, either of souls individually, or of society at large, for which our Redeemer has not provided by these seven sources of regeneration and life. He calls us from death to life by Baptism and Penance; he strengthens us in that supernatural life by Confirmation, the Eucharist, and Extreme Unction; he secures to his Church both Ministry and increase by Holy Orders and Matrimony. The seven Sacraments supply everything needed; take one away, and you destroy the harmony. The Churches of the East—though severed, now for long ages, from Catholic unity—retain all seven: and when Protestantism broke the sacred number, it showed in this, as in all its other pretended reformations, that it was estranging itself from the spirit of the Christian Religion. No: the doctrine of the Sacraments is one that cannot be denied without denying the true Faith. If we would be members of God’s Church, we must receive this doctrine as coming from Him who has a right to insist on our humble submission to his every word. It is to the soul which thus believes, that the Sacraments appear in all their divine beauty and power: we understand, because we believe. Credite, et intelligetis! It is the fulfillment of the text from Isaias, as rendered by the Septuagint (vii. 9): Unless ye believe, ye shall not understand!

Let us confine our considerations, for today, to the first of the Sacraments—Baptism. It is during Paschal Time that we have it brought before us in all its glory. We remember how, on Holy Saturday, it filled the hearts of the Catechumens with joy, giving them a right to heaven. But the great Sacrament had had its preparations. On the feast of the Epiphany, we adored our Emmanuel as we beheld him descending into the river Jordan and, by this contact with his sacred Body, communicating to the element of Water the power of purifying men’s souls from sin. The Holy Ghost, in the form of a dove, rested on Jesus’ head and, by his divine influence, gave fecundity to the life-giving element. The voice of the Eternal Father was heard in a cloud, announcing his adoption of all such as should receive Baptism; he adopted them in Jesus, his eternally well-beloved Son.

During his sojourn on earth, our Redeemer thus explained the mystery of Baptism to Nicodemus, who was a ruler among the Jews, and a master in Israel: Unless a man be born again of Water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. Here, as in so many other instances, he foretells what he intends to do at a future time: he prepares us for the mystery by telling us that as our first birth was not pure, he is preparing a second for us; that this second birth will be holy, and that Water is to be the instrument of so great a grace.

But after his Resurrection, our Emmanuel openly announced his having given to Water the power of producing the sublime adoption to which mankind was invited by the Eternal Father. Speaking to his Apostles, he thus gives them the fundamental law of the Kingdom he had come from heaven to establish: Going, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. This is the master-gift bestowed on the world by its Redeemer—salvation by Water and the invocation of the Blessed Trinity; for he adds: He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved. What a revelation was here! It told us of the infinite mercy, wherewith our Creator loved us: it was the inauguration of the Sacraments by the announcements of the first of the Seven—of that one which, according to the expression of the Holy Father, is the Gate to the rest.

Let us love this august mystery of Baptism, to which we are indebted for the life of our souls, and for the indelible character which makes us members of our divine Head, Jesus. The holy King of France, St. Louis, who was baptized in the humble village of Poissy, loved to sign him “Louis of Poissy.” He looked upon the baptismal font as the mother who had given him a life incomparably superior to that which made him the son of an earthly monarch:—she gave him to be the child of God, and heir to the kingdom of Heaven. We should imitate this saintly King.

But observe the exceeding considerateness of our Risen Jesus, when he instituted this the most indispensable of the Sacraments. He chose for its matter the commonest that could be, and the most easily to be had. Bread, Wine and Oil are not so plentiful as Water, which is to be found in every place: God made it thus plentiful, that, when the appointed time came, the fount of regeneration might be within everyone’s reach.

In his other Sacraments, our Savior would have Priests alone to be the ministers: not so with Baptism. Any one of the Faithful, whatever may be his or her condition, may administer Baptism. Nay more; an Infidel can, by Water and the invocation of the Blessed Trinity, confer upon others the Baptismal Grace, which he or she themselves do not possess, provided only that they really intend to do what holy Church does, when she administers the sacrament of Baptism.

