THE LITURGICAL YEAR

BY THE VERY REV. DOM PROSPER GUÉRANGER, ABBOT OF SOLESMES

THE TIME AFTER PENTECOST


PROPER OF THE TIME.

 

The Liturgical Season, over which presides the Spirit of sanctification and love, has commenced its career amidst the brightness of a light which is new, both for the Church and the christian soul. The weak eye of our intellect, veiled by the protecting cover of faith, has ventured to gaze on the deep things of God [1 Cor. ii. 10]; in the midst of the eternal relations which. make up the holy Trinity, we have been enabled to discern those sublirne links which exist bctween each of the Divine Persons and man, nothingness though he be by his own origin. Then, too, we have been given to know Him who is Eternal Wisdom; this Wisdom is the Incarnate Word; and the time for mans coming to know that Wisdom was the Feast of the Eucharist; it was through the revelation then made known to him of the divine love for mankind, that rrian understood why it was that the world had been created. Beyond these grand teachings given to us by the bright Festivals, first of Trinity Sunday, and then of Corpus Christi, we had the Sacred Heart of Jesus repeating to us, and summing up in itself, all tliese mysteries; that Divine Ileart was revealed to us as the source of supernatural life, as the organ of praise, as the centre where the love of God for man, and the love of man for God, were united. A11 this has filled the whole earth with the magnificence of the supernatural order.

It was with these three bright mysteries, as celebrated by the Church immediately after Pentecost Sunday, that the reign of the 11oiy Ghost was begun for us this Year of Grace. Our Emmanuel himself, during the years of his sojourn upon our c~irth, had not shed such light as this upon us. Triie, our Emmanuel was himself tho Light ;1 and the 1Io1y Uhost, far from revealing to us any new dogmas, did but remind the world of the truths taught it by IIim who is ever the truc Master and Teacher ofhis Church.3 How then, is it, that tlie light becomes doubly strong immediately that this Jesus of ours leaves us? How comes it, that the Holy Ghost, who was not to speak of himself,4 no sooner descends upon us, than we are enabled to see the heavenly mysteries with such intensified clearness? Let us master the lesson involved in all this.

Yes, the Holy Ghost is not to spea1~ of 1iirnsc~f, and yet he teaches divine1y.~ It is from the Word that he receives what he tellstothisearth ofours ;6 hehearkens to that Word, and will say the same things himseif7 but he will say them in his own way.
The Eternal Word is the one only word; it had spoken from the very commencement of creation; its varied utterances had filled the whole earth; its di- vine teaching had been heard, day telling it unto day, and night unto night.8 And yet, this almighty voice9 of Wisdom, which penetratetli into tlie botton-i of t1~e deep,° was but too frequentiy allowed to speak unnoticed. Th~ light shone in the darkness, but the darkness would not be removcd, as the Church re- minded us during tbe Season of Advent, when the four weeks of those wintry and dark days told us how man, for four thousand years, had abased the very light of his reason, by making it serve to put out the light of the divine Word which God had been givirig him. During all this long period, the Word had
st. John, viii. 12. St. John, xvi. 13. ~ Ps. xviii. 3.
2 lbid. xiv. 26. 5Ibicl. ~ Wisd. xviii. 15.
~ [bid. xiii. 13.—.St. Matth. 6lbid, 14. ~° Ecclus. xxiv. 8.
xxiii. 8-10; xxviii. 19, 20. ~ Ibid. 13. 11 St. John, i. 5.
12 Rom. i. 18-23.
PROPER OF THE TIME.
97
sought, though in vain, to put tbe imprint of himself u~ou the successive generations ; that period trans.
aud he came down upon earth, there to take up his abode, and eonversc with men,2 and, with his own lips, to give to the world the unreserved3 heavenly message• of light and truth. The children of Adam heard with their own ears, and saw with their own cve~, and touched with their very hands, tho word of life,4 the Word mado Flesh.5 And yet, eveu with all thi~ condescension and intimacy, even tho very men who enjoyed most of hi~ presence,—those men who were selected to become the messengers of his word,6__ who were to be his heralds and his witnesses to the iiations,~ even they failed to take in the light of that kingdom of God, which shone so strongly, so directly, upon them.8 Yes, even for these future sowers of the Word in the souls of men,9 our Emmanuel, during his mortal life among them was always a hidden God; l0 he was a Word not understood by them.11 He lovingly complains of all this, when wishing them farewell at the Last Supper !~ But, if we rightly apprcciate that complaint, it was not so much a re- proach inado to his Disciples, as an earnest prayer offered to his Father,3 beseeching him to send down that creatirig Spirit,14 who alone could transform those hearts, rid them of their innate weakness, and fill them, as the Church expresses it,~ with the warmth of the Word.
For, tliere is the secret of success,—the ineom- parable teaching of the Spirit of love. How universal and how grand soever was the manifestation of him- self, offered to the minds of men by the Word ; ~ how
IIeb. i. 1, 2; xi. 3. 6 St. Luke, i. 2. St. Luke, xviii. 34.
Baruch, hi. 35. Acts, i. 8. 84. John, xiv. 9.
St. Jolin, xv. 15. ~ St. Lukc, viii. 10. 13 Jbid. 16.
