THE LITURGICAL YEAR

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

THE TIME AFTER PENTECOST


CHAPTER THE THIRD.
PRACTICE FOR THE TIME AFTER PENTECOST.

 

The object whiuh iiiy Chureh has in view by her Liturgical Year i~ the lcading the christian sul to uni ~n with Christ, nud this Lv the 1-Iolv Ghost. This olject is the one which God himself has in giving us his own Son, to be our ~Icdiator, our Teacher, and Redecraer, and in sencling us the iioiy Ghost to abide a~uong us. It is to this end that is dirccted all that aggrcgate of Rites and Prayers which we have hitherto cxplained: they are not a mere commemoration of the mystcries aCllieVC(I for our salvation by the diviue goodness, but thcy bring with tbem the graces cor- responding to cacli of those mysteries, that thus we rnay come, as tlie Apostle expresses it, to tlie age oj tl1e fulness of C1i rL.st.
As we have elsewhere explained, our sharing in the mysteries of Christ, which are celebrated in the Litur- gical Year, produces in the Christian what is called in Mystic Theology, the Ilhuiiinatit~e L~fe, in which the soul gains continually more and more of the light of the Incarnate Word, who, by his examples and teachings, renovates each one of her faculties, and imparts to lier the habit of seeing aIl things from Gods point of view. This is a preparation which disposes her f()r uniOn with God, not nierely in an ilnperfect manner, and one tliat is more or less incon- stant, l iit in an intimate and permanent way, which iscallcd the Uiiifiec .Ltfe. The production of this Life is the special work of the 11oiy Ghost, who bas heen sent into this world that he may maintaiu each one of our souls in the possessiou of Christ, and may bring to pcrfecticin the love whereby the creuture is unitecl with its God.

Eph. iv. 13.
In this state, in this Unitiee I1~fe, the soul is made to rclish, and assimilatc into herself, all that substan- tial and nourishing food which is prescntcd to her so abnndantly during the Tinie af€er .Pentecost. The mysterics of the Trinity and of the Blessed Sacra- ment, the mercy and power of the Heart of Jesus, the glories of Mary and her infiuence upon the Church and souls—all these are manifested to the soul with more clearness than ever, and produce witliin her effects not jre~ious1y experienced. In the Feasts of the Saints, which are 80 varied and so grand during this portion of the year, she feels more and more intimately the bond which unites her to them in Christ, through the 11o1y Spirit. The eternal hap- piness of Heaven, which is to follow the trials of this inortal life, is revealed to her by the Fcast of all Saints; she gains clearer notions of that mysterious bliss, which consists in light and love. Having be- corne more closely united to Ho1y Church, which is the Bride of her dear L()rd, shc follows her in alI the stages of her earthly existence, she takes a share in her sufferings, she exults in her triurriphs; she sees, and yet is not daunted at seeing, this world tending to its decline, for she knows that the Lord is nigh at hand. As to what regards herself, she is not dismayed at feeling that her exterior lifc is slowly giving way, and that the wall which stands between her and the changeless sight and possession of the sovereign Good is gradually falling to decay; for, it is not in this world that she lives, and her heart has long been where her treasure is.
st. Matth. vi. 21.
St. John, iii. 16.
Thus enlightened, thus attracted, thus established by the incorporation into herself of the mysteries, wherewith the sacred Liturgy has nourished her, as also by the gifts poured into her by tlie Hoiy Ghost, the soul ~yie1ds herself up, and without any effort, to tbe impulse of the divine Mover. Virtue has become all the more easy to her, as she aspires, it would almost seem, naturally, to what is most perfect; sacrifices, which used, formerly, to terrify, now delight her; she makes use of this world, as though she used it not,1 for all true realities, as far as she is concerned, exist beyond this world; in a word, she longs all the more ardently after the eternal possession of the object she loves, as she has been realising even in this life, what the Apostle describes, where he speaks of a creatures being one spirit with the .Lord by being united to him in heart.

Such is the result ordinarily produced in the soul by the sweet and healthy influence of the sacred Liturgy. But if it seem to us, that, although we bave followed it in its several seasons, we have not, as yet, reached the state of detachment and expecta- tion just dcscribed, and that the life of Christ has not, so far, absorbed our own individual Iife into itself,— let us be on our guard against discouragement on that account. The Cycle of the Liturgy, with its rays of light and grace for the soul, is not a pherio- menon that occurs oniy once in the heavens of holy Church; it returns each Year. Such is the merciful design of that God, wlio Izatli so loved tlle v,orld, as to give it lii.s Only Begotten Son ; of that God, who came not tojudge tlie workl, but tliat tlze uorld may be 8avecl by lzim.4 Such, we say, is the Design of God; and holy Church is but carrying out that design by putting within our reach the most powerful of all means for leading man to bis God, and uniting him to his sovereign Good; she thus testifies the earnest- ness of hcr rnaternal solicitude. The Christian who has not been led to the ternl we have been describing iiy the first half of the Cycle, ~i11 still meet, in this second, with important ~id~ for tlie expansion of his faith and the growth of his 1o~e. T11e Eoly Ghost, who rcigns, in a special manner, over this portion of the ~ear, will not fail to influence his miud and heart; and, when a fresh Cycle commences, the work thus begun by grace has a ne~ chance for recei~ing that eompleteness, which had been retarded by the weakness of human nature.
1 Cor. vii. 31. 2I~,jd vi. 17.
St. John, iii. 17.


Contents - The Time after Pentecost

Contents - The Liturgical Year

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