Nor is this all. An unbaptized man or woman may be dying, and no one near them to administer this Sacrament; they are on the brink of eternity, and there is no hand nigh them to pour the Water of regeneration upon them—our Savior has lovingly provided for this necessity. Let this man or woman believe in Baptism; let them desire it in all the sincerity of their souls; let them entertain sentiments of compunction and love, such as are required of an adult when receiving Baptism—they are Baptized in desire, and heaven is open to them.

But what if it be a child that has not come to the use of reason? Our Savior’s words are plain: He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved. How, then, can this child be saved? the guilt of original sin is upon it, and it is incapable of making an act of faith? Fear not: the power of holy Baptism extends even so far as this. The faith of the Church will be imputed to this Child, which the Church is about to adopt as her own: let Water be but poured on the Child, in the name of the three Divine Persons—and it is a Christian forever. Baptized in the faith of the Church, this Child now possesses (and, as we say, personally) Faith, Hope and Charity: the sacramental Water has achieved this wondrous work. If the little innocent die, it goes straight to heaven.

These, O Jesus! are the admirable effects of the first of thy Sacraments. How truly does the Apostle say of thee, that thou willest all men to be saved! If this thy will be in some without its fulfillment, so that some children die without Baptism, it is because of the consequences which sin produces in the parents, and which thy Justice is not bound to prevent. And yet, how frequently does not thy mercy intervene, and procure the grace of Regeneration for children who, naturally, would have been excluded! Thus, the water of Baptism has been poured upon countless Babes, who were dying in the arms of their pagan parents, and the Angels received these little ones into their choirs. Knowing this, dear Savior, we are forced to exclaim with the Psalmist: Let us that live bless the Lord!

In the Greek Church, the fourth Sunday after Easter is called the Sunday of the Samaritan, because there is then read the passage of the Gospel, which relates the conversion of this woman.

The Roman Church begins, in her Night Office of this Sunday, the Canonical Epistles; and continues them till Pentecost Sunday.


In the Introit, the Church makes use of one of the finest canticles of the Royal Prophet, in order to celebrate the wonderful graces bestowed upon her by her Divine Spouse: she also rejoices at the thought that the Gentiles have been called to the knowledge of God, to justification and salvation.

Cantate Domino canticum novum, alleluia: quia mirabilia fecit Dominus, alleluia: ante conspectum gentium revelavit justitiam suam. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Sing to the Lord a new canticle, alleluia: because the Lord hath done wonderful things, alleluia: he hath revealed his justice in the sight of the Gentiles. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Ps. Salvavit sibi dextera ejus: et brachium sanctum ejus. ℣. Gloria Patri. Cantate.
Ps. His right hand, and his holy arm hath saved us. ℣. Glory, &c. Sing, &c.

Laden with the blessings of God, who, by his divine Sacraments, has made them to be one people, the Faithful should not be satisfied with observing the commandments—they should love them; they should also long after the Heaven that is promised them. The Church prays, in the Collect, that her children may receive the grace to do all this.

Deus, qui fidelium mentes unius efficis voluntatis: da populis tuis id amare quod præcipis, id desiderare quod promittis; ut inter mundanas varietates ibi nostra fixa sint corda, ubi vera sunt gaudia. Per Dominum.
O God, who makest the faithful to be of one mind: grant that thy people may love what thou commandest, and desire what thou promisest: that, amidst the uncertainties of this world, we may place our affections where there are true joys. Through, &c.

To this are added two of the Collects given at Second Sunday After Easter.

Lesson of the Epistle of Saint James the Apostle. Ch. I.

Dearly beloved: Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration. For of his own will hath he begotten us by the word of truth, that we might be some beginning of his creatures. You know, my dearest brethren. And let every man be swift to hear, but slow to speak, and slow to anger. For the anger of man worketh not the justice of God. Wherefore casting away all uncleanness, and abundance of naughtiness, with meekness receive the ingrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

Quote:The favors bestowed upon the Christian people proceed from the goodness of our Heavenly Father. He is the source of everything in the order of nature; and if, in the order of grace, we are become his Children, it is because he sent us his Consubstantial Word—the Word of Truth—whereby, by means of Baptism, we were made Children of God. Hence, we ought to imitate, as far as our weakness will permit, the divine calm of our Father who is in heaven; we ought to avoid that state of passionate excitement which savors of a terrestrial life, whereas ours should be of the heaven whither God calls us. The Apostle bids us receive, with meekness, the Word, which makes us what we are. He tells us that this Word is a germ of salvation grafted into our souls: only let us put no obstacle to its growth, and we shall be saved.