1 St. John, i. i. ~ Ibid. 11. ~ Is. ciii. 30.
~ St. John, i. 14. ° Is. xlv. i5. 13 Hymn for Matins
16 St. John, i. 9. of Whit-Sunday.
VOL. XI. H
98
TTME AFTER PENTECOST.
intiniafe iuid familiar soever were the conversations of our Fmmanuel with those whom he had graciously selected as his Friends,—yet, in both ea~es, the truth niade no way beyond the outside; the Teaching went no further than the exterior ; like the rnatcrial sun, the reflection of the eternal Light was but Ofl the surface, it did not penetrate into the depths of inens souls. The Holy Ghost, on the contrary, like ai~ impetuous strcam, flowed into mans heart, bring- ing with himself, into the inmost recesscs of the creature, substantial and living Truth. The Man- God had foretold this to his disciples. He had said to them: Tliese tJi/ny~ which Iliare spoZen iudoyou, whilst abicl/ng icifh you, the Paraclete u~iil teaclc tliem ail to you rnore efficacious1y,~ for he will not oniy abicle vitlc you; but sliail be in you.4 The truths which you could not beu nou, you shall have from Him; He uill leaci you into the whole truth. ~
It is the office of the 11oiy Ghost to act, rather than to speak. He is, so to say, iess intent on pro- claiming tlie truth, than on the reaiising it, by sanc- tification, in the Church and in the soul. Tho Spirit, says St. Cyril ofAlexandria,6 has a marvel- lous school of lTis OWfl Ifl the Saints: be does more than speak; he produces knowledge by an efficient demonstration, that is, he passes on to the creature what belongs to God; he makes us partakers of the divine nature.7 Not only, therefore, does he jurify the senses, and cleanse the interior eye from its imperfections; but, moreover, in virtue of that sanetifying action, wbich is his speciai attribute, he establishes, in the very midst of the regenerated creature,8 that kingdom of God whose hidden excel- lencies were declared° by Jesus to the as yet ignorant
l St. John, xv. 15. ° Ibicl. xvi. 12, 13, 1 St. Pet. i. 4.
~ Ps. xlv. 5. ju~ta grc~c. ~ St. Luke, xvii. 21.
St. John, xiv. 25. G In Johan. Lib. x. ct St. John, i, 18.
lbid. 17. xi., pa~8irn.
PROPEI~ OF THE TIME.
9.9
fishermen of Galilee. No sooner has tho IIoly Ghost lone this his work in the soul, than all doubt, all gross ignorance and errar, are at an end. The only obscurity left is that of Faith, which, as yet, sees iTot, but knows,t and possesses, by the Spirit, the gifts of God. Man thus renewed, compreliends, as the Apostle assures us, wliat is the beadtli, and length, ~ind lieiglit, and clepth, of the teachings ot our Emmanuel; for it is Christ himseif who, through the Paraclote, dwells in. our hearts, and fiIls thein with the fulness of God.4
St. Cyrii admirably developes all this,in the Treatise we have already quotcd. Amongst other things, he says, that as the sweet fragrance of a flower which niakes itself felt to our senses, seems to be doing nothing else but telling us about the flower itself,—. so the Holy Spirit, when he leads us to the plenitude of Truth, does nothing else than infuse into us the mystery of Cbrist. The silent operation of the Paraelete is ever revealing to our niiud, and applying to our soul, the power and hidden mysteries of the Incarnation. He is the Spirit of Truth ; ~ but what is the Trufli, but Christ himself,6 who, in his person and his perfections dwells, through the HOiy Ghost, in holy souls? The Incarnate Word, in his visible presence, has been takeu froin among us; we aro no inore to see him, during our sojourn here ; ~ but ali this is for no othcr purpose than to manifest himself to our souls,—it is the manifestation the best be- coming a God. When, therefore, our Lord tells US,8 and when his Apostles repeat the announcement,9 that he is going to teach us all things by the Ho1y Ghost, we must not suppose that he is hereby intend~ iug to pass us 011 to some other Master than hinlself.
1 Cor. ii. 12. Ibjd. 2 Cor. v. 16.
2 ~t. Pet. i. 4. St. John, xjv. 17. 8 St. John, xiv. 26.
~ Eph. iii. 16-19. 6 lbicl. 6. Eph. i. 17; iii. 16.
1 00
TIMF AFTEfl PENTECOST.
No; according to tlie proniise he made us. lie dwclls in pure souls; ILC reveals himself to them in au un— speakable rnanner; lie, as their Heiul, directs them in all tlieir ways; only, he does all this by his Spirit. For the Spirit is the author of sanctificatiin ; and what is this Sanctification but the transforniation of a crcature into the Iniage of Him who saith unto ii~: Be ye iioiy, because 1 tlie Lord yovr God ain lioly?2 Now the Image of God, the one i~erfect and bcautiful Irnage,—the divine Seal which impresses on our souls a hkeness of the Fathers face,3—this Irna~e, this Seal, is the Eternal Son of that Fatlier. He is the Word of his Father; aiid that Word, in his sacred Humanity, sa n ct L/~ed hiin s elf,4 together witli us, and for us, hv annaintin~, with the Hoiy S1)irit, the temple of his i~ ody.5 With and by tliat Spirit, he transforms us, froni hiic,Jitness iinto bii,qlitness, 00 the type and model nf his sacrcd Humanity ;6 he is born again and grows in each of us,7 by tlie incor- poration of the mysteries of his deifying Life.8
Christians! you were made sad, a few davs back, on hearing of the speedy departure of your Jesus ;° learn, now, that your sadness must give place to joy, for this Emmanuel of ours, thougli he has ascended up into heaven, has not left our earth. Jsiu~ Olirist yesterday, and to-dct,y, ancl tlie saniefor ever.io He is the one sole object of the Fathers good-pleasure
he is the one sole worthy instrunient of Gods glory and being this, he centres into his own unity the divine plan for the sanctification of the elect. So far, then, is the glorious Penteeost from being the separ- ating us from Jesus our divine exemp]ar and guide,
St. J(hn, xiv. 21. St. John, xvii. 19. 6 2 Cor. iii. 18.
Lev. xix. 2. I&id. ii. 21. Gal. iv. 19.
Ps. iv. 7.
8 S. Cyril Alex. In Johan. lib. i, ix, x, xi; De Trinit. DiaL iv, v; et alibi passi~.
° St. John, xvi. 6. ~ Heb. xiii. 8. i~ St. Matth. xvii. 5.
PROIEa OF THE TIME.
