Sunday, 26 April 2020

GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY - "Ego sum Pastor Bonus..."

Ego sum Pastor bonus, allelúja: et cognósco oves Meas, et cognóscunt Me Meæ. Allelúja, allelúja.

I am the good Shepherd, alleluia: and I know My sheep, and Mine know Me, alleluia, alleluia.

The Gospel is from John 10: 11-16:

In illo témpore: Dixit Jesus Pharisæis: "Ego sum Pastor bonus. Bonus pastor ánimam suam dat pro óvibus. Mercenárius autem et qui non est pastor, cujus non sunt oves própriæ, videt lupum veniéntem, et dimíttit oves, et fugit: et lupus rapit et dispérgit oves: mercenárius autem fugit, quia mercenárius est, et non pértinet ad eum de óvibus. Ego sum Pastor bonus: et cognósco oves meas, et cognóscunt me meæ. Sicut novit me Pater, et ego agnósco Patrem: et ánimam meam pono pro óvibus meis. Et alias oves hábeo, qum non sunt ex hoc ovíli: et illas opórtet me addúcere, et vocem meam áudient, et fiat unum ovíile, et unus pastor."

At that time Jesus said to the Pharisees: "I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming and leaveth the sheep and flieth: and the wolf catcheth and scattereth the sheep: and the hireling flieth, because he is a hireling, and he hath no care for the sheep. I am the good Shepherd: and I know Mine, and Mine know Me, as the Father knoweth Me, and I know the Father: and I lay down My life for My sheep. And other sheep I have that are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd."


Take note all pastors and bishops and be not hirelings but true shepherds.

We should also note that our Lord says He has sheep that are "not of this fold" who shall hear His voice - perhaps better than those who are currently of His Flock - and they shall become part of the Flock, too.

This should teach us to be humble and not to presume or become complacent. Some who are not currently of the Flock may be judged better than us to sit amongst the saints in Heaven.

Let us pray for them, also, and remember that the Catholic Church is for all, including those who are not yet members. It is not a convenient little club only for cradle Catholics.

God chose the Israelites but all but a few later rejected Him and he transferred His favour to the Gentiles who converted to Him and loved Him better than many of His own chosen people.



Lord Jesus, Good Shepherd of us, your flock, have mercy on us and protect us!


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Quasimodo Sunday - "As newborn babes, alleluia, desire the rational milk without guile..."

Dominica in Albis Deponendis

(Sunday when the newly baptised finally put off their white garments of Easter)

also called

Quasimodo Sunday

or

Low Sunday
 
or

Close-Pasch

and

the Feast of Divine Mercy


Mose Bianchi. Mother Breast-feeding. 1895.

"Quasimodo geniti infantes, alleluia, rationabile sine dolo lac concupiscite.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia."

"As newborn babes, alleluia, desire the rational milk without guile. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia" 
[1 Peter 2:2; Introit for the Mass of Low Sunday]

"Deinde dicit Thomae: infer digitum tuum huc et vide manus meas, et affer manum tuam et mitte in latus meum et noli esse incredulus sed fidelis.
Respondit Thomas et dixit ei: Dominus meus et Deus meus!"
"Then He said to Thomas 'Put in thy fingers hither and see my hands and bring hither thy hand and put it into my side and be not faithless but believing'. Thomas answered and said to him 'My Lord and my God!' " 
[John 20:27-28; Gospel of Low Sunday]

"Dearly beloved, laying away all malice and all guile and dissimulations and envies and all detractions as new-born babes desire the rational milk without guile, that thereby you may grow unto salvation, if so be you have tasted that the Lord is sweet...for you are a chosen race, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people that you may declare His virtues who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light."
[1 Peter 2:2-3, 9]

"Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you. And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord. He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained. Now Thomas, one of the twelve, who is called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him: We have seen the Lord. But he said to them: Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus cometh, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said: Peace be to you. Then he saith to Thomas: Put in thy finger hither, and see my hands; and bring hither thy hand, and put it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing. Thomas answered, and said to him: My Lord, and my God. Jesus saith to him: Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed."
[John 20:19-29]

"In the Old Covenant I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to My people. Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart. (1588)

It's a sign for the end times; after it will come the day of justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy; let them profit from the Blood and Water which gushed forth for them. (848)

