Sixth Week after Easter [Rogation Days and Feast of the Ascension included]
Rogation Days – Monday
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)

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It seems strange that there should be anything like mourning during Paschal Time: and yet these three days are days of penance. A moment’s reflection, however, will show us that the institution of the Rogation Days is a most appropriate one. True, our Savior told us, before his Passion, that the children of the Bridegroom should not fast whilst the Bridegroom is with them: but is not sadness in keeping with these the last hours of Jesus’ presence on earth? Were not his Mother and Disciples oppressed with grief at the thought of their having so soon to lose Him, whose company had been to them a foretaste of heaven?

Let us see how the Liturgical Year came to have inserted in its Calendar these three days, during which Holy Church, though radiant with the joy of Easter, seems to go back to her Lenten observances. The Holy Ghost, who guides her in all things, willed that this completion of her Paschal Liturgy should owe its origin to a devotion peculiar to one of the most illustrious and venerable Churches of southern Gaul: it was the Church of Vienne.

The second half of the 5th century had but just commenced, when the country round Vienne, which had been recently conquered by the Burgundians, was visited with calamities of every kind. The people were struck with fear at these indications of God’s anger. St. Mamertus, who, at the time, was Bishop of Vienne, prescribed three days’ public expiation, during which the Faithful were to devote themselves to penance, and walk in procession chanting appropriate Psalms. The three days preceeding the Ascension were the ones chosen. Unknown to himself, the holy Bishop was thus instituting a practice, which was afterwards to form part of the Liturgy of the universal Church.

The Churches of Gaul, as might naturally be expected, were the first to adopt the devotion. St. Alcimus Avitus, who was one of the earliest successors of St. Mamertus in the See of Vienne, informs us that the custom of keeping the Rogation Days was, at that time, firmly established in his Diocese. St. Cæsarius of Arles, who lived in the early part of the 6th century, speaks of their being observed in countries afar off; by which he meant, at the very least, to designate all that portion of Gaul which was under the Visigoths. That the whole of Gaul soon adopted the custom, is evident from the Canons drawn up at the first Council of Orleans, held in 511, and which represented all the Provinces that were in allegiance to Clovis. The regulations, made by the Council regarding the Rogations, give us a great idea of the importance attached to their observance. Not only abstinence from flesh-meat, but even fasting, is made of obligation. Masters are also required to dispense their servants from work, in order that they may assist at the long functions which fill up almost the whole of these three days. In 567, the Council of Tours, likewise, imposed the precept of fasting during the Rogation Days, and as to the obligation of resting from servile work, we find it recognised in the Capitularia of Charlemagne and Charles the Bald.

The main part of the Rogation rite originally consisted (at least in Gaul), in singing canticles of supplication whilst passing from place to place,—and hence the word Procession. We learn from St. Cæsarius of Arles, that each day’s Procession lasted six hours; and that when the Clergy became tired, the women took up the chanting. The Faithful of those days had not made the discovery, which was reserved for modern times, that one requisite for religious Processions is that they be as short as possible.

The Procession for the Rogation Days was preceded by the Faithful receiving the Ashes upon their heads, as now at the beginning of Lent; they were then sprinkled with Holy Water, and the Procession began. It was made up of the Clergy and people of several of the smaller parishes, who were headed by the Cross of the principal Church, which conducted the whole ceremony. All walked bare-foot, singing the Litany, Psalms and Antiphons. They entered the Churches that lay on their route, and sang an Antiphon or Responsory appropriate to each.

Such was the original ceremony of the Rogation Days, and it was thus observed for a very long period. The Monk of St. Gaul’s, who has left us so many interesting details regarding the life of Charlemagne, tells us that this holy Emperor used to join the Processions of these three Days, and walk bare-footed from his palace to the Stational Church. We find St. Elizabeth of Hungary, in the 14th century, setting the like example: during the Rogation Days, she used to mingle with the poorest women of the place, and walked bare-footed, wearing a dress of coarse stuff. St. Charles Borromeo, who restored in his Diocese of Milan so many ancient practices of piety, was sure not to be indifferent about the Rogation Days. He spared neither word nor example to reanimate this salutary devotion among his people. He ordered fasting to be observed during these three Days; he fasted himself on bread and water. The Procession, in which all the Clergy of the City were obliged to join, and which began after the sprinkling of Ashes, started from the Cathedral at an early hour in the morning, and was not over till three or four o’clock in the afternoon. Thirteen Churches were visited on the Monday; nine, on the Tuesday; and eleven, on the Wednesday. The saintly Archbishop celebrated Mass and preached in one of these Churches.

If we compare the indifference shown by the Catholics of the present age, for the Rogation Days, with the devotion wherewith our ancestors kept them, we cannot but acknowledge that there is a great falling off in faith and piety. Knowing, as we do, the importance attached to these Processions by the Church, we cannot help wondering how it is that there are so few among the Faithful who assist at them. Our surprise increased when we find persons preferring their own private devotions to these public Prayers of the Church, which to say nothing of the result of good example, merit far greater graces than any exercises of our own fancying.

The whole Western Church soon adopted the Rogation Days. They were introduced into England at an early period; so, likewise, into Spain, and Germany. Rome herself sanctioned them by her own observing them; this she did in the 8th century, during the Pontificate of St. Leo the Third. She gave them the name of the Lesser Litanies, in contradistinction to the Procession of the 25th of April, which she calls the Greater Litanies. With regard to the Fast which the Churches of Gaul observed during the Rogation Days, Rome did not adopt that part of the institution. Fasting seemed to her to throw a gloom over the joyous forty days, which our Risen Jesus grants to his Disciples; she therefore enjoined only abstinence from flesh-meat during the Rogation Days. The Church of Milan, which, as we have just seen, so strictly observes the Rogations, keeps them on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday after the Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension, that is to say, after the forty days devoted to the celebration of the Resurrection.

If, then, we would have a correct idea of the Rogation Days, we must consider them as Rome does,—that is, as a holy institution which, without interrupting our Paschal joy, tempers it. The purple vestments used during the Procession and Mass do not signify that our Jesus has fled from us, but that the time for his departure is approaching. By prescribing Abstinence for these three days, the Church would express how much she will feel the loss of her Spouse, who is so soon to be taken from her.

In England, as in many other countries, abstinence is no longer of obligation for the Rogation Days. This should be an additional motive to induce the Faithful to assist at the Processions and Litanies, and, by their fervently uniting in the prayers of the Church, to make some compensation for the abolition of the law of Abstinence. We need so much penance, and we take so little! If we are truly in earnest, we shall be most fervent in doing the little that is left us to do.

The object of the Rogation Days is to appease the anger of God, and avert the chastisements which the sins of the world so justly deserve; moreover, to draw down the divine blessing on the fruits of the earth. The Litany of the Saints is sung during the Procession, which is followed by a special Mass said in the Stational Church, or, if there be no Station appointed, in the Church whence the Procession first started.

The Litany of the Saints is one of the most efficacious of prayers. The Church makes use of it on all solemn occasions, as a means for rendering God propitious through the intercession of the whole court of heaven. They who are prevented from assisting at the Procession, should recite the Litany in union with holy Church: they will thus share in the graces attached to the Rogation Days; they will be joining in the supplications now being made throughout the entire world; they will be proving themselves to be Catholics.

The Mass of the Rogations, which is the same for all three days, speaks to us, throughout, of the power and necessity of prayer. The Church uses the Lenten colour, to express the expiatory character of the function she is celebrating: but she is evidently full of confidence; she trusts to the love of her Risen Jesus, and that gives her hope of her prayers being granted.

For the convenience of the Faithful we also insert the Litany.
Ant. Exsurge, Domine, adjuva nos: et libera nos, propter gloriam nominis tui, alleluia.
Ant. Arise, O Lord, help us, and deliver us, for the glory of thy Name, alleluia.

Ps. Deus, auribus nostris audivimus: Patres nostri annuntiaverunt nobis. ℣. Gloria Patri. Exsurge.
Ps. We have heard, O God, with our ears: our Fathers have told it unto us. ℣. Glory, &c. Arise, &c.

Kyrie, eleison.
Lord, have mercy on us.

Christe, eleison.
Christ, have mercy on us.

Kyrie, eleison.
Lord, have mercy on us.

Christe, audi nos.
Christ, hear us.

Christe, exaudi nos.
Christ, graciously hear us.

Pater de cælis Deus, miserere nobis.
God, the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.

Fili Redemptor mundi Deus,
God, the Son, the Redeemer of the world,

Spiritus Sancte Deus,
God, the Holy Spirit,

Sancta Trinitas, unus Deus,
Holy Trinity, one God,

Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis.
Holy Mary, pray for us.

Sancta Dei Genetrix,
Holy Mother of God,

Sancta Virgo virginum,
Holy Virgin of virgins,

Sancte Michæl,
Saint Michael,

Sancte Gabriel,
Saint Gabriel,

Sancte Raphæl,
Saint Raphael,

Omnes sancti Angeli et Archangeli,
All ye holy Angels and Archangels,

Omnes sancti beatorum Spirituum ordines,
All ye holy orders of blessed Spirits,

Sancte Ioannes Baptista,
Saint John the Baptist,

Sancte Ioseph,
Saint Joseph,

Omnes sancti Patriarchæ et Prophetæ,
All ye holy Patriarchs and Prophets,

Sancte Petre,
Saint Peter,

Sancte Paule,
Saint Paul,

Sancte Andrea,
Saint Andrew,

Sancte Iacobe,
Saint James,

Sancte Ioannes,
Saint John,

Sancte Thoma,
Saint Thomas,

Sancte Iacobe,
Saint James,

Sancte Philippe,
Saint Phillip,

Sancte Bartolomæe,
Saint Bartholomew,

Sancte Matthæe,
Saint Matthew,

Sancte Simon,
Saint Simon,

Sancte Thaddæe,
Saint Thaddeus,

Sancte Matthia,
Saint Matthias,

Sancte Barnaba,
Saint Barnabas,

Sancte Luca,
Saint Luke,

Sancte Marce,
Saint Mark,

Omnes sancti Apostoli et Evangelistæ,
All ye holy Apostles and Evangelists,

Omnes sancti discipuli Domini,
All ye holy Disciples of the Lord,

Omnes sancti Innocentes,
All ye holy Innocents,

Sancte Stephane,
Saint Stephen,

Sancte Laurenti,
Saint Lawrence,

Sancte Vincenti,
Saint Vincent,

Sancti Fabiane et Sebastiane,
Saints Fabian and Sebastian,

Sancti Ioannes et Paule,
Saints John and Paul,

Sancti Cosma et Damiane,
Saints Cosmas and Damian,

Sancti Gervasi et Protasi,
Saints Gervase and Protase,

Omnes sancti martyres,
All ye holy Martyrs,

Sancte Sylvester,
Saint Sylvester,

Sancte Gregori,
Saint Gregory,

Sancte Ambrosi,
Saint Ambrose,

Sancte Augustine,
Saint Augustine,

Sancte Hieronyme,
Saint Jerome,

Sancte Martine,
Saint Martin,

Sancte Nicolæ,
Saint Nicholas,

Omnes sancti Pontifices et Confessores,
All ye holy Popes and Cofessors,

Omnes sancti Doctores,
All ye Holy Doctors,

Sancte Antoni,
Saint Anthony,

Sancte Benedicte,
Saint Benedict,

Sancte Bernarde,
Saint Bernard,

Sancte Dominice,
Saint Dominic,

Sancte Francisce,
Saint Francis,

Omnes sancti Sacerdotes et Levitæ,
All ye holy Priests and Levites,

Omnes sancti Monachi et Eremitæ,
All ye holy Monks and Hermits,

Sancta Anna,
Saint Ann,

Sancta Maria Magdalena,
Saint Mary Magdalen,

Sancta Agatha,
Saint Agatha,

Sancta Lucia,
Saint Lucy,

Sancta Agnes,
Saint Agnes,

Sancta Cæcilia,
Saint Cecilia,

Sancta Catharina,
Saint Catherine,

Sancta Anastasia,
Saint Anastasia,

Omnes sanctæ Virgines et Viduæ,
All ye holy Virgins and Widows,

Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Dei, intercedite pro nobis.
All ye holy men and women, Saints of God, intercede for us.

Propitius esto, parce nobis, Domine.
Be merciful, spare us, O Lord.

Propitius esto, exaudi nos, Domine.
Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Lord.

Ab omni malo, libera nos, Domine.
From all evil, deliver us, O Lord.

Ab omni peccato,
From all sin,

Ab ira tua,
From Thy wrath,

A subitanea et improvisa morte,
From sudden and unprovided death,

Ab insidiis diaboli,
From the snares of the devil,

Ab ira et odio et omni mala voluntate,
From anger, hatred, and all ill-will,

A spiritu fornicationis,
From the spirit of fornication,

A fulgure et tempestate,
From lightning and tempest,

A flagello terræmotus,
From the scourge of earthquake,

A peste, fame et bello,
From plague, famine and war,

A morte perpetua,
From everlasting death,

Per mysterium sanctæ Incarnationis tuæ,
Through the mystery of Thy holy Incarnation,

Per adventum tuum,
Through Thy coming,

Per nativitatem tuam,
Through Thy nativity,

Per baptismum et sanctum ieiunium tuum,
Through Thy Baptism and holy fasting,

Per crucem et passionem tuam,
Through Thy Cross and Passion,

Per mortem et sepulturam tuam,
Through Thy Death and Burial,

Per sanctam resurrectionem tuam,
Through Thy Holy Resurrection,

Per admirabilem ascensionem tuam,
Through Thy wondrous Ascension,

Per adventum Spiritus Sancti Paracliti,
Through the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete,

In die iudicii,
In the day of judgment,

Peccatores, te rogamus, audi nos.
We sinners, we beseech Thee, hear us.