In the first Alleluia-Versicle, our Risen Jesus extols, in the words of the Royal Psalmist, the power of his Father, who gave him the victory of his Resurrection. In the second, we ourselves proclaim the praise of the immortal life of our divine Master; we proclaim it in the words of St. Paul.

Alleluia, alleluia. ℣. Dextera Domin fecit virtutem: dextera Domini exaltavit me.
Alleluia.  ℣. Christus resurgens ex mortuis, jam non moritur: mors illi ultra non dominabitur, alleluia.

Alleluia, alleluia. ℣. The right hand of the Lord hath displayed power: the right hand of the Lord hath raised me up.
Alleluia. ℣. Christ rising from the dead, dieth now no more: death shall no longer have dominion over him, alleluia.

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John. Ch. XVI.

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples: I go to him that sent me, and none of you asketh me: Whither goest thou? But because I have spoken these things to you, sorrow hath filled your heart. But I tell you the truth: it is expedient to you that I go: for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he is come, he will convince the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment. Of sin: because they believed not in me. And of justice: because I go to the Father; and you shall see me no longer. And of judgment: because the prince of this world is already judged. I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now. But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak; and the things that are to come, he shall shew you. He shall glorify me; because he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it to you.

Quote:The Apostles were sad at hearing Jesus say to them: I go. Are not we so, too? we who, thanks to the sacred Liturgy, have been in such close company with him, ever since the day of his Birth at Bethlehem. Yet a few days, and he is to ascend into heaven, and our Year is to lose the charm it possessed of following, day by day, the actions and words of our Emmanuel. Still, he would have us moderate our sadness. He tells us that, in his stead, the Paraclete, the Comforter, is about to descend upon the earth, and abide with us to the end of time, in order that he may give us light and strength. Let us make good use of these last hours with our Jesus: we shall soon have to be preparing for the Divine Guest, who is to take his place.

By these words, which were spoken shortly before his passion, our Savior does more than tell us of the coming of the Holy Ghost; he also shows us how terrible this coming will be to them that have rejected the Messias. His words are unusually mysterious: let us listen to the explanation given of them by St. Augustine, the Doctor of Doctors—When the Holy Ghost is come, says our Lord, he will convince the world of Sin, because they believed not in me. How great must, indeed, be the responsibility of them that have been witnesses of Jesus’ wonderful works, and yet will not receive his teaching! Jerusalem will be told that the Holy Ghost has come down upon the Disciples; and she will receive the news with the same indifference as she did the miracles which proved Jesus to be her Messias. The coming of the Holy Ghost will serve as a sort of signal of the destruction of the Deicide City. Jesus adds: The Paraclete will convince the world of Justice, because I go to the Father, and ye shall see me no longer. The Apostles, and they that believe their word, shall be just and holy by faith: they will believe in Him that is gone to the Father,—in Him whom they are to see no longer in this world. Jerusalem, on the contrary, will remember him only to blaspheme him: the holiness, the faith, the justice of them that shall believe will be her condemnation, and the Holy Ghost will leave her to her fate. Jesus continues: The Paraclete will convince the world of Judgment, because the prince of this world is already judged. They that follow not Christ Jesus, follow Satan: he is their prince, but his judgment is already pronounced. The Holy Ghost warns the followers of the world that their leader is already in eternal torments. Let them reflect well upon this; for, as St. Augustine observes, “the pride of man has no right to recken upon indulgence; let it but think of the hell into which even the angels were cast because they were proud.”

In the Offertory, the Christian makes use of the Psalmist’s words, to celebrate the favors bestowed by God upon his soul. He invites the whole earth to join him in his gratitude, and he does well; for the favors received by this Christian are offered to the whole of mankind; Jesus has invited all men to share by means of the Sacraments, in the graces of the Redemption.

Jubilate Deo universa terra, psalmum dicite nomini ejus: venite et audite, et narrabo vobis, omnes qui timetis Deum, quanta fecit Dominus animæ meæ, alleluia.
Sing to the Lord all the earth, sing a psalm to his name: come and hear, and I will relate to you, all you who fear God, what great things the Lord hath done for my soul, alleluia.