11 01
by means of the Coming of the Holy Ghost,—the very contrary is the result; for the Paraclete only earne uiion this. ear.th, iii order that he miglit make aIl the closer the union between the Head and the Members; he came, that he niight, by Faith ancl Lo~e, make us one with hitn, wh) Alone is HOLY, as lie alone is Lord, and alone Most High, together with the Father and the Ho1y Ghost, for ever and ever ! ~
Now, let us think on what the Churchs Liturgy is with regard to ali this. We have passec1 one half. of the Churchs year; we have had, froin Advent, up to this present day, all tliose several Seasons, or Times, which we have celebrated with her; and what have they all been but so many ascen.sions (as the Psalmist cails them,2) so many steps, gradually leadiiig up to that suinniit of perfect justice, where the holiness of Christs Church has been consuniiuated ~i1 TJNION. Though an huinblo daughter of carth, yet did the Son of God, even from the day of eter- nity,3 love and desire lier beauty.4 This does not mean, tliat any single individual of the fallen huinan family, which had to form the Members of this Bride of Jesus, could ever, of hiinself, contribute to the Church a loveliness in any way worthy of tlie King,.— but it means, that the King himself, Jesus, the Sun of Justice, who had gratuitously set his heart on this his chosen one, had resolved to deck her brow with liis own charms. It was by this his own anticipated gratuity, that he fouud in her that sub- lime perfection of likeness to the heavenly Father, ~ which, being the essential beauty of the Word hiin self7 was, for that very reason to constitute the sanctity of the favoured race, that his merciful love
~ The Hyznn Gioria in Jerem. xxxi. 3. ~ St. Matth. v. 48.
esceisis. ~ Ps. xliv. 12. Wisd. vii. 26.
Ps. lxxxiii. 6. Ma1a~h. jv. 2.
102
TIME AFTER Pli~TiC()5T.
had called to himself from the desert niountains of the Geiitiles. Thus was to be fully verified that saying of the Apostle, that t!,e Sjouse is tlie flnclge and giory of God, hot tlse Bride is tlte glc~,q 0j t!ie Spoitse, and that both of them are one, because they both harmonise in the one same divine plan.3
Yes, the Gentile wor]d, the ~cuaen,~ woman despised by the Synagogue, the h/ack inhabitant of the parched deserts of Ethiopia,i_she is, one day, to be trans- fotmed, by grace, into the true dauglitcr of the Father, and become the Bride of his Son. Such an adoption, and such a Nuptial Union, would depend, in part, on the conselFt of the cli()sen one; and not only hcr consent would be required, but she would also have to do something towards her winning her honours, iiy labouring for theni. The Liturgy expresses and achieves all this. First of all, there was tlie Season of Advent; it was a Time of expectation and struggle; it corresponded to what is called the PUR-
GAT]XE WAY~ the Sou of God was then cleansing the human race fioni its defllemcnts; he was removing out of her way the obstacles which kept her down. Then followed those rich Seasons of the Chureh, in which Jesus, the Divine Spouse, offered himself to mankind as their ~ieI,~ and Light,~ aud Guide,° all for the purpose of bringing them up to the divine ideal wbich the were to reproduce in theii own
/ living. It is calIc(i the ILLtMINArIvJ~ W~Ay. During those mystic Seasoiis, Jesus showed liiiuself to his
Church by again treading the ro~jei ~tay9 of liis mysteries. He theic her after him in the fragrance of his footsteps,° from Bethlehem to the Jordan; from Munt Quararitine to the Cross on Calvarys top, and thence to the glorious Sepulchre. Iii each stage
Cantie. iv. S. Cantic. i. 4, 5; iv. 8 Ib~d.
1 Cor. xi. 7. S ; Soph. iii. 10. ~uii. xxi. 22.
Ibid. 11. ~ Exod. xxv. 40. 10 Cantic. i. 3.
~ 1 Kings, ii. 5. St. John, viii. 12.
PROP~R OF TIIE TIME.
103
of liis lifes iny~terie~, he so (ieOI~i ilii1iriiited 011 the C]iurch the diviiie likencss of ltis ~acred Huinanitv, that she stood before him a~ the new Evc, taken i.~ut of the ~JIan-God, and formed of liis substaiice. The Lord (~od, the Eteriial Father is iejoiced tliat the new Adam is iio longer alone; he hasj~oil tlie l,cl1ei like unto li/insc~f, which neither carth uor hcaven had been able to give Him. The first Adain did uot S) ardently love her whoni he deehired to befli.sh ofliis j~fes1i, as the Word did that glorious Glturcli, his Bride, who hath neither ~pot nor ~ ike, but is all beautiful with his boliness upuii her. Slie has no life of her own; the only life sho eaii henceforth possibly live is the life of her divine Spouse.4 That Life 1ia~ been worked into 1~er by the stupendous power of the Mysteries celebrated by her in tbe previous Seasons of tbe divino Liturgy ;—let Pentecost come, let the breath of the sanctif~ing Spirit iuake itself felt upon her, and Jesus and his Church will bc one spir1t,b one body.6 The departure of the Man-Gocl in Iiis triurn- phant Ascension,~ was not an abaudonmeut of his Church. On thc contrary: desirous to accomplish the mystery of divino Ciien with her, which had been so long in preparation, he returned as the Psalmist expresses it, on the uings of tlte wznds,8 to that sanctuary of tlie Godhead where, from the Father and the Son, there proeeeds the Third Per- son, the Spirit of 1()ve. Ycs, he had ascended into heaven, that he might scnd this Spirit upon the children of men, aiid send hini directiy from his eternal source.9
That Spirit caine down; the annals of holy Church
then began their course on earth, for it was then
alone, thanks to the pcrmanent and intiniate Union of
Z ~ ii~ ~ ~ 1 Cor. xi. 8, 9. Cantic. viii. 14.
l/id. 1~-2O. ~ I/)il. vi. 17. 8 Ps. ciii. 3.
Eph. v, 25-27. Ejh, i, 23. ~ St. J0h11, XVI. 7.
Cantic. vi. 8.
Coloss. iii. 3.
GaI. ii. 20.
