The Station, at Rome, is in the Church of Saint Stephen on Monte Celio. By a sort of prophetic presentiment, this church of the great proto-martyr was chosen as the place where the faithful were to assemble on the Friday of Passion-week, which was to be, at a future time, the feast consecrated to the Queen of martyrs.
|Cordibus nostris, quaesumus, Domine, gratiam tuam benignus infunde; ut peccata nostra castigatione voluntaria cohibentes, temporaliter potius maceremur, quam suppliciis deputemur aeternis. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.||Mercifully, O Lord, we beseech thee, pour forth thy grace into our hearts; that repressing our sins by voluntary mortifications, we may rather suffer for them in this life, than be condemned to eternal torments for them in the next. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.|
|Lectio Jeremiae Prophetae.
Cap. xv ii.
|Lesson from Jeremias the Prophet.
Jeremias is one of the most striking figures of the Messias persecuted by the Jews. It is on this account, that the Church selects from this prophet so many of her lessons during these two weeks that are sacred to the Passion. In the passage chosen for today's Epistle, we have the complaint addressed to God by this just man against those that persecute him; and it is in the name of Christ that he speaks. He says: They have forsaken the Lord, the vein of living waters. How forcibly do these words describe the malice, both of the Jews that crucified, and of sinners that still crucify, Jesus our Lord! As to the Jews, they had forgotten the rock, whence came to them the living water which quenched their thirst in the desert; or, if they have not forgotten the history of this mysterious rock, they refuse to take it as a type of the Messias.
And yet, they hear this Jesus crying out to them in the streets of Jerusalem,
and saying: ' If any man thirst, let him come to Me, and drink.' [St. John vii.
37] His virtues,
His teachings, His miracles, the prophecies that are fulfilled in His person,
all claim their confidence in Him; they should believe every word He says. But
they are deaf to His invitation; and how many Christians imitate them in their
obduracy! How many there are, who once drank at the vein of living waters, and
afterwards turned away, to seek to quench their thirst in the muddy waters of
the world, which can only make them thirst the more! Let them tremble at the
punishment that came upon the Jews; for, unless they return to the Lord their
God, they must fall into those devouring and eternal flames, where even a drop
of water is refused. Jesus, by the mouth of His prophet, tells the Jews that the
day of affliction shall overtake them; and when, later on, He comes to them
Himself, He forewarns them, that the tribulation which is to fall on Jerusalem,
in punishment for her deicide, shall be so great that such hath not been from
the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be. [St. Matt. xxiv. 21.] But if God so
rigorously avenged the Blood of His Son against a city that was so long a place of the habitation of His glory, and against a people
that He had preferred to all others, will He spare the sinner who, in spite of
the Church's entreaties, continues obstinate in his evil ways? Jerusalem had
filled up the measure of her iniquities; we, also, have a measure of sin, beyond
which the justice of God will not permit us to go. Let us sin no more: let us
fill up that other measure, the measure of good works. Let us pray for those
sinners who are to pass these days of grace without being converted; let us pray
that this divine Blood, which is to be so generously given to them, but which
they are about again to trample upon, may again spare them.
|Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.
|Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.
Jesus is more than ever in danger of losing His life! The council of the nation assembles to devise a plan for His destruction. Listen to these men, slaves of that vilest of passions, jealousy. They do not deny the miracles of Jesus; therefore they are in a condition to pass judgment upon Him, and the judgment ought to be favourable. But they have not assembled to examine if He be or be not the Messias; it is to discuss the best plan for putting Him to death. And what argument will they bring forward to palliate the evident murder they contemplate? Political interests - their country's good. They argue thus: If Jesus be longer allowed to appear in public and work miracles, Judea will rise up in rebellion against the Romans, who now govern us, and will proclaim Jesus to be King; Rome will never allow us, the weakest of her tributaries, to insult her with impunity, and, in in order to avenge the outrage offered to the Capitol, her armies will come and exterminate us.' Senseless counsellors! If Jesus had come that He might be King after this world's fashion, all the powers of the earth could not have prevented it. Again - how is it that these chief priests and Pharisees, who know the Scriptures by heart, never once think of that prophecy of Daniel, which foretells that, in seventy weeks of years after the going forth of the decree for the rebuilding of the temple, the Christ shall be slain, and the people that shall deny Him shall cease to be His: moreover, that, after this crime, a people led on by a commander shall come and destroy Jerusalem; the abomination of desolation shall enter the holy place, the temple shall be destroyed, and the desolation shall last even to the end. [Dan. ix. 26-27] How comes it, that this prophecy is lost sight of? Surely, if they thought of it, they would not put Christ to death; for, by putting Him to death, they ruin their country.