Holy Church delights on the contemplation of divine truth, so profusely communicated to her by our Risen Lord; she prays, in the following Prayer, that her children may lead such good lives in this world, as to merit the eternal enjoyment of the God of all truth.

Deus, qui nos per juhus sacrificii veneranda commercia, unius summæ divinitatis participes effecisti: præsta quæsumus; ut sicut tuam cognoscimus veritatem, sic eam dignis moribus assequamur. Per Dominum.
O God, who madest us partakers of the one Supreme Divinity, by the frequent celebration and participation of this holy sacrifice: grant, we beseech thee, that as we know thy truth, so we may live up to it by a worthy conduct of life. Through, &c.

To this are added two of the Secrets given at Second Sunday After Easter.

The Communion-Anthem repeats the mysterious words of the Gospel, which we have already explained; they remind us that the coming of the Holy Ghost may be either a reward or a punishment, according to the dispositions of men.

Cum venerit Paraclitus, Spiritus veritatis, ille arguet mundum de peccato, et de justitia, et de judicio. Alleluia, alleluia.
When the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, shall come, he will convince the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment. Alleluia, alleluia.

While giving thanks for the divine mystery just received, the Church, in the Postcommunion, teaches us that the Eucharist has the power of cleansing us from our sins, and preserving us from the dangers to which we are exposed.

Adesto nobis, Domine Deus noster: ut per hæc quæ fideliter sumpsimus, et purgemur a vitiis, et a periculis omnibus eruamur. Per Dominum.
Help us, O Lord, our God, that our sins may be forgiven, and that we may be delivered from all dangers by the sacrament, which we have received with faith. Through, &c.

To this are added two of the Postcommunions given at Second Sunday After Easter.

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We will close the day with the following fine Preface given in the ancient Gothic Missal, which was published by Dom Mabillon, and was formerly used in many of the Churches of Gaul.


Dignum et justum est; æquum et salutare est: nos tibi hic et ubique semper gratias agere, Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus. Sed in hac die Resurrectionis Domini nostri Jesu Christi Filii tui gratulatio major exsultat in cordibus nostris. Hic est enim dies, in quo nobis exorta est perpetuæ causa lætitiæ. Hic est dies resurrectionis humanæ, et vitæ natalis æternæ. Hic est dies, in quo satiati sumus mane misericordia tua: quo nobis ille Benedictus, qui venit in nomine Domine, Deus noster inluxit nobis. Hic enim Dominus noster Jesus Christus Filius tuus adimplens Prophetias temporibus præstitutis visitavit nos post biduum, die tertia resurrexit. Hic est enim dies tanti muneris benedictione signatus: qui hodierna festivitate gaudentibus in toto orbe mortalibus frequentatur. Quia omnium mors perempta est in cruce Christi; et in Resurrectione ejus omnium vita surrexit.

It is meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should, here and in all places, give thanks to thee, O Holy Lord, Almighty Father, Eternal God: but, on this day of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord, thy Son, a greater gladness is excited within our hearts. For this is the Day, on which there sprang up unto us the cause of perpetual joy. This is the Day of man’s resurrection, the birth-day of life everlasting. This is the Day, on which we were filled, in the morning, with thy mercy; the Day on which he who cometh in the name of the Lord, the Blessed One, our God, shone upon us. For this our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, fulfilling the prophecies in their appointed time, visited us after two days, and rose again on the third. This is the Day enriched with so great a blessing, that it is celebrated with joy by the whole of mankind; for the death of all men was put to death on the Cross of Christ, and the life of all men had its resurrection in his Resurrection.
First Sermon: The Fourth Sunday After Easter
by Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876

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"And when He is come, He will convince the world of sin."--John 16

Today's Gospel contains three reproofs by which, as Christ says, the Holy Ghost, whom He promises unto His Church, will convince the world of sin. We all know what Christ here designates by "the world." He means the geat number of people, who indifferent alike to God and the state of the soul after death, do not think of any thing but to be happy with temporal happiness here below; He means those whose only desire is to possess, and to enjoy as much and as long as possible; He means those; who, like unbelievers, are indifferent to the truths of faith, or who, if they confess the faith with their lips, do not trouble themselves about its precepts, promises, and threats, and thus practically lead the life of infidels.

