Wednesday of the Second Week After Easter ~ Dom Prosper Gueranger

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Wednesday of the Second Week After Easter

Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)

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℣. In resurrectione tua Christe, alleluia. 

℣. In thy resurrection, O Christ, alleluia.

℟. Cœli et terra lætentur, alleluia.

℟. let heaven and earth rejoice, alleluia.
We are not to suppose that because the sacred Humanity of our Risen Jesus is resplendent with glory and majesty, it is therefore less accessible to mortals. His kindness and condescension are the same as before; nay, he seems to have become more affectionate than ever, and more desirous to be with the children of men. Surely we have not forgotten what happened during the joyous Octave of the Pasch! His affectionate greeting the holy Women, when on their way to the Sepulcher; his appearing to Magdalene under the form of a Gardener; his conversation with the two Disciples of Emmaus, and the means he took to make them recognize him; his showing himself, on the Sunday evening, to the Ten, greeting them with his Peace be to you, allowing them to touch him, and even condescending to eat with them; his amiably bidding Thomas, on the eighth day, to convince himself of the reality of the Resurrection by feeling the Wounds; his meeting the Disciples at the Lake of Genesareth, blessing their fishing, and providing them with a repast on the bank;—all this is proof of the tender love and intimacy wherewith our Savior treated his creatures during the forty days after his Resurrection.

As to his visits to his Blessed Mother, we shall have another occasion for speaking of them; today, we will consider him in the midst of his Disciples. So frequently is he with them that St. Luke calls it an appearing to them for forty days. The Apostolic College is reduced to eleven; for the place of the traitor Judas is not to be filled up till after our Lord’s Ascension, immediately before the descent of the Holy Ghost. How beautiful in their simplicity are these future messengers of the Good Tidings to mankind! A short while ago, they were weak and hesitating in their faith; they forgot all they had seen and heard; they fled from their Master in the hour of trial. As he had foretold it to them, they were scandalized at his humiliations and death. The news of his Resurrections made little impression upon them; they even disbelieved it. And yet, they found him so affectionate, so gentle in his reproaches, that they soon resumed the confidence and intimacy they had had with him during his mortal life. Peter, who had been the most unfaithful, as well as the most presumptuous, of all, has now regained his position of the most honored of the apostles and, in a few days hence, is to receive a special proof of Jesus’ having forgotten his past disloyalty. He and his fellow Apostles can think of nothing now but of Jesus. When he is with them, they feast on the beauty and glory of his appearance. His words are dearer to them than ever, for they understand them better, now that they have been enlightened by the mysteries of the Passion and Resurrection. They eagerly listen to all that he says, and he says more than formerly, because he is so soon to leave them. They know that the day will soon come when they will no longer be able to hear his voice; they, therefore, treasure up his words as though they were his last will, and how could they better fit themselves for the mission he has entrusted to them? It is true, they do not as yet fully enter into all the Mysteries they are to preach to the world—they could not even remember so many sublime things—but Jesus tells them that he will soon send upon them the Holy Ghost, who will not only give them courage, but will also bless them with spiritual understanding, and will enable them to remember all that he, Jesus, has taught them.

Nor must we forget the holy Women, those faithful companions of Jesus, who followed him up to Calvary, and were the first to be rewarded with the joys of the Resurrection. Their Divine Master could not overlook them now: he praises their devotedness, he encourages them, he takes every opportunity of repaying them. Heretofore, as the Gospel tells us, they provided him with food; now that he needs no earthly nourishment, he feasts them with his dear presence: they see him, they hear his words; the very thought that he is soon to be taken from them, makes these happy days doubly precious to them. They are the venerable mothers of the Christian people; they are our illustrious ancestors in the Faith; and on the day of the Descent of the Holy Ghost, we shall find them with the Apostles in the Cenacle, receiving the Tongues of Fire. Woman is to be represented on that glorious occasion, when the Church is to be made manifest before the world; the Women of Calvary and the Sepulcher are chosen for this office, and right well do they deserve to share in the bright joys of Pentecost.

Let us recite the following sequence in honor of our dear Jesus, who passes these forty days with his Apostles and the holy women. It was composed by Adam of Saint Victor.

SequenceEcce dies celebris!
Lux succedit tenebris,
Morti resurrectio;
Lætis cedant tristia,
Cum sit major gloria
Quam prima confusio;
Umbram fugat veritas,
Vetustatem novitas,
Luctum consolatio. 

Lo, the great Day is come! Light follows darkness, and resurrection death. Sorrow gives place to joy, for our glory is greater than was our former shame. Truth dispels the shadow; the new, what was old; and consolation, mourning.

Pascha novum colite;
Quod præit in capite,
Membra sperent singula.
Pascha novum Christus est,
Qui pro nobis passus est,
Agnus, sine macula. 

Celebrate the new Pasch! Let the members hope to have what now their Head enjoys. Our new Pasch is Christ—the spotless Lamb that was slain for us.

Hosti qui nos circuit
Prædam Christus eruit.
Quod Samson præcinuit,
Dum leonem lacerat.
David, fortis viribus,
A leonis unguibus
Et ab ursi faucibus
Gregem patris liberat. 

Christ has taken the prey from the enemy that surrounded us. It is the victory prefigured by Samson, when he tore the lion to pieces; and by the powerful David, when he rescued his father’s flock from the lion’s grasp and the bear’s jaw.

Quod in morte plures stravit
Samson, Christum figuravit,
Cujus mors victoria.
Samson dictus Sol eorum:
Christus lux est electorum
Quod illustrat gratia. 

When Samson killed his enemies by his own death, he was a type of Christ, whose Death was a victory. Samson signifies his Sun; so is Christ the Light of his elect, for he makes his grace shine upon them.

Jam de crucis sacro vecte,
Botrus fluit in dilectæ
Penetral Ecclesiæ.
Jam, calcato torculari,
Musto gaudent debriari
Gentium primitiæ. 

Under the holy weight of the Cross, the vine-stream flows into the store-house of the beloved Church. The wine-press is trodden, and the first-fruits of the Gentiles drink their fill and are glad.

Saccus scissus et pertusus,
In regales transit usus:
Saccus fit soccus gratiæ,
Caro victrix miseriæ. 

The garment that was rent and torn is made a robe for kings; that garment is the Flesh that triumphed over suffering, and became an ornament of grace.

Quia regem peremerunt,
Dei regnum perdiderunt;
Sed non deletur penitus
Cain, in signum positus. 

The Jews forfeited God’s kingdom, because they put the King to death; they are not utterly destroyed, for, like Cain, they are set as a sign.

Reprobatus et abjectus,
Lapis iste nunc electus,
In trophæum stat erectus
Et in caput anguli.
Culpam delens, non naturam,
Novam creat creaturam,
Tenens in se ligaturam
Utriusque populi. 

The Stone that they rejected and despised, is now the chosen one, set up as a trophy, and made the chief cornerstone. Taking away sin, but not our nature, he creates us into new creatures; he unites in himself the two people (Jew and Gentile).

Membrisque concordia!

Be glory to our head! and to the members, peace! Amen.

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