Before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the doors of My mercy. He who refuses to pass through the doors of My mercy must pass through the doors of My justice... (1146)"

[Diary of Divine Mercy, Revelation of our Lord to St Maria Faustina (Kowalska) of the Blessed Sacrament]


St Faustina Kowalska, messenger of Divine Mercy
  
"Sanctus Deus, Sanctus Fortis, Sanctus Immortalis, miserere nobis" [Latin]
"Hagios Theos, hagios ischyros, hagios athanatos, eleison imas" [Greek]
"Elohim hakadosh, Elohim hakol yakhol, rakhem aleinu, veal kol haolam" [Hebrew]

"Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us"

[The ancient prayer of the Trisagion from the Improperia or "Reproaches" of the Good Friday liturgy in Latin, Greek, Aramaic and English, dating back to at least the 5th century. They form part of the Divine Mercy prayers requested of St Faustina by our Lord.]


"Feed my sheep".
Rafaello Sanzio. The gift of the keys to Peter.
Buoninsegna. Christ appears to the Disciples. 1308-11.


Our Lord appeared first to St Mary Magdalene and then the women at the tomb (Luke 24:1-10).

Later on the Day of Resurrection, Sunday, the first day of the week, he appeared to the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) and then he appeared again to them in a closed room in Jerusalem and gave them the power, as priests, to forgive sins (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25).

8 (Jewish) days later (Jewish and Roman days start at sundown), on the following Sunday, he appeared to them again and cured the doubts of St Thomas the Doubter (John 20:26-29).

He then appeared to them a 3rd time, by the sea of Tiberias, when there was a miraculous draught of fish and he heard St Peter's confession for denying him 3 times (John 21:1-23).



Caravaggio. Doubting Thomas. 1602-1603.


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Sunday, 12 April 2020

HAPPY EASTER - "I have seen the Lord!"

Happy Easter to all!

Christus surrexit,
sicut dixit,
alleluia!

Christ is risen
as he said!
Alleluia!



Correggio. Noli me tangere. 1525

"When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome, bought spices so that they might come and anoint Jesus...and on a sabbath morning they came to the sepulchre after sunrise...and looking up they saw that the stone was rolled back. Alleluia!"
[Taverner, Dum transisset sabbatum from Mark 16, sung at the Easter Vigil mass of Holy Saturday night]

"The Angels said to her 'Woman, why are you weeping?'. She said to them 'Because they have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid Him'. Saying this she turned round and saw Jesus standing but she did not know that it was Jesus. Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him 'Sir, if you have carried Him away tell me where you have laid Him and I will take Him away'. And Jesus said to her 'Mary'. She turned and said to Him in Hebrew 'Rabboni!'".
[John 20]
"She went and said to the Disciples 'I have seen the Lord!' "[John 20.18]


John Taverner (1490-1545). Dum Transisset Sabbatum. Sung by the Tallis Scholars.



Dum transisset Sabbatum,
Maria Magdalene et Maria Jacobi et Salome
emerunt aromata ut venientes ungerent Jesum.
Alleluia.
Et valde mane una sabbatorum veniunt ad monumentum orto iam sole ut venientes ungerent Jesum.
Alleluia.
Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.
Alleluia.

And when the Sabbath was past,
Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome
had brought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
Alleluia.
And very early in the morning, the first day of the week,
they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun that they might come and anoint him.
Alleluia.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
Alleluia.
[Dum Transisset Sabbatum - taken from the Gospel of St Mark, Ch16]




Carl Heinrich Bloch. The Resurrection. 1881.


Victimae paschali laudes
immolent Christiani
Agnus redemit oves:
Christus innocens Patri
Reconciliavit peccatores.
Mors et vita duello conflixere mirando,
Dux vitae mortuus, regnat vivus.
Dic nobis Maria, quid vidisti in via?
Sepulcrum Christi viventis,
Et gloriam vidi resurgentis:
Angelicos testes, sudarium et vestes.
Surrexit Christus spes mea:
Praecedet vos in Galilaeam.
Credendum est magis soli
Mariae veraci
Quam Judaeorum
Turbae fallaci.
Scimus Christum surrexisse
a mortuis vere:
Tu nobis, victor Rex, miserere.
Amen. Alleluia.