104 TIIR TI~1E AFTER 1ENTECOST.
which this Holy Spirit is the cause, that slio eould begin to receive, from her divine Head Jesus, move rnent and life. Were the LTnion transient, were it to fail for a single instant, the incomparable Bride of the Son of God would be separtited from that Spouse of hers; and thus forfeiting the principle and reason of lier cxistence, shc would cease to be. Froni all this, it follows that not only tlie Pwgatiie aiid tho Illurninatiie Ways were needed as preparations, and were provided by the Liturgy from Advent till the Ascension inclusively,—but over and above tliis, and as the sequel to this, the U~i/ticL JJ~c~y was essential to the Cliurch, and is achieved by the 11oiy Ghosts guiding her througli it, in what is called the Ttine aftcr Pentecost. That highest Way, the Unitii~, ~s not only essential to the Churcli, but it belongs to her alone, for it is ber privilege and her secret, as Brido of tI)e Incarnate Word. Consequently, it is oniy by the Christians uniting himself with tlie Church,—it is only by his being a member of tliis one Bride of Ohrist Jesus,—that iie can, by thus liiding lthnseif wifh clzrist in Gocl,2 reach those high degrees of divine charity, where Jesus so masters the powers of mortal man, t1~at, even here below, tliey derive from llim their whole movement and life.3 And again, there is not a single one among the baptised, who, by the rnere fact of his being thercby incorporated in the Church of Christ, may not be led to a greater or lesser degree of that inner life of Union. As to the fact of theio being few who cnjoy the privilege offered them, it comes from the fault of the majoritys incon• stant or feeble correspondence with graee.
And here, we are not expressly speaking of those exceptional favours, which form the special object of I~1YST1C TIIEOLOGY. Favours of that kind produce thoso extraordinary states, which are of heaven,
PROPER OF TIIE TIME.
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Ibid. xV. 2.
2 Cor. xii. 4.
rather than of carth. In such states, the Spirit of God is not merely treating the favoured souls as tho Scripture describes, where it sj~eaks of the eagle enticing its young ones to fly to the mountain-top,—-.- lle seems impatient of the tedious exile; suddenly carries off the astonished and passive soul, and leads ber, through unknown paths, right up to the throne of God. There, standing on the shore of the crystal sea of light which inundates the Blessed, sbe is ravisiiod with tlie niusic of lieaven.3 At times, there is sometliing more exquisite than ihut, granted to such a privileged siiul; God takes lier to himse1f~ and speaks to her mysterious words, and ineffable secrets; and, when she returns to herself, she is all inebriated with love, and impressed with the divine communi- cations wherewith she has been intrusted, and which hurnan language is too poor to hold or utter. By far tlie noblest and sublirnest pages of the Churchs history are those which relate the lives of the Saints; and they abound with instaiices of favours like these; they manifest to us creatures, that tiie great Creator is Master to prove, wlien it pleases him, the indepen- dence and the power of his love. And yet, he has not promised any mortal. such marvellous favours as these. Though they are not so rare as the world supposes, they are, nevertheless, beyond and above the normal and ordinary development of the Chiis- tian Life.
Whilst t~ius recognising these extraordinary results of Union produced by the Spirit of God in some few of the Churchs children, let us reverently pass them by, to speak on that perfection whieh constitutes the very essence of the U~iitiie Wuy. What, then, 18 that perfection? It is divine charity, reigning as master in the soul of one that has been baptised.
Deut. Xxxii. 11.
2 Apoc. iv. 6.
1 06
TIME AFTER PENTECOST.
1 st. Matth. iv. ~3.
2 1~id v. 48.
I~oin. i. 7.
iIeh. iii. 14.
Let n~ rccal to mind, how, in the jreeence 0f the crowds tliat had come together to hear his words,i oui Lord Jesus proclaimed, from the Mourit, the super- natural vocation of all to perfection2 and holiness.3 Did henot distinctly telI us,bythat, that theway~vhich1eads to divine Union, understood in this its true meaning, was oiien to all? for it is divine Uiiion, thus under- stood, that aloiie produces perfect lioliness. Sex, or age, or condition, arc not obstacles to this divine Union, provided the soul in questio~ is really desirous of developing the heavenly gerni that is in hcr,4 and 1s faithful to grace. There is no Christian, who, ifthus rightly disposcd, may not ascend from the lower degrees, wheie Iiope and fear are in the ascendency, and reach tlie perfect love of God. And what is this, but Union ? What is it, but an assimilation with Him, whom our faith tells us should be, now, at once, even in tiiis life, the One object of our desires and thouglits? If such a sonl as that be tauglit, by Faith alonc, the glorious rclations which grace is meant to produce betwccn her and Iier God,—those rclations, though not pcrhaps felt and relished as is the ease in those niysterious communications of which we were just now speaking, are none the less real, and may even bc more substantially intirnate, than tho~e others. The higher or lower degree of divine Union does not depend on the Various and always ineomplete inani- festations, which God may vouchsafe to grant a soul in this worid; no, it results from the more or less per- fect, and constant unification of tlie soul with the divine will; and tliis is brought about by the progres- sive pcsseSSion of justice, and by the cxercise of the christian virtues. Thus God sometimes withholds those niystical favours from his most faithful and dearest servants; and it is not difficult to imagine a generous soul, that has iiever trodden any but the
iROPEII (JF TIIE TI\IE.
107
2 Cor. xi. 13-15. Ribera~ lib. iii. c. 15.
ordinary path~, and yet may be found dearer to the heait of the Man-God, in the next woild, than manv ()thers who, in the days of their inortal life, may have been considered as his special favourites, by reason of the exccptional favours bestowed upon theni.
As to thcse, theii, whose Union with Christ is that ~f devoted love kept up bv Faith, aloiie,—they have all the greater nced of keeping close to the Church; from the very fact of thcir not eiijaving the direet light aiid caresses of their Lord. Let them go on courageously, taking cOmf()rt from the thought, that
if the Way they are pursuing is more fatiguing, it is ~ also more securc. The Church, alone has had the
promise made to her of not going wrong whilst journeying along the paths, where precipices abound, and on which the spirit of darkness is cver busily setting snares. Let us, then, keep liold of our Mothers hand, as we procced in the Unitive Way of this Tiine after .Pentecost; for, inany a soul has been allured into misery by the deceitful appearance of a spirituality, which promised things far above the common. Wo to the soul, that pretends to extraordinary results of divine Union by systems which alienate her from the Church! She talks of having special lights from hcavcn, whcreas she is but the dupe of Satall who can put on the appearance of a briglit angel.i Let her retrace her steps, and recover the beaten path; let her return to her Mother; let her learn from the scraphic St. Tercsa, that the essential condition of a Christians wlnning fii~ours from Christ is the being a true Dughter of tlie ClioicJi,—a title so dear to the Saint, that, when on the point of dcath, slie made it thc sub- ject of her warmest thanks to God.2
If our holy Mother the Church has sometimes to lament ovcr souls, that would have been models of generosity had they but followed hei guidance, but
108
TiME AFtI~R PENTECOST.
