Some of the Sundays after the Epiphany have to be omitted when Easter comes early in the year. But when that great solemnity comes late, the Sundays before Septuagesima may be as many as six.
During this brief period, the Church no longer dwells on the mysteries of our Lord’s infancy. She listens to His teachings and admires His miracles, but she selects no special circumstances of His life. The color of the vestments she uses on these Sundays is green; we have elsewhere explained its symbolism. Frequently a saint’s feast of a double rite falls on these same days; the Sunday’s Office is then omitted, and a mere commemoration is made of it.
|Adorate Deum omnes Angeli ejus: audivit et laetata est Sion: et exsultaverunt filiae Judae.|
Ps. Dominus regnavit: exsultet terra, laetentur insulae multae. V. Gloria Patri. Adorate.
|Adore God, all ye his Angels: Sion heard and was glad, and the daughters of Juda rejoiced.|
Ps. The Lord hath reigned; let the earth rejoice, let many islands be glad. V. Glory. Adore.
|Familiam tuam, quaesumus Domine, continua pietate custodi: ut quae in sola spe gratiae coelestis innititur, tua semper protectione muniatur. Per Dominum.||Preserve, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy family by thy constant mercy, that we who confide solely in the support of thy heavenly grace, may be always defended by thy protection. Through, &c.|
|A cunctis nos, quaesumus Domine, mentis et corporis defende periculis: et intercedente beata et gloriosa semper Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beatis Apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo atque beato N. et omnibus Sanctis, salutem nobis tribue benignus et pacem; ut destructis adversitatibus et erroribus universis, Ecclesia tua secura tibi serviat libertate.||Preserve us, O Lord, we beseech thee, from all dangers of soul and body: and by the intercession of the glorious and blessed Mary the ever Virgin-Mother of God, of thy blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul, of blessed N., (here is mentioned the Titular Saint of the Church,) and of all the Saints, grant us in thy mercy, health and peace; that all adversities and errors being removed, thy Church may serve thee with undisturbed liberty.|
A third Collect is added, at the choice of the Priest.
|Lectio Epistolae beati Pauli Apostoli ad Colossenses. Cap. III.|
Fratres, induite vos, sicut electi Dei, sancti, et dilecti, viscera misericordiae, benignitatem, humilitatem, modestiam, patientiam supportantes invicem, et donantes vobismetipsis, si quis adversus aliquem habet querelam: sicut et Dominus donavit vobis, ita et vos. Super omnia autem haec, charitatem habete, quod est vinculum perfectionis: et pax Christi exsultet in cordibus vestris, in qua et vocati estis in uno corpore; et grati estote. Verbum Christi habitet in vobis abundanter, in omni sapientia, docentes, et commonentes vosmetipsos, psalmis, hymnis, et canticis spiritualibus, in gratia cantantes in cordibus vestris Deo. Omne quodcumque facitis, in verbo aut in opere, omnia in nomine Domini nostri Jesu Christi, gratias agentes Deo et Patri per Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum.
|Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Colossians.Ch. III.|
Brethren, put ye on therefore as the elect of God, holy, and beloved, the bowels of mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if any have a complaint against another, even as the Lord hath forgiven you, so you also. But above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection; and let the peace of Christ rejoice in your hearts, wherein also you are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing in grace in your hearts to God. All whatsoever you do in word, or in work, all things do ye in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ giving thanks to God and the Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Christian, – trained as he has been in the school of the Man-God, who deigned to dwell upon this earth, – should ever show mercy towards his fellow-men. This world, which has been purified by the presence of the Incarnate Word, would become an abode of Peace, if we were but to live in such manner as to merit the titles, given us by the Apostle, of elect of God, holy, and beloved. The Peace here spoken of should, first of all, fill the heart of every Christian, and give it an uninterrupted joy, which would be ever pouring itself forth in singing the praises of God. But it is mainly on the Sundays, that the Faithful, by taking part with the Church in her psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles, fulfil this duty so dear to their hearts. Let us, moreover, in our every day life, practise the advice given us by the Apostle, – of doing all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, in order that we may, in all things, find favour with our Heavenly Father.
|Timebunt gentes Nomen tuum, Domine, et omnes regas terrae gloriam tuam.|
V. Quondam aedificavit Dominus Sion, et videbitur in majestate sua.Alleluia, alleluia.
V. Dominus regnavit: exsultet terra, laetentur insulae multae.
|The Gentiles shall fear thy Name, O Lord, and all the kings of the earth thy glory.|
