Week within the Octave of the Ascension [Monday to Saturday]
Monday 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 Kingship over men is not the only diadem given to our Emmanuel at his Ascension. The Apostle expressly tells us that he is, moreover, the Head of all Principality and Power. Noble indeed is man; but nobler far are the glorious Choirs of the Angelic Hierarchy. We have already seen that in the great trial whereby God tested the love of his Angels, many rebelled and were cast into hell; the rest, who were faithful, entered at once into the possession of their sovereign good, and began, round the throne of God, their ceaseless hymns of adoration, love, and thanksgiving.

But a portion of their happiness was reserved till the fulfillment of one of God’s decrees. Laden as they are with the most magnificent gifts, they await another; it is to be the completion of their joy and glory. God revealed them, at the first instant of their coming into existence, that he intended to create other beings, of a nature inferior to their own; and that of these beings, who were to be composed of body and soul, there should be one whom the Eternal Word would unite to himself in unity of Person. It was also revealed to them that this Human Nature (for whose glory and for God’s all things were made) was to be the first-born of every creature;that all Angels and men would have to bend their knee before him; that after suffering countless humiliations on earth, he would be exalted in heaven; and finally, that the time would be when the whole hierarchy of heaven, the Principalities and Powers, yea, even the Cherubim and Seraphim, would have him placed over them as their King.

The Angels, then, as well as Men, looked forward to the coming of Jesus. The Angels awaited him as he that was to confer upon them their final perfection, give them unity under himself as their head, and bring them into closer union with God by the union of the divine and created Natures in his own Person. As to us Men, we awaited him as our Redeemer and our Mediator: as our Redeemer, because sin had closed heaven against us, and we needed one that would restore us to our inheritance; as our Mediator, because it was the eternal decree of God to communicate his own glory to the human race, and this was to be by union with himself. While, therefore, the just ones on earth, who lived before the Incarnation, were pleasing to God by their faith in this future Redeemer and Mediator—the Angels in heaven were offering to the Divine Majesty the homage of their proffered service of this Man-God, their future King, who, in virtue of the eternal decree, was ever present to the Ancient of Days.

At length, the fullness of time came, and God, as the Apostle expresses it, brought into the world his first-begotten, the prototype of creation. The first to adore the Newborn King were not men, but the Angels, as the same Apostle assures us. The Royal Prophet had foretold that it would be so. And was it not just? These blessed Spirits had preceded us in their longings, not indeed of a Redeemer—for they had never sinned—but of a Mediator, who was to be the link of their closer union with infinite Beauty—the object of their eternal delight—in a word, the realization of the want there seemed to be even in Heaven, that is, of Jesus’ taking and filling up the place destined for him.

Then was accomplished that act of adoration of the Man-God, which was demanded of the Angels, at the first moment of their creation, and which, according to its being complied with or refused, decided the eternal lot of those noble creatures. With what love did not the faithful Angels adore this Jesus, the Word made Flesh, when they beheld him in his Mother’s arms at Bethlehem? With what transport of joy did they not announce to the Shepherds, and to us through them, the Glad Tidings of the Birth of our common King?

As long as he lived upon this earth and submitted to every humiliation and suffering in order to redeem us from sin and make us worthy to become his Members, the Blessed Spirits ceased not to contemplate and adore him. The Ascension came; and from that day forward, it is on the throne prepared at the Father’s right hand that they behold and adore their Lord and King. At the solemn moment of Jesus’ Ascension, a strange joy was felt in each choir of the heavenly hierarchy, from the burning Seraphim to the Angels who are nearest to our own human nature. The actual possession of a good, whose very expectation had filled them with delight, produced an additional happiness in those already infinitely happy Spirits. They fixed their enraptured gaze on Jesus’ beauty, and were lost in astonishment at seeing how Flesh could so reflect the plenitude of grace that dwelt in that Human Nature as to outshine their own brightness. And now, by looking on this Nature(which, though inferior to their own, is divinized by its union with the Eternal Word), they see into further depths of the uncreated Sea of Light. Their love is more burning, the zeal is more impetuous, their hymns are more angelic; for, as the Church says of them, the Angels and Archangels, the Powers and Dominations, the Cerubim and Seraphim, praise the majesty of the Father through his Son, Jesus Christ: per quem majestatem tuam laudant Angeli.

Add to this the joy these heavenly Spirits must have experienced at seeing the immense multitude that accompanied Jesus from earth to heaven. According to their respective merits, they were divided among the various choirs, and placed on thrones left vacant by the fallen angels. Their bodies are not yet united to their souls; but is not their flesh already glorified in that of Jesus? When the time fixed for the general Resurrection comes, the trumpet of the great Archangel will be heard, and then these happy souls will again put on their ancient vesture, the mortal made immortal. Then will the holy Angels, with fraternal enthusiasm, recognize in Adam’s features a likeness of Jesus, and in those of Eve a likeness of Mary, and the resemblance will even be greater than it was when our First Parents were innocent and happy in the Garden of Eden. Come quickly, O thou glorious day, whereon the bright mystery of the Ascension is to receive its final completion, and the two choirs of Angels and Men are to be made one in love and praise under the one Head, Christ Jesus!

It is St. Ambrose who is to help us today, by the following beautiful Hymn,
to celebrate the mystery of the triumph of our Human Nature in Jesus.
The Hymn is inserted in the Breviary of Milan.


Optatus votis omnium
Sacratus illuxit dies
Quo Christus, mundi spes, Deus,
Conscendit cœlos arduos.

The sacred Day, longed for by us all, hath shone upon us: the Day whereon Christ, our God, the hope of the world, ascended to the highest heavens.

Ascendens in altum Dominus,
Propriam ad sedem remeans,
Gavisa sunt cœli regna,
Reditu Unigeniti.

When our Lord ascended on high—returning to his rightful throne—the kingdom of heaven rejoiced, for it was the return of the Only Begotten of the Father.

Magni triumphum prælii!
Mundi perempto principe,
Patris præsentat vultibus
Victricis carnis gloriam.

O triumph of the great battle! Having defeated the prince of this world, Jesus presents to his Father the Flesh that had won the glorious victory.

Est elevatus nubibus
Et spem fecit credentibus,
Aperiens paradisum,
Quem protoplastus clauserat.

He was raised up on a cloud, and opening the gate of heaven, which our First Parent had closed against us, he inspired believers with hope.

O grande cunctis gaudium!
Quod partus nostræ Virginis,
Post sputa, flagra, post crucem,
Paternæ sedi jungitur.

What a joy was this to all mankind, that the Son of our Virgin-Mother—after being spit upon, and scourged, and crucified—was placed upon his Father’s throne!

Agamus ergo gratias
Nostræ salutis vindici,
Nostrum quod corpus vexerit
Sublimem ad cœli regiam.

Let us, then, give thanks to him that avenged us and wrought our salvation, for that he took our Flesh and made it dwell in the heavenly Courts above.

Sit nobis cum cœlestibus
Commune manens gaudium,
Illis quod se præsentavit,
Nobis quod se non abstulit.

Let there be a lasting fellowship of joy between the Angels and us—they rejoice because he offered himself to their delighted gaze; we, because he ceased not to be our Brother.

Nunc provocatis actibus
Christum exspectare nos decet
Vitaque tali vivere,
Quæ possit cœlos scandere.

It behoves us now, by the practice of virtues of which he has set us the example, to await our union with Christ, and so live as to merit our ascension into heaven.

Gloria, tibi Domine,
Qui scandis super sidera,
Cum Patre et Sancto Spiritu
In sempiterna sæcula.

Glory be to thee, O Lord, who ascendest above the stars! and to the Father, and to the Holy Ghost, for everlasting ages. Amen.

We may use this Prayer of the Mozarabic Breviary, wherewith to close the day.

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Christe Dei virtus, et Dei sapientia, qui propter nos, et nostram salutem descendens e cœlis, humani generis carne vestiri dignatus es, ut dignissima societate nos tua Deitate vestires, et quod mortale descendendo susceperas, immortalitati ascendendo donares; tribue nobis interventu solemnitatis hodiernæ, qua te cœlos ascendentem et sequi cupimus et gaudemus, ut benignissimæ dispensationis hujus munera cognoscentes, reddamus pietati tuæ quod solum possumus, vota laudum; exspectantes secundi adventus tui æternorum solatia gaudiorum.

O Jesus! the power and wisdom of God! who, coming down from heaven for our sake and for our salvation, deignedst to clothe thyself in human flesh, that, by a most merciful union, thou mightest clothe us with thy divinity, and that, by ascending into heaven, thou mightest enrich with immortality the mortality thou assumedst by descending upon our earth;—grant, we beseech thee, by the merit of this day’s solemnity (whereon we rejoice at and desire to imitate thine Ascension) that we may acknowledge the favor of this most loving dispensation, by paying to thy mercy the only homage in our power—the offering of our praise, and awaiting thy second coming which is to console us with joys eternal.
"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
Tuesday 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 Lord of glory has ascended into heaven and, as the Apostle says, he has gone thither as our forerunner; but how are we to follow him to this abode of holiness, we whose path is beset with sin—we who are ever needing pardon, rather than meriting anything like glory? This brings us to another consequence of the exhaustless mystery of the Ascension; let us give it our closest attention. Jesus has gone to heaven, not only that he may reign as King, but also that he may intercede for us as our High Priest and, in this quality, obtain for us both the pardon of our sins and the graces we need for following him to glory. He offered himself, on the Cross, as a victim of propitiation for our sins; his precious Blood was shed as our superabundant ransom: but the gates of heaven remained shut against us, until he threw it open by his own entrance into that Sanctuary, where he was to exercise his eternal office of Priest according to the order of Melchisedech. By his Ascension into heaven, his priesthood of Calvary was transformed into a priesthood of glory. He entered with the veil of his once passible and mortal Flesh, within the veil of his Father’s presence, and there is he our Priest forever.

How truly is he called Christ, that is, “the Anointed!” for, no sooner was his Divine Person united to the Human Nature than he received a twofold anointing: he was made both King and High Priest. We have already meditated upon his Kingship; let us now contemplate his Priesthood. He gave proofs of both during his life among us on earth; but it was only by his Ascension that their unclouded splendor was to be declared. Let us, then, follow our Emmanuel, and see him as our High Priest.