Ut nobis parcas,
That Thou wouldst spare us,

Ut nobis indulgeas,
That Thou wouldst pardon us,

Ut ad veram pænitentiam nos perducere digneris,
That Thou wouldst bring us to true repentance,

Ut Ecclesiam tuam sanctam regere et conservare digneris,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to govern and preserve Thy Holy Church,

Ut domum Apostolicum et omnes ecclesiasticos ordines in sancta religione conservare digneris,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to preserve the Bishop of the Apostolic See, and all orders of the Church in holy religion,

Ut inimicos sanctæ Ecclesiæ humiliare digneris,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to humble the enemies of Holy Church,

Ut regibus et principibus christianis pacem et veram concordiam donare digneris,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to grant peace and true concord to Christian kings and princes,

Ut cuncto populo christiano pacem et unitatem largiri digneris,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to grant peace and unity to all Christian people,

Ut omnes errantes ad unitatem Ecclesiæ revocare, et infideles universos ad Evangelii lumen perducere digneris,
That Thou wouldst restore to the unity of the Church all who have strayed from the truth, and lead all unbelievers into the light of the Gospel,

Ut nosmetipsos in tuo sancto servitio confortare et conservare digneris,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to confirm and preserve us in Thy holy service,

Ut mentes nostras ad cælestia desideria erigas,
That Thou wouldst lift up our minds to heavenly desires,

Ut omnibus benefactoribus nostris sempiterna bona retribuas,
That Thou wouldst render eternal blessing to all our benefactors,

Ut animas nostras, fratrum, propinquorum et benefactorum nostrorum ab æterna damnatione eripias,
That Thou wouldst deliver our souls, and the souls of our brethren, relations, and benefactors from eternal damnation,

Ut fructus terræ dare et conservare digneris,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to give and preserve the fruits of the earth,

Ut omnibus fidelibus defunctis requiem æternam donare digneris,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to grant eternal rest to all the faithful departed,

Ut nos exaudire digneris,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe graciously to hear us,

Fili Dei, te rogamus, audi nos.
Son of God, we beseech Thee, hear us.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, parce nobis, Domine.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, exaudi nos, Domine.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.

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

Christe, audi nos.
Christ, hear us.

Christe, exaudi nos.
Christ, graciously hear us.

Kyrie, eleison.
Lord, have mercy on us.

Christe, eleison.
Christ, have mercy on us.

Kyrie, eleison.
Lord, have mercy on us.

Pater noster … (In secret.)
Our Father … (In secret.)

℣. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem.
℟. Sed libera nos a malo.

℣. And lead us not into temptation.
℟. but deliver us from evil.

Psalm 69

Deus, in adiutorium meum intende: * Domine, ad adiuvandum me festina.
O God, come to my assistance: * O Lord, make haste to help me.

Confundantur, et revereantur * qui quærunt animam meam.
Let them be ashamed and confounded, that seek after my soul.

Avertantur retrorsum, et erubescant, * qui volunt mihi mala.
Let them be turned backward and put to confusion, that desire my hurt.

Avertantur statim erubescentes, * qui dicunt mihi: Euge, euge.
Let them be turned back with shame, that say unto me, ’Tis well, ’Tis well.

Exultent et lætentur in te, omnes qui quærunt te, * et dicant semper: Magnificetur Dominus: qui diligunt salutare tuum.
But let all those who seek Thee be joyful and glad in Thee, and let such as love Thy salvation say continually: Let the Lord be magnified.

Ego vero egenus et pauper sum: * Deus adiuva me.
But I am poor and needy: help me, O God.

Adiutor meus et liberator meus es tu: * Domine, ne moreris.
Thou art my helper and deliverer, O Lord, do not delay.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, * et Spiritui Sancto.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper: * et in sæcula sæculorum, Amen.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

℣. Salvos fac servos tuos.
℟. Deus meus, sperantes in te.

℣. Save Thy servants.
℟. Trusting in thee, O my God.

℣. Esto nobis, Domine, turris fortitudinis.
℟. A facie inimici.

℣. Be unto us, O Lord, a tower of strength.
℟. In the face of the enemy.

℣. Nihil proficiat inimicus in nobis.
℟. Et filius iniquitatis non apponat nocere nobis.

℣. Let not the enemy prevail against us.
℟. Nor the son of iniquity have power to harm us.

℣. Domine, non secundum peccata nostra facias nobis.
℟. Neque secundum iniquitates nostras retribuas nobis.

℣. O Lord, deal not with us according to our sins.
℟. Neither requite us according to our iniquities.

℣. Oremus pro Pontifice nostro N.
℟. Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.

℣. Let us pray for our Sovereign Pontiff N.
℟. The Lord preserve him and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies.

℣. Oremus pro benefactoribus nostris.
℟. Retribuere dignare, Domine, omnibus nobis bona facientibus propter nomen tuum, vitam æternam. Amen.

℣. Let us pray for our benefactors.
℟. Vouchsafe, O Lord, for Thy Name’s sake, to reward with eternal life all those who do us good. Amen.

℣. Oremus pro fidelibus defunctis.
℟. Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.

℣. Let us pray for the faithful departed.
℟. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.

℣. Requiescant in pace.
℟. Amen.

℣. May they rest in peace.
℟. Amen.

℣. Pro fratribus nostris absentibus.
℟. Salvos fac servos tuos, Deus meus, sperantes in te.

℣. For our absent brethren.
℟. Save Thy servants who hope in Thee, O my God.

℣. Mitte eis, Domine, auxilium de sancto.
℟. Et de Sion tuere eos.

℣. Send them help, O Lord, from Thy holy place.
℟. And from Sion protect them.

℣. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.
℟. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.

℣. O Lord, hear my prayer.
℟. And let my cry come unto Thee.

℣. Dominus vobiscum.
℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

Deus, cui proprium est misereri semper et parcere: suscipe deprecationem nostram; ut nos, et omnes famulos tuos, quos delictorum catena constringit, miseratio tuæ pietatis clementer absolvat.
O God, Whose property is always to have mercy and to spare, receive our petition; that we and all Thy servants who are bound by the chain of sin may, by the compassion of Thy goodness mercifully be absolved.

Exaudi, quæsumus, Domine, supplicum preces, et confitentium tibi parce peccatis: ut pariter nobis indulgentiam tribuas benignus et pacem.
Graciously hear, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the prayers of Thy supplicants and pardon the sins of those who confess to Thee: that in Thy bounty Thou mayest grant us both pardon and peace.

Ineffabilem nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam clementer ostende: ut simul nos et a peccatis omnibus exuas, et a pœnis quas pro his meremur, eripias. In Thy clemency, O Lord, show unto us Thine ineffabile mercy; that Thou mayest both free us from sins and deliver us from the punishments which we deserve for them.

Deus, qui culpa offenderis, pænitentia placaris: preces populi tui supplicantis propitius respice; et flagella tuæ iracundiæ, quæ pro peccatis nostris meremur, averte.
O God, who by sin art offended, and by penance appeased, mercifully regard the prayers of Thy people making supplication to Thee; and turn away the scourges of Thy wrath which we deserve for our sins.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, miserere famulo tuo Pontifici nostro N., et dirige eum secundum tuam clementiam in viam salutis æternæ: ut, te donante, tibi placita cupiat, et tota virtute perficiat.
Almighty and everlasting God, have mercy upon Thy servant, N, our Sovereign Pontiff: and direct him according to Thy clemency into the way of everlasting salvation: that, by Thy grace, he may desire those things which are pleasing to Thee, and accomplish them with all his strength.

Deus, a quo sancta desideria, recta consilia, et iusta sunt opera: da servis tuis illam, quam mundus dare non potest, pacem; ut et corda nostra mandatis tuis dedita, et, hostium sublata formidine, tempora sint tua protectione tranquilla.
O God, from Whom are holy desires, right counsels, and just works: grant to Thy servants the peace which the world cannot give; that our hearts may be devoted to the keeping of Thy commandments, and the fear of enemies being removed, the times, by Thy protection, may be peaceful.

Ure igne Sancti Spiritus renes nostros et cor nostrum, Domine: ut tibi casto corpore serviamus, et mundo corde placeamus.
Inflame, O Lord, our reins and hearts with the fire of the Holy Ghost: that we may serve Thee with a chaste body and please Thee with a clean heart.

Fidelium, Deus omnium Conditor et Redemptor, animabus famulorum famularumque tuarum remissionem cunctorum tribue peccatorum: ut indulgentiam, quam semper optaverunt, piis supplicationibus consequantur.
O God, the Creator and redeemer of all the faithful, give to the souls of Thy servants departed the remission of all their sins: that through pious supplications they may obtain the pardon they have always desired.

Actiones nostras, quæsumus, Domine, aspirando præveni et adiuvando prosequere: ut cuncta oratio et operatio a te semper incipiat et per te cœpta finiatur.
Direct, we beseech Thee, O Lord, our actions by Thy holy inspirations and carry them on by Thy gracious assistance: that every prayer and work of ours may begin always from Thee, and through Thee be happily ended.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui vivorum dominaris simul et mortuorum, omniumque misereris, quos tuos fide et opere futuros esse prænoscis: te supplices exoramus; ut pro quibus effundere preces decrevimus, quosque vel præsens sæculum adhuc in carne retinet vel futurum iam exutos corpore suscepit, intercedentibus omnibus Sanctis tuis, pietatis tuæ clementia, omnium delictorum suorum veniam consequantur. Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum.
Almighty and everlasting God, who hast dominion over the living and the dead, and art merciful to all, of whom Thou foreknowest that they will be Thine by faith and good works: we humbly beseech Thee; that they for whom we intend to pour forth our prayers, whether this present world still detain them in the flesh, or the world to come hath already received them out of their bodies, may, through the intercession of all Thy Saints, by the clemency of Thy goodness, obtain the remission of all their sins. Through Christ our Lord.

℣. Dominus vobiscum.
℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with Thy spirit.

℣. Exaudiat nos omnipotens et misericors Dominus.
℟. Amen.

℣. May the almighty and most merciful Lord graciously hear us.
℟. Amen.

℣. Et fidelium animæ per misericordiam Dei requiescant in pace.
℟. Amen.

℣. And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
℟. Amen.

Mass of the Rogation Days

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The Introit, which is taken from the Psalms, tells us of the mercy of God, and how he graciously hears our prayer the moment we make it.

Exaudivit de templo sancto suo vocem meam, alleluia: et clamor meus in conspectu ejus introivit in aures ejus. Alleluia, alleluia.
He hath graciously heard my voice from his holy temple, alleluia: and my cry before him came into his ears. Alleluia, alleluia.

Ps. Diligam te, Domine, virtus mea: Dominus firmamentum meum et refugium meum, et liberator meus. ℣. Gloria Patri. Exaudivit.
Ps. I will love thee, O Lord, my strength! The Lord is my rock, my refuge, and my deliverer. ℣. Glory, &c. He hath, &c.

In the Collect, the Church represents the necessities of her children to Almighty God. As a motive for his granting them his protection, she speaks of the confidence wherewith they ask it.

Præsta, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus, ut, qui in afflictione nostra de tua pietate confidimus, contra adversa omnia, tua semper protectione muniamur. Per Dominum.
Grant, we beseech thee, O Almighty God, that we, who in our afflictions rely on thy goodness, may, under thy protection, be defended against all adversities. Through, &c.

Then are added the other Collects, as in the Mass of the Fifth Sunday after Easter.

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

Dearly beloved: Confess therefore your sins one to another: and pray one for another, that you may be saved. For the continual prayer of a just man availeth much. Elias was a man passible like unto us: and with prayer he prayed that it might not rain upon the earth, and it rained not for three years and six months. And he prayed again: and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. My brethren, if any of you err from the truth, and one convert him: He must know that he who causeth a sinner to be converted from the error of his way, shall save his soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins.

Quote:Again it is the Apostle St. James the Less, who speaks to us in today’s Epistle; and could any words be more appropriate? One of the motives for the institution of the Rogation Days is the obtaining from God the blessing of weather favourable to the fruits of the earth; and St. James here adduces the example of Elias, to show us that prayer can stay or bring down the rain of heaven. Let us imitate the faith of this Prophet, and beg of our heavenly Father to give and preserve what we require for our nourishment. Another object of the Rogations is the obtaining the forgiveness of sin. If we pray with fervour for our brethren who are gone astray, we shall obtain for them the graces they stand in need of. We shall perhaps never know, during this life, them whom our prayer, united with the prayer of the Church, shall have converted from the horror of their way; but the Apostle assures us, that our charity will receive a rich reward,—the mercy of God upon ourselves.