V. For the Lord hath built up Sion, and he shall be seen in his glory.Alleluia, alleluia.
V. The Lord hath reigned, let the earth rejoice; let many islands be glad.
|Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthaeum.Cap. XIII.In illo tempore: Dixit Jesus turbis parabolam hanc. Simile factum est regnum coelorum homini, qui seminavit bonum semen in agro suo. Cum autem dormirent homines, venit inimicus ejus, et superseminavit zizania in medio tritici, et abiit. Cum autem crevisset herba, et fructum fecisset, tunc apparuerunt et zizania. Accedentes autem servi patrisfamilias, dixerunt ei: Domine, nonne bonum semen seminasti in agro tuo? Unde ergo habet zizania: Et ait illis: Inimicus homo hoc fecit. Servi autem dixerunt ei: Vis, imus et colligimus ea? Et ait: Non: ne forte colligentes zizania, eradicetis simul et triticum. Sinite utraque crescere usque ad messem, et in tempore messis dicam messoribus: Colligite primum zizania, et alligate ea in fasiculos ad comburendum, triticum autem congregate in horreum meum.||Sequel of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.Ch. XIII.At that time: Jesus spoke this parable to the multitude, saying: The kingdom of heaven is likened to a man that sowed good seed in his field. But while men were asleep, his enemy came and over-sowed cockle among the wheat and went his way. And when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared also the cockle. Then the servants of the good man of the house, coming said to him: Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? whence then hath it cockle? And he said to them: An enemy hath done this. And the servants said to him: Wilt thou that we go and gather it up? And he said: No, lest perhaps gathering up the cockle, you root up the wheat also together with it. Let both grow until the harvest, and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather up first the cockle, and bind it in bunches to burn, but the wheat gather ye into my barn.|
The Kingdom of Heaven, here spoken of by our Lord, is the Church Militant,- the society of them that believe in him. And yet, the field he has tilled with so much care is oversowed with cockle; heresies have crept in, scandals have abounded; are we, on that account, to have misgivings about the foresight of the Master, who knows all things, and without whose permission nothing happens? Far from us be such a thought! He himself tells us that these things must needs be. Man has been gifted with free-will; it is for him to choose between good and evil; but, God will turn all to his own greater glory. Heresies, then, like weeds in a field, may spring up in the Church; but the day must come when they will be uprooted; some of them will wither on the parent-stems, but the whole cockle shall be gathered into bundles to burn. Where are now the heresies that sprang up in the first ages of the Church? And in another hundred years, what will have become of the heresy, which, under the pretentious name of The Reformation, has caused incalculable evil? It is the same with the scandals which rise up within the pale of the Church; – they are a hard trial; but trials must come. The Divine Husbandman wills not that this cockle be torn up, lest the wheat should suffer injury. First of all, the mixture of good and bad is an advantage; it teaches the good not to put their hopes in man, but in God. Then too, the mercy of our Lord is so great, that at times the very cockle is converted, by Divine grace, into wheat. We must, therefore, have patience. But, whereas it is when the men are asleep that the enemy oversows the field with cockle, it behoves us to pray for Pastors, and ask their Divine Master to bless them with that Vigilance, which is the primary condition of the flock being safe, and is so essential a quality in every Bishop, that his very name is, – one who watches.
|Dextera Domini fecit virtutem, dextera Domine exaltavit me: non moriar, sed vivam, et narrabo opera Domini.||The right hand of the Lord hath wrought strength, the right hand of the Lord hath exalted mine: I shall not die, but live, and shall declare the works of the Lord.|
|Hostias tibi, Domine, placationis offerimus, ut et delicta nostra miseratus absolvas, et nutantia corda tu dirigas. Per Dominum.||We offer thee, O Lord, this sacrifice of propitiation, that thou wouldst mercifully forgive us our sins, and guide our faltering hearts. Through, &c.|
|Exaudi nos, Deus Salutaris noster, ut per hujus Sacramenti virtutem, a cunctis nos mentis et corporis hostibus tuearis, gratiam tribuens in praesenti, et gloriam in futuro.||Graciously grant us, O God our Saviour, that by virtue of this Sacrament, thou mayest defend us from all enemies, both of soul and body; giving us grace in this life, and glory in the next.|
A third Secret, at the choice of the Priest, is added.
|Mirabantur omnes de his, quae procedebant de ore Dei.||All wondered at the words that came from the mouth of God.|
|Quaesumus, omnipotens Deus, ut illius salutaris capiamus effectum, cujus per haec mysteria pignus accepimus. Per Dominum.||We beseech thee, O Almighty God, that we may some day receive the effects of that salvation, of which we have received the pledge in these mysteries. Through, &c.|
|Mundet et muniat nos, quaesumus, Domine, divini Sacramenti munus oblatum: et, intercedente beata Virgine Dei genitrice Maria, cum beatis Apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo, atque beato N. et omnibus Sanctis, a cunctis nos reddat et perversitatibus expiatos, et adversitatibus expeditos.||May the oblation of this divine Sacrament, we beseech thee, O Lord, both cleanse and defend us; and, by the intercession of Blessed Mary, the Virgin-Mother of God, together with that of thy blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul, as likewise of blessed N., and of all the Saints, free us from all sin, and deliver us from all adversity.|
The third Postcommunion is at the choice of the Priest.
The Psalms, and Antiphons, as above: Vespers for Sundays and feasts in Septuagesima.
(II. Cor. i.)
|Benedictus Deus et Pater Domini nostri Jesu Christi, Pater misericordiarum et Deus totius consolationis, qui consolatur nos in omni tribulatione nostra.||Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all consolation, who comforteth us in all our tribulations.|
The Hymn and Versicle, as above: Vespers for Sundays and feasts in Septuagesima.
ANTIPHON OF THE MAGNIFICAT
|Colligite primum zizania, et alligate ea in fasciculos ad comburendum: triticum autem congregate in horreum meum, dicit Dominus.||Gather up first the cockle, and bind it in bundles to burn: but gather the wheat into my barn, saith the Lord.|
Familiam tuam, quaesumus Domine, continua pietate custodi: ut quae in sola spe gratiae coelestis innititur, tua semper protectione muniatur. Per Dominum.
|Let us pray.|
Preserve, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy family by thy constant mercy: that we, who confide solely in the support of thy heavenly grace, may be always defended by thy protection. Through, &c.
This text is taken from The Liturgical Year, authored by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)