The Apostle thus describes the office of a High Priest. He is taken from among men, and is ordained for men in the things that appertain to God that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for our sins: he is appointed their ambassador and mediator with God. Jesus received this office and ministry, and he is fulfilling it in heaven. But, that we may the better appreciate the grand mystery, let us study the figures given of it in the Holy Scriptures, and developed by St. Paul in his sublime Epistle; they will give us a precise idea of the grandeur of our Jesus’ Pontifical character.

Let us go, in thought, to the Temple of Jerusalem. First of all, is the spacious uncovered court, with its porticos; in the center, there stands the Altar, whereon are slain the victims of the various sacrifices, and from the Altar there radiate a number of conduits, through which flows the blood. We next come to a more sacred portion of the edifice; it is beyond the Altar of holocausts, is covered in, and is resplendent with all the riches of the East. Let us respectfully enter, for the place is Holy, and it was God himself who gave to Moses the plan of the various fittings which adorn it with their mysterious and rich beauty:—the Altar of Incense, with its morning and evening cloud of fragrance; the seven-branched Candlestick, with its superb lilies and pomegranates; the Table of the Loaves of Proposition, representing the offering made by man to him who feeds him with the harvests of the earth. And yet, it is not here, though the walls are wainscoted with the bright gold of Ophir, that is centered the great majesty of Jehovah. At the extreme end of the Temple there is a Veil of precious texture, richly embroidered with figures of the Cherubim, and reaching to the ground: it is there, beyond this Veil, that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has fixed the abode of his presence; it is there, also, that rests the Ark of the Covenant, over which two golden Cherubim spread their wings. It is called the “Holy of Holies,” and no one, under pain of death, may draw aside the Veil, or look or enter within the hallowed precinct, where the God of Hosts deigns to dwell.

So then, man is banished from the place wherein God dwells: he is unworthy to enter into so holy a presence. He was created that he might see God and be eternally happy with that vision; but because of sin, he is never to enjoy the sight of God. There is a Veil between himself and Him who is his Last End; neither can he ever remove that Veil. Such is the severe lesson given to us by the symbolism of the ancient Temple.

But there is a merciful promise, and it gives a gleam of hope. This Veil shall, one day, be raised up and man shall enter within: on one condition, however. Let us return to the figurative Temple, and we shall learn what this condition is. As we have already noticed, none were allowed to enter the Holy of Holies; there was but one exception, and that was in favor of the High Priest, who might, once a year, penetrate beyond the Veil. Yet even he had certain conditions to observe. If he entered without holding in his hands a vessel containing the blood of two victims, previously immolated by him for his own and the people’s sins, he was to be put to death; if, on the contrary, he faithfully complied with the divine ordinances, he would be protected by the blood he carried in his hands, and might make intercession for himself and all Israel.

How beautiful and impressive are these figures of the first Covenant! but how much more so their fulfillment in our Jesus’ Ascension! Even during the period of his voluntary humiliations, he made his power be felt in this sacred Dwelling of God’s Majesty. His last breath on the Cross rent the Veil of the Holy of Holies, hereby signifying to us that man was soon to recover the right he had lost by sin, the right of admission into God’s presence. We say soon; for Jesus had still to gain the victory over Death by his Resurrection; he had to spend forty days on earth, during which he, our High Priest, would organize the true Priesthood that was to be exercised in his Church to the end of time, in union with the Priesthood he himself was to fulfill in heaven.

The fortieth day came, and found all things prepared—the witnesses of the Resurrection had proclaimed the victory of their Master; the dogmas of faith had all been revealed; the Church had been formed; the Sacraments had been instituted: it was time for our High Priest to enter into the Holy of Holies, accompanied by the holy souls of Limbo. Let us follow him with the eye of our faith. As he approached, the Veil that had closed the entrance for four thousand years was lifted up. Jesus enters. Has he not offered the preparatory Sacrifice?—not the figurative Sacrifice of the Old Law, but the real one of his own Blood? And having reached the Throne of the Divine Majesty, there to intercede for us his people, he has but to show his Eternal Father the Wounds he received, and from which flowed the Blood that satisfied every claim of Divine Justice. He would retain these sacred stigmata of his Sacrifice, in order that he might ever present them, as our High Priest, to the Father, and so disarm his anger. My little children, says St. John in his first Epistle, I write these things to you, that ye may not sin; but if any man do sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Just. Thus, then, beyond the Veil, Jesus treats of our interests with his Father; he gives the merits of his Sacrifice their full efficacy; he is the eternal High Priest, whose advocacy is irresistible.

St. John, who was granted a sight of the interior of heaven, gives us a sublime description of this twofold character of our Divine Head—Victim and yet King, Sacrificed and yet Immortal. He shows us the Throne of Jehovah, round which are seated the Four-and-Twenty Ancients, the four symbolical living creatures, and then the seven Spirits burning like lamps before it. But the Prophet does not finish his description here. He bids us look at the right hand of Him who sits on the Throne. There we perceive a Lamb standing and as it were slain,—slain and and yet standing, for he is radiant with glory and power. We should be at a loss to understand the vision, had we not our grand mystery of the Ascension to explain it; but now, all is clear. We recognize in the Lamb, portrayed by the Apostle, our Jesus, the Word Eternal, who, being consubstantial to the Father, is seated on the same Throne with him. Yet is he also the Lamb; for he has assumed to himself our flesh, in order that he might be sacrificed for us as a victim; and this character of Victim is to be forever upon him. Oh! see him there, in all his majesty as Son of God, standing in the attitude of infinite power, yet withal, he will not part with his resemblance of the Immolated. The sword of Sacrifice has left Five Wounds upon him, and he would keep them for eternity. Yes, it is identically the same meek Lamb of Calvary, and he is to be forever consummating in glory the immolation he perfected on the Cross.

Such are the stupendous realities seen by the Angels within the Veil; and when our turn comes to pass that Veil, we also shall be enraptured with the sight. We are not to be left outside, as were the Jewish people when, once each year, their High Priest entered into the Holy of Holies. We have the teaching of the Apostle: The Fore-runner, Jesus, our High Priest, has entered within the Veil for us. For us! O what music there is in these two words: For us! He has led the way; we are to follow! Even at the commencement, he would not go alone; he would have the countless legion of the souls of Limbo to accompany him: and ever since then, the procession into heaven has been one of unbroken magnificence. The Apostle tells us that we, poor sinners as we are, are already saved by hope; and what is our hope, but that we are one day to enter into the Holy of Holies? Then will we blend our glad voices with those of the Angels, the Four-and-Twenty Ancients, the myriads of the Blessed, in the eternal Hymn: To the Lamb that was slain, power, and divinity, and wisdom and strength, and glory, and benediction, for ever and ever! Amen.

We offer our readers, today, the following Sequence, composed by the pious Notker, in the 9th century, for the Abbey of Saint Gall.


Christus hunc diem jucundum
Cunctis concedat esse christianis,
Amatoribus suis.

May Crist our Lord grant to all Christians, who love him, that this day may be to them a happy one!

Christe Jesu, Fili Dei,
Mediator nostræ naturæ
Ac Divinæ.

O Christ Jesus! Son of God! thou unitest in thyself the two natures of God and Man.

Terras Deus visitasti æternus,
Æthera novus homo

Thou, the Eternal God, didst visit our earth; thou, the new Man, didst ascend into heaven.

Officiis te Angeli atque nubes
Stipant, ad Patrem

The Angels and the Clouds pay the homage of their service to thee, when thou returnedst to thy Father;

Sed quid mirum,
Cum lactanti adhuc
Stella tibi serviret
Et Angeli?

And need we wonder at it, when we remember how, when thou wast a Babe at thy Mother’s breast, a Star united with the Angels in serving thee?

Tu hodie terrestribus
Rem novam et dulcem
Dedisti, Domine,
Sperandi cœlesti.

Thou, O Lord, this day, gavest to the inhabitants of earth a new and sweet sentiment:—the hope of heaven,

Tu hominem non fictum
Levando super sidereas metas,
Regum Domine.

By placing our nature,—which thou, O King of kings, hadst truly assumed,—above the highest stars.

Quanta gaudia
Tuos replent Apostolos,
Quîs dedisti cernere
Te cœlos pergere.

O what joy filled the hearts of thine Apostles, whom thou permittedst to see thee mounting up to heaven!

Quam hilares
In cœlis tibi occurrunt
Novem ordines.

How joyfully did not the nine choirs of Angels go forth to meet thee as thou enteredst heaven,

In humeris portanti
Diu dispersum a lupis,
Gregem unum,

Carrying on thy shoulders the sheep, thy one fold, that had long been scattered by wolves!

Quem, Christe,
Bone Pastor,
Tu dignare custodire,

O Jesus! Good Shepherd! vouchsafe to watch over this thy Flock! Amen.

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These two eloquent Prayers from the Mozarabic Breviary may also be made part of our evening devotions.

Domine Jesu Christe, creator astrorum, qui inclinasti capita nubium, dum te humiliasti in conversatione mortalium: ut in eo corpore, quo pro nobis probra sustinuisti impiorum, in ipso ascenderes super omnes cœlos cœlorum, et laudes sumeres Angelorum; exaudi nos propitius, et hoc nobis concede placatus, ut, absoluti criminibus, illuc te nunc prævium sequamur corde, quo tu ascendisti glorificatus in homine; ut te etiam tunc contemplari possimus conditorem et Dominum æternum in Majestate, quem nunc verum Deum præstolamur et judicem. Amen.

O Lord Jesus Christ, Creator of the stars! who bowedst down the heads of the lofty clouds when thou humbly camest to live among men; and who, in that same body, wherein, for our sake, thou sufferedst insult from the wicked, didst ascend above the heaven of heavens and receive the praises of Angels: graciously hear our prayer, and mercifully grant, that, being freed from sin, we may follow thee in desire to the region whither thou hast ascended in thy glorified Humanity; that thus we may, one day, see thee in thy Majesty, our Creator and eternal Lord, whom we now await as our God and Judge. Amen.