In order the better to express mourning and compunction in the Mass of the Rogation Days, the Church not only uses purple Vestments, she also retrenches somewhat of the joy of her Canticles. She allows herself but one Alleluia-Versicle; but it is full of hope in the goodness of her Lord.


℣. Confitemini Domino, quoniam bonus: quoniam in sæculum misericordia ejus.
℣. Praise the Lord, for he is good: and his mercy endureth forever.

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke. Ch. XI.

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples: Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go to him at midnight, and shall say to him: Friend, lend me three loaves, Because a friend of mine is come off his journey to me, and I have not what to set before him. And he from within should answer, and say: Trouble me not, the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. Yet if he shall continue knocking, I say to you, although he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend; yet, because of his importunity, he will rise, and give him as many as he needeth. And I say to you, Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. And which of you, if he ask his father bread, will he give him a stone? or a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he reach him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father from heaven give the good Spirit to them that ask him?

Quote:Could anything show us the all-powerfulness of Prayer more clearly than do these words of our Gospel? By thus putting them before us, holy Church shows us the importance of the Rogation Days, since it is during them that she shows us the efficacy of supplication, which triumps over the refusal of God himself. The reader, who has followed us thus far in our Work, must have observed how the passages of Holy Writ, selected by the Liturgy, form a continued series of instruction appropriate to each day. During these three days, we are labouring to appease the anger of heaven; could there be a more fitting occasion for our being told that God cannot resist persevering prayer? The Litanies we have been chanting in Process are a model of this holy obstinancy, or, as our Gospel terms it, this importunity, of Prayer. How often did we not repeat the same words! Lord, have mercy on us!—Deliver us, O Lord!—We beseech thee, hear us! The divine Paschal Lamb, who is about to be offered on our Altar, will mediate for us; a few moments hence, and he will unite and join his ever efficacious intercession with our poor prayers. With such a pledge as this, we shall leave the holy place, feeling sure that these prayers have not been made in vain. Let us, therefore, make a resolution to keep aloof no longer from the holy practices of the Church; let us always prefer to pray with her, than to pray by ourselves; she is the Spouse of Jesus, she is our common Mother,—and she always wishes us to take part with her in the prayers she offers up. Besides, is it not for us that she makes these prayers?

The Offertory is taken from the Psalms. It gives praises to God, who, notwithstanding our being poor sinners, permits himself to be overcome by our prayers, rises in our defense, and gives us all we stand in need of.

Confitebor Domino nimis in ore meo: et in medio multorum laudabo eum, qui adstitit a dextris pauperis: ut salvam faceret a persequentibus animam meam, alleluia.
I will give great thanks to the Lord with my mouth; and in the midst of many I will praise him, because he hath stood at the right hand of the poor, to save my soul from persecutors, alleluia.

The bonds of sin enchained us, and, of ourselves, we could not have returned to our Creator; but the Paschal Lamb has restored us our liberty; and as often as his Sacrifice is renewed upon the Altar, our deliverance is achieved afresh. The Church expresses this in the Secret: her confidence rests on the divine Victim, which the Father has given us, and which she is now about to offer to him.

Hæc munera, quæsumus, Domine, et vincula nostræ pravitatis absolvant, et tuæ nobis misericordiæ dona concilient. Per Dominum.
May these offerings, O Lord, loosen the bonds of our wickedness, and obtain for us the gift of thy mercy. Through, &c.

Then are added the other Secrets, as given in the Mass of the Fifth Sunday after Easter.

The Communion-Anthem is the repetition of the consoling words of our Savior, as given us in the Gospel. It is he himself who authorizes us to ask for all whatsoever we please; we cannot ask too much. None of us would have dared to say: “Whosoever makes a petition to God, will have his petition granted:”—but now that the Son of God has come from heaven to teach us this astounding truth, we should never tire of repeating it.

Petite, et accipietis: quærite, et invenietis; pulsate, et aperietur vobis: omnis enim qui petit accipit: et qui quærit invenit: et pulsanti aperietur, alleluia.
Ask, and it shall be given to you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened, alleluia.

The Sacrifice of peace is consummated, and the Church gives free scope to her confidence by the words of thanksgiving expressed in the Postcommunion. The sacred gifts have brought us consolation; and our holy Mother prays that consolation may prompt us to warmer love.

Vota nostra, quæsumus Domine, pio favore prosequere: ut, dum dona tua in tribulatione percipimus, de consolatione nostra in tuo amore crescamus. Per Dominum.
We beseech thee, O Lord, mercifully receive our prayers; that while we partake of thy gifts in our affliction, the consolation we find may increase our love. Through, &c.

To this are added the other Postcommunions, as given in the Mass of the Fifth Sunday after Easter.

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We subjoin a liturgical fragment, taken from the Rogation Mass in the ancient Gallican rite.
This Prayer was one of the supplications made on the first of these three days, and it bears with it the marks of its venerable antiquity.

(Post Nomina.)

Tua sunt, Domine, alimonia, quibus in quotidiano victu ad sustentationem reficimur: tuaque jejunia, quibus carnem a lubrica voluptate, te præcipiente, restringimus. Tu ad consolationem nostram vicissitudines temporum disposuisti: ut tempus edendi corpora nostra refectio sobria aleret; et jejunandi tempus ea in justitiam tibi placitam faceret macerata. Hanc hostiam ob jejunia triduanæ macerationis a nobis oblatam sanctificans dignanter adsume, et præsta placatus: ut sopita delectatione corpores, mens ab iniquitatibus pariter conquiescat. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

It is from thee, O Lord, we receive the food, wherewith we are daily supported; to thee also do we offer these fasts, whereby, according to thy command, we put upon our flesh the restraint from dangerous indulgence. Thou hast so ordered the changes of seasons, as to afford us consolation: thus the time for eating gives nourishment to the body, by sober repasts; and the time for fasting inflicts on them a chastisement pleasing to thy justice. Vouchsafe to bless and receive this our offering of a three days’ penitential fast; and mercifully grant, that while our bodies abstain from gratification, our souls also may rest from sin. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Rogation Days – Tuesday
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)

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Today, again, the great Litany, the Supplication, is heard in the House of the Lord: the solemn Procession re-appears in the streets of the city, and in the quiet lanes of the country. Let us take our share in this sacred rite; let us blend our voice with that of our Mother, and join the cry that pierces the clouds: Kyrie eleison! Lord have mercy on us! Let us think, for a moment, of the countless sins that are being committed, day and night; and let us sue for mercy. In the days of Noe, all flesh had corrupted its way; but men thought not of asking for mercy. The flood came, and destroyed them all, says our Savior. Had they prayed, had they begged God’s pardon, the hand of his justice would have been stayed, and the flood-gates of heaven would not have been opened. The day is to come, when, not water, as heretofore, but fire is suddenly to be enkindled by the Divine wrath, and is to burn the whole earth. It shall burn even the foundations of the mountains; it shall devour sinners, who will be resting then, as they were in the days of Noe, in a false security.

Persecuted by her enemies, decimated by the martyrdom of her children, afflicted by numerous apostasies from the faith, and deprived of every human aid, the Church will know that the terrible chastisement is at hand, for Prayer will then be as rare as Faith. Let us, therefore, pray; that thus the day of wrath may be put off, the Christian life regain something of its ancient vigor, and the end of the world not be in our times. There are even yet Catholics in every part of the world; but their number has visibly decreased. Heresy is now in possession of whole countries, that were once faithful to the Church. In others, where heresy has not triumphed, religious indifference has left the majority of men with nothing of Catholicity but the name, seeing that they neglect even their most essential obligations without remorse. Among many of those who fulfil the precepts of the Church, truths are diminished. The old honesty of Faith has been superseded by loose ideas and half-formed convictions. A man is popular in proportion to the concessions he makes in favor of principles condemned by the Church. The sentiments and actions of the Saints, the conduct and teaching of the Church, are taxed with exaggeration, and decried as being unsuited to the period. The search after comforts has become a serious study; the thirst for earthly goods is a noble passion; independence is an idol to which everything must be sacrificed; submission is a humiliation which must be got rid of, or, where that cannot be, it must not be publicly avowed. Finally, there is sensualism, which, like an impure atmosphere, so impregnates every class of society, that one would suppose there was a league formed to abolish the Cross of Christ from the minds of men.

What miseries must not follow from this systematic setting aside the conditions imposed by God upon his creatures? If the Gospel be the word of Infinite Truth, how can men oppose it, without drawing down upon themselves the severest chastisements? Would that these chastisements might work the salvation of them that have provoked them!—Let us humble ourselves before the sovereign holiness of our God, and confess our guilt. The sins of men are increasing both in number and in enormity. The picture we have just drawn is sad enough; what would it not be, had we added such abominations as these, which we purposely excluded:—downright impiety; corrupt doctrines, which are being actively propagated throughout the world; dealings with Satan, which threaten to degrade our age to the level of pagan times; the conspiracy organized against order, justice, and Religion, by Secret Societies? Oh! let us unite our prayer with that of holy Church, and say to our God: From thy wrath,—deliver us, O Lord!

The Rogation Days were instituted for another end besides this of averting the Divine anger. We must beg our Heavenly Father to bless the fruits of the earth; we must beseech him, with all the earnestness of public prayer, to give us our daily bread. The eyes of all, says the Psalmist, hope in thee, O Lord! and thou givest them food in due season. Thou openest thy hand, and fillest with blessing every living creature. In accordance with the consoling doctrine conveyed by these words, the Church prays to God, that he would, this year, give to all living creatures on earth the food they stand in need of. She acknowledges that we are not worthy of the favor, for we are sinners: let us unite with her in this humble confession; but, at the same time, let us join her in beseeching our Lord to make mercy triumph over justice. How easily could he not frustrate the self-conceited hopes, and the clever systems of men! They own that all depends on the weather; and on whom does that depend? They cannot do without God! True,—they seldom speak of him, and he permits himself to be forgotten by them; but he neither sleepeth nor slumbereth, that keepeth Israel. He has but to withhold his blessing, and all their progress in agricultural science, whereby they boast to have made famine an impossibility, is of no effect. Some unknown disease comes upon a vegetable; it causes distress among the people, and endangers the social order of a world that has secularized itself from the Christian Law, and would at once perish, but for the mercy of the God it affects to ignore.

If, then, our Heavenly Father deign, this year, to bless the fruits of the earth, we may say, in all truth, that he gives food to them that forget and blaspheme him, as well as to them that make him the great object of their thoughts and service. Men of no religion will profit of the blessing, but they will not acknowledge it to be His; they will proclaim louder than ever, that Nature’s laws are now so well regulated by modern science, that she cannot help going on well! God will be silent, and feed the men that thus insult him. But why does he not speak? Why does he not make his wrath be felt? Because his Church has prayed; because he has found the ten just men, that is, the few for whose sake he mercifully consents to spare the world. He therefore permits these learned Economists, whom he could so easily stultify, to go on talking and writing. Thanks to this his patience, some of them will grow tired of their impious absurdity; an unexpected circumstance will open their eyes to the truth, and they will, one day, join us both in faith and prayer. Others will go deeper and deeper into blasphemy; they will go on to the last, defying God’s justice, and fulfilling in themselves that terrible saying of holy Scripture: The Lord hath made all things for himself; the wicked also for the evil day.

As to us,—who glory in the simplicity of our Faith, who acknowledge that we have all from God and nothing from ourselves, who confess that we are sinners and undeserving of his gifts,—we will ask him, during these three days, to give us the food we require; we will say to him, with holy Church: That thou vouchsafe to give and preserve the fruits of the earth: We beseech thee, hear us! May he have pity on us in our necessities! Next year, we will return to him, with the same earnest request. We will march, under the standard of the Cross, through the same roads, making the air resound with the same Litanies. We will do this with all the greater confidence, at the thought that our holy Mother is marshalling her children in every part of Christendom, in this solemn and suppliant Procession. For fourteen hundred years has our God been accustomed to receive the petitions of his faithful people, at this season of the year; he shall have the same homage from us; nay, we will endeavor, by the fervor of our prayer, to make amends for the indifference and ignorance which are combining to do away with old Catholic customs, which our forefathers prized and loved.

The Mass is the same as yesterday’s.

We offer our readers the following prayer, taken from the ancient Gallican Liturgy, and composed at a period when the observance of the Rogation Days was in its first fervor.

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Vere dignum et justum est, te tota cordis contritione in jejunio laudare, omnipotens sempiterne Deus, per Christum Dominum nostrum. Qui nos mysteriorum tuorum secretis informans, pacificum nemus ore columbæ gestatum, Noe oculis ostendens, nobis de virente arbore crucis gloriosum signum expressit: quem columbæ species in Christi decoravit honore, cunctis colendum Spiritus sanctificatione demonstrans. Cujus animalis innocentia esse similes præoptantes, ab eoque sanctificari Spiritu, cujus ipse sumpsit speciem, exorantes; in hoc jejunio triduana humiliatione instituto, invictum hoc signum cum plebium cuneis præferentes, atque Majestatem tuam psalencii modulatione laudantes, petimus, omnipotens Deus: ut accipias cuncta plebis vota, quæque quoquo ritu tibi reddit subjecta: et ita eos in hoc jejunio sanctifices, ut a cunctis mereantur exui peccatis. 