[Wipo of Burgundy, Victimi Paschali Laudes. 1040. Sung on Easter Sunday]



Surrexit Christus hodie! Alleluia!

Christ is risen today! Alleluia!


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Saturday, 11 April 2020

HOLY SATURDAY - "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted unto the Lord thy God!"


When the Lord was buried...



"Remember, Lord, what is come upon us: consider and behold our reproach. Our inheritance is turned unto aliens, our houses to strangers. We are become orphans without a father, our mothers are as widows...our fathers have sinned and are no more and we have borne their iniquities.
[Tenebrae (Matins) of Holy Saturday, prayer of the prophet Jeremiah]

"I am counted among them that go down to the pit. I am become like a man without help free among the dead."
[Responsory, Tenebrae (Matins) of Holy Saturday]

"For when every commandment of the Law had been read by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of goats and calves and of goats with water and scarlet wool and hyssop and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people saying, this is the blood of the Testament which God hath enjoined upon you. The tabernacle also and all the vessels of the ministry in like manner he sprinkled with blood. And almost all things according to the Law are cleansed with blood and without shedding of blood there is no remission."
[Heb. ix.]

"When the Lord was buried they sealed the sepulchre rolling a stone before the mouth of the sepulchre and placed soldiers to guard Him."
[Responsory, Tenebrae (Matins) of Holy Saturday]

Friday, 10 April 2020

GOOD FRIDAY - "O my people! What have I done to thee? Wherein have I offended thee? Answer me!"

Good Friday

Quid ultra debui facere tibi, et non feci? Ego quidem plantavi te vineam meam speciosissimam: et tu facta es mihi nimis amara: aceto namque sitim meam potasti: et lancea perforasti latus Salvatori tuo.

Ego dedi tibi sceptrum regale: et tu dedisti capiti meo spineam coronam.

Popule meus, quid feci tibi? Aut in quo contristavi te? Responde mihi!



"What more ought I to have done for thee, that I have not done? I planted thee, indeed, My most beautiful vineyard and thou hast become exceeding bitter to Me, for in My thirst thou gavest Me vinegar to drink and with a lance thou pierced the side of thy Saviour!

I gave thee a royal sceptre and thou didst give My head a crown of thorns…

O my people! What have I done to thee? Wherein have I offended thee? Answer me!"



Titian. Christ Crowned with Thorns. 1540.


"For he hath taken us and he will heal us: he will strike and he will cure us. He will revive after two days: on the third day he will raise us up and we shall live in his sight. We shall know and we shall follow on, that we know the Lord...for I desired mercy and not animal sacrifice and the knowledge of God more than holocausts."
[Hosea 6, First lesson sung at the Good Friday Service of the Mass of the Pre-sanctified]

"He had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the whole chastisement that made us whole and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter and like a sheep that is dumb before its shearers, he opened not his mouth."
[Isaiah 53, Epistle for Wednesday in Holy Week]



Titian. Ecce Homo. 1560.


"Jesus answered: ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now my kingdom is not from hence’. Pilate therefore said to Him ‘Art Thou a King then?’ Jesus answered ‘Thou sayest that I am a King. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, that I should give testimony of the truth. Everyone that is of the truth heareth My voice…

…Then therefore Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him and the soldiers plaiting a Crown of Thorns, put it upon His head and they put upon Him a purple mantle and they came to Him and said ‘Hail King of the Jews!’ and they gave Him blows."
[John 18]




CRUX fidelis,
inter omnes
arbor una nobilis;
nulla talem silva profert,
flore, fronde, germine.
Dulce lignum, dulci clavo,
dulce pondus sustinens!

"FAITHFUL Cross! Above all other,
one and only noble Tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom,
none in fruit thy peers may be;
sweetest wood and sweetest iron!
Sweetest Weight is hung on thee!"

[From Crux Fidelis by St Thomas Aquinas, sung during the Good Friday Service of the Passion]

Regnavit a ligno Deus.
"God hath reigned from a tree."