Domine Jesu Christe, qui ascendisti super cœlos cœlorum ad Orientem, occasum devincens; quos in te suscepisti redimendos, in te perfice ad excelsa tollendos: ut ubi caput præcessit glorificatum, illuc totum corpus adtrahas honorandum: nec in occiduum mundi relinquas, quos ad orientem perpetuum versus triumphator exaltas.

O Lord Jesus Christ! who ascendedst above the heaven of heavens to the East, after triumphing over thine own setting in the West; complete the work of our redemption, by raising us to the courts above. Thou, our Head, hast preceded us in glory; oh! draw thither, after thee, the whole body of thy Church, thy members whom thou callest to share in thine honor. Leave not, we beseech thee, in the inglorious West of this world, those whom thou, the triumphant Conqueror, hast raised, by thine own Ascension, to the everlasting East.
"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
Wednesday 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.

Let us now look upon the earth, for our eyes have hitherto been riveted upon the heaven into which our Jesus has entered. Let us see what effects the mystery of the Ascension has produced on this land of our exile. These effects are of the most extraordinary nature. This Jesus, who ascended into heaven without the City of Jerusalem’s even knowing it, and whose departure, when it was known, excited no regret or joy among the men of that generation—this Jesus, we say, now, eighteen hundred years after his departure from us, finds the whole earth celebrating the anniversary of his glorious Ascension. Our age is far from being one of earnest faith; and yet, there is not a single country on the face of the globe where, if there be a Church or Chapel or even a Catholic home, the Feast of Jesus’ Ascension is not being now kept and loved.

He lived for three and thirty years on our earth. He, the eternal Son of our God, dwelt among his creatures, and there was only one people that knew it. That one favored people crucified him. As to the Gentiles, they would have thought him beneath their notice. True—this beautiful Light shone in the darkness; but the darkness did not comprehend it; he came unto his own, and his own received him not. He preached to his chosen people; but his word was that seed which falls on stony ground, and takes no root, or is cast among thorns and is choked; it could with difficulty find a plot of good ground, wherein to bring forth fruit. If, thanks to his infinite patience and goodness, he succeeded in keeping a few Disciples around him, their faith was weak, hesitating, and gave way when temptation came.

And yet, ever since the preaching of these same Apostles, the name and glory of Jesus are everywhere; in every language and in every clime, he is proclaimed the Incarnate Son of God; the most civilized, as well as the most barbarous, nations have submitted to his sweet yoke; in every part of the universe men celebrate his Birth in the stable of Bethlehem, his Death on the Cross whereby he ransomed a guilty world, his Resurrection whereby he strengthened the work he came to do, and his Ascension, which gave Him, the Man-God, to sit at the right hand of his Father. The great voice of the Church carries to the uttermost bounds of the earth the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, which he came to reveal to mankind. This holy Church, founded by him, teaches the truths of faith to all nations, and in every nation there are souls who are docile to her teaching.

How was this marvellous change brought about? What is it that has given it stability during these eighteen hundred years? Our Savior himself explains it to us by the words he spoke to his Apostles after the Last Supper: It is, said he, expedient to you that I go. What means this, but that there is something more advantageous to us than the having him visibly present among us? This mortal life is not the time for seeing and contemplating him, not even in his Human Nature. To know him, and relish him, even in his Human Nature, we stand in need of a special gift or element; it is Faith. Now, Faith in the mysteries of the Incarnate Word did not begin its reign upon the earth, until he ceased to be visible here below.

Who could tell the triumphant power of Faith? St. John gives it a glorious name; he say: It is the Victory which overcometh the world. It subdued the world to our absent King; it subdued the power and pride and superstitions of Paganism; it won the homage of the earth for Him who has ascended into heaven—the Son of God and the Son of Mary—Jesus.

St. Leo the Great, the sublime theologian of the mystery of the Incarnation, has treated this point with his characteristic authority and eloquence. Let us listen to his glorious teaching.
Quote:“Having fulfilled all the mysteries pertaining to the preaching of the Gospel and to the New Covenant, our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, in the sight of his Disciples, on the fortieth day after his Resurrection; hereby withdrawing his corporal presence, for he was to remain at the right hand of his Father until should be filled up the measure of time decreed by God for the multiplication of the children of the Church, and he (Jesus) should again come, and in the same Flesh wherewith he ascended, to judge the living and the dead. Thus, therefore, that, which in our Redeemer had hitherto been visible, passed into the order of Mysteries. And to the end that Faith might be grander and surer teaching took the place of sight; which teaching was to be accepted by the faithful with hearts illumined by heavenly light.

“This Faith, increased by our Lord’s Ascension, and strengthened by the gift of the Holy Ghost, was proof against every trial; so that, neither chains, nor prisons, nor banishment, nor hunger, nor fire, nor wild beasts, nor all the ingenuity of cruelty and persecution, could affright it. For this Faith, not only men, but even women—not only beardless boys, but even tender maidens—fought unto the shedding of their blood, and this in every country of the world. This Faith cast out devils from such as were possessed, cured the sick, and raised the dead to life. The blessed Apostles themselves—who, though they had so often witnessed their Master’s miracles and heard his teachings, turned cowards when they saw him in his Sufferings, and hesitated to believe his Resurrection—these same, I say, were so changed by his Ascension, that what heretofore had been a subject of fear, then became a subject of joy. And why? Because the whole energy of the soul’s contemplation was raised up to Jesus’ Divinity, now seated at the right hand of his Father; the vigor of the mind’s eye was not dulled by the bodily vision, and they came to the clear view of the mystery, namely—that he neither left the Father when he descended upon the earth, nor left his Disciples when he ascended into heaven.

“Never, then, was Jesus so well known, as when he withdrew himself into the glory of his Father’s majesty, and became more present by his Divinity in proportion as he was distant in his Humanity. Then did Faith, made keener, approach to the Son co-equal with his Father; she needed not the handling of the bodily substance of her Christ—that bodily substance, I say, whereby he is less than his Father. The substance of his glorified Body is the same; but our Faith was to be of so generous a kind, as that we were to go to the Co-equal Son, not by a corporal feeling, but by a spiritual understanding. Hence, when Mary Magdalene, who represented the Church, threw herself at the feet of the Risen Jesus, and would have embraced them, he said to her: Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father:—as though he would say: ‘I will not that thou come to me corporally, or that thou know me by the testimony of thy senses. I have a sublimer recognition in store for thee; I have prepared something far better for thee. When I shall have ascended to my Father, then shalt thou feel me in a higher and truer way; for thou shalt grasp what thou touchest not, and believe what thou seest not.’”

The departure of our Emmanuel was, therefore, the opening of that reign of Faith, which is to prepare us for the eternal vision of the Sovereign Good; and this blessed Faith, which is our very life, gives us, at the same time, all the light, compatible with our mortal existence, for knowing and loving the Word Consubstantial to the Father, and for the just appreciation of the Mysteries which this Incarnate Word wrought here below in his Humanity. It is now eighteen hundred years since he lived on the earth; and yet we know him better than his Disciples did before his Ascension. Oh! truly was it expedient for us that he should go from us; his visible presence would have checked the generosity of our Faith, and it is our Faith alone that can bridge over the space which is to be between himself and us, until our ascension comes, and then we shall enter within the veil.

How strangely blind are those who see not the superhuman power of this element of Faith, which has not only conquered, but even transformed, the world! Some of them have been writing long treatises to prove that the Gospels were not written by the Evangelists: we pity their ravings. But these great discoverers have another difficulty to get over, and so far they have not attempted to grapple with it: we mean, the living Gospel which is the production of the unanimous faith of eighteen centuries, and is the result of the courageous confession of so many millions of Martyrs, of the holiness of countless men and women, of the conversion of so many, both civilized and uncivilized, nations. Assuredly, He, who after having spent a few short years in one little spot of earth, had but to disappear, in order to draw men’s hearts to himself, so that the brightest intellects and the purest minds gave him their Faith—he must be what he tells us he is: the Eternal Son of God. Glory, then, and thanks to thee, O Jesus! who, to console us in thine absence, has given us Faith, whereby the eye of our soul is purified, the hope of our heart is strengthened, and the divine realities we possess tell upon us in all their power! Preserve within us this precious gift of thy gratuitous goodness; give it increase; and when our death comes—that solemn hour which precedes our seeing thee face to face—O give us the grand fullness of our dearest Faith!

One of the most northern of the Churches—now, alas! a slave of Lutheranism—shall provide us today with a Hymn in honor of the Mystery we are celebrating.
It is a Sequence taken from the last Missal of Abo, in Finland. It was composed in the 14th or 15th century.

Omnes gentes plaudite,
Festos choros ducite,
Christo triumphante;
Redit cum victoria,
Capta ducens spolia,
Tuba jubilante.

Be glad, all ye people, and sing your festive songs, for it is the Triumph of Christ! He returns to heaven, leading thither the trophies he has won; and as he ascends, the jubilant sound of the trumpet is heard.

Papæ! quam magnificum
Hodie dominicum
Germen gloriatur!
Terræ fructus hodie
Super thronos curiæ
Cœli sublimatur.

Oh! how grand is the glory that is this day conferred on the Son of God! The Fruit of our earth is this day exalted above all the thrones of the heavenly court.

Intrat tabernaculum
Moyses, et populum
Trahit ad spectaculum
Tantæ virtus rei:
Stant suspensis vultibus,
Intendentes nubibus
Jesum subducentibus,
Viri Galilæi.

Like Moses, he enters the Tabernacle, and people flock to see the grandeur of the mystery: the men of Galilee stand looking up to the cloud that received him out of their sight.

Dum Elias sublevatur,
Elisæo duplex datur
Spiritus et pallium:
Alta Christus dum conscendit,
Servis suas mnas appendit
Gratiarum omnium.

When Elias was taken up from earth, he gave his two-fold spirit and his mantle to Eliseus: when Jesus ascended into heaven, he gave to his servants the talents of his grace.

Transit Jacob hunc Jordanem,
Luctum gerens non inanem,
Crucis usus baculo;
Redit turmis cum duabus,
Angelis et animabus,
Et thesauri saculo.

Like Jacob, he passed over the Jordan, enduring sufferings of wondrous avail to us, and the staff he used was the Cross. He returned to heaven with two troops,—of Angels, and of souls (set free from Limbo),—and laden with treasures.