It is truly meet and just, that, in all contrition of heart, we should praise thee by our fast, O Almighty and eternal God, through Christ our Lord. Who, being come to teach us the hidden things of thy mysteries, revealed to us the symbol, shown to Noe, of the peaceful olive-branch borne in the dove’s beak:—it was the glorious figure of the beautiful tree of the Cross. It was in honor of Christ that the dove prefigured the Cross, signifying that it was to be venerated by all men, through the grace of the Holy Spirit. We desire to be like this bird, by the innocence of our lives; we pray that we may be sanctified by that Spirit, of whom it was the figure. Therefore do we offer up our prayers in these three days of fasting and humiliation, carrying, at the head of the army of the Faithful, the invincible standard of the Cross, and singing psalms in praise of thy divine Majesty. We beseech thee, O Almighty God, that thou receive all the prayers of thy people, and the sacred rites whereby they present them to thee. We also beseech thee so to sanctify them by this their fast, as that they may deserve to be freed from all their sins.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Vigil of the Ascension; Wednesday of the Rogation Days
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)

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For the third time, holy Church marshals her children in procession, and makes a solemn appeal to the divine mercy. Let us follow her sacred standard, and join her in invoking the intercession of the Saints. The Litany, in which we pray to all the choirs of the heavenly Jerusalem, is both a magnificent and a powerful prayer: it is the Church Triumphant uniting with the Church Militant in praying for the salvation of the world.

O Mary! Mother of God, Virgin of virgins, miracle of divine power, exercise, in our favor, thy maternal mediation with Him, who, through God, is thy Son!

Michael, the invincible, Gabriel, welcome messenger of our salvation, Raphael, affectionate physician of them that are suffering; Angels and Archangels, who watch over us, and cooperate in the work of our salvation; all ye choirs of blessed Spirits, who are waiting for your ranks to be filled up by the elect of earth;—intercede for your brethren, your clients!

John the Baptist, Precursor of the Lamb of God; Joseph, Spouse of Mary Immaculate, and foster-father of the Son of God; Patriarchs, the glorious forefathers of the human race, and ancestors of the Messias; Prophets, who foretold his coming, and described the events of his life, that so the earth might recognize him as the promised Redeemer; remember us who are living in this exile, through which you also passed!

Peter, universal Pastor, that holdest the keys of the kingdom of heaven; Paul, Apostle of the Gentiles, armed with the sword of the word, and immolated by the sword of Martyrdom; Andrew, crucified like thy Master; James the Greater, son of thunder, founder of the “Catholic Kingdom;” John, the Beloved Disciple, the adopted son and guardian of Mary, Evangelist and Prophet; Thomas, Apostle of the Indies, pierced to death by a spear; James the Less, surnamed “the Brother of the Lord;” Philip, who didst preach the Gospel to the Scythians, and wast crucified at Hierapolis; Bartholomew, the teacher and martyr of Armenia; Matthew, the Evangelist, who didst carry the faith into the scorching regions of Ethiopia; Simon, by whose zeal Mesopotamia was led to the knowledge of Christ; Thaddeus, the courageous destroyer of the idols of Egypt; Matthias, chosen to fill up the place of the Traitor Judas, and well worthy of the honor; Barnabas, Paul’s companion, and the light of the isle of Cyprus; Luke, disciple of the Apostle of the Gentiles, and historian of the Incarnate Word; Mark, disciple of Peter, under whose direction thou wrotest the Gospel of salvation;—we devoutly honor you as our Fathers in the Faith; pray for and with us!

Disciples of our Lord, who, though not raised to the rank of Apostles, were chosen by him to be their fellow-laborers, and who, on the Day of Pentecost, were filled with the Holy Ghost; dear Innocents of Bethlehem, first-fruits of the Martyrs;—deign to join us in our supplications!

Stephen the Crowned, Laurence the brave and cheerful winner of immortal laurels, Vincent the Victorious,—the glorious triumvirate of Deacons; Fabian, Pontiff designated by a dove sent from heaven; Sebastian, dauntless soldier of holy Church; John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian, Gervasius and Protasius, Brothers by nature and martyrdom; oh! all ye holy Martyrs, protect us under the shadow of your palms!

Sylvester, Pontiff of Peace; Gregory, Vicar both of the meekness and authority of Christ; Ambrose, whose eloquence was sweet as honey, and whose courage was as that of a lion; Augustine, Doctor of Doctors and apostle of divine charity; Jerome, inspired interpreter of the Scriptures; Martin, Thaumaturgus of the West, and Nicholas, wonder-worker in the East; holy Pontiffs, holy Doctors of the Church, lead back to Christ all his sheep that are gone astray!

Antony, the glory of the desert, and the conqueror of Satan; Benedict, the Abraham of the New Testament, whose children are countless as the stars of heaven; Bernard, pillar of the Church, and favorite of the Mother of God; Dominic, Preacher of divine truth, and scourge of heresy; Francis, friend and spouse of poverty, crucified together with Christ;—we honor you all; enkindle within our souls the desire of Christian perfection!

Priests of the Lord; holy Monks, and Hermits, and Confessors;—pray for us who implore your aid!

Mary Magdalene, once a sinner, but afterwards a Saint; whose devotedness to Jesus was so generous and fervent; obtain for us that compunction of heart, which makes amends for sin by love!

Agatha and Lucy, beautiful flowers of fair Sicily; Agnes, who followest the Lamb whithersoever he goeth; Cecily, wreathed with thy roses and lilies, and queen of sweet melody; Catharine, the wise virgin that confoundest the false wisdom of philosophers; Anastasia, the valiant woman that didst triumph over the trials of life and the severity of tortures; oh! all ye holy Virgins, Spouses of Jesus, look with compassion on us who are dwelling in this land of exile!

All ye holy men and women, Saints of God, who now reign of heaven above, think of us your brethren, who mourn in this vale of tears. We, too, are created for eternal happiness; and yet the vanities of time engross our thoughts and affections. Make intercession for us, that, henceforth, we may walk worthy of God, who hath called us unto his kingdom and glory!

The Litany is finished; and, for the third time, the Holy Sacrifice is about to work reconciliation between our God, and us his guilty children. Let us hope that he will make this a year of peace and plenty; and next year, when the Church invites us to join her in this public supplication for pardon, may the number of those who respond to her call, be such as to merit an increase of every blessing!

Let us assist at the Mass with a deep conviction of our own insufficiency to make atonement for our sins, and yet with a firm confidence in the infinite merits of the Paschal Lamb, our Risen Jesus.

The Mass is given at Rogation Monday. Let us assist at is with a deep conviction of our own insufficiency to make atonement for our sins, and yet with a firm confidence in the infinite merits of the Paschal Lamb, our Risen Jesus.

The ancient Church of Gaul used to recite the following Prayer on this third of the Rogation Days. It will aid us to a spirit of penance.


Vere dignum et justum est, satisque est dignum: te solum a jejunantibus quærere, qui es magister abstinentiæ, et continentiæ remunerator æternæ: quique a jejunantibus fideli tantum corde exposcunt abstergi omnem maculam, quam saturitas contrahit indecens. Hic itaque sanctum jejunium in Leviticis apicibus per famulum tuum Moysen evidentius declarasti: in quo jussisti ut humiliaremus animas nostras, ne exterminaremur; sicut esu gulæ deditus populus, exterminatur. Quod etiam nobis Unigenitus tuus ita sanctificavit implendo: et ut regnum perditum per jejunium panderet, et peccatis veniam daret. Et ideo quæ instituisti, jejunia suscipe libens, per ea nos a reatibus cunctis absolvens. 

It is truly meet and just, yea most meet, that they who fast should seek thee alone, thee that art the teacher of abstinence, and the giver of eternal rewards to them that practice it. To them that fast, thou grantest what they, with faith, ask of thee—thou cleansest them from the stains contracted by intemperate indulgence. It was thou that didst proclaim holy fasting by thy servant Moses, in the book of Leviticus; wherein thou commandedst that we should humble our souls, lest we should be destroyed, as was the people that gave themselves up to excess in eating. Thine Only Begotten Son sanctified this institution by himself fulfilling it, and, by his Fast, opening to us the kingdom we had lost, and pardoning our sins. Do thou, therefore, graciously accept the fasts thou hast instituted, and, by them, absolve us from all our guilt.

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The third morning of the Rogation Days is over; the hour of noon has come, and from it we begin to count the hours of the last day which the Son of God is to spend upon earth in his visible presence. During these three days, we seem to have forgotten that the time of separation is close upon us; but no—the thought of our coming trial has often presented itself, and the humble supplications we have been presenting to heaven, in union with holy Church, have prepared us to celebrate the last mystery achieved by our Emmanuel on earth.

The Disciples are all assembled in Jerusalem. They are grouped around the Blessed Mother, in the Cenacle, awaiting the hour when their divine Master is to appear to them for the last time. Recollected and silent, they are reflecting upon all the kindness and condescension he has been lavishing upon them during the last forty days; they are ruminating upon the instructions they have received from his sacred lips. They know him so well now!—they know in very deed that he came out from the Father. As to what regards themselves, they have learned form him what their mission is—they have to go, ignorant men as they are, and teach all nations; but, O sad thought! he is about to leave them; yet a little while, and they shall not see him!

What a contrast between their sorrow and the smiling face of nature, which is decked out in her best, for she is going to celebrate the triumphant departure of her Creator! The earth is blooming with freshness of her first-fruits, the meadows have put on their richest emerald, the air is perfumed with blossom and flower; and all this loveliness of Spring is due to the bright Sun that shines upon the earth to give her gladness and life, and is privileged to be, both by its kingly splendor and the successive phases of its influence upon our globe, the grand symbol of our Emmanuel’s passage through this world.

Let us go back in thought to the dismal days of the winter solstice. The sun looked then so pallid; his triumph over night was slow and short; he rose, and sank again, often without our seeing him; his light had a certain timid reserve about it, and his heat was, for weeks, too feeble to rescue nature from the grasp of frost. Such was our divine Sun of Justice, when first he came on earth; his rays made but little way in the world’s thick gloom; he kept his splendor in, lest men should be dazzled by too sudden a change from darkness to light. Like the material sun, he gained upon the world by slow advances; and even so, his progress was shrouded by many a cloud. His sojourn in the land of Egypt, his hidden life at Nazareth, were long periods of his being wholly lost sight of. But when the time came for him to show himself, his glory shone forth, with all its magnificence, upon Galilee and Judea—he spoke as one having power, his works bore testimony to his being God, and the people hailed him with the cry of Hosannah to the Son of David!

He was almost at the zenith of his glory, when suddenly came the eclipse of his Passion and Death. For some hours, his enemies flattered themselves that they had forever put out his light. Vain hope!—on the third day, our divine Sun triumphed over this final obstruction; and now stands in the firmament, pouring out his light upon all creation, but warning us that his course is run. For he can never descend; there is no setting for Him:—and here finishes the comparison between himself and the orb of day. It is from heaven itself that he, our beautiful Orient, is henceforth to enlighten and direct us, as Zachary foretold at the birth of the Baptist. The Royal Prophet, too, thus exultingly sang of him: He hath rejoiced, as a giant, to run the way: his going out is from the highest heaven, and his circuit even to the summit thereof: and there is no one that can hide himself from his heat.

This Ascension, which enthroned our Emmanuel as the eternal center of light was, by his own decree, to take place on one of the days of the month which men call May, and which clothes, in its richest beauty, the creation of this same God who, when he had made it, was pleased with it, and found it very good. Sweet month of May!—not gloomy and cold like December, which brought us the humble joys of Bethlehem; not lowering and clouded like March, when the Lamb was sacrificed on Calvary;—but buoyant with sunshine, and flowers, and life, and truly worthy to be offered, each year, to Mary, the Mother of God—for it is the month of her Jesus’ triumph.