But to return to the council. The high-priest, who governed the Synagogue during the last days of the Mosaic Law, is a worthless man, by name Caiphas; he presides over the council. He puts on the sacred ephod, and he prophesies; his prophecy is from God, and is true. Let us not be astonished: the veil of the temple is not yet rent asunder; the covenant between God and Juda is not yet broken. Caiphas is a bloodthirsty man, a coward, a sacrilegious wretch; still, he is high-priest, and God speaks by his mouth. Let us hearken to this second Balaam: Jesus shall die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but to gather in one the children of God, that were dispersed. Thus, the Synagogue is near her end, and is compelled to prophesy the birth of the Church, and that this birth is to be by the shedding of Jesus' Blood. Here and there throughout the world, there are children of God who serve Him among the Gentiles, as did the centurion Cornelius; but there is no visible bond of union among them. The time is at hand, when the great and only city of God is to appear on the mountain, and all nations shall flow unto it. [Is. ii. 2.] As soon as the Blood of the new Testament shall have been shed, and the Conqueror of death shall have risen from the grave, the day of Pentecost will convoke, not the Jews to the temple of Jerusalem, but all nations to the Church of Jesus Christ. By that time, Caiphas will have forgotten the prophecy he uttered; he will have ordered his servants to piece together the veil of the Holy of holies, which was torn in two at the moment of Jesus' death; but this veil will serve no purpose, for the Holy of holies will be no longer there: a clean oblation will be offered up in every place, the Sacrifice of the new Law; [Malach. i. 11] and scarcely shall the avengers of Jesus' death have appeared on Mount Olivet, than a voice will be heard in the sanctuary of the repudiated temple, saying: 'Let us go out from this place!'
Humiliate capita vestra Deo.
Concede, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus, ut qui protectionis tuae gratiam quaerimus, liberati a malis omnibus, secura tibi mente serviamus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Bow down your heads to God.
Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that we who seek the honour of thy protection, may be delivered from all evil, and serve thee with a secure mind. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
This Friday of Passion-week is consecrated in a special manner, to the sufferings which the holy Mother of God endured at the foot of the Cross. The whole of next week is fully taken up with the celebration of the mysteries of Jesus' Passion; and although the remembrance of Mary's share in those sufferings is often brought before the faithful during Holy Week, yet, the thought of what her Son, our divine Redeemer, goes through for our salvation, so absorbs our attention and love, that it is not then possible to honour, as it deserves, the sublime mystery of the Mother's com-passion.
It was but fitting, therefore, that one day in the year should be set apart for this sacred duty: and what day could be more appropriate than the Friday of this week, which, though sacred to the Passion, admits the celebration of saints' feasts, as we have already noticed? As far back as the fifteenth century (that is, in the year 1423), we find the pious archbishop of Cologne, Theodoric, prescribing this feast to be kept by his people. [Labb. Concil. t. xii. p. 365.] It was gradually introduced, and with the knowledge of the holy See, into several other countries; and at length, in the last century, Pope Benedict XIII, by a decree dated August 22, 1727, ordered it to be kept in the whole Church under the name of the Feast of the Seven Dolours of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for, up to this time, it had gone under various names. We will explain the title thus given to it, as also the first origin of the devotion of the Seven Dolours, when our Liturgical Year brings us to the third Sunday of September, the second feast of Mary's Dolours. What the Church proposes to her children's devotion for this Friday of Passion-week, is that one special dolour of Mary - her standing at the foot of the cross. Among the various titles given to this feast before it was extended by the holy See to the whole Church, we may mention, Our Lady of Pity, the Compassion of our Lady, and the one that was so popular throughout France, Notre Dame de la Pamoison. These few historical observations prove that this feast was dear to the devotion of the people, even before it received the solemn sanction of the Church.