Let us consider the manner in which the Holy Christ convinces the world of sin, and how inexcusable a crime it is in worldlings not to shun sin, but to think only of satisfying their desires. O Mary, thou purest of the pure, pray for us that we may abhor sin as thou didst abhor it! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

"The Holy Ghost will convince the world of sin." This protestation of Christ reminds us of another declaration made by Him, when in speaking of the hardened Jews, He said: " If I had not come they would not have sin, but now they have: no excuse for their sin." Yes, great and inexcusable is the sin of man who, gifted though he is with a rational soul, still prefers to walk the path of iniquity; for how abominable does not sin appear to man if he only looks at it in the light of reason!

The heathen already recognized the truth of this, for, as is well known, it was a doctrine of the philosophical sect of the Stoics, that sin was to be avoided for sin's sake, on account of its inherent abomination, even if otherwise it could be committed with impunity. This will become clear to us according to St. Ignatius, if we think of sin personified; that is, if we imagine a man who in his words, thoughts, wishes, and actions is nothing but the expression of some or other vice. Personified in this way we see sin in its real aspect, in its native horror. I will give you an example: We pass a drug-store, and see in the show window bottles filled with liquids of different colors red, green, yellow. If, however, we take of this liquid but one drop, it will appear almost colorless; one sees the color only in concentration, when a large quantity is together.

Thus also in regard to sin. Men may be: proud, miserly, envious, intemperate, idle, unchaste, and still we frequently perceive nothing of it in our daily intercourse with them. They do not always show their true disposition. On the contrary, they often seem free from all vice, and devoted to the pursuit of virtue. How horrible would that man appear whose entire being expressed nothing but idleness, pride, avarice, anger, envy, intemperance, or impurity! Further, as far as the consequences of sin are concerned, the experience of all past centuries has shown how terrible they are for men in particular and in general.

Holy Writ says very justly: "It is sin that causes the misfortunes of nations." What has caused all the wars that have raged to the horror and unhappiness of nations? Generally, overbearing pride, covetousness, or injustice. And what is the cause of the unhappiness of the people even in times of peace? I say it is the oppression of the poor, the want of brotherly love, and the corrupting influence which sin and vice exercise upon social life.

How happily would men live if in true charity they loved one another as they love themselves, and hence were always ready to assist one another. Were this the case, Paradise would seem to have returned to earth. It is sin also that undermines the happiness of families. If there were no unkindness, no anger, no intemperance, no other vices, how happily families would live! The same may be said in regard to every man taken singly.

What is the source and cause of the discontent of many a man, who has in a worldly way amply provided for his well-being? I answer: It is his uneasy conscience, the remorse that will not let him forget. It is sin that so often embitters life, and drives many a wretched soul, though surrounded by riches, to commit suicide.

Is not the Holy Ghost right to convince the world of sin? But how much more justly since the coming of Christ will He convince the world of sin, and reprove and judge it. As far as the sin of unbelief in general is concerned, how inexcusable is the state of the world! And of this sin man was and is still today guilty; for Christ is not yet recognized as God and Redeemer over the entire earth, and all human souls have not yet joined His holy Church!

Further, the sin of the Jews is unpardonable, in not having believed in Christ, and in not believing in Him now, though they witnessed all the miracles He performed, and still have in their hands the prophecies which were fulfilled in Him. Not less inexcusable are the heathens for not recognizing Christ after the Apostles had preached the Gospel over the whole earth, confirming their word with so many signs and miracles. If, as St. Paul said, the heathens seeing God so unmistakably manifested in the marvels of creation were culpable in not recognizing Him, how much more to be blamed are they in not recognizing Christ as God and Redeemer, since the marvels of the Gospel are not inferior to those of nature!

But they, also, who, though recognizing Christ as God and Redeemer, yet do not look upon His Church as the one true, the one saving Church, and so live separated from her, they, also, are not less inexcusable; and by their obstinacy and willful blindness, well deserve the menace of the Holy Ghost: "He will convince the world of sin." Finally, they are especially concerned, who, though they profess with their lips the true faith, and are children of the Church, yet live like heathens! How justly the Holy Ghost reproaches them for their sin, and with them the whole world buried, as it is, in the depths of sin!