O Jesus! our Creator and Brother! our eyes and heart have followed thee from thy first rising upon our world. We have celebrated, in the holy Liturgy, each of thy giant steps. But our very seeing thee thus ever growing in beauty and brightness, told us that thou must one day leave us, to go and take possession of the place that was alone worthy of thee—the throne at the right hand of thine Eternal Father. The splendor that has been on thee since thy Resurrection, is not of this world; thou canst no longer abide among us; thou hast remained here below, for these forty days, only for the sake of consolidating thy work: and tomorrow, the earth that has been blessed with thy presence for three and thirty years will be deprived of its privilege and joy. We rejoice at thy approaching triumph, as did thy Blessed Mother, thy Disciples, Mary Magdalene and her companions; but we are sad at the thought of losing thee—and thou wilt forgive us. Thou was our Emmanuel, our God with us; henceforth, thou art to be our Sun, our King, reigning from the throne of heaven, and we shall no longer be able to hear thee, nor see thee, nor touch thee, O Word of Life! Still, dearest Jesus, we say to thee with all our hearts: Glory and love be to thee, for thou hast treated us with infinite mercy! Thou owedst nothing to us; we were unworthy of a single look from thee; and yet, thou camedst down to this sinful earth, thou hast dwelt among us, thou hast paid our ransom by thy Blood, thou hast re-established Peace between God and man. Oh, yes! it is most just that thou shouldst now return to Him that sent thee. The Church, thy Spouse, consents to her exile; she only thinks of what is most glorious to her Jesus; and she thus addresses thee, in the words of the Canticle: Flee away, O my Beloved! and be swift as the roe and as the young hart, and ascend to the mountains, where the flowers of heaven exhale their sweet fragrance! Can we, poor sinners as we are, refuse to imitate this loving resignation of her who is thy Spouse, and our Mother!
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
The Ascension of Our Lord
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)

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The sun of the fortieth day has risen in all his splendor. The earth, which shook with gladness at the Birth of our Emmanuel, now thrills with a strange emotion. The divine series of the mysteries of the Man-God is about to close. Heaven has caught up the joy of earth. The Angelic Choirs are preparing to receive their promised King, and their Princes stand at the Gates, that they may open them when the signal is given of the mighty Conqueror’s approach. The holy souls that were liberated from Limbo on the morning of the Resurrection are hovering round Jerusalem, waiting for the happy moment when Heaven’s gate, closed by Adam’s sin, shall be thrown open, and they shall enter in company with their Redeemer:—a few hours more, and then to Heaven! Meanwhile, our Risen Jesus has to visit his Disciples and bid them farewell, for they are to be left, for some years longer, in this vale of tears.

They are in the Cenacle, impatiently awaiting his coming. Suddenly he appears in their midst. Of the Mother’s joy, who would dare to speak? As to the Disciples and the holy Women, they fall down and affectionately adore the Master, who has come down to take his leave of them. He deigns to sit down to table with them; he even condescends to eat with them, not, indeed, to give them proof of his Resurrection, for he knows that they have no further doubts of the mystery—but now that he is about to sit at the right hand of the Father, he would give them this endearing mark of familiarity. O admirable repast! in which Mary, for the last time in this world, is seated side by side with her Jesus, and in which the Church (represented by the Disciples and the holy Women) is honored by the visible presidency of her Head and Spouse.

What tongue could describe the respect, the recollected mien, the attention of the guests? With what love must they not have rived their eyes on the dear Master? They long to hear him speak; his parting words will be so treasured! He does not keep them long in suspense; he speaks, but his language is not what they perhaps expected it to be—all affection. He begins by reminding them of the incredulity wherewith they heard of his Resurrection. He is going to entrust his Apostles with the most sublime mission ever given to man; he would, therefore, prepare them for it by humbling them. A few days hence, and they are to be lights of the world; the world must believe what they preach, believe it on their word, believe it without having seen, believe what the Apostles alone have seen. It is by Faith that man approaches his God: they themselves were once without it, and Jesus would have them now express their sorrow for their former incredulity, and thus base their Apostolate on humility.

Then assuming a tone of authority, such as none but a God could take, he says 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. And how shall they accomplish this mission of preaching the Gospel to the whole world? how shall they persuade men to believe their word? By Miracles. And these signs, continues Jesus, 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. He would have Miracles to be the foundation of his Church, just as he had made them the argument of his own divine mission. The suspension of the laws of nature proves to us that it is God who speaks; we must receive the word, and humbly believe it.

Here, then, we have men unknown to the world and devoid of every human means, and yet commissioned to conquer the earth and make it acknowledge Jesus as its King! The world ignores their very existence. Tiberius, who sits on the imperial throne, trembling at every shadow of conspiracy, little suspects that there is being prepared an expedition which is to conquer the Roman Empire. But these warriors must have their armor, and the armor must be of heaven’s own tempering. Jesus tells them that they are to receive it a few days hence. Stay, says he, in the city, till ye be endued with power from on high. But what is this armor? Jesus explains it to them. He reminds them of the Father’s promise, that promise, says he, which he have heard by my mouth: for John, indeed, baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

But the hour of separation is Come. Jesus rise: his blessed Mother, and the hundred and twenty persons assembled there, prepare to follow him. The Cenacle is situated on Mount Sion, which is one of the two hills within the walls of Jerusalem. The holy group traverses the city, making for the eastern Gate, which opens on the Valley of Josaphat. It is the last time that Jesus walks through the faithless City. He is invincible to the eyes of the people who denied him, but visible to his Disciples, and goes before them as, heretofore, the pillar of fire led on the Israelites. How beautiful and imposing a sight!—Mary, the Disciples, and the holy Women, accompanying Jesus in his Heavenward journey, which is to lead him to the right hand of his Eternal Father! It was commemorated in the Middle Ages by a solemn Procession before the Mass of Ascension Day. What happy times were those, when Christians took delight in honoring every action of our Redeemer! They could not be satisfied, as we are, with a few vague notions, which can produce nothing but an equally vague devotion.

They reflected on the thoughts which Mary must have had during these last moments of her Son’s presence. They used to ask themselves, which of the two sentiments were uppermost in her maternal heart—sadness, that she was to see her Jesus no more? or joy, that he was now going to enter into the glory he so infinitely deserved? The answer was soon found: had not Jesus said to his Disciples: If ye loved me, ye would indeed be glad, because I go to the Father? Now, who loved Jesus as Mary did? The Mother’s heart, then, was full of joy at parting with him. How was she to think of herself, when there was question of the triumph of her Son and her God? Could she that he witnessed the scene of Calvary do less than desire to see Him glorified, whom she knew to be the Sovereign Lord of all things—Him whom, but a short time ago, she had seen rejected by his people, blasphemed, and dying the most ignominious and cruel of deaths?

The holy group has traversed the Valley of Josaphat; it has crossed the brook Cedron, and is moving onwards to Mount Olivet. What recollections would crowd on the mind! This torrent, of which Jesus had drunk on the day of his humiliation, is now the path he takes to triumph and glory. The Royal Prophet had foretold it. On their left are the Garden and Cave, where he suffered his Agony and accepted the bitter Chalice of his Passion. After having come as far as what St. Luke calls the distance of the journey allowed to the Jews on a sabbath day, they are close to Bethania, that favored village, where Jesus used to accept hospitality at the hands of Lazarus and his two Sisters. This part of Mount Olivet commands a view of Jerusalem. The sight of its Temple and Palaces makes the Disciples proud of their earthly city: they have forgotten the curse uttered against her; they seem to have forgotten, too, that Jesus has just made them citizens and conquerors of the whole world. They begin to dream of the earthly grandeur of Jerusalem and, turning to their Divine Master, they venture to ask him this question: Lord, wilt thou, at this time, restore again the kingdom to Israel?

Jesus answers them with a tone of severity: It is not for you to know the times or moments which the Father hath put in his own power. These words do not destroy the hope that Jerusalem is to be restored by the Christian Israel; but as this is not to happen till the world is drawing towards its end, there is nothing that requires our Savior’s revealing the secret. What ought to be uppermost in the mind of the Disciples is the conversion of the pagan world—the establishing the Church. Jesus reminds them of the mission he has just given to them: Ye shall receive, says he, the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth.

According to a tradition, which has been handed down from the earliest ages of Christianity, it is mid-day—the same hour that he had been raised up, when nailed to his Cross. Giving his Blessed Mother a look of filial affection, and another of fond farewell to the rest of the group that stand around him, Jesus raises up his hands and blesses them all. While thus blessing them, he is raised up from the ground whereon he stands, and ascends into heaven. Their eyes follow him, until a cloud comes and receives him out of their sight.

Yes, Jesus is gone! The earth has lost her Emmanuel!—For four thousand years he had been expected: the Patriarchs and Prophets had desired his coming with all the fervor of their souls: he came: his love made him our captive in the chaste womb of the Virgin of Nazareth. It was there he first received our adorations. Nine months after, the Blessed Mother offered him our joyous love in the Stable at Bethlehem. We followed him into Egypt; we returned with him; we dwelt with him at Nazareth. When he began the three years of his public Life, we kept close to his steps; we delighted in being near him, we listened to his preaching and parables, we saw his miracles. The malice of his enemies reached its height, and the time came wherein he was to give us the last and grandest proof of the love that had brought him from heaven—his dying for us on a Cross; we kept near him as he died, and our souls were purified by the Blood that flowed from his Wounds. On the third day, he rose again from his Grave, and we stood by exulting in his triumph over Death, for that triumph won for us a like Resurrection. During the Forty days he has deigned to spend with us since his Resurrection, our faith has made us cling to him: we would fain have kept him with us forever—but the hour is come; he has left us; yes, our dearest Jesus is gone! O happy the souls that he had taken from Limbo! they have gone with him, and, for all eternity, are to enjoy the heaven of his visible presence.

The Disciples are still steadfastly looking up towards heaven, when lo! two angels, clad in white robes, appear to them, saying: Ye men of Galilee! why stand ye looking up to heaven? This Jesus, who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come as ye have seen him going into heaven! He has ascended, a Savior; he is to return, as Judge—between these two events is comprised the whole life of the Church on earth. We are therefore living under the reign of Jesus as our Savior, for he has said: God sent not his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved by him: and to carry out this merciful design he has been giving to his Disciples the mission to go throughout the whole world, and invite men, while yet there is time, to accept the mystery of Salvation.

What a task is this he imposes on the Apostles! and now that they are to begin their work, he leaves them! They return from Mount Olivet, and Jesus is not with them! And yet, they are not sad; they have Mary to console them, her unselfish generosity is their model, and well do they learn the lesson.

They love Jesus; they rejoice at the thought of his having entered into his rest. They went back into Jerusalem with great joy. These few simple words of the Gospel indicate the spirit of this admirable Feast of the Ascension: it is a Festival which, notwithstanding its soft tinge of sadness, is, more than any other, expressive of joy and triumph. During its Octave, we will endeavor to describe its mystery and magnificence: we would only observe, for the present, that this Solemnity is the completion of the Mystery of our Redemption; that it is one of those which were instituted by the Apostles; and finally, that is has impressed a character of sadness on the Thursday of each week—the day already so highly honored by the institution of the Eucharist.

We have alluded to the Procession, whereby our Catholic forefathers used, on this Feast, to celebrate the journey of Jesus and his Disciples to Mount Olivet. Another custom observed on the Ascension was the solemn blessing given to bread and to the new fruits: it was commemorative of the farewell repast taken by Jesus in the Cenacle. Let us imitate the piety of the Ages of Faith, when Christians loved to honor the very least of our Savior’s actions and, so to speak, make them their own by thus interweaving the minutest details of his Life into their own. What earnest reality of love and adoration was given to our Jesus in those olden times, when his being Sovereign Lord and Redeemer was the ruling principle of both individual and social life! Nowadays, we may follow the principle, as fervently as we please, in the privacy of our own consciences or, at most, in our own homes; but publicly, and when we are before the World, no! To say nothing of the evil results of this modern limitation of Jesus’ rights as our King—what could be more sacrilegiously unjust to Him who deserves our whole service, everywhere and at all times? The Angels said to the Apostles: This Jesus shall come, as ye have seen him going into heaven: happy we if, during his absence, we shall have so unreservedly loved and served him as to be able to meet him with confidence when he comes to judge us!

We will not here insert the Office of First Vespers, inasmuch as this Festival is fixed for the Thursday; so that its Vigil can never fall on a Sunday, and the Faithful, consequently, have not the habit of assisting at them. Moreover, with the exception of the Versicle and the Magnificat Antiphon, the First and Second Vespers are exactly alike.


The Roman Missal gives St. Peter’s as the Station for today. It was a happy thought to choose this Basilica, inasmuch as it possesses the Tomb of one of the chief witnesses of Jesus’ Ascension. It is still the stational Church; but for now several centuries, the Pope and sacred College of Cardinals repair to the Lateran Basilica. It is in this venerable Church, dedicated by Constantine to the Savior of the world, that is closed our yearly series of the mysteries whereby the Son of God wrought our salvation.

In these two magnificent Basilicas, as well as in the humblest Church of Christendom, the Liturgical symbol of the Feast is the Paschal Candle. It was first lighted on the night of the Resurrection, and was to remind us, by its forty days’ presence, of the time which Jesus spent among his Brethren, after he had risen from the Grave. The eyes of the Faithful are fixed upon it, and its light seems to be burning brighter, now that we are about to lose it. Let us bless our holy Mother Church, whom the Holy Ghost has taught to instruct us and excite us to devotion by so many admirable symbols. Let us glorify our Divine Master, who says, speaking of himself: I am the Light of the world.

The Introit is the solemn announcement of today’s mystery. It is formed of the Angel’s words to the Apostles: Jesus has ascended into heaven; he is to come down again at the last day.

Viri Galilæi, quid admiramini, aspicientes in cœlum? Alleluia: quemadmodum vidistis eum ascendentem in cœlum, ita veniet. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Ye men of Galilee! why look ye, wondering, up to heaven? Alleluia. As ye have seen him ascending into heaven, so shall he come. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Ps. Omnes gentes plaudite manibus: jubilate Deo in voce exsultationis. ℣. Gloria Patri. Viri Galilæi.
Ps. Clap your hands, all ye nations: shout unto God, with the voice of joy. ℣. Glory, &c. Ye men, &c.