That we may clearly understand the object of this feast, and spend it, as the Church would have us do, in paying due honour to the Mother of God and of men, we must recall to our minds this great truth: that God, in the designs of His infinite wisdom, has willed that Mary should have a share in the work of the world's redemption. The mystery of the present feast is one of the applications of this divine law, a law which reveals to us the whole magnificence of God's plan; it is, also, one of the many realizations of the prophecy, that Satan's pride was to be crushed by a woman. In the work of our redemption there are three interventions of Mary; that is, she was thrice called upon to take part in what God Himself did. The first of these was in the Incarnation of the Word, who would not take flesh in her virginal womb until she had given her consent to become His Mother; and this she gave by that solemn FIAT which blessed the world with a Saviour. The second was in the sacrifice which Jesus consummated on Calvary, where she was present that she might take part in the expiatory offering. The third was on the day of Pentecost, when she received the Holy Ghost, as did the apostles, in order that she might effectively labour in the establishment of the Church. "We have already explained, on the feast of the Annunciation, the share Mary had in that wonderful mystery of the Incarnation, which God wrought for His own glory and for man's redemption and sanctification. On the feast of Pentecost we shall speak of the Church commencing and progressing under the active influence of the Mother of God. To-day we must show what part she took in the mystery of her Son's Passion; we must tell the sufferings, the Dolours, she endured at the foot of the cross, and the claims she thereby won to our filial gratitude.
On the fortieth day after the birth of our Emmanuel, we followed to the temple the happy Mother carrying her divine Babe in her arms. A venerable old man was there, waiting to receive her Child; and, when he had Him in his arms, he proclaimed Him to be the Light of the Gentiles, and the glory of Israel. But, turning to the Mother, he spoke to her these heart-rending words: 'Behold! this Child is set to be a sign that shall be contradicted, and a sword shall pierce thine own soul.' This prophecy of sorrow for the Mother told us that the holy joys of Christmas were over, and that the season of trial, for both Jesus and Mary, had begun. It had, indeed, begun; for, from the night of the flight into Egypt, up to this present day, when the malice of the Jews is plotting the great crime, what else has the life of our Jesus been, but the bearing of humiliation, insult, persecution, and ingratitude? And if so, what has the Mother gone through? what ceaseless anxiety? what endless anguish of heart? But let us pass by all her other sufferings, and come to the morning of the great Friday.
Mary knows that, on the previous night, her Son has been betrayed by one of His disciples, that is, by one that Jesus had numbered among His intimate friends; she herself had often given him proofs of her maternal affection. After a cruel Agony, her Son has been manacled as a malefactor, and led by armed men to Caiphas, His worst enemy. Thence, they have dragged Him before the Roman governor, whose sanction the chief priests and scribes must have before they can put Jesus to death. Mary is in Jerusalem; Magdalene, and the other holy women, the friends of Jesus, are with her; but they cannot prevent her from hearing the loud shouts of the people, and if they could, how is such a heart as hers to be slow in its forebodings? The report spreads rapidly through the city that the Roman governor is being urged to sentence Jesus to be crucified. Whilst the entire populace is on the move towards Calvary, shouting out their blasphemous insults at her Jesus, will His Mother keep away, she that bore Him in her womb, and fed Him at her breast? Shall His enemies be eager to glut their eyes with the cruel sight, and His own Mother be afraid to be near Him?
