Mandatum novum do vobis...
Philippe de Champaigne. The Last Supper. 1654.
ALEPH: Quomodo sedet sola civitas, plena populo, facta es quasi vidua; domina gentium, princeps provinicarum, facta est sub tributo.
ALEPH: How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! How is she become as a widow! She that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!
[Lamentations of Jeremiah 1:1, the beginning of Tenebrae (Matins) for Maundy Thursday]
"And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: 'This month shall be to you the beginning of months. It shall be the first in the months of the year...on the tenth day of this month let every man take a lamb by their families and houses... and it shall be a lamb WITHOUT BLEMISH, a male, of one year...and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month and the whole multitude of the children of Israel shall sacrifice it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood thereof and put it upon both the side posts and on the upper door posts of the houses wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh that night roasted at the fire and unleavened bread with wild lettuce... neither shall there remain any thing of it until morning. If there be anything left you shall burn it with fire. And thus shall you eat it: you shall gird your reins and you shall have shoes on your feet, holding staves in your hands and you shall eat in haste for it is the Phase (that is the Passage) of the Lord... And I shall see the blood and shall pass over you...and this day shall be for a memorial to you and you shall keep it a feast to the Lord in your generations with an everlasting observance'... And Moses said... 'Thou shalt keep this thing as a law for thee and thy children forever...and when your children shall say to you "What is the meaning of this service" you shall say to them "It is the victim of the passage of the Lord when He passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, striking the Egyptians and saving our houses..."
"Now the feast of the unleavened bread which is called the Pasch was at hand...and when the hour was come He sat down and the twelve apostles with Him and He said to them 'With desire I have desired to eat this Pasch with you before I suffer, for I say to you that from this time I will not eat it till it be fulfilled in the Kingdom of God'... And taking bread He gave thanks, and brake and gave them saying 'This is my body which is given up for you. Do this for a commemoration of me'. In like manner the chalice also, after He had supped, saying 'This is the chalice, the new testament in my blood, which shall be shed for you'.
"On the night of that last supper,
Seated with His chosen band,
He the paschal victim eating,
First fulfils the Law's command.
Then as food to all His brethren
Gives Himself with His own hand"
[Pange lingua gloriosi, sung at the Maundy Mass.]
"Before the festival day of the Pasch, Jesus knowing that His hour was come...having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them unto the end. And when supper was ended... He riseth from supper and..having taken a towel, girded Himself. After that, He putteth water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded...Then after He had washed their feet and taken His garments, being set down again, He said to them 'Know you what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord. And you say well; for so I am. If then I being your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet."
Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos, dicit Dominus.
"A new commandment I give you that you love one another as I have loved you, saith the Lord."
[John 13:34, sung at the Maundy Mass]
Ubi caritas et amor ubi Deus est. Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor. Exultemus et in ipso jucundemur. Timeamus et amemus Deum vivum. Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.
"Where charity and love are there is God. The love of Christ has gathered us together. Let us rejoice in Him and be glad. Let us fear and love the living God and let us love one another with a sincere heart."
[John 2:3-4, sung at the Maundy Mass]
"And going out He went, according to His custom, to the Mount of Olives and His disciples also followed Him... and kneeling down He prayed saying 'Father, if Thou wilt, remove this chalice from me but not yet my will but Thine be done'...And He being in agony, He prayed the longer and His sweat became as drops of blood trickling down upon the ground."