In the Collect, the Church sums up the prayers of her children and beseeches God to grant them the grace of keeping their hearts fixed on their Redeemer, and of desiring to be united with him in that home above, which he has gone to prepare for them.

Concede, quæsumus omnipotens Deus: ut qui hodierna die Unigenitum tuum redemptorem nostrum ad cœlos ascendisse credimus, ipsi quoque mente in cœlestibus habitemus. Per eumdem.
Grant, we beseech thee, O Almighty God, that we, who believe that thine Only Begotten Son, our Redeemer, ascended this day into heaven, may also dwell there in desire. Through the same, &c.

Lesson from the Acts of the Apostles. Ch. I.

The former treatise I made, O Theophilus, of all things which Jesus began to do and to teach, Until the day on which, giving commandments by the Holy Ghost to the apostles whom he had chosen, he was taken up. To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion, by many proofs, for forty days appearing to them, and speaking of the kingdom of God. And eating together with them, he commanded them, that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the promise of the Father, which you have heard (saith he) by my mouth. For John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence. They therefore who were come together, asked him, saying: Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? But he said to them: It is not for you to know the times or moments, which the Father hath put in his own power: But you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had said these things, while they looked on, he was raised up: and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they were beholding him going up to heaven, behold two men stood by them in white garments. Who also said: Ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, as you have seen him going into heaven.
Quote:This admirable description of our Jesus’ Ascension brings the mystery so vividly before us, that we almost seem to see the happy group on Mount Olivet. With what affection the Disciples gaze upon the Divine Master as they see him rising up towards heaven, and stretching out his hand to bless them! Their eyes, though full of tears, are riveted on the cloud which has come between themselves and Jesus. They are alone on the Mount; Jesus’ visible presence is taken from them. How wretched would they not feel in the desert land of their exile were it not for his supporting grace, and for that Holy Spirit who is about to come down, and create within them a new being? So then, it is only in heaven that they can ever again see the face of Jesus, who, God as he is, deigned to be their Master for three long happy years, and on the evening of the Last Supper, called them his Friends!

Neither are they the only ones who feel this separation. Our earth leaped with joy as the Son of God walked upon it; that joy is now past. It had looked forward, for four thousand years, for the glory of being the dwelling place of its Creator; that glory is now gone. The Nations are in expectation of a Deliverer; and though, with the exception of the people of Judea and Galilee, men are not aware that this Deliverer has come and gone again—it shall not long be so. They shall hear of his Birth, and his Life, and his Works; they shall hear of his triumphant Ascension, too, for holy Church shall proclaim it in every country of the earth. Eighteen hundred years have elapsed since he left this world, and our respectful and loving farewell blends with that which his Disciples gave him when he was mounting up to heaven. Like them, we feel his absence; but like them, we also rejoice in the thought that he is seated at the right hand of his Father, beautiful in his kingly glory. Thou, dear Jesus! hast entered into thy rest! We adore thee on thy throne, we thy redeemed and the fruit of thy victory! Bless us! Draw us to thyself! And grand that thy last coming may be to us a source of joy rather than of fear!

The two Alleluia-versicles give us the words of the Royal Psalmist, wherein he celebrates the glorious Ascension of the future Messias—the acclamations of the Angels—the loud music of heaven’s trumpets,—the gorgeous pageant of the countless fortunate captives of Limbo whom the Conqueror leads up, as his trophy, to heaven.

Alleluia, alleluia.
Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Ascendit Deus in jubilatione, et Dominus in voce tubæ.
℣. God ascended in triumph, and the Lord at the sound of the trumpet.


℣. Dominus in Sina in sancto, ascendens in altum, captivam duxit captivatem. Alleluia.
℣. The Lord on Sina, in his holy place, ascending on high, hath led captivity captive. Alleluia.

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

At that time: Jesus appeared to the eleven as they were at table: and he upbraided them with their incredulity and hardness of heart, because they did not believe them who had seen him after he was risen again. And he said 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. 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. And the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God. But they going forth preached everywhere: the Lord working withal, and confirming the word with signs that followed.

Quote:The Deacon having sung these words, an Acolyte ascends the Ambo and extinguishes the Paschal Candle, the sweet symbol of our Jesus’ presence for the Forty Days after his Resurrection. This expressive rite tells us of the widowhood of Holy Mother Church, and that we, when we would contemplate our beloved Lord, must turn our hearts to heaven, for it is there that he is to be seen. Alas! how short was his stay here below! at least, how quickly the time passed! How many ages have gone by, and how many must still come over this poor earth of ours, before she can again behold his face.

The Church languishes after him, in this dreary exile of the vale of tears, taking care of us, the children her Jesus has given her by his Holy Spirit. She feels his absence; and if we are Christians, we shall feel it too. Oh! when will the day come, that reunited to our bodies, we shall be taken up in the clouds to meet Christ, and be with our Lord for ever! Then, and then only, shall we have attained the end for which we were created.

All the mysteries of the Word Incarnate were to close with his Ascension; all the graces we receive are to end with ours. This world is but a figure that passeth away; and we are hastening through it to rejoin our Divine Leader. In Him are our life and happiness; it is vain to seek them elsewhere. Whatever brings us nearer to Jesus is good; whatever alienates us from him is evil. The mystery of the Ascension is the last ray of light given to us by our Creator, whereby he shows us the path to our heavenly country. If our heart is seeking its Jesus, and longs to come to him, it is alive with the true life; if its energies are spent upon created things, and it feels no attraction for its Jesus, it is dead.

Let us, therefore, lift up our eyes, as did the Disciples, and follow, in desire, Him who this day ascends to Heaven, and prepares a place there for each of his faithful servants. Sursum corda! Hearts on Heaven!—it is the parting word of our Brethren, who accompany the Divine Conqueror in his Ascension; it is the hymn wherewith the Angels, coming down to meet their King, invite us to ascend and fill up the vacant thrones: Sursum corda!

Farewell, dear Paschal Torch! that hast gladdened us with thy lovely flame! Thou hast sweetly spoken to us of Jesus, our Light in the darkness of our pilgrimage; and now thou leavest us, telling us that he is no longer to be seen here below, and that we must follow him to heaven, if we would again behold him. Farewell, loved symbol! made by the hand of our Mother, the Church, that thou mightest speak to our hearts! The impressions excited within us, as we looked upon thee, during this holy Season of Easter, shall not be forgotten. Thou wast the herald of our Pasch; thy leaving reminds us that the glad Time is drawing to its close.

For the Offertory-Antiphon, the Church uses the words of David, as before the Gospel. She is taken up with this one glad thought:—the triumph of her Spouse, and the joy it caused in heaven. She would have this joy to be shared in by us who are on earth.

Ascendit Deus in jubilatione: et Dominus in voce tubæ, alleluia.
God is ascended with jubilee, and the Lord with the sound of the trumpet, alleluia.

Our desires, on this Day, should be that we may follow our Jesus to life everlasting, and overcome all the hindrances that we may have to encounter on the way thither. This is what the Church asks of God for us, in the Secret.

Suscipe, Domine, munera, quæ pro Filii tui gloriosa Ascensione deferimus: et concede propitius; ut a præsentibus periculis liberemur et ad vitam perveniamus æternam. Per eumdem.
Receive, O Lord, the offerings we make in memory of the glorious Ascension of thy Son: and mercifully grant, that we may be both delivered from present danger, and arrive at everlasting life. Through the same, &c.

Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratia agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus, per Christum Dominum nostrum; qui post resurrectionem suam omnibus discipulis suis manifestus apparuit, et ipsis cernentibus est elevatus in cœlum, ut nos divinitatis suæ tribueret esse participes. Et ideo cum Angelis et Archangelis, cum Thronis et Dominationibus, cumque omni militia cœlestis exercitus, hymnum gloriæ tuæ canimus, sine fine dicentes: Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus.
It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should always and in all places give thanks to thee, O holy Lord, Father Almighty, Eternal God, through Christ our Lord; who after his Resurrection appeared openly to all his Disciples, and, in their presence ascended into heaven, to make us partakers of his divine nature. And therefore, with the Angels and Archangels, with the Thrones and Dominations, and with all the heavenly host, we sing a hymn to thy glory, saying unceasingly: Holy, holy, holy.

It is the Royal Prophet who again speaks in the Communion-Anthem. He foretells, a thousand years before the event, that the Emmanuel is to ascend from the East. Mount Olivet, whence our Lord took his departure to his Father’s Kingdom, is to the East of Jerusalem.

Psallite Domino, qui ascendit super cœlos cœlorum ad Orientem, alleluia.
Sing to the Lord, who hath ascended towards the east, above all the heavens, alleluia.

The Faithful people has just confirmed its union with its Divine Head, by receiving the adorable Sacrament; the Church asks of God that this mystery, which contains Jesus within it in an invisible manner, may work in us what it outwardly expresses.

Præsta nobis, quæsumus omnipotens et misericors Deus, ut quæ visibilius mysteriis sumenda percepimus, invisibili consequamur effectu. Per Domino. Grant, we beseech thee, O Almighty and most merciful God, that we may obtain the invisible effects of the visible mysteries we have received. Through, &c.

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A tradition, handed down from the early ages, and confirmed by the revelations of the Saints, tells us that the Ascension of our Lord took place at the hour of Noon. The Carmelites of St. Teresa’s Reform honour this pious tradition by assembling in the Choir, at the hour of mid-day on the Ascension; and spend it in the contemplation of this last of Jesus’ mysteries, following him, in thought and desire, to the throne of his glory.

Let us, also, follow him; but before looking on the bright Noon which smiles on his triumph, let us go back in thought to his first coming among us. It was at midnight, in the stable of Bethlehem. That dark and silent hour was an appropriate commencement to the three and thirty years of his life on earth. He had come to accomplish a great mission: year by year, and day by day, he labored in its fulfillment. It was nigh to its fulfillment, when men laid their sacrilegious hands upon him, and nailed him to a Cross. It was mid-day, when he was thus raised up in the air; but the Eternal Father would not permit the sun to shine on Jesus’ humiliation. Darkness covered the face of the earth; and that Day had no Noon. Three hours after, the sun re-appeared. Three days after, the Crucified rose again from the Tomb, and it was at the early dawn of light.

On this day, yea at this very hour, his work is completed. He has redeemed us, by his Blood, from our sins; he has conquered death by his Resurrection to life: had he not a right to choose, for his Ascension, the hour when the sun is pouring forth his warmest and brightest beams? Hail, holy hour of Noon! sacred with thy double consecration, which reminds us daily of the mercy and of the Triumph of our Emmanuel! of salvation by his Cross, and of heaven by his Ascension!

Quote:But art not thou, Jesus! O Sun of Justice! art not thou thyself the Noontide of our souls? Where are we to find that fullness of light for which we were created, where that burning of eternal love which alone can satisfy our longing hearts, but in thee, who earnest down upon the earth to dispel our darkness and our cold? It is in this hope, that we venture to address thee in the sublime words of thy faithful Spouse Gertrude: “O Love, Noontide, whose ardours are so soothing! thou art the hour of sacred rest, and the unruffled peace I taste in thee is all my delight. O thou whom my soul loveth, thou who art my chosen and my elect above all creatures, tell me, show me, where thou feedest thy flock, where thou liest to rest in the mid-day. My heart kindles with rapture at thought of thy tranquil rest at Noon! O that it were given me to come so near ‘to thee, that I might be not only near thee, but in thee! Beneath thy genial ray, O Sun of Justice, the flowers of all the virtues would spring forth from me, who am but dust and ashes. Then would my soul, rendered fruitful by thee, my Master and my Spouse, bring forth the noble fruit of every perfection. Then should I be led forth from this valley of sorrows, and be admitted to behold thy face, so long, so wistfully longed for; and then would it be ‘my everlasting happiness to think that thou hast not disdained, O thou spotless Mirror, to unite thyself to a sinner like me!” (Exercitia St Gertrudis, Die V)


The Lord Jesus has disappeared from our earth, but his memory and his promises are treasured in the heart of the Church. She follows, in spirit, the glorious triumph of her Spouse, a triumph so well deserved by his having accomplished the world’s Redemption. She keenly feels her widowhood; but she awaits, with unshaken confidence, the promised Comforter. The hours of this trying day are passing away, and evening is coming on; she once more assembles her children, and, in the Office of Vespers, commemorates all that has happened in this sublime mystery of the Ascension.

The Antiphons of the Psalms relate the great event of Noon; the tone of sadness that runs through their melody, is in keeping with the feelings excited by the separation.

ANT. Ye men of Galilee, why look ye up to heaven? This Jesus, who is taken from you into heaven, shall so come, alleluia.

Psalm: Dixit Dominus.

ANT. And when they beheld him going up to heaven, they said: Alleluia.

Psalm: Confiteor.

ANT. Lifting up his hands, he blessed them, and was carried up to heaven, alleluia.

Psalm: Beatus vir

ANT. Praise ye the King of kings, and sing a hymn to God, alleluia.

Psalm: Laudate, pueri.

ANT. As they looked on, he was raised up, and a cloud received him into heaven, alleluia.