The air resounded with the yells of the mob. Joseph of Arimathea, the noble counsellor, was not there, neither was the learned Nicodemus; they kept at home, grieving over what was done. The crowd that went before and after the divine Victim was made up of wretches without hearts, saving only a few who were seen to weep as they went along; they were women; Jesus saw them, and spoke to them. And if these women from mere sentiments of veneration, or, at most, of gratitude, thus testified their compassion, would Mary do less? Could she bear to be elsewhere than close to her Jesus? Our motive for insisting so much upon this point is that we may show our detestation of that school of modern rationalism, which, regardless of the instincts of a mother's heart and of all tradition, has dared to call in question the meeting of Jesus and Mary on the way to Calvary. These systematic contradictors are too prudent to deny that Mary was present when Jesus was crucified; the Gospel is too explicit: Mary stood near the cross: [St. John xix. 26] but they would persuade us that, whilst the daughters of Jerusalem courageously walked after Jesus, Mary went up to Calvary by some secret path! What a heartless insult to the love of the incomparable Mother.
No; Mary, who is, by excellence, the valiant woman, [Prov. xxxi. 10] was with Jesus as He carried His cross. And who could describe her anguish and her love, as her eye met that of her Son tottering under His heavy load P Who could tell the affection and the resignation of the look He gave her in return? Who could depict the eager and respectful tenderness wherewith Magdalene and the other holy women grouped around this Mother, as she followed her Jesus up to Calvary, there to see Him crucified and die? The distance between the fourth and the tenth Station of the Dolorous Way is long: it is marked with Jesus' Blood, and with His Mother's tears.
Jesus and Mary have reached the summit of the hill that is to be the altar of the holiest and most cruel Sacrifice: but the divine decree permits not the Mother as yet to approach her Son. When the Victim is ready, then she that is to offer Him shall come forward. Meanwhile, they nail her Jesus to the cross; and each blow of the hammer is a wound to Mary's heart. When, at last, she is permitted to approach, accompanied by the beloved disciple (who has made amends for his cowardly flight), and the disconsolate Magdalene and the other holy women, what unutterable anguish must have filled the soul of this Mother, when raising up her eyes, she sees the mangled Body of her Son, stretched upon the cross, with His face all covered with blood, and His head wreathed with a crown of thorns!
Here, then, is this King of Israel, of whom the angel had told her such glorious things in his prophecy! Here is that Son of hers, whom she has loved both as her God and as the fruit of her own womb! And who are they that have reduced Him to this pitiable state? Men - for whose sake rather than for her own, she conceived Him, gave Him birth, and nourished Him! Oh! if by one of those miracles, which His heavenly Father could so easily work, He might be again restored to her! If that divine justice, which He has taken upon Himself to appease, would be satisfied with what He has already suffered! But no: He must die; He must breathe forth His blessed Soul after a long and cruel agony.
Mary then is at the foot of the cross, there to witness the death of her Son. He is soon to be separated from her. In three hours' time, all that will be left her of this beloved Jesus will be a lifeless Body, wounded from head to foot. Our words are too cold for such a scene as this: let us listen to those of St. Bernard, which the Church has inserted in her Matins of this feast. 'O blessed Mother! a sword of sorrow pierced thy soul, and we may well call thee more than martyr, for the intensity of thy compassion surpassed all that a bodily passion could produce. Could any sword have made thee smart so much as that word which pierced thy heart, reaching unto the division of the soul and the spirit: " "Woman! behold thy Son!" What an exchange! John for Jesus! the servant, for the Lord! the disciple for the Master! the son of Zebedee, for the Son of God I a mere man, for the very God! How must thy most loving heart have been pierced with the sound of those words, when even ours, that are hard as stone and steel, break down as we think of them! Ah! my brethren, be not surprised when you are told that Mary was a martyr in her soul. Let him alone be surprised, who has forgotten that St. Paul counts it as one of the greatest sins of the Gentiles, that they were without affection. Who could say that of Mary? God forbid it be said of us, the servants of Mary!' [Sermon on the twelve stars.]