[From Vexilla Regis, St Venantius Fortunatus, sung during the Good Friday Service of the Passion]

"What more ought I to have done for thee, that I have not done? I planted thee, indeed, My most beautiful vineyard and thou hast become exceeding bitter to Me, for in My thirst thou gavest Me vinegar to drink and with a lance thou pierced the side of thy Saviour!
… For thy sake I scourged Egypt with its first-born and thou didst deliver Me up to be scourged…
… I gave thee a royal sceptre and thou didst give My head a crown of thorns…
… I exalted thee with great strength and thou didst hang Me on the gibbet of the Cross…
O my people! What have I done to thee? Wherein have I offended thee? Answer me!"

[Improperia or Reproaches of Christ to His people and to us all, from the Good Friday Service of the Passion]

O vos omnes, qui transitis per viam, attendite et videte si est dolor sicut dolor meus.
"O all ye that pass by the way, attend and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow."

[Lamentations of Jeremiah, sung at Tenebrae (Matins and Lauds) on Maundy Thursday]


Diego Velázquez. Christ Crucified. c. 1632.

"And they took Jesus and led Him forth. And bearing His cross, He went forth to that place that is called Calvary but in Hebrew Golgotha, where they crucified Him and with Him two others, one on each side and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title also and he put it upon the Cross and the writing was ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews’… and it was written in Hebrew, in Greek, and in Latin."
[John 18]
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Thursday, 9 April 2020

MAUNDY THURSDAY - "A new commandment I give you that you love one another as I have loved you...."


Maundy Thursday

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."

Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret. The Last Supper. 1896.
 
"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..."
[Exod 12]


The Paschal lamb without blemish is tied and led to slaughter
Scripture fittingly depicts the Christ as an innocent lamb led to the slaughter - the innocent "Lamb of God" sacrificed for the wicked sins of ungrateful and rebellious men, going dumb, innocent and in silence to torture and death at the hands of sinful men
.

"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'.
[Luke 22]

"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."
[John 13]


Dirk van Baburen. Christ washing the Disciples' feet. 1616.

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."
[Luke 22:39-44]




 
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 & Lau) for Maundy Thursday]


"How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! How is she become as a widow!" Gustave Doré. Lamentations.1866.

Una hora non potuistis vigilare mecum, qui exhortabamini mori pro me?
Vel Judam non videtis quomodo non dormit, sed festinat tradere me Judaeis?
Quid dormitis? Surgite et orate, ne intretis in tentationem.
Vel Judam non videtis quomodo non dormit, sed festinat tradere me Judaeis

"Could you not watch one hour with me,
After exhorting one another to die for Me?
Or do you not see Judas?
He is not sleeping,
but is hurrying to betray me.
Why do you sleep?
Rise and pray,
that you may not enter into temptation!"

[Maundy Thursday Matins (Tenebrae), Lesson viii Response]


Bartolome Esteban Murillo (1617-82). Christ in the Garden of Olives.

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SPY WEDNESDAY _ "...and they appointed him thirty pieces of silver..."

"Then went one of the twelve who was called Judas Iscariot to the chief priests and said to them 'what will you give me to deliver Him unto you?'. And they appointed him thirty pieces of silver..."


Caravaggio. The Taking of Christ. 1602.


Unus ex discipulis meus tradet ne hodie: Vae illi per quem tradar ego. Melius illi erat si natur non fuisset...Qui intingit mecum manum in paropside, hic me traditurus est in manus peccatorum.
"One of my disciples shall today betray me. Woe to him by whom I am betrayed. Better for him that he had not been born...whoever shall dip his hand with me into the dish, by him shall I be betrayed into the hands of sin."
[Matt 16:23-25, Responsory 6 at Tenebrae on Maundy Thursday]






"Then went one of the twelve who was called Judas Iscariot to the chief priests and said to them "what will you give me to deliver Him unto you?". And they appointed him thirty pieces of silver and from thenceforth he sought opportunity to betray Him."
[Matt 26:14-16]

"Thus saith the Lord God 'tell the daughter of Sion, behold Thy Saviour cometh; behold His reward is with Him and His work before Him. Who is this that cometh from Edom with dyed garments from Bosra, this beautiful one in his robe, walking in greatness of strength?'"
[Isaias 62:63]
"There is no beauty in Him, nor comeliness; and we have seen Him and there was no sightliness that we should be desirous of Him; despised and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows and despised, whereupon we esteemed Him not. Surely He hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows, and we have thought Him as it were a leper and as one struck by God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our iniquities, He was bruised for our sins; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and by his bruises we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray, everyone hath turned aside into his own way and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was offered because it was His own will and he opened not His mouth: He shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter and shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearer, and He shall not open His mouth...He hath done no iniquity, neither was there deceit in His mouth...He hath delivered His soul unto death and was reputed with the wicked and hath borne the sins of many and hath prayed for the transgressors.
[Isaias 53:2]
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Sunday, 5 April 2020

PALM SUNDAY - "The children of the Hebrews bearing olive branches, went forth to meet the Lord, crying out, and saying, Hosanna in the highest!"