O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise him all ye people.

For his mercy is confirmed upon us: and the truth of the Lord remaineth for ever.

Ant. As they looked on, he was raised up, and a cloud received him into heaven, alleluia.

CAPITULUM. (Acts of the Apostles, I.)

The former treatise I made, O Theophilus, of all things which Jesus began to do and to teach, until the day on which, giving commandments by the Holy Ghost to the Apostles whom he had chosen, he was taken up.

The hymn was composed by St. Ambrose, and is full of sweetness; it was somewhat changed in the 17th century,
and in this changed form we now have it.


O Jesus, Redeemer of mankind, joy of our hearts, Creator of the world redeemed, and chaste light of them that love thee.

What mercy was it that led thee to take upon thee our sins? and suffer death, O innocent victim, that thou mightest free us from death?

Thou brokest the gates of hell, and the chains of them that were bound. A conqueror, with noblest triumph, thou now sittest at the right hand of the Father.

May thy clemency lead thee to repair our losses. Oh! give us to see thy Face, and enrich us with the blessed light.

Be thou our guide and path to heaven; be thou the object of our heart’s desire; be thou the joy of our tears, and the sweet recompense of a life spent for thee! Amen.

℣. The Lord, in heaven, alleluia.

℟. Hath prepared his throne, alleluia.

The Magnificat-anthem is an appeal made to our Jesus, that he would be mindful of his own and his Father’s promise, and not delay to console his Spouse by sending her the Holy Spirit. The Church repeats this Antiphon every day, till the arrival of the heavenly Guest.


O King of glory, Lord of hosts, who didst this day ascend in triumph above all the heavens! leave us not orphans, but send upon us the Spirit of truth, promised us by the Father, alleluia.


Grant, we beseech thee, O Almighty God, that we, who believe that thine Only Begotten Son, our Redeemer, ascended this day into heaven, may also dwell there in desire. Through the same, &c.

During the days of the Octave, we will listen to the several Churches of old celebrating, each in its own style, but all with one and the same faith, the Ascension of our Redeemer. Let us give the first place to the Greek Church, which, in her usual pompous style, commemorates the glories of this mystery. It is her Hymn for the evening Office.


When thou, O Christ! earnest to Mount Olivet, there to fulfill the good pleasure of thy Father, the Angels of heaven were in admiration, and the inhabitants of hell trembled. Thy Disciples, too, were there, and they thrilled with joy as thou spokest unto them. A Cloud, like a throne, hovered above in front, awaiting thee; the gates of heaven were opened, showing the beauty of its courts, and revealing its hidden treasures to the earth, that Adam might thus learn whence he had fallen and whither he was to re-ascend. Thy feet were suddenly lifted up, as though some hand were raising them. Thy words, as long as they were heard, were nought but blessing. The Cloud received thee, and Heaven welcomed thee within its bosom. It was for the salvation of our souls, that thou, O Lord, didst achieve this great work, this work surpassing nature’s law.

Thou, O God, didst on this day raise up, together with thyself, above all Principalities and Powers, the nature of Adam, which had fallen into the deep abyss, but which was restored by thee. Because thou lovedst it, thou placedst it on thine own throne; because thou hadst pity on it, thou unitedst it to thyself: because thou hadst thus united it, thou didst suffer with it; because thou, the impassible, didst thus suffer, thou gave it to share in thy glory. The Angels cried out: “Who is this beautiful Man? nay, not Man only, but God and Man, having the Nature of both?” Other Angels, in white garments, hovered round the Disciples, and exclaimed: “Ye men of Galilee! this Jesus, this Man-God, who hath left you, will return the God-Man, the Judge of the living and the dead, to give, unto them that are faithful, pardon and abundant mercy.“

When thou, O Christ, our God, didst ascend into glory, in the sight of thy Disciples, a Cloud received thee in thy Human Nature, and the gates of heaven were uplifted; the Angelic choirs exulted with great joy; the heavenly Powers cried out, saying: “Lift up your gates, O ye Princes! and the King of glory shall enter in!” The Disciples were amazed, and said to thee: “Leave us not, good Shepherd! but send unto us thy Holy Spirit, that he may guide and strengthen our souls!“

After having, O Lord, in thy goodness, accomplished the mystery that was hidden from ages and generations, thou didst go, together with thy Disciples, to Mount Olivet, having with thee Her that had given birth to thee the Creator and Maker of all creatures. It was meet that she, who, being thy Mother, had mourned more than all others over thy Passion, should also have greater joy in the glory thus conferred upon thy Human Nature. We, therefore, who share in the joy she had in thine Ascension, we glorify thy great mercy!

O Jesus, our Emmanuel! thy work is done, and this is the day of thy entering into thy rest. In the beginning of the world, thou didst spend six days in harmonizing the varied portions of the creation; after which, thou enteredst again into thy rest. When later on, thou wouldst repair thy work which Satan’s malice had deranged, thy love induced thee to live among us for three and thirty years, during which thou didst work our redemption, and restoredst us to the holiness and honour whence we had fallen. Whatsoever had been assigned thee in the eternal decrees of the Blessed Trinity, whatsoever had been foretold of thee by the Prophets; all was done, dear Jesus! not an iota of it all was forgotten. Thy triumphant Ascension was the close of the mission thou hadst so mercifully undertaken. It was thy second entrance into thy rest; but, this time, it was with our Human Nature which thou hadst assumed, and which was now to receive divine honour. Thou wouldst have companions in thine Ascension, — the souls thou hadst liberated from Limbo; yea, and when about to leave us, thou saidst this word of consolation to us: I go to prepare a place for you! (John 14:2)

Confiding, Jesus! in this promise; resolved to follow thee in all the mysteries achieved by thee for our sakes — in the humility of thy Birth at Bethlehem, in thy sufferings on Calvary, in the joy of thy Resurrection — we hope, also, to imitate thee, when our mortal course is run, in thy glorious Ascension. Meanwhile, we unite with the holy Apostles who rejoiced at thy triumph, and with the ransomed captives of Limbo who entered heaven in thy company. Watch over us, Divine Shepherd, whilst we are in our exile! Tend thy faithful sheep; let none be lost; lead them all to thy fold. The mystery of thine Ascension shows us the object of our existence; it re-animates us to study more attentively, and love more warmly, all thy other mysteries: our one ambition, then, our one desire, shall henceforth be our own Ascension to heaven and to thee. It was for this thou earnest into the world: — by humbling thyself to our lowliness, to exalt us to thine own majesty; and by making thyself Man, to make man a partaker of thy divinity. But until the happy day of our union with thee, what would become of us without that Power of the Most High which thou hast promised to send us, that he may bring us patience during our pilgrimage, fidelity to our absent King, and that solace of a heart exiled from its God, — love? Come, then, O Holy Spirit! Support our weakness; fix the eye of our souls on the heaven where our King awaits us; and never permit us to set our hearts on a world which, had it every other charm, has not the infinite one of Jesus’ visible presence!

Let us close our Feast with this beautiful Prayer, taken from the Mozarabic Breviary.


Only Begotten Son of God! who, having conquered death, didst pass from earth to heaven; who, as Son of Man, art seated in great glory on thy throne, receiving praise from the whole Angelic host! grant that we, who in the jubilant devotion of our faith, celebrate thine Ascension to the Father, may not be fettered by the chains of sin to the love of this world; and that the aim of our hearts may unceasingly be directed to the heaven, whither thou didst ascend in glory, after thy Passion. Amen.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Friday Within the Octave of the Ascension
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)

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O rex gloriæ, Domine virtutum, qui triumphator hodie super omnes cœlos ascendisti, ne derelinquas nos orphanos; sed mitte promissum Patris in nos Spiritum veritatis, alleluia. 
O King of glory, Lord of hosts, who didst this day ascend in triumph above all the heavens! leave us not orphans, but send upon us the Spirit of truth, promised by the Father, alleluia.

The Feast of the Ascension shows us the work of God in its completion. Hence it is that the Church, in her daily offering of the holy Sacrifice, thus addresses the Eternal Father: the words occur immediately after the Consecration, and contain the motives of her confidence in the divine mercy: “Wherefore, O Lord, we thy servants, as also thy holy people, calling to mind the blessed Passion of Christ thy Son our Lord, his Resurrection from the dead, and his admirable Ascension into heaven, offer unto thy most excellent Majesty a pure, holy, and unspotted Host.” It is not enough for man to hope in the merits of his Redeemer’s Passion, which cleansed him from his sins; it is not enough for him to add to the commemoration of the Passion that of the Resurrection, whereby our Redeemer conquered death: man is not saved, he is not reinstated, except by uniting these two mysteries with a third—the Ascension of that Jesus who was crucified and rose again. During the forty days of his glorified life on earth, Jesus was still an exile; and like him, we also are exiles until such time as the gate of heaven, which has been closed for four thousand years, shall be thrown open, both for Him and for us.

God, in his infinite goodness made man for a nobler end than that of being mere lord of creation; he gave him a higher destiny than that of knowing such truths as his natural powers could grasp, and of practicing virtues that were in reach of his moral capabilities, and of paying to his Creator an imperfect worship. In his omnipotence and love, he gave to this frail creature an end far above his nature. Though inferior to the Angel, and uniting in himself the two natures of matter and spirit—yet was Man created to the same end as the Angel. Both were to dwell, for eternity, in heaven; both were to be eternally happy in the face-to-face vision of God, that is, in the closest union with the sovereign good. Grace—that wondrous and divine power—was to fit them for the supernatural end prepared for them by the gratuitous goodness of their Creator. This was the design which God had decreed fro all eternity: to raise up to himself these creatures that he had drawn out of nothingness, and to enrich them, agreeably to their sublime destiny, with the treasures of his love and his light.

We know the history of the fallen Angels. They revolted against the commandment given them by God as a test of their fidelity, and as the condition of their being admitted into eternal happiness. Rebels were found in each of the Choirs. They fell; but the fall and its punishment were personal, and injured none but the actual transgressors. The Angels who remained faithful were at once rewarded with the beatific vision and possession of the Sovereign Good. Thus did God vouchsafe to make created beings partake of his own infinite happiness: the first elect were the good Angels of the nine Choirs.

Man was created after the Angels; he too fell, and his sin severed the link which united him with God. The human race was, at that time, represented by one man and woman; when they fell, all fell. The gate of heaven was then shut against mankind, for the fall of Adam and Eve implicated us their children; neither could they transmit to us an inheritance which they themselves had lost. Instead of a quick and happy passage through this world, and then a glorious ascension into heaven, we were to have a life—short indeed, but full of misery—a grave, and corruption. As to our soul, even had she aspired to the supernatural happiness for which she was created, she could never have attained to it. Man had preferred earth for his portion; and the earth was given to him: but this only for a few short years; after which others would take his place, disappear in their turn, and so on to the end, as long as it should please God to perpetuate this fallen portion of his creation.

Yes, it was thus we deserved to be treated; but our merciful Creator had compassion upon us. He hated sin; but he had created us that he might make us partakers of his own glory, and he would not have his design frustrated. No—the earth was not to be an abode for man to be merely born, live a few days, and then die. When the fullness of time should come, there was to appear in the world a Man, not indeed the first of a new creation, but one like ourselves and of our own race, or, as the Apostle expresses it, made of a woman. This Man, who was to be heavenly and yet of earth, would share our misfortunes with us; he would die like us, he would be buried like us; but on the third day, he would rise again, and men would see him resplendent with glory and immortality. What a joy for us, who have hidden within us the answer of death, to see such a victory gained by One who is one of ourselves—“flesh of our flesh!”

Thus were the divine intentions to be realized in our regard. This earth of ours presents to her Creator a New Adam; he cannot stay here, for he has conquered Death; he must ascend to heaven, and if her gates be closed, she must open them and receive him. Lift up your gates, O ye Princes! and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates! and the King of glory shall enter in! O that he would take us thither with him, for he is our Brother, and assures us that his delight is to be with the children of men! But what a joy it is for us to see our Jesus ascend to heaven! He is the holiest, the purest, the loveliest, of our race; he is the Son of a spotless Mother: let him go and represent us in that kingdom of our inheritance. It is our own earth that sends him; she is no longer a desert, now that she produced such a flower, and such a fruit, for Heaven. A flood of light poured into this lowly vale of tears, when the gates of heaven were raised up to receive him. Be thou exalted, O Lord, in thine own strength! and we, who are still on the earth, we will sing and praise thy power! Receive, O Eternal Father, the Brother whom we send to thee; sinners as we are, this Brother of ours is infinitely holy and perfect. Where is the curse that once fastened on our earth?—the earth hath given her Fruit! And if we may presume so far as to see in Him the first-fruits of a future harvest to be gathered into thy House, may we not rejoice in the thought that the Ascension of our Jesus was the Day whereon thy primal work was restored to thee?

Let us, today, borrow from the Armenian Church one of her sweet Hymns. Let us unite with her in sharing in the joy felt by the holy Angels,
when they saw the God-Man rising from the earth to heaven, and taking possession of the highest throne in heaven.