Amid the shouts and insults vociferated by the enemies of Jesus, Mary's quick ear has heard these words, which tell her, that the only son she is henceforth to have on earth is one of adoption. Her maternal joys of Bethlehem and Nazareth are all gone; they make her present sorrow the bitterer; she was the Mother of a God, and men have taken Him from her! Her last and fondest look at her Jesus, her own dearest Jesus, tells her that He is suffering a burning thirst, and she cannot give Him to drink I His eyes grow dim; His head droops; all is consummated.
Mary cannot leave the cross; love brought her thither; love keeps her there, whatever may happen! A soldier advances near that hallowed spot; she sees him lift up his spear, and thrust it through the breast of the sacred Corpse. 'Ah!' cries out St. Bernard, 'that thrust is through thy soul, O blessed Mother! It could but open His side, but it pierced thy very soul. His Soul was not there; thine was, and could not but be so.' [Sermon on the twelve stars.] The undaunted Mother keeps close to the Body of her Son. She watches them as they take it down from the cross; and when, at last, the friends of Jesus, with all the respect due to both Mother and Son, enable her to embrace it, she raises it upon her lap, and He that once lay upon her knees receiving the homage of the eastern kings, now lies there cold, mangled, bleeding, dead! And as she looks upon the wounds of the divine Victim, she gives them the highest honour in the power of creatures: she kisses them, she bathes them with her tears, she adores them, but oh! with what intensity of grief!
The hour is far advanced; and before sunset, He, Jesus, the author of life, must be buried. The Mother puts the whole vehemence of her love into a last kiss, and oppressed with a bitterness great as is the sea, [Lam. i. 4, ii. 13] she makes over this adorable Body to them that have to embalm and then lay it on the sepulchral slab. The sepulchre is closed; and Mary, accompanied by John, her adopted son, and Magdalene, and the holy women, and the two disciples that have presided over the burial, returns sorrowing to the deicide city.
Now, in all this, there is another mystery besides that of Mary's sufferings. Her dolours at the foot of the cross include and imply a truth, which we must not pass by, or we shall not understand the full beauty of to-day's feast. Why would God have her assist in person at such a scene as this of Calvary? Why was not she, as well as Joseph, taken out of this world before this terrible day of Jesus' death? Because God had assigned her a great office for that day, and it was to be under the tree of the cross that she, the second Eve, was to discharge her office. As the heavenly Father had waited for her consent before He sent His Son into the world: so, likewise, He called for her obedience and devotedness, when the hour came for that Son to be offered up in sacrifice for the world's redemption. Was not Jesus hers? her Child? her own and dearest treasure? And yet, God gave Him not to her, until she had consented to become His Mother; in like manner, He would not take Him from her, unless she gave Him back.
But see what this involved, see what a struggle it entailed upon this most loving heart! It is the injustice, the cruelty, of men that rob her of her Son; how can she, His Mother, ratify, by her consent, the death of Him, whom she loved with a twofold love, as her Son, and as her God? But, on the other hand, if Jesus be not put to death, the human race is left a prey to Satan, sin is not atoned for, and all the honours and joys of her being Mother of God are of no use or blessing to us. This Virgin of Nazareth, this noblest heart, this purest creature, whose affections were never blunted with the selfishness which so easily makes its way into souls that have been wounded by original sin, what will she do? Her devotedness to mankind, her conformity with the will of her Son who so vehemently desires the world's salvation, lead her, a second time, to pronounce the solemn FIAT: she consents to the immolation of her Son. It is not God's justice that takes Him from her; it is she herself that gives Him up. But, in return, she is raised to a degree of greatness, which her humility could never have suspected was to be hers: an ineffable union is made to exist between the two offerings, that of the Incarnate Word, and that of Mary; the Blood of the divine Victim, and the tears of the Mother, flow together for the redemption of mankind.
We can now understand the conduct and the courage of this Mother of sorrows.