Hic est fortis,
Qui de mortis
Victor portis
Introit cum gloria;
Rex virtutum,
Cujus nutum
Et obtutum
Trina tremit regia.

This is the mighty one, who, having conquered the gates of Death, entered heaven with glory. He is the King of hosts, at whose bidding and presence the triple creation trembles.

Vocat Pater Filium
Ad consessus solium,
Donec suppedaneos,
Victos vel spontaneos,
Ponat inimicos.
Sedet in altissimis,
Fruitur potissimis;
Redit ex novissimis,
Judicans ex intimis
Justos et iniquos.

The Father calls his Son to sit with him on his throne, until he make his enemies bow down before him, vanquished by force or love. He reigns in the highest heavens; he receives supreme honor; he is to come again upon our earth to judge the consciences of all, Saints and sinners.

Veni Deus ultionum,
Veni cum clementia:
Dum sistemur ante thronum
Tua in præsentia:
Mane nobis tunc auditam
Fac misericordiam;
In perennem transfer vitam
Ad futuram gloriam.

O come, thou avenging God! come in thy mercy, when we are to appear before thee seated on thy throne. On that day, show unto us thy wonted mercy, and give us to ascend to the endless life of future glory. Amen.

Again, the Mozarabic Breviary offers us one of its beautiful Prayers for this Octave.


Domine Jesu Christe, qui sublimius exaltasti thronum tuum in Jerusalem civitatem tuam, quæ est utique Ecclesia, dum eam gloriose conquiris et ab ea triumphaliter ad Patrem ascendise dum in assumpto homin: Assumptionis tuæ gloriam manifestas: sint ergo in nobis, et vota tibi placita, et opera ipsa accepta; ut ex hoc tecum possideamus regnum in gloria sempiterna. Amen.

O Lord Jesus Christ! who has set thy throne on high in Jerusalem, thy city, which is thy Church;—who didst win her by a glorious victory, and from the same didst triumphantly ascend to thy Father, thus manifesting the glory of thine Assumption in the Human Nature thou hadst assumed; grant, we beseech thee, that our homage may be pleasing unto thee, and our works acceptable, whereby we may merit to reign with thee in everlasting glory. 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
Thursday 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.

We have already seen how the Ascension of our Emmanuel won him the empire over our understanding:—it was the triumph of Faith. The same mystery gave him a second victory—the victory of Love, which makes him reign in our hearts. For eighteen hundred years, in whom have men believed, firmly and universally, except in Jesus? In what else have men agreed, except in the dogmas of Faith? What countless errors has not this divine torch dispelled? What light has it not given to the nations that received it? and in what darkness has it not left those which rejected it after having once received it?

In like manner, no one has been loved as our Jesus has been, ever since the day of his Ascension: no one is so loved now or ever will be, as He. But, that he might thus win our love, he had to leave us, just as he had to do in order to secure oru Faith. Let us return to our text, that we may get deeper into the beautiful mystery. It is expedient for you that I go! Before the Ascension, the Disciples were as inconstant in the love as they were in their faith. Jesus could not trust them. But, no sooner had he left them, than they became warmly devoted to him. Instead of complaining at their bereavement, they returned full of joy to Jerusalem. The thought of their Master’s triumph made them forget their own loss, and they hastened, as he bade them, to the Cenacle, where they were to be endued with Power from on high. Watch these men during the subsequent years; examine what their conduct was from that time to the day of their death; count, if you can, their acts of devotedness in the arduous labor of preaching the Gospel; and say, if any other motive than love for their Master could have enabled them to do what they did? With what cheerfulness did they not drink his Chalice? With what rapture did they not hail his Cross, when they saw it being prepared for themselves?

But let us not stop at these first witnesses; they had seen Jesus and heard him, and touched him:—let us turn to those who came after them, and knew him by faith only: let us see if the love which burned in the hearts of the Apostles has been kept up by the Christians of the past eighteen centuries. First of all, there is the contest of Martyrdom, which has never been altogether interrupted since the Gospel began to be preached. The opening campaign lasted three hundred years. What was it that induced so many millions to suffer, not only patiently, but gladly, every torture that cruelty could devise? Was it not their ambition to testify how much they loved their Jesus? Let us not forget how these frightful ordeals were cheerfully gone through, not only by men hardened to suffering, but also by delicate women, by young girls, yea even by little children. Let us call to mind the sublime answers they gave to their persecutors, whereby they evinced their generous ardor to repay the death of Jesus by their own. The Martyrs of our own times, in China, Japan, the Corea, and elsewhere, have repeated, without knowing it, the very same words to their judges and executioners as were addressed to the Proconsuls of the third and fourth centuries by the Martyrs of those days.

Yes, our divine King who has ascended into heaven is loved as no other ever was or could be. Think of those millions of generous souls who, that they might be exclusively his, have despised all earthly affections, and would know no other love than his. Every age—even our own, in spite of all its miseries—has produced souls of this stamp, and only God knows how many.

Our Emmanuel has been, and to the end of time, will ever be loved on this earth. Have we not reason to say so when we consider how many there have always been, even among the wealthiest ones of the world, who, in order that they might bear a resemblance to the Babe of Bethlehem, have given up everything they possessed? What an irresistible proof of the same truth have we not in the countless sacrifices of self-love and pride, made with a view to imitate the Obedience of the God-Man on earth? And what else but an ardent love of Jesus could have prompted those heroic acts of mortification and penance, whereby the Sufferings of his Passion have been emulated and, as the Apostle says, filled up?

But grand as all this is, it was not enough to satisfy man’s devoted love of his absent Lord. Jesus had said, at least implicitly: Whatsoever you do to the least of your brethren, you do it to me. Love is ever quick at catching the meaning of our Redeemer’s words. It took advantage of these, and saw in them another means for reaching its Jesus—reaching him through the Poor. And as the worst of poverties is the ignorance of divine truths, because it would make a man poor and miserable for eternity—therefore have there risen up, in every age, zealous apostles who, bidding farewell to home and fatherland, have carried the light of the Gospel to them that sat in darkness and in the shadow of death. They heeded not the fatigues or the perils of such a mission: what cared they for all these things if they could but make Jesus known and honored, and loved, by one poor savage or Hindoo?

But what of those other poor ones—the sick—in whom Jesus suffers? Fear not: he is too much loved to be forgotten there. Once let the Church be free enough to develop her plans of charity, and there will be an Institute of relief for every class of sufferers. The poor, the sick—all will be cared for and comforted. There will be vocations to Charity, to meet every want; and women too, urged by the love of their Divine Lord, will deem it an honor to be the nurses and attendants of a suffering or dying Lazarus. The world itself is in admiration at their heroism; and though it knows not the divine principle which originates these charitable Institutions, yet is it obliged to acknowledge the extraordinary good they effect.

But man’s observation can only reach the exterior; the interior is the far grander reality, and it is beyond his notice. What we have said so far is, therefore, but a very feeble description of the ardor wherewith our Lord Jesus Christ has been, and still is, loved on this earth. Let us picture to ourselves the millions of Christians who have lived since the first foundations of the Church. Many, it is true, have had the misfortune to be unfaithful to the object of their existence; but what an immense number have loved Jesus with all their heart, and soul, and strength? Some have never flagged in their love; others have needed a conversion from vice or tepidity, returned to him, and slept in the kiss of peace. Count, if you can, the virtuous actions, the heroic sacrifices, of those countless devoted servants of his, who are to be arrayed before him in the Valley of Josaphat. His memory alone can hold and tell the stupendous total of what has been done. This well-nigh infinite aggregate of holy deeds and thoughts—from the seraphic ardor of the greatest Saint, down to the cup of cold water given in the name of the Redeemer, what is it all but the ceaseless hymn of our earth to its beloved Absent One, its never-forgotten Jesus? Who is the man, how dear soever his memory may be, for whom we would be devoted, or sacrifice our interests, or lay down our lives, especially if he had been ten or twenty ages gone from us? Who is that great Dead, the sound of whose name can make the hearts of men vibrate with love, in every country and in every generation? It is Jesus, who died, who rose again, who ascended into heaven.

But we humbly confess, O Jesus, that it was necessary for us that thou shouldst go from us in order that our faith might soar up to thee in heaven, and that our hearts, being thus enlightened, might burn with thy love. Enjoy thine Ascension, O thou King of Angels and men! We, in our exile, will feast on the fruits of the great mystery, waiting for it to be fulfilled in ourselves. Enlighten those poor blind infidels, whose pride will not permit them to recognize thee, notwithstanding these most evident proofs. They continue in their errors concerning thee, though they have such superabundant testimony of thy Divinity, in the faith and love thou hast received in every age. The homage offered thee by the universe represented, as it has ever been, by the chief nations of the earth, and by the most virtuous and learned men of each generation—all this is, to these unbelievers, as though it had never happened. Who are they to be compared with such a cloud of faithful witnesses? Have mercy on them, O Lord! save them from their pride; then will they unite with us in saying: “It was indeed expedient for this world to lose thy visible presence, O Jesus! for never were thy greatness, thy power, and thy Divinity, so recognized and loved as when thou didst depart from us. Glory, then, be to the mystery of thine Ascension, whereby, as the Psalmist prophesied, thou receivedst gifts, that thou mightest bestow them upon men!”

We will take a Hymn today from the Greek Church: it is the one she sings in honor of our Redeemer’s triumph, at her Evening Office of Ascension Day.

(In Assumptione Domini, ad magnum Vespertinum.)

Assumptus est in cœlos Dominus, ut mundo mitteret Paraclitum. Cœli præparaverunt thronum ejus, et nubes ascensum ejus. Mirantur Angeli, supra seipsos hominem videntes. Pater suscipit quem habet in sinu coæternum. Spiritus Sanctus omnibus Angelis suis imperat: Attollite portas, principes, vestras; omnes gentes plaudite manibus, quia ascendit Christus ubi erat prius. 