Potestates cœli territæ sunt, videntes ascensum tuum, Christe; alter ad alterum pavescentes dicebant: quis est iste rex gloriæ? 
The Powers of heaven trembled, when they witnessed thine Ascension, O Christ! and said to each other, in fear, “Who is this King of glory?”

Hic est incarnatus Deus Verbum, qui in cruce peccatum occidit, et supervolans gloriose, venit in cœlum, Dominus fortis virtute sua. 
This is God the Word made Flesh, who put sin to death upon the Cross, and ascending in glory, entered heaven:—the Lord, mighty in his power.

Hic est qui de monumento surrexit, et destruxit infernum, atque superscandens gloriose venit ad Patrem, Dominus potens in prælio. 
This is he that rose from the Tomb, and destroyed death, and now comes by a glorious Ascension, to the Father: he is the Lord, mighty in war.

Qui ascendit hodie divina potestate in Patrio curru, ministrantibus ei angelicis choris, qui canebant dicentes: Attollite portas, principes, vestras, et introibit rex gloriæ. 
This is he that ascended today, by his divine power, in his Father’s chariot: choirs of Angels ministered to him, and sang, saying: “Lift up your gates, O ye Princes, and the King of glory shall enter!”

Stupuerunt supernæ Potestates, et tremenda voce clamabant ad invicem: Quis es iste rex gloriæ, qui venit in carne et mira virtute; attollite, attollite, portas, principes, vestras, et introibit rex gloriæ. 
The heavenly Powers were amazed, and cried unto each other with tremulous voice: “who is this King of glory, that cometh in the flesh and in wondrous power? Lift up, lift up, your gates, O ye Princes, and the King of glory shall enter!”

Modulabantur superni Principatus, mirabili voce cantabant canticum novum, dicentes: Ipse est rex gloriæ, salvator mundi et liberator generis humani; attollite portas, principes, vestras, et introibit rex gloriæ. 
The Principalities of heaven were heard singing a new canticle, and saying in a tone of glad admiration: “It is the King of glory, the Savior and Deliverer of mankind! Lift up your gates, O ye Princes, and the King of glory shall enter in!”

Qui compantati facti sumus similitudinis mortis tuæ, Fili Dei, dignos fac nos conformes fieri tibi, gloriæ rex; tibi cantent Ecclesiæ sanctorum cantica spiritualia. 
We have been planted together in the likeness of thy Death, O Son of God! Make us worthy to be made like unto thee, O King of glory! Let the Churches of the saints sing to thee their spiritual canticles!

Veterem hominem concrucifixum tibi fecisti, et stimulum peccati exstinxisti; liberasti nos vivifico ligno, cui affixus es, et guttæ sanguinis tui inebriarunt orbem; tibi cantent Ecclesiæ sanctorum cantica spiritualia. 
Thou didst crucify together with thyself the old man, and thou tookest away the sting of sin; thou gavest us liberty, by the life-giving tree to which thou wast fastened, and thy Blood has inebriated the whole earth. Let the Churches of the saints sing to thee their spiritual canticles!

Propter miserationem divinæ humanitionis tuæ, participes fecisti nos corporis tui et sanguinis, per sacrificium tuum Patri in odorem suavitatis oblatum, corporis a nobis sumpti, et ascendisti pellucidis nubibus, manifestatus Potestatibus ac Principatibus, qui stupefacti interrogabant: Quis est iste qui properans venit de Edom; et per Ecclesiam tuam didicerunt multiformem sapientiam tuam; tibi cantent Ecclesiæ sanctorum cantica spiritualia. 
Through the mercy that led thy divine nature to assume ours, thou hast made us partakers of thy Body and Blood, by the sacrifice of the Body thou hadst taken to thyself—a sacrifice which thou offeredst to the Father in an odor of sweetness. Then didst thou ascend, on a bright cloud, and wast seen by the Powers and Principalities, who asked each other in wonderment: “Who is this that cometh, in haste, from Edom?” The Faithful have been taught thy manifold wisdom. Let the Churches of the saints sing to thee their spiritual canticles!
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Saturday Within the Octave of the Ascension
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)

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O rex gloriæ, Domine virtutum, qui triumphator hodie super omnes cœlos ascendisti, ne derelinquas nos orphanos; sed mitte promissum Patris in nos Spiritum veritatis, alleluia. 
O King of glory, Lord of hosts, who didst this day ascend in triumph above all the heavens! leave us not orphans, but send upon us the Spirit of truth, promised by the Father, alleluia.

Jesus, then—the Man who dwelt on the earth and was perfect in all holiness—has ascended into heaven. This earth, accursed of God as it was, has produced the fairest Fruit of heaven; and heaven, with its gates shut against our race, has had to open them for the entrance of a Son of Adam. It is the mystery of the Ascension; but it is only a part, and it imports us to know the mystery in its fullness. Let us give ear to the Apostle of the Gentiles: God, who is rich in mercy, through his exceeding charity wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ; and hath raised us up together with him, and hath made us sit in the heavenly places together with him. We have celebrated the Pasch of our Savior’s Resurrection as our own Resurrection; we must, agreeably to the Apostle’s teaching, celebrate also his Ascension as our own. Let us weigh well the expression: God hath made us sit in the heavenly places together with Christ. So, then, in the Ascension, it is not Jesus only who ascends into heaven; we ascend thither with him: it is not he only that is enthroned there in glory; we are enthroned through and together with him.

That we may the better understand this truth, let us remember, that the Son of God did not assume our Human Nature with a view to the exclusive glorification of the Flesh which he united to his own Divine Person. He came to be our Head. We, consequently, are his Members; and where He is, we also are to be; at least, such is his intention, as he implied at the Last Supper, when he said: Father! I will that where I am, they also whom thou hast given me may be with me, that they may see my glory which thou hast given me. And what is the glory given to him by his Father? Let us hearken to the Royal Prophet, who speaking of the future Ascension, says: The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit thou at my right hand! It is, then, on the very throne of the Eternal Father, it is at his right hand, that we shall see Him whom the Apostle calls our fore-runner. We shall be united with this Jesus, as Members to our Head; so that his glory will be ours; we shall be kings, with his Kingship, he would make us partake of all that he himself has for he tells us that we are his joint-heirs.

From this, it follows that the august mystery of the Ascension, which began on the Day of Jesus’ entering into heaven, is to be continued, and will continue, until his mystical Body has received its completion by the ascension of the last of the Elect. Look at that countless host of holy souls who were the earliest companions of his triumph: foremost are our First Parents; then the Patriarchs, the Prophets, and the Just of every generation of the preceding four thousand years! They had been imprisoned in Limbo; but he liberated them, gave them of his own brightness, and made them his partners in the glory of his Ascension. They were his trophy; they formed his court, as he passed from earth to heaven. Well did we exclaim in the words of holy David: Sing ye to the Lord! Sing ye to God, who mounteth above the heaven of heavens, towards the East.

The angels were ready to receive our Emmanuel; and then began that sublime dialogue, which the Royal Psalmist was permitted to hear and prophesy. The glad countless legion of the holy souls who escorted the Divine Conqueror cried out to the guardians of the heavenly Jerusalem: Lift up your gates, O ye Princes! Be ye lifted up, O eternal gates! and the King of glory shall enter in. The faithful Angels replied: Who is this King of glory!—It is the Lord, responded the elect of earth; it is the Lord who is strong and mighty; the Lord mighty in battle. Well might they say this of our Jesus, who had vanquished Satan, Death and Hell, and brought themselves to the City’s Gate as a sample of his stupendous conquest. The Angels repeated their question; the Saints re-echoed their reply:—the Eternal Gates were thrown open, and the King and his Courtiers entered into heaven.

The Gates, then, are opened to receive our Redeemer, and opened he would have them remain for us to follow him. Admirable Ascension! oh! let us linger in its contemplation. Jesus inaugurates the grand mystery by his own entrance into heaven, and then perpetuates it by the Ascension of his elect of each successive generation; there is a ceaseless procession up to heaven, for some happy souls are ever finishing their purification in Purgatory, while some still happier ones are winging their rapid flight direct from this earthly vale of sorrows. Hail, then, O glorious Mystery! fruit of the flowers of so many mysteries! term, fulfillment, perfection of our Creator’s decree! Alas! thou hadst a long interruption by Adam’s sin; but Jesus’ triumph restored thy reign on earth, and this earth shall live in thy beauty and grace till that word shall be uttered by the Angel: Time shall be no more!—O Mystery, of joy and hope, be thou accomplished in me!

Permit us, then, O Jesus, to apply to ourselves what thou saidst to thine Apostles: I go to prepare a place for you! This has been thy aim in all thou hast done for us: thou camest into this world to open heaven for us. Thy holy Spouse, the Church, bids us fix our eyes on heaven; she points to its opened Gates, and shows us the bright track through which is passing up, from earth, an unbroken line of souls. We are still in exile; but the eye of our faith sees thee in that land above, thee the Son of Man throned at the right hand of the Ancient of days. How are we to reach thee, dear Jesus? We cannot, as thou didst, ascend by our own power: thou must needs fulfill thy promise, and our desire, of drawing us to thyself. It was the object after which thy Blessed Mother also sighed, when thou didst leave her on earth; she longed for the blissful hour of thy taking her to thyself, and awaited thy call with faith, laboring meanwhile for thy glory, and living with thee, though not seeing thee. Give us to imitate the faith and love of this thy Mother, that so we may apply to ourselves those words of thine Apostle: We are already saved—by hope. Yes, we shall be so, if thou send us, according to thy promise, the Holy Spirit whom we so ardently desire to receive; for he is to confirm within us all that thy mysteries have produced in our souls; he is to be to us a pledge of our future glorious ascension.

In presenting our petitions this day to heaven, let us take, as addressed to ourselves,
the sublime instructions given by the Gothic Church of Spain, on the Ascension Feast, to her children.


Placeat, dilectissimi fratres, sæcularium cogitationum fasce deposito, erectis in sublime mentibus subvolare: et impositam ætheris fastigio assumpti hominis communionem, sequacibus cordis oculis contueri. Ad incomparabilem nobis claritatem attonitus vocandus aspectus, est Jesus Dominus noster: humilitatem nobis terrarum cœlorum dignitate commutat: acutus necesse est visus esse respicere quo sequimur. Hodie salvator noster post assumptionem carnis, sedem repetit deitatis. Hodie hominem suum intulit Patri, quem obtulit passioni. Hunc exaltans in cœlis, quem humiliaverat in infernis. Hic visurus gloriam, qui viderat sepulturam. Et qui adversus mortem mortis suæ dedit beneficium, ad spem vitæ donavit resurrectionis exemplum. Hodie rediit ad Patrem, cum tamen sine Patris, qui sibi æqualis est, potestate non venerit. Hodie ascendit in cœlum qui obsequia cœlestium cum descenderet, non amisit. Ita in Patris natura unitate consistens, ut cum homo cœlum novus intraret, novum tamen Deus hominem non haberet. Petamus igitur ab omnipotentia Patris, per nomen Filii salvatoris, gratiæ spiritualis ingressum, æternæ beatitudinis donum, beatæ mansionis ascensum, catholicæ credulitatis augmentum, hæreticæ infidelitatis excidium. Audiet profecto in confessione, quod in perditione quæsivit. Adstitit suis, qui non destitit alienis. Aderit agnitus, qui non defuit agnoscendus. Non patietur orphanos esse devotos, qui filios facere dignatus est inimicos. Dabit effectum supplicationis, qui promisit Spiritum sanctitatis. Amen.

We beseech you, dearly beloved Brethren, that, laying aside the weight of worldly thoughts, you would raise up your minds, and soar to heavenly things, and see, with the attentive eye of the heart, how Christ placed your own human nature, which he had assumed, in the highest heavens. The incomparable brightness on which we are invited to fix our astonished gaze, is Jesus our Lord. He exchanges the lowliness of this earthly dwelling for the glory of heaven. How quick must our sight not be, that it may see the land, whither we are to follow him! Today, our Savior, after assuming our human nature, returned to the throne of the Godhead. Today, he offered to his Father that same human nature, which he had previously offered to the endurance of his Passion. He exalted in heaven the Humanity that he had humbled in Limbo. He well deserved to see glory, who had seen the Tomb. He who conferred on us his own Death, that he might put ours to death—gave us the example of his Resurrection, that he might gladden us with the hope of Life. Today, he returned to the Father, though he had not been here on earth without possessing all the power of the Father, who is co-equal with him. Today, he ascended into heaven, though he had lost not the adoration of the Angels when he descended upon our earth. One with the Father in unity of substance, he so entered into heaven as the new Man, that he was not new to God. Let us, therefore, ask the Almighty Father, through the name of his Son, our Savior, that he grant us admission into a spiritual life of grace, the gift of eternal happiness, an ascension into the mansion of bliss, an increase of Catholic faith, and the destruction of heretical disbelief. He, surely, will hear us, now that we praise him, who went in search of us when we were lost. He will assist us that are now his people, who abandoned us not when we were aliens. He will be with us now that we know him, for he was not absent from us even when we knew him not. He will not suffer us to be orphans now that we are devoted to him, for he vouchsafed to make us his children when we were his enemies. He will grant us what we ask, for he has promised to send us the Holy Ghost. Amen.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

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