2 Cor. xi. 13.
2 Ibid. 2.
Ibid. i St. Pet. i. S.
~ PrOV. xxxi. 10.31. 6 Acts, i. 9.
who, allowing themselves to be led astray, as Eve was by t.he serpent, have taken false views, and fallen froni the sirnplicity that is in Christ,1__what a much m()re frequent cause of her grief is the sight of those countless Christians who utterly disdaiu the divine call to Union? some from tepidity, some froni sloth, some from false hnmility? and all saying, that the low standard of Christiau life which they take, is alI that God has any right to expect from them! God has put into the Churchs heart tliose two deepest and strongest affections which he has created,—he has given her the tendcrness of a Mother and tho vehe- ment love of a Bride. Imagine, then, wiiat must be her zeal, and how intense lier desire, to win over the whole world to hcr Jesus, and teaeh thein liow to at- tain Union with him! Like st. Paul, she is jeaious ui(Ji ciit~nejealousy,2 as she thinks of all those miliions of (~hristians, who undervalue the sublime vocation to which they are all created; on those children of hers whom she cannot induco to rise above cart.hly goods, and yet these Christians are her own members by Baptism ! She grieves at seeing how her Jesus is treated by the indifference or the half-hearted love of these sluggish members, who yet make up somo part of that Body, which she was told to present as a chaste virgin to Christ.
O holy Cliurch of Christ, thou art a model for thy children ! Thou art the valiant EVoman of the Scripture,for it is thy Faith alone that keeps up thy Union with thy Divine Spouse ; and this glorious .Lainp of thine shall not be pu( out, dark as is the nigJit of the world. Likc ourselves, thou hast to love without seeing.~ It is now ten days since our Em- manuel disappeared in a cloud ;6 lie has sent from heaven the Spirit, who was to animate the Bride he
PIiOPER OF THE TIME.
109
Eph. v. 25.—1 Pet. Ps. xliv. 3.
i.18, 19. ~ Ps. xxiii. i.
had formed for himself ; he would have the Spirit of Love, who proceeds from him, be the soul of this fiesh of his flesh.2 Love became thy life, O Church Jesus! and yet, He, towards whorn thou wast irresis- tibly drawn, withdrew himself from thy sight. In place of the Beloved One, they were mortal rnen, commissioned by Him to receive thee at thy Birth, wIio had to traiismit to thee tlie Testairient of his Alliance, and the dowry of the Blood which had ro- deemed thee,~ and all the priceless pledges of Divine Union. These Apostles, these Messengers of thy Spouse, wlio had been eye-witnesses of his works,—yet, atthetime,understood themso imperfectly;—hischosen Friends who had, at flrst, no idea of his heavenly de- signs,—with what humble devotedness, with what enthusiastic fldelity, now that they have been en- lightened and inflamed by the same Holy Ghost, do they not impart to thee all the cxquisite secrets iia- trusted to them by Jesus, and tell thee all about the most beaut~f~il ainong tlie sons of rnen !~ Dear Cliurch, not a single word of tlieirs escaped thee. The sacred pageantry of thy Liturgy, wherewith thou each Year celebratest the Mysteries achieved by the Man-God, is proof enougli of how thou hast made the memories of thy Spouse become the very life thou livest. But, thanks to the omnipotent grace of the Holy Ghost who ever dwells within thee, the life here below is not merely the charm of tlie remembered magniflcences of thy Jesus Mysteries; those magnificences, by thy celebration, of thern, become thy realities, for it is not in name oniy that thou art Spouso of the Jesus who worked all those Mysteries. The 11oiy Ghost, by thy inspired Liturgy, puts into thy possession the wliole dower ofthy Spouses Works. Beautiful land! where the Seed, the Word of the Father, is all thickly sown ! The wlioleofthat laiid bclongeth to the .Lorcl I~
Gen. ii. 7.
Ibid. 23.
110
TIME AFIEli PENTECOST.
1 Ps. lxxxv. 5,
St. Matt. xxii. 36.40.
Land of beauty, thy ceaseless fertility, which all tiiese ages have not inipaired, is evidence enough that thy Beloved, though he has fled away to the cverlasting hills, is still thy Sun of Justicc, and that even from behind thc cloud where he is hid, he darts straight upon thee his life-giving rays.1
It is this permaiient fact of the Union between Christ and his Church,—_it is the fruit-bearing exis- teiice of his l3nde throughout ali ages,—that the holy Liturgy signifies by the long montlis ofthe Time ajter .P~nttcost. No wonder that this last season of the Liturgical Year is as long, and frcquently longer, than ali the others put together; beeause, it lias for its object, first, the real life of the Church which she is living, and will live, ,tili the end of time, and secondly, that reign of love which is mtended to ab- sorb the whole life of every Christ.ian during his sojourn on earth. It is in this Season of the Tiine ajtet Pentecost that Jesus wins thc end towards which all his previous labours and Mysteries had been directcd, that is, the Union of Members with himself their Head,—Union which is to be produced by the persevering action of the 11o1y Ghost. It is by this longest Season that Incarnate Wisdom gets fuiier possession of mankind, and produces in them more abundant fruits for his eternal Father. It is the Season when the seed of the Word, which had been so unstintedly sown by the prcvious Mysteries, is now producing, perhaps a hundred fold. Love is in its fullest Season, and makes its power tell, in the souls of the Faithful, by Prayer, and Suffering, and Action. Yes, that third result, Action, is imperative; for there is nothing so impossible for genuine love, as false quietude. Such absurd pretence ofhabitual reposing in God without working for him, is a dangerous
1 Cor. vi. 15-17. ~ St. Luke, viii, 8. Ecchis; xx1v. 26.
Plik)1ER OF TiIE T1~IES.