The Lord ascended into heaven, that he might send the Paraclete into this world. The heavens prepared his throne, and the clouds his Ascension. The Angels are lost in wonder at seeing Man exalted above them. The Father receives Him who is in his own bosom, his co-eternal Son. The Holy Ghost speaks this bidding to all his Angels: “Lift up your gates, O ye princes!” Clap your hands, all ye people, for Christ hath ascended to the heaven where he has ever been.

Domine, Assumptione tua obstupuerunt Cherubim, conspicientia te Deum in nubibus ascendentem, super ipsa sedentem; et glorificamus te, quoniam benigna est misericordia tua. Gloria tibi. 

The Cherubim were in amazement at thine Assumption, O Lord! They beheld thee ascending upon the clouds, thee their God, who sittest upon themselves. We glorify thee, for compassionate is thy mercy:—Glory be to thee!

In montibus sanctis tuas videntes exaltationes, Christe, splendor gloriæ Patris, fulgentem vultus tui speciem iterum atque iterum celebramus; tuas adoramus passiones, resurrectionem honoramus, inclytam glorificantes Assumptionem: miserere nobis. 

Seeing thy risings upon the holy mountains, O Christ, thou brightness of the Father’s glory! e tire not in praise of this brilliant beauty of thy Face. We adore thy Passion, we honor thy Resurrection, we glorify thy noble Assumption! Have mercy on us!

Domine, quando te in nubibus elevatum viderunt Apostoli, cum gemitibus lacrymarum tristitia repleti, Christe vitæ dator, lamentantes dicebant: Domine, utpote misericors, ne derelinquas nos orphanos, quos propter celementiam dilexisti servos tuos; sed mitte, sicut promisisti nobis sanctissimum Spiritum tuum, illuminantem animas nostras. 

When the Apostles saw thee, O Lord, raised up to the clouds, they sighed, and wept and were sad. Thus to thee, O Christ, thou giver of Life, did they speak their sorrow: “Thou art merciful, O Lord! then leave not orphans us thy servants, whom, in thy goodness, thou hast loved; but send upon us, as thou hast promised, thy most Holy Spirit, who will enlighten our Souls.”

Domine, dispensationis impleto mysterio, tuos assumens discipulos, in montem Olivarum tecum ducebas; et ecce firmamentum cœli intrasti. Qui propter me egenus sicut ego factus es, et illuc ascendisti unde non es separatus, sanctissimum tuum mitte Spiritum, illuminantem animas nostras. 

Having, O Lord, fulfilled the mystery of the dispensation, thou didst lead thy Disciples to Mount Olivet; when, lo! thou ascendedst into the firmament of heaven. O thou, that for my sake, wast made poor as I, and ascendedst to the realm which thou hadst never left—send thy most Holy Spirit to enlighten our souls!

A sinu paterno non separatus, dulcissime Jesu, et cum iis qui sunt in terra sicut homo conversatus, hodie a monte Olivarum assumptus es in gloria, et lapsam naturam nostram pro misericordia elevans, cum Patre sedere fecisti. Unde cœlestia incorporeorum agnima, prodigium stupentia, admiratione stabant attnota; et tremore comprehensa tuum erga homines amorem magnificabant. Cum quibus et nos in terra existentes, tuam ad nos descensionem et a nobis Assumptionem glorificantes, rogamus dicentes: Qui discipulos et genitricem tuam Deiparam infinito gaudio in tua Assumptione replevisti, nos quoque electorum tuorum lætitia dignare, prcibus eorum, propter magnam misericordiam tuam. 

Living as Man with them that were on earth, thou, sweetest Jesus! wast not separated from thy Father’s bosom. On this day, thou wast taken up in glory from Mount Olivet; and mercifully raising up our fallen nature, thou placedst it on thy Father’s throne. The heavenly host of Angels stood in astonished admiration at the sight of the prodigy; and, seized with awe, they celebrated in songs of praise thy love for man. Together with them, we also, who dwell on earth, do glorify thy coming down unto us and thine ascending up from us, and thus do we pray: O thou that, in thine Assumption, filledst the Disciples and thy Mother with infinite joy; vouchsafe, through their prayers, and thine own great mercy, to give us a share in the joy of thine elect.

As a prose to this glorious Octave, we offer the eighth and last of the beautiful Prayers given by the Mozarabic Breviary in honor of our Lord’s Ascension.

Christe Jesu, terribilis Deus noster, et rex noster, cujus in nativitate cum pastoribus Angeli gloriam detulerunt; cui, devicto mortis auctore, omnes gentes manibus cordibusque plauserunt; quem throphæa victricia reportantem ad æthera, Apostolorum est fides prosecuta: fac nos redemptionis nostræ, et Ascensionis tuæ mysteria fidei jubilatione cantare; et cum principibus populi, Deo Abraham fideli famulatu placere. Amen. 

O Christ Jesus! our God of dread majesty, and our King! at whose birth the Angels and Shepherds gave glory; at whose victory over the author of death all nations clapped their hands and were filled with joy; at whose ascending, with thy trophies, into heaven, the Apostles were perfected in their faith;—grant that we, also, with fervent faith, may sing our canticles of praise in honor of the mysteries of our Redemption and of thine Ascension; and that, with the princes of thy people, we may, by our faithful services, be well-pleasing to the God of Abraham. 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 After 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 Octave is over; the mystery of the glorious Ascension is completed; and our Jesus is never again to be seen upon this earth until he come to judge the living and the dead. We are to see him only by faith; we are to approach him only by love. Such is our probation; and if we go well through it, we shall, at last, be permitted to enter within the Veil, as a reward for our faith and love.

Let us not complain at our lot; rather let us rejoice in that Hope which, as the Apostle says, confoundeth not. And how can we be otherwise than hopeful when we remember that Jesus has promised to abide with us even to the consummation of the world? He will not appear visibly; ;but he will be always really with us. How could he abandon his Spouse, the Church? and are not we the children of this his beloved Spouse?

But this is not all: Jesus does something more for us. One of his last words was this, and it shows us how dearly he loved us: I will not leave you orphans. When he used those other words, upon which we have been meditating during the last few days—It is expedient for you that I go—he added: For if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you. This Paraclete, this comforter, is the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of the Father and Son; he is to descend upon us in a few short hours hence; he will abide with us (making us feel his presence by his works) until Jesus shall again come from heaven that he may take his elect from a World which is to be condemned to eternal torments for its crimes. But the Holy Ghost is not to come until he be sent; and as the sacred text implies, he is not to be sent until Jesus shall have been glorified. He is coming that he may continue the great Work; but this Work was to be begun by the Son of God, and carried on by him as far as the eternal decrees had ordained.

Jesus labored in this Work, and then entered into his rest, taking with him our Human Nature, which, by his assuming it, he had exalted to the Divine. The Holy Ghost is not to assume our Humanity; but he is coming to Console us during Jesus’ absence; he is coming to complete the Work of our sanctification. It was He that produced those prodigies which we have been admiring—the faith and love of men in and for Jesus. Yes, it is the Holy Ghost who produces Faith in the soul; it is the Holy Ghost who pours the Charity of God into our hearts.

So, then, we are about to witness fresh miracles of God’s love for man! In a few hours hence, the Reign of the Holy Ghost will have begun on earth. There is but the interim of this one short day—for tomorrow evening, the Solemnity of Pentecost will be upon us;—let us then linger in our admiration of our Emmanuel. The holy Liturgy has daily gladdened us with his presence, beginning with those happy weeks of Advent, when we were awaiting the day on which the Virgin Mother was to give us the ever Blessed Fruit. And now, he is gone!—O sweet memories of the intimacy we enjoyed with our Jesus, when we were permitted to follow him, day by day—we have you treasured within us! Yea, the Holy Spirit himself is coming to impress you still deeper on our hearts! for Jesus told us that when the Paraclete should come to us, he would help us to remember all that we have heard and seen and felt in the company of the God who deigned to live our life, that so he might teach us to live his for all eternity.

Neither let us forget how, when quitting this his earthly home—where he was conceived in Mary’s Womb, where he was born, where he spent the three and thirty years of his mortal life, where he died, where he rose from the grave, and from which he ascended to the right hand of his Father—he left upon it an outward mark of his love. He left the impress of his sacred Feet upon Mount Olivet, as thou he felt separating himself form the earth to which so many years and mysteries had endeared him. St. Augustine, St. Paulinus (of Nola), St. Optatus, Sulpicius Severus, and the testimony of subsequent ages, assure us of the prodigy.

These venerable authorities tell us that when the Roman army, under Titus, was encamped on Mount Olivet, while besieging Jerusalem, Divine Providence protected these holy marks, the farewell memorial left by our Lord to his Blessed Mother, to his Disciples, and to us: it is here that he stood when last seen on earth, it is here that we shall again see him when it comes to judge mankind. Neither the rude tramp of the soldiers, nor the ponderous chariots, nor the horses’ hoofs, were permitted to efface or injure the sacred Footsteps. Yes, it was on this very Mount, forty years after the Ascension, that the Roman Banner was first unfolded, when the time of God’s vengeance came upon the City of Deicide. Let us call to mind, firstly, how the Angels announced that the same Jesus who had just ascended would again come to judge us; and secondly, how our Lord himself had compared the two awful events, the Destruction of Jerusalem, and the End of the World. These sacred marks of Jesus’ Feet are, therefore, the memorial of his affectionate farewell, and the prophecy of his return as our terrible Judge. At the foot of the Hill lies the Valley of Josaphat, the Valley of the Judgment; and the Prophet Zacharias has said: His feet shall stand, in that day, upon the Mount of Olives, which is over against Jerusalem, toward the East.

Let us humbly give admission to the feeling of fear, wherewith our Lord thus inspires us, that we may be more solidly grounded in his love; and let us affectionately venerate the spot on which our Emmanuel left the impress of his Feet. The holy Empress St. Helen, entrusted with the sublime mission of finding and honoring the objects and places that our Redeemer had sanctified by his visible presence, Mount Olivet was sure to elicit her devoted zeal. She ordered a magnificent Church of a circular form to be built upon it: but when the builders came to pave the Church with rich marble, they were prevented, by a miraculous power, from covering the spot on which were imprinted the holy Footmarks. The marble broke into a thousand pieces, which struck them on the face; and after several attempts, they resolved to leave that part of the rock uncovered.