...Christ, the King of Kings, enters the Holy city of Jerusalem mounted on a donkey, on the first Palm Sunday
 

 ...and so begins HOLY WEEK, the holiest week of the year

The great and ancient service on Palm Sunday celebrates the entry of our Lord and Saviour JESUS CHRIST into the city of Jerusalem, riding on a donkey with its young colt or foal, signifying the Old and the New Testaments, to be welcomed by His people as a king, a priest, a prophet and a saviour and as the very Messias and King whom they had been awaiting for centuries but, in a few short days, were to reject.

This entry of the humble Christ into the city was foretold and prophesied by the prophet, Zechariah:

"Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and having salvation,
gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
I will take away the chariots from Ephraim
and the war-horses from Jerusalem,
and the battle bow will be broken.
He will proclaim peace to the nations.
His rule will extend from sea to sea
and from the River to the ends of the earth".
(Zechariah 9:9-10)

Pedro de Orrente. Christ's entry into Jerusalem. c.1620

The Palm Sunday service is a particularly fine one, albeit lengthy.

In the pre-1955 rite, which is far superior, more Biblical and very ancient, it takes 3 hours.

The palms are blessed with many hymns, psalms, chants and prayers, and the people receive them, the choir singing Pueri Hebraeorum, portantes ramos olivarum (the children of Israel carrying olive branches), and there is a short-form mass at the altar.

The antiphons recall Noah and the Flood and Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land.

After this comes the Procession out of the Church, singing psalms, and then back to the front portal of the Church where we sing Gloria, laus et honor, tibi sit, Rex Christe Redemptor - "Glory, praise and honour be to thee, King Christ Redeemer!".

At the door, two cantors have entered and the doors are shut. They sing in response to the Gloria laus and then the Subdeacon, outside, knocks on the door with the end of the processional cross. The doors open, to signify the entrance of Christ into Jerusalem and our entry into Heaven, and the procession moves back into the church, singing an ancient chant, Ingrediente Domino - "Going in to the Lord..."

Then the principal mass begins with many haunting and beautiful chants being sung, and then the Passion according to St Matthew in long form is sung, starting at the anointing of the feet of Jesus by St Mary Magdalene in the house of Simon the Leper.

This is a fitting way to recall the beginning of the Passion when our Lord was welcomed as a king and prophet into the holy city of Jerusalem by His people who, only days later, were to betray Him unto their Roman enemies to torture and death.

Soon many of those same Romans were to be converted whilst many of God's chosen rejected the very Messias whom they had been awaiting for so long.

In former times, the celebrating priest would, for the procession, sit upon a donkey to which is attached its colt, as our Lord Himself so sat on the original Palm Sunday.

It is a remarkable fact that every donkey, of the sort upon which our Lord rode, has, by nature, marked upon its back, a black cross to signify the fact that, one day, the Creator of heaven and earth would sit upon the back of this same animal for His entry into the Holy City of Jerusalem, but one week before he would be led, in that came city, to death upon the Cross.



The black cross is clearly visible upon the back of every donkey so that nature itself testifies to the role the donkey would play in carrying the Creator of heaven and earth into the Holy City of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

In former times, too, the Roman Emperor would lead the Patriarch of Jerusalem on a donkey up to the church door as part of the ceremonies and as a gesture of humility on his part. Sadly, the tradition later died out.

This tradition was continued by the Russian Tsars, also, until the custom was suppressed by the modernising, "enlightened" and very brutal dictator, Tsar Peter I, just as so much has been throughtlessly suppressed in our own liturgy in the Latin West.

It is a fitting imitation of the humility of JESUS CHRIST for the chief spiritual ruler to ride upon a donkey on this day, led by the chief temporal ruler.