111
Eph. iv. 13-15.
system, f()r, under the pretext ofletting nothing be in thc soui but Love, the powers of tho soul get clogged; the actioii of the Ho1y Ghost is paralyzed; and, sooner cr later, it will seem to a soul who adopts such a spirituality, that the exeiciso ofthe most iudispcnsable virtues is a distraction, aiid, tlierefore, an imperfec- tion. Perfect lore, when it enters a soul, rules all 1~er faculties; that is quite true; but far fiom crush iiig, or even indiscretely using them, it makes each one of them more vigorous, and each one tends to make love itse~f more iiatense. Because of all this, therefore, the .Tiine ctf/er Penteco,st is the longest Season of the Liturgical Year; aiid the Church, during that most precious Time, will be filling her cliildren with this manifold doctrine, which is included in the action of the Ho1y Ghost, who is governing us in the Unitite Way, and is gradnally forming in each of us tlie ,,pcrfcct rnan, even unto the measure of Cluist lumisel,f.1
Moreover, this latter portion of the Liturgical Year teaches us, that, from the very fact of the Hoiy Ghosts leading the Church to divine Union, all her labours tend to one result: that one result is REL1GION, or Worship of God. The Liturgy is the worthy and official expression of the Churchs Worship of God; and happy we, who have made that Liturgy our guide in the TVays which lead to God! As it is with the Church herself, so must it be with us her children,
—the virtue of RFLIGION characterises every degree made towards divine Ijnion.
As where charity rules the seven great Virtues, there supernatural movement and life is most vigor- ous,—so, when all the acts of virtue, prompted by Iove, have the glory of God for their aim, (and this 18 1iELIGION,) t/iere is the most unequivocal proof that the 1101y Ghost has worked Union in that soul; the
112
TIME AFTER PINTECOST.
degree is in proportion wi~h the degree wherein the soul is advanced in Religion. lleligion wa~ the life of Jesus upon cartli ;i and it is so noit, for he is the eternal Higli Priest, ever offering Saerifice to the Trinity. So, then, if we have attained to aiiy degree of true Union with Him, wrought in us bv the Ho1y Ghost, we must have a corresponding de~ree of REIJ- GION within ns. The Apostle tells us, tliat 1~e u,lio ~.s joined to tlie Lo~7, i,s one s,pirit with, hinl.2 We repeat it: the seeking to give glory to the Blessed Trinity, is•tlie charact.eristic feature of a souls beiiig united with Christ Jesus.
The Churciis being united to IIim necessitoted her making RELIG1ON (or, what is the same,— )Vor.ship,) be the very essence of her existence. Tho magiiificent celebrations of her Liturgy, joined with the perfect integrity of her Faitli, will ever distinguish her, amidst the couiitless sects that lay claim to truth, as the True Bride of, and the truly United to, Jesus. Hence, the Temple,—where God is most solemnly worshipped by the adorable Sacrifice and its accom- paniment, its preparatioii, its sequel, of the choral service of Divine Office,—the Tem1de consecrated to God is the Churchs home. If shc leave it for a time, it is oniy to bring back with her more and more worshippers. It is there that she convenes her children to join her in ceiebrating the mysteries wrought by our Lord, or in honouring Iiis Biessed Mother, or the Angels, or the Saints. It is there she becomes the joyful Mother of children to her Spouse; there she blesses them with t.he gifts, and enliglitens them with the truth, imparted to her by that same Lord of hers. And as she made his House be their happicst dwelling during thcir life, so, after their death, she would (if men did not interfere with her wishes) have them rest in peace under the shadow of those consecrated walls.
1 Cor. xv. 28. 2 lbid. vi. 17.
PROPER OF THE TI~IE.
113
I
Among the souls whom God has intrusted to the Cburchs care, there are some who are so taken with admiration at her ceaseless voice of praise, breathing forth all over the world her adoring lovo of her Spouses works and mysteries and perfections,1—that they aspire to do iri like manner, and keel) uninter- rupted company with their Mother, who is cver in search of the Beloved ; they will do as she does, that is, have but one thought, and one occupation, and ono ambition,—divine Union and a life of per- fection. The Mother gives them a hearty welcome; sbe admits them into her closest intimacy; she gladly and unreservediy imparts to them all hcr own secrets of how best to please, and how soonest find, their same beautiful Lord. And because they are thus filled with her spirit, the spirit of RELIGION, she dis- tinguishes them from all the rest of her Sons and Daughters by the grand title of RELIGIOUS. The world cannot understand them.3 The life they lead is such a puzzle to them that live a life of very different oceupations,4 that it creates a habit of irri- tation against these men and women who thus live RI~LIGIoN. The irritation makes them watchful to discover imperfections; or it makes them ingenious iu putting forward theories about the .Reiigious State whicli would minimise its excellence; or it will make them pull down Monasteries, and disband the Monks and Nuns who live there wasting (!) their iives in the worship of God, in IIELIGION towards him! A11 this is quite naturai. But these RELIGIOTJS are onc of the most unmistakeable manifestations of the Churchs Union with Christ; and, for that very reason, no human power can deprive her of that manifestation. She, by being Bride of Christ, is one Body with him ;5 that Body exists only6 for the purpose of being
Cantic. iii.1; v. 8-16. l Cor. u. 14. ~ Gen. ii. 24.
2 Ibid. 17. Cantic. jii. 2-4. 6 Heb. x. 5-14.
VOL. xI.
114
TIME AFTE}~ PENTEcOST.
1 Cor. x. 31.
offered iii Sacrifiee of complete homage to the iEternal Father; and the Church fulfils all this fully and un- reservediy in those whose whole being, by the Vows they make, and the sublime consecration given t.o them by the Church, is absorbed into the ~r,IGIoN and perfect oblation of Christ Jesus the Eternal High Priest.