This fact is attested by many holy and creditable authors, several of whom lived in the 4th century, when it occurred. But our Lord would do more than keep open to our view these his last Footprints, which seem to be ever saying to us—“Your Jesus is but now gone, and will soon return:” he would, moreover, have them teach us that we are to follow him to heaven. When the time came for roofing the Church, the men found that they had not power to do so; the stones fell as often as they attempted to put them up, and the building was left roofless, as though it had to be our reminder that the way opened by Jesus on the summit of Mount Olivet is ever open for us, and that we must be ever aspiring to rejoin our Divine Master in Heaven.

In his first Sermon for the Feast of the Ascension, St. Bernardin of Sienna relates an edifying story, which is in keeping with the reflections we have been making. He tells us that a pious nobleman, desirous to visit the places that had witnessed the mysteries of our Redemption, passed the seas. Having reached Palestine, he would begin his pilgrimage by visiting Nazareth, and there, on the very spot where the Word was made Flesh, he gave thanks to the infinite love that had drawn our God from heaven to earth, in order that he might save us from perdition. The next visit was to Bethlehem, where our Pilgrim venerated the place of our Savior’s Birth. As he knelt on the spot where Mary adored her new-born Babe, the tears rolled down his cheeks and, as St. Francis of Sales says (for he also has related this affecting story), “he kissed the dust whereon the divine Infant was first laid.”

Our devout Pilgrim, who bravely travelled the country in every direction, went from Bethlehem to the banks of the Jordan; he stopped near Bethabara, at a little place called Bethany, where St. John baptized Christ. The better to honor the mystery, he went down into the bed of the River, and entered with much devotion into the water, thinking within himself how that stream had been sanctified by its contact with Jesus’ sacred Body. Thence he passed to the Desert, for he would follow, as nearly as might be, the footsteps of the Son of God; he contemplated the scene of our Master’s fasting, temptation, and victory. He next went on towards Thabor; he ascended to the top, that he might honor the mystery of the Transfiguration, whereby our Savior gave to three of his Disciples a glimpse of his infinite glory.

At length, the good Pilgrim entered Jerusalem. He visited the Cenacle, and we can imagine the tender devotion wherewith he meditated on all the great mysteries that had been celebrated there—such as Jesus’ Washing his Disciples’ feet, and the Institution of the Eucharist. Being resolved to follow his Savior in each Station, he passed the Brook Cedron, and came to the Garden of Gethsemani, where his heart well-nigh broke at the thought of the Bloody Sweat endured by the Divine Victim of our sins. The remembrance of Jesus’ being manacled, fettered, and dragged to Jerusalem, next filled his mind. “He at once starts off,” says the holy Bishop of Geneva, whom we must allow to tell the rest of the story: “he at once starts off, treading in the footsteps of his beloved Jesus; he sees him dragged to and fro, to Annas, to Caiphas, to Pilate, to Herod; buffeted, scoffed at, spit upon, crowned with thorns, made a show of to the mob, sentenced to death, laden with a Cross, and meeting, as he carries it, with his heart-broken Mother and the weeping daughters of Jerusalem.

Quote:“The good Pilgrim mounts to the top of Calvary, where he sees in spirit the Cross lying on the ground, and our Savior stretched upon it, while the executioners cruelly nail him to it by his hands and feet. He sees them raise the Cross and the Crucified in the air, and the Blood gushing from the Wounds of the sacred Body. He looks at the poor Mother, who is pierced through with the sword of sorrow; he raises up his eyes to the Crucified, and listens with most loving attention to his Seven Words; and at last, sees him dying, and dead, and his Side opened with a Spear, so that the Sacred Heart is made visible. He watches how he is taken down from the Cross, and carried to the Tomb; and as he treads along the path all stained with his Redeemer’s Blood, he sheds floods of tears. He enters the Sepulcher, and buries his heart side by side by his Jesus’ Corpse.

“After this, he rises again together with him; he visits Emmaus, and thinks on all that happened between Jesus and the two disciples, Finally, he returns to Mount Olivet, the scene of the Ascension; and seeing there the last footprints of his dear Lord, he falls down and covers them with untiring kisses. Then, like an archer stretching his bowstring to give his arrow speed, he concentrates into one intense act the whole power of his love, and stands with his eyes and hands lifted up towards heaven: ‘Jesus!’ he says, ‘O my sweet Jesus! where else am I now to go on earth seeking thee? Ah Jesus! my dearest Jesus, let this heart of mine follow thee yonder!’ Saying this, his heart kept darting upwards to heaven, for the brave archer had taken too sure an aim to miss his divine object.”

St. Bernardin of Sienna tells us that the companions and attendants of the noble Pilgrim, seeing that he was sinking under the vehemence of his desire, hastened to call a physician, that they might bring him to himself again. But it was too late; the soul had fled to her God, leaving us an example of the love that the mere contemplation of the divine Mysteries can produce n man’s heart. And have not we been following all these same Mysteries, under the guidance of the holy Liturgy? God grant that we may now keep within us the Jesus whom we have had so truly given to us! and may the Holy Spirit, by his coming, visit, maintain and intensify in our souls the resemblance we have thus received with our Divine King!

In order the more worthily to celebrate the great Mystery which closed yesterday, and the equally glorious one which begins tomorrow—we place between the two the sublime Canticle, wherein the Royal Psalmist prophesies both the Ascension and the Christian Pentecost. The 67th Psalm (composed for the reception of the Ark of the Covenant on Mount Sion) is, as St. Paul himself has interpreted it, a prophecy of Jesus’ triumphant Ascension into heaven. It begins by celebrating the victory gained by Christ over his enemies by his Resurrection; it proceeds to speak of the favors bestowed upon the Christian people; it shows us the combats and triumphs of the Church; in a word, it puts before us the commencement of the work of our Emmanuel, and its consummation by the Holy Ghost. With a view to facilitating the understanding of this mysterious Psalm, we give a commentary rather than a translation; and in doing so, we offer to our readers the interpretation given by the early Fathers.

Psalm 67
Exsurgat Deus, et dissipentur inimici ejus: et fugiant, qui oderunt eum, a facie ejus. 
Let God, the Man-God arise, and let his enemies be scattered: and let them that hate him flee from before his face.

Sicut deficit fumus, deficiant: sicut fluit cera a facie ignis, sic pereant peccatores a facie Dei. 
As smoke vanisheth, so let them vanish away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.

Et justi epulentur, et exsultent in conspectu Dei: et delectentur in lætitia. 
And let the just feast, and rejoice before God, and be delighted with gladness.

Cantate Deo, psalmum dicite nomini ejus: iter facite ei qui ascendit super occasum: Dominus nomen illi. 
O ye that have been redeemed, sing to God, sing a psalm to his name! make a way for him who ascendeth upon the west, as on a throne. He is the Son of Man, and yet Jehovah is his name.

Exsultate in conspectu ejus, turbabuntur a facie ejus, patris orphanorum et judicis viduarum. 
Rejoice ye before him: but his enemies, the wicked spirits, shall be troubled at his presence, for he is come that he may be the father of orphans, the judge and defender of the widow, the Redeemer of mankind, which Sin had made a slave of Satan.

Deus in loco sancto suo: Deus qui inhabitare facit unius moris in domo. 
He is God in his holy sanctuary, and he would give them to dwell in his own House, who shall have lived in the unity of one faith and charity.

Qui educit victos in fortitudine, similiter eos, qui exasperant, qui habitant in sepulchris. 
He delivers, by the strength of his arm, them that were strongly fettered; but them that provoke him by their resistance, he casts into the abyss.

Deus, quum egredereris in conspectu populi tui, quum pertransires in deserto: 
O God! O Christ! when thou didst go forth on this earth, leading thy chosen people;—when thou didst pass through the parched desert of this world,

Terra mota est: etenim cœli distillaverunt a facie Dei Sinai, a facie Dei Israel. 
The earth was moved, and the heavens dropped down a refreshing dew, at the bidding of the God of Sinai, the God of Israel, who had sent thee.

Pluviam voluntariam segregabit, Deus, hæreditati tuæ: et infirmata est, tu vero perfecisti eam. 
Thou hadst reserved for thine inheritance, thy Church, a rain of blessings. Thine inheritance was lost; mankind was a prey to every misery when thou camest upon the earth; but thou didst restore it, and make it perfect.

Animalia tua habitabunt in ea; parasti in dulcedine tua pauperi, Deus. 
In it shall henceforth dwell the flock, of which thou art the Shepherd. In thy sweetness, O God, thou providest a nourishment that would strengthen its weakness.

Dominus dabit verbum evangelizantibus, virtute multa. 
That he may invite his elect to partake of these blessings, the Holy Ghost, who is also God, is about to give a tongue and voice to them that are to evangelize the world; they shall speak with a power that cannot be resisted.

Rex virtutum dilecti dilecti: et speciei domus divdere spolia. 
Kings of mighty armies shall be subdued by him who is the dear and beloved one of the Father: and she that is the beauty of the house shall divide their spoils.

Si dormiatis inter medios cleros, pennæ columbæ deargentatæ, et posteriora dorsi ejus in pallore auri. 
During the contest, ye, O children of the Church, shall sleep in safety in the enclosure that protects you; ye shall be as the silvery-feathered dove, whose back reflects the richness of gold.

Dum discernit cœlestis reges super eam, nive dealbabuntur in Selmon: mons Dei, mons pinguis. 
When he, whose throne is in heaven, shall execute judgment upon these kings, they that are under his protection shall be fair as the snow which covers the top of Mount Selmon. There is a mountain—the mountain of God.—

Mons coagulatus, mon pinguis: ut quid suspicamini montes coagulatos? 
A fertile, rich and fat mountain—it is his Church. Where else would you seek for mountains, whose richness can be compared to hers?

Mons, in quo beneplacitum est Deo habitare in eo: etenim Dominus habitabit in finem. 
She is the Mountain, on which God is well pleased to dwell; there the Lord shall dwell unto the end.

Currus Dei decem millibus multiplex, millia lætantium: Dominus in eis in Sina in Sancto. 
The chariot of the Son of God, as he ascends into heaven, is grander than ten thousand chariots of war; thousands of Angels stand in joy around it. The Lord is in their midst; he takes up his abode in his Sanctuary, as heretofore he did on Sina.