Unlike that other mother, of whom the Scripture speaks - the unhappy Agar,
who after having sought in vain how she might quench the thirst of her
Ismael in the desert, withdrew from him that she might not see him die? Mary
no sooner hears that Jesus is condemned to death, than she rises, hastens to
Him, and follows Him to the place where He is to die. And what is her attitude
at the foot of His cross? Does her matchless grief overpower her? Does she
swoon? or fall? No: the Evangelist says: ' There stood by the cross of Jesus,
His Mother.' [St. John xix. 25.] The sacrificing priest stands, when offering at the altar; Mary
stood for such a sacrifice as hers was to be. St. Ambrose, whose affectionate
heart and profound appreciation of the mysteries of religion have revealed to us
so many precious traits of Mary's character, thus speaks of her position at the
foot of the cross: 'She stood opposite the cross, gazing with maternal love on the wounds of her Son; and
thus she stood, not waiting for her Jesus to die, but for the world to be
saved.' [In Lucam cap. xxiii.]
Thus, this Mother of sorrows, when standing on Calvary, blessed us who deserved but maledictions; she loved us; she sacrificed her Son for our salvation. In spite of all the feelings of her maternal heart, she gave back to the eternal Father the divine treasure He had entrusted to her keeping. The sword pierced through and through her soul, but we were saved; and she, though a mere creature, co-operated with her Son in the work of our salvation. Can we wonder, after this, that Jesus chose this moment for making her the Mother of men, in the person of John the evangelist, who represented us? Never had Mary's heart loved us as she did then; from that time forward, therefore, let this second Eve be the true Mother of the living! [Gen. iii. 20.] The sword, by piercing her immaculate heart, has given us admission there. For time and eternity, Mary will extend to us the love she has borne for her Son, for she has just heard Him saying to her that we are her children. He is our Lord, for He has redeemed us; she is our Lady, for she generously co-operated in our redemption.
Animated by this confidence, O Mother of sorrows! we come before thee, on this feast of thy dolours, to offer thee our filial love. Jesus, the blessed Fruit of thy womb, filled thee with joy as thou gavest Him birth; we, thy adopted children, entered into thy heart by the cruel piercing of the sword of suffering. And yet, O Mary! love us, for thou didst co-operate with our divine Redeemer in saving us. How can we not trust in the love of thy generous heart, when we know that, for our salvation, thou didst unite thyself to the Sacrifice of thy Jesus? "What proofs hast thou unceasingly given us of thy maternal tenderness, O Queen of mercy! O refuge of sinners! O untiring advocate for us in all our miseries! Deign, sweet Mother, to watch over us, during these days of grace. Give us to feel and relish the Passion of thy Son. It was consummated in thy presence; thine own share in it was magnificent! Oh! make us enter into all its mysteries, that so our souls, redeemed by the Blood of thy Son, and helped by thy tears, may be thoroughly converted to the Lord, and persevere, henceforward, faithful in His service.
Let us now recite the devout Complaint, whereby the Church unites herself with Mary's Dolours.
Stabat Mater dolorosa,
Juxta crucem lacrymosa,
Dum pendebat Filius.
Cujus animam gementem,
O quam tristis et afflicta
Quae moerebat et dolebat,
Quis est homo qui non fleret,
Quis non posset contristari,
Pro peccatis suae gentis
Vidit suum dulcem Natum
Eia, Mater, fons amoris,
Fac ut ardeat cor meum
Sancta Mater, istud agas,
Tui Nati vulnerati,
Fac me tecum pie flere,
Juxta crucem tecum stare,
Virgo virginum praeclara,
Fac ut portem Christi mortem,
Fac me plagas vulnerari,
Flammis ne urar succensus,
Christe, cum sit hinc exire,
Quando corpus morietur,
Near the cross, while on it hung her Son, the sorrowing Mother stood and wept.
A sword pierced her soul, that sighed, and mourned, and grieved.
The loving Mother sorrowed and mourned at seeing her divine Son suffer.
Who is there would not weep to see Jesus' Mother in such suffering?
Who is there could contemplate the Mother and the Son in sorrow, and not join his own with theirs?