Though all Christians do not, and can not, lead the life of RELIGION in the perfect and untranlelled way that we have been just describin~, yet ure they all called upon, if they would enter heaven, to attain to such a degree of Uriion with Christ, as wiil make them his true and real Members. Now, that Union, even supposing it to be the lowest degree, unites then~ to the Man-God, who is Victim and Priest, and whose Oblation is the highest worship that can be gien to the Most High God. It is 1iELIGION. The Apostle teaches us, that this Union with the Incarnate Word is absolutely requisite for salvation.1 That Union began when wo were baptised, when, as the same Apostle says, we not only pit o~ C/iri.st, but we were ingrafted into Him as the great Immolated, which the sacred text expresses by the words i.~i the likeness ofltis Deatli.3 The unction of tbe Chrism, given to us the moment after Baptism, attests the existence, in all the Baptised, of the Kingly priest- hood,4 which gives them a share in the Oblation (the RELIGION) of the High Priest, our Lord Jesus Cltiist.
These truths form the basis of the moral• teaching contained in the Epistles of Saints Peter and Paul. For them, as the purest and sublimest teachiug,— the science of Christian life is summed up, as might be expected, in our seeking Gods glory ;5 in RELIGION and in the SACR1FICE of the Head, passed on to his Meznbers; so that, his worship becomes shared in by
Rorn. viii. 29, 30. ~ Ibid. 5.
.2 Ibid. vi. 3. 1 St. Pet. ii. 2-9.
PROPER OF THE TIME.
115
them. Let us again think ou the meaning of that anointing in Baptism, which gives to every Christian the impress of the Great High Priest Jesus: it implies the share Cliristians have in the SACIIIFICE, tbe 11ELGION of Christ; it enabies thcm to transform into a sliaring in Christs eternal ]ITolocaust aIl their victories over sin, and all tlzeii Sacrifices, and all their virtuous acts, here ou earth. So that the newly-baptised Christian who is just born to the supernatural life, could say, as Christ did 011 his first coming into this world,—tliat he had received bis Body oniy for the one purpose of immoiating it to Gods glory.1 The Christian is told by St. iPaul, that he, too, must present liis 1ociy (~ iiving saciij~ce, as a service, a worship, due unto God.2 Rendered, as he thus is, a sharer in the Priesthood of the ~ian God, he must remember what is tbe purpose of that participated. honour: it is, as St. Peter shows him, that he make his good works be so many ~iiitual sacri ~ces offered unto God by Jesus Gliris[, and, therefore, acceptable.3
Thoso same two Apostles teach us that we Ohris- tians are, also, liring stones ~ of the Temple built by the Holy Ghost on the eorner-stone. Nay, that we ourseives are Temples 6 and, as such, we should resemble our Lord, in this, as in all other things; nOw He, in his sacred Humanity, was the sanctuary of the adorable Trinity.8 A Tenz,ple should be what its name implies ; therefore, adoration, prayer, praise, and the great Sacrifiee above all, should be uppermost in our thoughts, and should tell upon our whole conduct. If BELIGION be not the ery atmos- phere of ourseles, who are Gods Temples, the divine Majesty who dwells in them would bejustly displeased.
Heb. x. 5. ~ Eph. ji. 20 21. ~ St. Benedict, H.
Rorn. xii. 1. 6 Ibid. 22, Rule ch. 52.
~ 1 St. Pet. ii. 5. ~ Heb. ~ 17. 10 J Cor. iii. 16.
~ Ibil. 4, 5. ~ St. John, ii. 21.
11(i
TIME AFTE~I IENTECOST.
Buf, what is it makes us sanctuaries ofthe Divinity? It is the coming into us of the Hoiy Ghost. What puts upon us the sublime obligation of glorifying and carrying God in our bodies,1 is the reign of the Paraclete within us. If cny one love ine, said our Lord, niy Fcitiiei icili love iiiin, (that is to say, will give him t.ha.t Holy Spirit who is Love) ; ancl ue uiil come iinto Iiiin ctnd zci/l mczlce oui abocle u,itli lzim.3 The promise was formal; it was fuifilie(i on tbc day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit, proceeding fiom the Throne ~ filled with the divine stream,5 which fiows, together witli hinl, from tho sacred heart of Jesus, filled, I say, tiie Baptistery wliere the Church, in the person of the tliiee thousand neophytes, was awaiting her o~vn birth. The tlirce divinePersons came down upon that first baptismal font; and, whilst the water was yet moist on these first converts of the Spirit of Christ, t.here descendcd upon them what the sacred Liturgy enthusiastically terzns, an inundating grace of the Deity. ° Blind and poor as they were before, they then were enriched with light and love. Not only was the mystery of tho Trinity made knowu to the world; but, by tho all-efficacious formula of hoiy Baptism, the Trinity took up its abode in those rcgenerated creatures, making them all and each, as St. Augustine Says, its true Temple.1°
Nothing, therefore, could be more natural, than for the Feast of the 11oiy Trinity to be placed imme- diately after that of the glorious Pentecost. No sooncr would the Church, wakening iiito life, feel within hcr the divine indwelling, than she would prostrafe herself in grateful adoration before that thrice-holy God, who thus deigned to fill her with
1 Cor. vi. 20. ~ Ps. lxiv. 10. ~ Resp. of Sth Fcr.
l St. Jolin, iv. 12, 13. 6 St. Joiin, xix. ~4: aft. Pent.
~ Jo1iIi, xiv. 23. iii. 5; vii. 37.39• 10 St. Aug. Epist. 1S7.
~ i:esp. of 2nd Fer. ~ Act~, ii. 41. e~i~ 57.
aft. Pent. ~ St. Natth. iii. 16, IT.
IRO1~ER OF THE TIItIE.
117
St. Jolin, xvii. 17, 19. 1.~. xv. 10; St. Mark, i. 24.
~Ainong Others, ~t. Cyril, iu Johan, lib. x. c. 10.
bis infinite Majesty. Later on, she would be led to enrich her Year with a Festival, whose doctrinal light and teaching would so admirably harmonise with the rest of ber Liturgy.