How frightful, how horrible sin appears when we consider that God Himself became man, that through His infinite merit He might reconcile us to His Father! If we further consider what Christ taught, that men might learn to know God in His entire perfection and goodness; the example of virtue that Christ gave to the world, and the ingratitude with which He was repaid, if we consider how terrible, according to the teachings of revelation are for all eternity, the consequences to those who die in sin; full well we see that the Holy Ghost has only too much reason to convince the world of sin, especially in regard to those sins committed by children of His holy Church, who often sin more, and lead more shameful lives than Jews, Turks, or the heathens.

How many graces has not God given to the children of His Church to keep them free from sin, and to raise them when they are fallen! Add to this all that God has done in order to save each one individually. Yes, yes, the Holy Ghost gave unto us the children of His Church, to recognize by the light of faith the horror and abomination of sin, and He has the right to reprove men, and especially the children of the Church, because of their sins; for though they belong to the true Church, yet year after year they are adding sin upon sin!

Were they to see, as they ought, the entire wickedness and evil, the ingratitude of sin as the Holy Ghost shows it to them by the light of faith, they would understand how St. Catharine of Sienna could declare herself ready rather to be buried in the abyss of hell than to offend God by a single sin. They would if they had had the misfortune to be overcome by temptation, hasten, filled with terror and remorse, to cast off the yoke of sin, to be reconciled in truth with God, and to become a living temple of the Holy Ghost for time and eternity! Amen!

Second Sermon: The Fourth Sunday After Easter
by Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876

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"The Holy Ghost will convince the world of justice: because I go to the Father."--John 16.

The first reproof which the Holy Ghost shall make to the world, according to this prophecy of Christ, on the great final day of retribution, is particularly addressed to the wicked and impious men with whom this world abounds; to those men who heed not the commandments of God, and spurn the voice of the Church He has established; to those men who are so blinded by their passions that they realize not the abomination of sin, and see not the terrible consequences that must necessarily follow it. For this their fatal blindness shall the Holy Ghost reproach them a blindness which is all the more guilty and inexcusable since; Christ came into the world as a sacrifice for the remission of sin, and that the sins of men might be forgiven, died in unspeakable agony upon the cross!

The second reproof of the Holy Ghost is more particularly addressed to the children of the Church, who have the happiness of knowing and believing what revelation teaches us respecting the value and excellence of Christian perfection and the necessity of striving after it, and who, nevertheless, show very little zeal for the acquisition of that priceless treasure, who make no serious efforts to sanctify their souls. and who, far from hungering and thirsting after justice, content themselves with discharging, in a very indifferent manner, the duties which our holy religion imposes on its children.

Oh, how much reason has the Holy Ghost to convince the lukewarm children of the Church of Justice, that is, to reprove them for their indifference and want of true holiness! Mary, Queen of heaven, pray for us, that, like thee, we may hunger and thirst after Christian perfection! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

The Holy Ghost will convince the world of justice. He will convince the careless and imperfect Christian of not having acted up to the spirit of his faith; and what excuse shall he be able to offer in his defense? None, none whatsoever. For as the man who has plunged into every sinful excess shall stand mute and defenseless before this dread accuser, so also shall the careless and lukewarm Christian; for he had just the same reasons and motives as the other for reforming the irregularity of his life and serving God with fervor and fidelity. Human reason might have taught the former that his conduct was wrong, guilty and altogether unjustifiable; but human reason might have taught this same to the latter; for if the heinousness of sin is such that human reason clearly beholds it and stands horrified at the sight, virtue, on the other hand, possesses so many charms, that the natural light of each man's mind reveals to him its surpassing excellence and beauty.

Human reason, I say, unenlightened by faith, is capable of teaching all this to man; and hence it is that many of the heathen philosophers, while they affirmed that moral evil should be avoided on account of its inherent abomination, though no punishment were attached to it, maintained, on the other hand, that if the practise of virtue were attended by no other recompense, its own intrinsic perfection and loveliness should induce and oblige all reasonable beings to love and practise it with all their might, and to shape their whole life ami conduct according to its admirable dictates.