Mary saw her Jesus tormented and scourged for the sins of his people.
She saw her sweet Child abandoned by all, as he breathed forth his soul and died.
Ah, Mother, fount of love, make me feel the force of sorrow; make me weep with thee!
Make this heart of mine burn with the love of Jesus my God, that so I may content his heart.
Do this, O holy Mother: deeply stamp the wounds of the Crucified upon my heart.
Let me share with thee the sufferings of thy Son, for it is for me he graciously deigned to be wounded and to suffer.
Make me lovingly weep with thee: make me compassionate with thee our crucified Jesus, as long as life shall last.
This is my desire, to stand nigh the cross with thee, and be a sharer in thy grief.
Peerless Virgin of virgins! be not displeased at my prayer: make me weep with thee.
Make me to carry the death of Jesus; make me a partner of his Passion, an adorer of his Wounds.
Make me to be wounded with his Wounds; make me to be inebriated with the cross and Blood of thy Son.
And that I may not suffer the eternal flames, let me be defended by thee, O Virgin, on the day of judgment!
O Jesus! when my hour of death comes, let me, by thy Mother's aid, come to my crown of victory.
And when my body dies, oh! give to my soul the reward of heaven's glory. Amen.
Let us recite the concluding stanzas of the Greek hymn in honour of the holy Cross.
(Feria IV. media Septimanae)
|Adeste; crucem Domini propositam, jejuniis
expiati, cum desiderio amplectamur.
Est enim thesaurus sanctificationis et potentiae, per quam laudamus Christum in
Haec crux tripartita et magna, vilis initio apparens, nunc coelum tangit virtute sua, hominesque ad Deum semper sursum ducit; per quam laudamus Christum in saecula.
Honoretur hoc sacratissimum lignum, quod jam olim propheta in panem Christi immissum esse ab Israelitis, qui eum crucifixerunt, vaticinatus est; quem superexaltamus in saecula.
Montes dulcedinem, et colles exsultationem stillate. Ligna campi, cedri Libani, choreas ducite ob hodiernam vivificae crucis adorationem. Prophetae, martyres, apostoli et spiritus justorum, exilite.
Respice in populum et in clerum tuum, Domine, qui cum desiderio laudes tuas canit, cujus gratia mortem subiisti. Ne vincat misericordiam tuam infinita multitudo malorum nostrorum, sed salva omnes, o benignissime, per crucem tuam.
Divina armatura vitae meae es, o crux; in te Dominus ascendens, servavit me. Latere vulnerato fudit sanguinem et aquam, cujus particeps factus exsulto, Christum glorificans.
Divinum Regis sceptrum crux es, exercitus fortitudo; in tua fiducia profligamus hostes; nobis qui te adoramus, semper concede adversus barbaros victorias.
Come, let us devoutly embrace the cross of our Lord that is exposed before us,
for our fasts have made us pure. The cross is a treasure of holiness and power,
and by it we give eternal praise to Christ.
This triple and glorious cross, contemptible as it seemed at first, now reaches to the very heavens with its power, ever raising and leading men up to God. By it we give eternal praise to Christ.
Honour to this most sacred Wood, which as the prophet anciently foretold was to be put in the bread of Christ, by them that crucified him; to him be praise above all for ever.
Rain down sweetness, O ye mountains! and ye. O hills, your gladness! Trees of the field, cedars of Libanus, exult with joy, for on this day we venerate the life-giving cross. Prophets, martyrs, apostles, spirits of the just, rejoice!
Look down, O Lord, upon thy people and clergy, who now devoutly sing thy praise,
and for whose sake thou didst
O cross! thou art the sacred armour of my life. My Lord saved me by ascending upon thee. From his wounded side there flowed Blood and Water, of which being made a partaker, I exult, and give glory to Christ.
O cross! thou art the divine sceptre of the King; thou art the strength of them that wage war; it is our confidence in thee that makes us put our enemies to flight. Oh ever grant to us who honour thee, victory over the barbarians.