If that Festival of Triiiity rightly followed Pente- cost, it, with equal appropriateness, preceded the one of Corpus Christi,._—for the manifestation of the Tlireo diinc Persons, and the creatures acknowledgment of the homage it owes to the adorable Unity, ieally preceded the Uiiion, in the Sacrament of I~ove, be- tween Christ and his Church. The 1~east of the Eucharist would, from the very fact of its following that of Trinity, teli the Bride that t.Ile glorifieation of God, One in Tliree Persons, was to be the fruit ju~t1y exI)ected from the divine Nuptials. The childrea of the Church, invited so high up by divine Wi~dom, though froni iio merits of their own, would now clearly understand, why it was tliat our Lord did not wish to give himself to his servants, except in the very celebra- tion of that Sacrifice, which gives iiifinite glory to the Blessed Trinity. The Union which was to exist be- tween the Chiirch and her divine Spouse was to be on this condition,—that the holiness of the Son of Man was to be communicated to that Church, whoni he chose for his Bride. Let us give respectful atten- tion to certain rnost mysterious words recorded by the Evangelist as liaving been addressed by Jesus to his ~ather. Fatlzer, said he, sanctzfy in. tlie Trntlz, them zvlzoin tlzou gcaest iize; sancti/q tltein in the Truth, icliich zs thq Wod; fur /1 isfor //zeiiz tlzat Iclo Scinc/zJq ni//— se?f, t/zctt they, also, inay be suizctz.tied in t/ze T~t/i. What means this? that Jesus, who is sanetity itself,2 and is the source of scmc:tiiy to all oreatures, should speak of sanctifviiig Himself? Tlie Fathers of the Church3 expiain it as being the consecration of the Sacrifice, by which Jesus, who is the great High Priest, gives to God, in tho name of the whole world, the infinite homago which is due to infinite Majesty. In human language, as also in the inspired Scriptures,1 Jzatice and Sanctity are one and the same. If, f.hen, infinite ~ is one witli infinite Justice, is not the essentially sanctified and sanctifyingAct, that Sacrifice of the Son of Man, which so loudly proelaims, and so amply, yea so infinitely, satisfies THi RIGHT OF Gon, the eternal .Riglzt, whence all other Rights dcrive their existence, the RIGHT which is the origin of all justice?
118
Acts, iii. 14.
Rom. iii. 26.
Hel). ~t. 10.
4 Ib~d. x. 14.

Sacrifice, then, thus scznctzfqing the Eead3 and the Members,4 is also the consuinmation of Union between Christ and his Chureh. With this before us, we shall have no difficulty in understanding, how it i~ that the Holy Sacrifice, in its imposing and simple unity, should be the very centre and soul of a Season, which signifies, and celebrates, and gives ever new perfection to, that divine union. ~e must not expcct to find, in the series of the Sundays after Pentecost, that con- nexion of dramatie dcsign, that interesting gradation, working up to some fixed Day of a Mystery, as was the case in the preceding periods of the Liturgical Year. In those other Seasons, the Church was in search of her divine Spouse; she was appioaching closer to hirn by the gradual celebration of his sevcral mysteries, each celebration did its glorious share in the work of incorporating her with him; tilI at lengt.h, being all transformed into him, there was nothing to prevent t.he longed-for Union. True, it was precisely then, that the Man-God bid himself from her view, and seemed to be lcaving her for further probation; but, that was the very time when he sent the Ho1y Ghost upon the earth; and he, the Spirit, revealed to the Church the sense of the word spoken by the Divine Spouse in the Canticle: Tili tlze day l~reak, untlzc sliadows retire, 1 icill go to tlze .11!ount of myrrh, ~11zd (0 tlie Hiil offianI~incense.1

1 19
Cantic. iv. 6. Eph. i. 23.
Cantic. ii. 16, 17.
Cantic. iii. 4.
Right well has the Church taken all in. She has fixed her abode on the .1Itount of Sacrifice; and there has she mingled the inyirlz of her sufferings, and the frankincense of her worship, with tiie homage paid to the Trinity by the great High Priest, her Jesus. It is there that the julness of Glzrist is «filled2 by her par- taking of it; thero she receives, day by day, an in- crease offruitfulness. Having there found Him whom her soul loved so ardontly, she lzolds him fast,3 and will never leave the happy place he had flxed for the meeting. The day will. come, when she is to flee with Him~ to tlze mountaizzs, where the flowers of heaven blend their fragrance with that of the eternal llolo- caust; but, even now, love predominates and triurnphs; for, though the bright land of heaven seems so far away, yet from the Hills of her exile, where the Man- God continues his Sacrifice, tho Chureh may, iu alI truth, say to her divine Spouse: .JI// Beloved is rnine, ancl 1 arn lzis, till tlze Day break, ancl tlze slzadows re- tire.5
We thought it a rieeessity to offer these considera- tions to our Rcader, in order to give him a clearer idea of the importance of this Liturgical Season, and enable him to thoroughly understand its spirit. We may now resume our explanation of the Liturgy for this time after Pentecost; our last Volume ended with the Third Sunday. The work of sanctification carried on by the Holy Ghost in the souls of men, and his ceaseless operations in the Church at large, would have provided us with abundant matter of instruction for each day of each of these twenty-four weeks.

The Liturgy itself would have suggested admirable daily reflections, for we could have taken them from the Epistles and Gospels which, for a long time, were assigned to nearly every feria of this portion of the Year. But this would have obliged us to make our Volume as large again as it is. We shall, therefore, confine ourselves to an explanation of the Mass for each Sunday. The present usage of the Latin Church sets us the example; for, dating from the 16th Century, she prescribes, as a general rule, that should a feria, on which a saints feast is kept, occur during the week, the Sundays Mass is to be simply repeated. In order to supply the Faithful with suitable reflections for each of the weeks after Pentecost, we have taken the suggestion thus offered by the practice and rubrics of the Church for this holy Season, and have made our commentary on the several portions of the Sundays Liturgy somewhat longer than will be found in the previous Volumes of the Work.


Contents - The Time after Pentecost

Contents - The Liturgical Year

Liturgia Latina Index