Chesterton's poem captures the spirit admirably.

The Donkey

by G.K.Chesterton

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.


How admirable, too, for God Himself to have chosen to be received into the Holy City mounted upon a donkey, a stubborn, ill-featured, irrational creature, so like man when in sin, but one marked from the beginning of time to bear the Saviour Himself in solemn procession before the very sinners whom God has chosen to redeem with His own blood.

Here is a recording of the antiphon Pueri Hebraeorum, psalms and chants sung during the procession of the cross and palms (and, traditionally, with the priest sitting upon a donkey).




Ant. Pueri Hebraeorum, portantes ramos olivarum, obviaverunt Domino, clamantes, et dicentes: Hosanna in excelsis.
Ant. The Hebrew children bearing olive branches, went forth to meet the Lord, crying out, and saying, Hosanna in the highest.


Psalm 23 (24)
Domini est terra, et plenitudo eius, * orbis terrarum et universi qui habitant in eo.

Quia ipse super maria fundavit eum, * et super flumina praeparavit eum.


[Repeat Antiphon]


Attolite portas, principes vestras: † et elevamini, portae aeternales: * et introibit rex gloriae.


Quis est iste rex gloriae? † Dominus fortis et potens: * Dominus potens in praelio


[Repeat Antiphon]


Attolite portas, principes vestras: † et elevamini, portae aeternales: * et introibit rex gloriae.


Quis est iste rex gloriae? * Dominus virtutum ipse est rex gloriae.


[Repeat Antiphon]


Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.


Domini est terra et quae replent eam, * orbis terrarum et qui habitant in eo.


Nam ipse super maria fundavit eum, * et super flumina firmavit eum.


[Repeat Antiphon]


Attolite, portae, capita vestra, et attolite vos, fores antiquae, * ut ingrediatur rex gloriae!


Quis est iste rex gloriae? * Dominus fortis et potens, Dominus potens in praelio.


[Repeat Antiphon]


Attolite, portae, capita vestra, et attolite vos, fores antiquae, * ut ingrediatur rex gloriae!


Quis est iste rex gloriae? * Dominus exercituum: ipse est rex gloriae.


[Repeat Antiphon]


Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.



The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof: the world and all they that dwell therein.

For He hath founded it upon the seas: and hath prepared it upon the rivers.


The children of the Hebrews bearing olive branches, went forth to meet the Lord, crying out and saying, Hosanna in the highest.


Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates: and the King of Glory shall enter in.


Who is this King of Glory? The Lord who is strong and mighty: the Lord mighty in battle.


The children of the Hebrews bearing olive branches, went forth to meet the Lord, crying out and saying, Hosanna in the highest.


Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates: and the King of Glory shall enter in.


Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of Glory.


The children of the Hebrews bearing olive branches, went forth to meet the Lord, crying out and saying, Hosanna in the highest.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.


Ant. Pueri Hebraeorum, portantes ramos olivarum, obviaverunt Domino, clamantes, et dicentes: Hosanna in excelsis.
Ant. The children of the Hebrews bearing olive branches, went forth to meet the Lord, crying out, and saying, Hosanna in the highest.


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Sunday, 29 March 2020

PASSION SUNDAY - "Before Abraham was, I AM"

Judica me Deus et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta: ab homine iniquo et doloso eripe me: quia tu es Deus meus , et fortitudo mea...



"Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man: for Thou art my God and my strength"
[Ps. 42:1-3, Introit for Passion Sunday and the opening Psalm of every mass]





Vexilla Regis

by Venantius Fortunatus (530-609)

1. Vexilla Regis prodeunt: Fulget Crucis mysterium,
Qua vita mortem pertulit, Et morte vitam protulit.

2. Quae vulnerata lanceae Mucrone diro, criminum
Ut nos lavaret sordibus, Manavit und(a) et sanguine.

3. Impleta sunt quae concinit David fideli carmine,
Dicendo nationibus: Regnavit a ligno Deus.

4. Arbor decor(a) et fulgida, Ornata Regis purpura,
Electa digno stipite Tam sancta membra tangere.

5. Beata, cuius brachiis Pret(i)um pependit saeculi:
Statera facta corporis, Tulitque praedam tartari.

6. O CRUX AVE, SPES UNICA, Hoc Passionis tempore
Piis adauge gratiam, Reisque dele crimina.

7. Te, fons salutis Trinitas, Collaudet omnis spiritus:
Quibus Crucis victoriam Largiris, adde praemium. Amen.


1. Abroad the Regal Banners fly,
Now shines the Cross's mystery;
Upon it Life did death endure,
And yet by death did life procure.