Ascendisti in altum, cepisti captivitatem: accepisti dona in hominibus: 
O Jesus! thou hast ascended on high; thou hast led with thee them that were captives in Limbo. Thou, as Man, receivedst ineffable gifts, and thou hast lavished them upon us.

Etenim non credentes, inhabitare Dominum Deum. 
And even they that hitherto believed not, now confess that God dwells amongst us.

Benedictus Dominus die quotidie: prosperum iter faciet nobis Deus salutarium nostrorum. 
Blessed be the Lord day by day! God, the author of our salvation, will make our journey prosperous.

Deus noster, Deus salvos faciendi: et Domini Domini exitus mortis. 
Yea, our God is the God of salvation. To the Lord, to the Lord doth it belong to deliver us from death.

Verumtamen Deus confringet capita inimicorum suorum: verticem capilli perambulantium in delictis suis. 
But this God shall break the heads of his enemies—the proud heads of them that walk boastingly in the path of their crimes.

Dixit Dominus: Ex Basan convertam, convertam in profundum maris: 
The Lord has said: “I will snatch them from Basan, I will cast them into the depth of the sea;

Ut intingatur pes tuus in sanguine: lingua canum tuorum ex inimicis, ab ipso. 
“And thou, O my chosen people, shall dip thy foot in their blood; and the tongue of thy dogs shall be red with the same!”

Viderunt ingessus tuus, Deus: ingressus Dei mei: Regis mei qui est in Sancto. 
They have seen thine entrance into heaven, thy triumphant entrance, O my God, my King, who hast taken up thine eternal abode in thy Sanctuary!

Prævernerunt principes conjuncti psallentibus, in medio juvencularum tympanistriarum. 
The princes of the Angelic host went before; and with them went those that sing; and around them were young maidens playing on timbrels. Such is the retinue worthy of Christ:—strength, melody, and purity.

In ecclesiis benedicite Deo Domino, de fontibus Israël. 
Ye, then, that are on earth, bless the Lord in your assemblies;—ye that come from the source of the true Israel,—ye that are the children of the Church!

Ibi Benjamin adolescentulus, in mentis excessu. 
Let there be seen in the choir of the Faithful, the young Benjamin, filled with holy enthusiasm;

Principes Juda, duces eorum, principes Zabulon, principes Nephtali. 
Let there be seen the princes of Juda, with their leaders; and the princes of Zabulon, and the princes of Nephthali.

Manda Deus virtuti tuæ: confirma hoc Deus, quod operatus es in nobis. 
O Christ, our God, command in thy strength! send the Spirit of power! confirm, O God, by him, what thou hast wrought in us.

A templo tuo in Jerusalem, tibi offerent reges munera. 
From thy temple in Jerusalem,—the figure of thy Church,—kings shall offer presents to thee.

Increpa feras arundinis: congregatio taurorum in vaccis populorum; ut excludant eos, qui probati sunt argento. 
Repress the wild beasts that hide in the reeds,—the heresies, which like wild bulls, disturb the peace of thy flock. They have conspired to drive from thine inheritance them whose faith has been tried as silver.

Dissipa gentes, qui bella volunt: venient legati ex Ægypto: Æthiopia præveniet manus ejus Deo. 
Scatter thou the nations that delight in war. Lo! Egypt shall send ambassadors, praying that she may be admitted to the knowledge of the true God; yea, even Ethiopia shall stretch forth her hands towards him,—she shall come to him sooner than other people.

Regna terræ cantate Deo: psallite Domino. 
Sing to God, ye kingdoms of the earth; sing ye to the Lord.

Psallite Deo qui ascendit super cœlum cœli, ad Orientem. 
Sing ye to God, who ascendeth above the heaven of heavens; he ascendeth from Mount Olivet, which is to the East.

Ecce dabit voci suæ vocem virtutis: date gloriam Deo super Israël, magnificentia ejus, et virtus ejus in nubibus. 
Lo! the hour is come, and he is about to give new power to his voice by the preaching of the Apostles. Give ye glory to God for all that he hath done for the new Israel: his magnificence and his power are made manifest in the messengers he hath sent, who are swift in their passage as clouds.

Mirabilis Deus in sanctis suis: Deus Israël ipse dabit virtutem et fortitudinem plebi suæ: benedictus Deus. 

God is wonderful in his holy Sanctuary: it is he, the God of Israel, that will give to his new people the power and strength that will make them last to the end of the world. Blessed be God!
"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, The Vigil of Pentecost
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 dazzling splendor of tomorrow’s Solemnity forecasts its beauty on this day of its Vigil. The Faithful are preparing themselves by Fasting to celebrate the glorious mystery. But the Mass of the Neophytes, which, formerly, was said during the Night, is now anticipated, as on Easter Eve; so that by today’s Noon, we shall have already begun the praises of the Holy Ghost. The Office of Vespers, in the afternoon, will solemnly open the grand Festival. The reign of the Holy Spirit is, therefore, proclaimed by the Liturgy of this very day. Let us unite ourselves in spirit with the holy ones, who are awaiting the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise.

While following the Mysteries of the past Seasons of the Liturgical Year, we have frequently been told of the action of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. The Lessons read to us, from both the Old and New Testament, have more than once excited our respectful attention towards this Divine Spirit, who seemed to be shrouded in mystery, the time of his being made manifest not having yet arrived. The workings of God in his creatures do not come all at once; there is a succession in their coming, but come they certainly will. The sacred historian describes how the heavenly Father, acting through his Word, employed six days in arranging, into its several parts, this world which he had created; but he also tells us, though under the veil of a mysterious expression, that the Spirit moved over the waters, which the Son of God was about to divide from the earth.

If, then, the Holy Ghost’s visible reign on our earth was deferred until such time as the Man-God should be enthroned on the Father’s right hand, we must not conclude that this Divine Spirit has been inactive. What are the Sacred Scriptures, from which the Liturgy has selected so many sublime passages for our instruction—what are they but the silent production of Him who, as the venerable Symbol has it, “spoke by the Prophets?” It was He gave us the Word—the Wisdom of God—by the Scripture, who gave us, at a later period, this same Word in the Flesh of Human Nature.

He has never been a moment of all the past ages without working. He prepared the world for the reign of the Incarnate Word; he did so by bringing together the various races of once separate nations, and by keeping up that universal Expectation of a Redeemer, which was held alike by the most barbarous and by the most civilized. The earth had not as year heard the name of the Holy Ghost, but moved over the universe of mankind, as he moved over the dead mass of water at the beginning of the world.

Meanwhile, the Prophets spoke of him in several of the prophecies wherein they foretold the coming of the Son of God. The Lord thus spoke by the lips of Joel: I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh. He said to us, through Ezechiel: I will pour upon you clean water, and you shall be cleansed from all your filthiness, and I will cleanse you from all your idols. And I will give you a new heart, and put a new Spirit within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and will give you a heart of flesh; and I will put my Spirit in the midst of you.

But previously to the manifestation of himself, the Holy Ghost was to effect that of the Divine Word. When infinite power called into existence the body and soul of the future Mother of God, it was he that prepared the Dwelling for the Sovereign Majesty, by sanctifying Mary from the instant of her Conception, and taking possession of her as the temple into which the Son of God was soon to enter. When the ever blessed day of the Annunciation came, the Archangel declared unto Mary that the Holy Ghost would come upon her, and that the Power of the Most High would overshadow her. No sooner did the Virgin consent to the fulfillment of the eternal decree, than the operation of the Divine Spirit produced within her the most ineffable of mysteries: The Word was made Flesh, and dwelt among us!

Upon this Flower that sprang up from the branch of the tree of Jesse, upon this Humanity divinely produced in Mary, there rested complacently the Spirit of the Father and the Son: he enriched it with his Gifts, he fitted it for its glorious and everlasting destiny. He that had so filled the Mother with the treasures of his grace, so that it seemed to border on infinity—gave incomparably more to her Child. And as ever heretofore, so also then, the Holy Spirit worked these stupendous wonders silently; for the time of his manifestation had not come. The earth is to catch but a glimpse of him on the day of Jesus’ Baptism, when he will rest with outstretched wings on the head of the well-beloved Son of the Father. The holy Baptist, John, will understand the glorious vision, as he had felt, when yet unborn, the presence of the Blessed Fruit in Mary’s womb; but as to the rest of the bystanders, they saw but a dove, and the Dove revealed not his eternal secrets.

The reign of the Son of God, our Emmanuel, is established upon its predetermined foundations. In him, we have a Brother, for he has assumed our weak human nature; a Teacher, for he is the Wisdom of the Father, and leads us into all truth; a Physician, for he heals all our infirmities; a Mediator, for by his sacred Humanity he brings all creation to its Creator. In him we have our Redeemer; and in his Blood, our Ransom; for sin had broken the link between God and ourselves, and we needed a divine Redeemer. In him we have a Head, who is not ashamed of his Members, however poor they may be; a King whom we have seen crowned with an everlasting diadem; a Lord, whom the Lord hath made to sit on his right hand.

But if he rules over this earth for all ages, it is from his Throne in heaven that he is to rule, until the Angel’s voice is heard proclaiming that Time is no more; and then he will return again to crush the heads of sinners. Meanwhile, long ages are to flow onwards in their course, and these ages are to be the reign of the Holy Ghost. But as we learn from the Evangelist, the spirit was not given until such time as Jesus was glorified. So that our beautiful mystery of the Ascension stands between the two Divine Reigns on earth;—the visible Reign of the Son of God and the visible Reign of the Holy Ghost. Nor is it only the Prophets who announce the succession of the second to the first; it is our Emmanuel himself who, during the days of his mortal life, heralded the approaching Reign of the Divine Spirit.

We have not forgotten his words: It is expedient for you that I go; for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you. Oh! how much the world must have needed this Divine Guest, of whom the very Son of God made himself the precursor! And that we might understand how great is the majesty of this new Master who is to reign over us, Jesus thus speaks of the awful chastisements who are to befall them that offend him: Whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world nor in the world to come. This Divine Spirit is not, however, to assume our human nature, as did the Son; neither is he to redeem the world, as did the son; but he is to come among men with a love so immeasurable, that wo to them who despise it! It is to Him that Jesus intends to confide the Church, his Spouse, during the long term of her widowhood; to Him will he make over his own Work, that he may perpetuate and direct in all its parts.