How inexpressibly beautiful, attractive and pleasing will every virtue appear if we consider it as being represented and in some sort embodied in the person of a man, whose whole life and character is a perfect reflex of humility, meekness, purity, kindness, goodness, patience or brotherly-love! How happy would the human race in general be, if every one obeyed the voice of his conscience, even though mankind were not so happy as to possess the enlightenment of faith.

If the children of the Church, at least, endeavored to practise the commandment of brotherly-love as Christ has given it, they would mutually love and assist each other, and paradise would once more bloom upon earth. And yet how little do Christians think of living in conformity with these rules of virtue and justice, although faith and reason combine to show the necessity of doing so.

But what shall we say when we think of those children of the Church who are filled with the spirit of the world and live only for the world! Of those children of the Church who are so little moved by the words and example of their divine Master that they neglect those exercises of Christian perfection which He has pronounced eight times blessed, and care not to follow Him on the road to salvation!

But what must be our sentiments on considering the unworthy life led by so many Christians, when we recall to mind the numberless means of sanctification which Christ purchased for us by His death and daily dispenses to us through the ministry of His Church? There are the seven sacraments, which, like so many streams issuing from an inexhaustible source, produce throughout the Church a constant flow of graces and benedictions. There is the holy sacrifice of the Mass, wherein we see daily renewed upon our altars the immolation of the Son of God, at the cost of whose blood we were ransomed forever from the captivity of Satan. There is, in fine, not to mention many others, the precious gift of prayer, by means of which, offered in His name, we can be safely delivered from all the evils which oppress us and enriched with whatever graces and favors we may think proper to ask for.

To these may be added the inspirations and impulses of the Holy Ghost, the example of those saints whom the Church has raised upon her altars, as also the edifying lives of the many zealous Christians who are still to be found amongst us, and whose example whispers to us the admonition St. Augustine heard, when reflecting upon the lives of the; saints: "Could and can these and those why then not I?"

Happy we, if we faithfully persevere in the love and service of Christ--then will His promise be wholly fulfilled in us: "I give you My peace, a peace which the world neither gives nor is able to give; the sweetness of which it does not know and which it can not imagine." Great, indeed, is the sweetness which this blessed peace infuses into the soul, a hundred-fold more precious, according to the words of Christ Himself, than any thing that this world can offer to its children. It is, in fact, nothing else than a foretaste of heavenly bliss which, as St. John of the Cross says, the saints enjoy already here upon earth.

If such be our recompense during this present life, what happiness and glory must be reserved for us in the world to come! Christ has gone thither before us, and with Him Mary and numberless saints. What would have been our feelings, had we been present on Mount Olivet at the moment that Christ ascended into heaven? We certainly would have cried aloud to the departing Redeemer: "Think of me in Thy kingdom."

Why do we think so little of heaven? and why do we avail ourselves so little of those opportunities that are granted us of gaining daily and hourly, by a truly virtuous life, additional merits for heaven, and thus increasing continually the glory and happiness that are reserved for us hereafter? Is it not strange; nay, is it not amazing and quite incomprehensible, that in spite of such considerations as these, and in spite of all the graces and means of sanctification which Christ holds out to us, so many Christians should still be found leading careless and indifferent lives, so many who have neither taste nor relish for the things of God, so many who care not to regulate their conduct according to the maxims of our holy religion?

Good reason, indeed, will the Holy Ghost have to convince the world of justice; good reason to reproach, before assembled mankind, those who during life were deaf to His secret reproaches; good reason, especially, to confound the slothful and tepid Christian for his want of fervor in the service of God. It is, indeed, much easier to understand the wickedness and malice of the enemies of the true faith than the dullness and indifference cf those who call themselves its friends and supporters.

Christians, who have been listening to me, what does your conscience say? Are you of the number of those who do not hunger after righteousness and holiness of life? Pray to the Holy Ghost, that He may inspire and strengthen you, that you may follow, as true children of the Church, in the footsteps of the saints, and that you may merit to hear en the last oreat day not the reproof but rather the approval and commendation of the Holy Ghost! Amen!