2. Who, wounded with a direful spear,
Did, purposely to wash us clear
From stain of sin, pour out a flood
Of precious Water mixed with Blood.

3. That which the Prophet-King of old
Hath in mysterious verse foretold,
Is now accomplished, whilst we see
God ruling nations from a Tree.

4. O lovely and reflugent Tree,
Adorned with purpled majesty;
Culled from a worthy stock, to bear
Those Limbs which sanctified were.

5. Blest Tree, whose happy branches bore
The wealth that did the world restore;
The beam that did that Body weigh
Which raised up hell's expected prey.

6. HAIL CROSS, OF HOPES THE MOST SUBLIME!
Now in this mournful Passion time,
Improve religious souls in grace,
The sins of criminals efface.

7. Blest Trinity, salvation's spring,
May every soul Thy praises sing;
To those Thou grantest conquest by
The holy Cross, rewards apply. Amen.

In the Gospel for Passion Sunday, our Lord, for the first time, publicly confesses His Godhead by using the sacred Tetragrammaton used only by God of God Himself - the Hebrew phrase "I AM WHO AM" - and He does so in relation to the Father of the Jews, Abraham, in the most sacred manner possible to describe Himself thus making clear to the Jews that He is Moshiach, the Messias, Emmanuel, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, Very God of Very God, the Incarnate Deity Himself. The Jews will either believe Him and be saved or else they will call Him a devil, a blasphemer and seek to kill Him...

"31 dicebat ergo Iesus ad eos qui crediderunt ei Iudaeos si vos manseritis in sermone meo vere discipuli mei eritis 32 et cognoscetis veritatem et veritas liberabit vos 33 responderunt ei semen Abrahae sumus et nemini servivimus umquam quomodo tu dicis liberi eritis 34 respondit eis Iesus amen amen dico vobis quia omnis qui facit peccatum servus est peccati 35 servus autem non manet in domo in aeternum filius manet in aeternum

36 si ergo Filius vos liberaverit vere liberi eritis 37 scio quia filii Abrahae estis sed quaeritis me interficere quia sermo meus non capit in vobis 38 ego quod vidi apud Patrem loquor et vos quae vidistis apud patrem vestrum facitis 39 responderunt et dixerunt ei pater noster Abraham est dicit eis Iesus si filii Abrahae estis opera Abrahae facite 40 nunc autem quaeritis me interficere hominem qui veritatem vobis locutus sum quam audivi a Deo hoc Abraham non fecit

41 vos facitis opera patris vestri dixerunt itaque ei nos ex fornicatione non sumus nati unum patrem habemus Deum 42 dixit ergo eis Iesus si Deus pater vester esset diligeretis utique me ego enim ex Deo processi et veni neque enim a me ipso veni sed ille me misit 43 quare loquellam meam non cognoscitis quia non potestis audire sermonem meum 44 vos ex patre diabolo estis et desideria patris vestri vultis facere ille homicida erat ab initio et in veritate non stetit quia non est veritas in eo cum loquitur mendacium ex propriis loquitur quia mendax est et pater eius 45 ego autem quia veritatem dico non creditis mihi

46 quis ex vobis arguit me de peccato si veritatem dico quare vos non creditis mihi 47 qui est ex Deo verba Dei audit propterea vos non auditis quia ex Deo non estis 48 responderunt igitur Iudaei et dixerunt ei nonne bene dicimus nos quia Samaritanus es tu et daemonium habes 49 respondit Iesus ego daemonium non habeo sed honorifico Patrem meum et vos inhonoratis me 50 ego autem non quaero gloriam meam est qui quaerit et iudicat