We, then, who are to receive, in a few hours hence, the visit of this Spirit of Love, who is to renew the face of the earth,—we must be all attention as we were at Bethlehem, when we were awaiting the Birth of our Emmanuel. The Word and the Holy Ghost are co-equal in glory and power, and their coming upon the earth proceeds from the one same eternal and merciful decree of the Blessed Trinity, who, by this twofold visit, would make us partakers of the divine nature. We, who were once nothingness, are destined to become, by the operation of the Word and the Spirit, Children of the heavenly Father. And if we would know what preparation we should make for the visit of the Paraclete, let us return, in thought, to the Cenacle, where we left the Disciples assembled, persevering, with one mind, in prayer, and waiting, as their Master had commanded them, for the Power of the Most High to descend upon them, and arm them for their future combat.

The first we look for in this sanctuary of recollectedness and peace, is Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the masterpiece of the Holy Ghost, the Church of the living God, from whom is to be born, on the morrow, and by the action of the same Divine Spirit, the Church Militant; for this second Eve represents and contains it within herself. Well, indeed, does this incomparable Creature now deserve our honor! Have we not seen her glorious share in all the mysteries of the Man-God? And is she not to be the dearest and worthiest object of the Paraclete’s visit? Hail, then, O Mary full of grace! Thou art our Mother, and we rejoice in being thy Children. The holy Church expresses this joy of ours when she thus comments the words of David’s Canticle: “Our dwelling in thee, O holy Mother of God! is as of them that are all rejoicers!” In vain wouldst thou decline the honors that await thee on the morrow! Mother Immaculate! Temple of the Holy Ghost! there is no escape, and receive thou must a new visit of the Spirit, for a new work is entrusted to thee—the care of the infant Church for several years to come!

The Apostolic College is clustered around the holy Mother; it is such a feast to them to look upon her, for they see the likeness of their Jesus in her face! In the very Cenacle where they are now assembled, and in Mary’s presence, an event occurred which was one of deep importance. As God, when he formed his Israelite people, chose the twelve sons of Jacob that they might be the fathers of that privileged race, so did Jesus choose twelve men, and they too were Israelites, that they might be the foundations of the Church, of which he himself, and Peter together with and in him, is the chief Corner-Stone. The terrible fall of Judas had reduced the number to eleven; the mysterious number was broken, and the Holy Ghost was about to descend upon the College of the Apostles. Jesus had not thought proper to fill up the vacancy before his Ascension into heaven: and yet the number must be completed, before the coming of the Power from on high. The Church surely could not be less perfect than the Synagogue. Who, then, will take Christ’s place in designating the new Apostle? Such a right, says St. John Chrysostom, could not belong to any but to Peter; but he humbly waived his right, and expressed his wish that there should be an election. The choice fell upon Matthias, who immediately took his place among the Apostles, and awaited the promised Comforter.

In the Cenacle, and in the Blessed Mother’s company, there are also the Disciples, less honored, it is true, than the Twelve, and yet have they been witnesses of the works and mysteries of the Man-God; they, too, are to share in preaching the Good Tidings. And finally, Magdalene and the other holy Women are there, preparing, as the Master had prescribed, for the Visit from on high, which is to tell upon them also. Let us honor this fervent assembly of the hundred and twenty Disciples. They are our models. The Holy Spirit is to descend first upon them, for they are his First-Fruits; but he is to come down upon us also, and it is with a view to prepare us for our Pentecost that the Church imposes on us today the obligation of Fasting.

Formerly, this Vigil was kept like that of Easter. The Faithful repaired to the Church in the evening, that they might assist at the solemn administration of Baptism. During the night, the Sacrament of Regeneration was conferred upon such Catechumens as sickness or absence from home had prevented from receiving it on Easter Night. Those, also, who had then been thought insufficiently tried or instructed and had, during the interval, satisfied the conditions required by the Church, now formed part of the group of aspirants to the New Birth of the sacred Font. Instead of the Twelve Prophecies, which were read, on Easter Night, while the Priests were performing over the Catechumens the rites preparatory to Baptism—six only were now read; at least, such was the usual custom, and it would lead us to suppose that the number of those baptized at Pentecost was less than at Easter.

The Paschal Candle was again brought forward during this Night of grace, in order to impress the newly baptized with respect and love for the Son of God, who became Man that he might be the Light of the World. The rites already described and explained for Holy Saturday were repeated on this occasion, and the Sacrifice of the Mass, at which the Neophytes assisted, began before the break of day.

In later times, when the charitable custom of conferring Baptism on children immediately after their birth passed into a general law, the Mass of Whitsun-Eve was said early in the morning, as was done in the case of Easter-Eve. The six Prophecies, of which we have just spoken, are now read before the celebration of the holy Sacrifice; after which, the Baptism Water is solemnly blessed. The Paschal Candle is used at this ceremony, and the Faithful should consider it a duty to assist at it.

First Vespers are sung in the afternoon. We do not insert them, because Whitsun-Eve can never occur on a Sunday; whereas, for other Feasts, for which we have given the First Vespers, the Vigil may be a Sunday. Moreover, the First and Second Vespers of Whit-Sunday are almost exactly the same.

We will close this day by inserting one of the finest Sequences composed by Adam of Saint Victor on the mystery of Pentecost. This great liturgical poet of the Western Church has surpassed himself in what he has written on the Holy Ghost; and more than once, during the Octave, we will select from his rich store. But the Hymn we give today is not merely a composition of poetic worth;—it is a sublime and fervent prayer to the Paraclete, whom Jesus has promised to send us, and whom we are now expecting. Let us make these sentiments of the devout poet of the 12th century our own; let us imitate him in his longings for the Holy Spirit, who is coming that he may renew the face of the earth, and dwell within us.


Qui procedis ab utroque,
Genitore Genitoque,
Pariter Paraclite,
Redde linguas eloquentes,
Fac ferventes in te mentes
Flamma tua divite.

O Divine Paraclete, who proceedest equally from the Father and the Son! with thy glowing fire, give eloquence to our tongues, and make our hearts fervent in their love for thee.

Amor Patris Filiique,
Par amborum, et utrique
Compar et consimilis,
Cuncta reples, cuncta foves,
Astra regis, cœlum moves,
Permanens immobilis.

Love of the Father and Son! equal and co-equal with them in essence! thou fillest and fosterest all things: and though in thyself immoveable, thou governest the stars, and givest motion to the heavens.

Lumen charum, lumen clarum,
Internarum tenebrarum
Effugas caliginem;
Per te mundi sunt mundati;
Tu peccatum et peccati
Destrius rubiginem.

Light most dear and bright! thou puttest to flight the gloom of our soul’s darkness. ’Tis thou that purifiest the pure, and takest away sin and its rust.

Veritatem notam facis,
Et ostendis viam pacis
Et iter justitiæ.
Perversorum corda vitas,
Et bonorum corda ditas
Munere scientiæ.

Thou teachest us the truth; thou showest us the way of peace and the path of justice. Thou shunnest the hearts of perverse sinners; thou enrichest the hearts of the good with the gift of knowledge.

Te docente nil obscurum
Te præsente nil impurum;
Gloriatur mens jocunda;
Per te læta, per te munda
Gaudet conscientia.

With thee as teacher, there is no obscurity; when thou art present, there is no impurity. The soul that possesses thee, is cheerful; and her conscience is joyful and pure.

Tu commutas elementa;
Per te suam sacramenta
Habent efficaciam:
Tu nocivam vim repellis,
Tu confutas et refellis
Hostium nequitiam.

Thou changest the elements; by thee have the Sacraments their efficacy; thou drivest away all evil power; thou bringest to nought the wickedness of our enemies.

Quando venis
Corda lenis;
Quando subis,
Atræ nubis
Effugit obscuritas;
Sacer ignis,
Pectus uris;
Non comburis,
Sed a curis
Purgas, quando visitas.

When thou comest to us, our hearts are soothed; when thou enterest, dark clouds are put to flight. O sacred Fire! when thou visitest us, thou inflamest our souls; not burning them, but purging them from the dross of care.

Mentes prius imperitas,
Et sopitas et oblitas
Erudis et excitas.
Foves linguas, formas sonum,
Cor ad bonum facit pronum
A te data charitas.

Thou givest wisdom and fervor to souls that once were ignorant and drowsy and heedless. Thou inspirest the tongue, thou formest its speech; and the charity thou givest, makes the heart prompt to all that is good.

O juvamen oppressorum,
O solamen miserorum,
Pauperum refugium,
Da contemptum terrenorum:
Ad amorem supernorum
Trahe desiderium.

O helper of them that are heavily laden! O Comforter of the afflicted! O refuge of the poor!—give us a contempt for earthly things, and draw our affections to the love of what is heavenly.

Consolator et fundator,
Habitator et amator
Cordium humilium,
Pelle mala, terge sordes,
Et discordes fac concordes,
Et affer præsidium.

Consoler and creator, and guest, and lover of humble souls!—drive all evil from us, cleanse our sins, bring concord where now is discord, and support us by thy protection.

Tu qui quondam visitasti,
Docuisti, confortasti
Timentes discipulos,
Visitare nos digneris;
Nos, si placet, consoleris
Et credentes populos.

O thou that heretofore didst visit, teach and strengthen the timid Disciples, deign to visit us; vouchsafe to console us and the faithful throughout the world.

Par majestas personarum,
Par potestas est earum,
Et communis deitas:
Tu procedens a duobus
Coæqualis es ambobus:
In nullo disparitas.

Equal is the majesty, equal the power, and one the divinity, of the Three Persons. Thou proceedest from the Father and the Son, and art co-equal in all things with them.

Quia tantus es et talis,
Quantus Pater est et qualis;
Servorum humilitas
Deo Patri, Filioque
Redemptori, tibi quoque
Laudes reddat debitas.

Being, therefore, infinite in all perfections as is the Father, accept from us thy poor servants the praise that is due to thee, equally with the Father and the Son. 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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A reminder ...
"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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