51 amen amen dico vobis si quis sermonem meum servaverit mortem non videbit in aeternum 52 dixerunt ergo Iudaei nunc cognovimus quia daemonium habes Abraham mortuus est et prophetae et tu dicis si quis sermonem meum servaverit non gustabit mortem in aeternum 53 numquid tu maior es patre nostro Abraham qui mortuus est et prophetae mortui sunt quem te ipsum facis 54 respondit Iesus si ego glorifico me ipsum gloria mea nihil est est Pater meus qui glorificat me quem vos dicitis quia Deus noster est 55 et non cognovistis eum ego autem novi eum et si dixero quia non scio eum ero similis vobis mendax sed scio eum et sermonem eius servo

56 Abraham pater vester exultavit ut videret diem meum et vidit et gavisus est 57 dixerunt ergo Iudaei ad eum quinquaginta annos nondum habes et Abraham vidisti 58 dixit eis Iesus amen amen dico vobis ANTEQUAM ABRAHAM FIERET, EGO SUM 59 tulerunt ergo lapides ut iacerent in eum Iesus autem abscondit se et exivit de templo."


"31 Then Jesus said to those Jews, who believed him: If you continue in my word, you shall be my disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 33 They answered him: We are the seed of Abraham, and we have never been slaves to any man: how sayest thou: you shall be free? 34 Jesus answered them: Amen, amen I say unto you: that whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin. 35 Now the servant abideth not in the house for ever; but the son abideth for ever.

36 If therefore the son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed. 37 I know that you are the children of Abraham: but you seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. 38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and you do the things that you have seen with your father. 39 They answered, and said to him: Abraham is our father. Jesus saith to them: If you be the children of Abraham, do the works of Abraham. 40 But now you seek to kill me, a man who have spoken the truth to you, which I have heard of God. This Abraham did not.

41 You do the works of your father. They said therefore to him: We are not born of fornication: we have one Father, even God. 42 Jesus therefore said to them: If God were your Father, you would indeed love me. For from God I proceeded, and came; for I came not of myself, but he sent me: 43 Why do you not know my speech? Because you cannot hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and he stood not in the truth; because truth is not in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof. 45 But if I say the truth, you believe me not.

46 Which of you shall convince me of sin? If I say the truth to you, why do you not believe me? 47 He that is of God, heareth the words of God. Therefore you hear them not, because you are not of God. 48 The Jews therefore answered, and said to him: Do not we say well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? 49 Jesus answered: I have not a devil: but I honour my Father, and you have dishonoured me. 50 But I seek not my own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth.

51 Amen, amen I say to you: If any man keep my word, he shall not see death for ever. 52 The Jews therefore said: Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest: If any man keep my word, he shall not taste death for ever. 53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? and the prophets are dead. Whom dost thou make thyself? 54 Jesus answered: If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father that glorifieth me, of whom you say that he is your God. 55 And you have not known him, but I know him. And if I shall say that I know him not, I shall be like to you, a liar. But I do know him, and do keep his word.

56 Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see my day: he saw it, and was glad. 57 The Jews therefore said to him: Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you, BEFORE ABRAHAM WAS, I AM. 59 They took up stones therefore to cast at him. But Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple."
[John 8:31-59, Gospel for Passion Sunday]



I AM

...

Thursday, 26 March 2020

A Viennese Imperial Ball - to take your mind of things!

During these bleak times....when both the Lenten season and the Corona virus forbid us to go to balls and dances...

...here's something to take your mind of it all...a Viennese Imperial Ball at the Hofburg in the presence of the Emperor and Empress!


Gause, Wilhelm.  Court Ball at the Hofburg. 1900. (Wien Museum Karlsplatz, Vienna, Austria)

And at the Hofburg from the film Sissi, on the life of the Empress Elizabeth of Austria, with the part of the Empress played by Romy Schneider and the Emperor Franz Joseph by Karlheinz Boehm:




And another, with Romy Schneider as Queen Victoria, this time dancing with Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (played by Adrian Hoven) dressed as an officer of hussars (and whom, of course, she later marries):




Here is another ballroom scene from Il Gattopardo (the Leopard) in which the Prince of Salina (played by Burt Lancaster) shows that he can dance superbly well.




And finally, Rudolf Rassendyll (played by Stewart Granger), as King Rudolf of Ruritania, dancing with the Princess Flavia (played by Deborah Kerr) who has fallen in love with him, instead of the real King who has never treated her half so well as does Mr Rassendyll!




Let us look forward to an end of the virus and the coming of Easter!

And cheer up, everyone...make the most of Lent while it lasts!


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