« السابقةمتابعة »
Glory be to thee, O Jesus, Jesu tibi sit gloria,
that wast born of the Virgin! Qui natus es de Virgine,
and to the Father, and to the Cum Patre et almo Spiritu,
Holy Spirit, for everlasting In sempiterna saecula. ages.
This continually repeated mention of virginal fecundity, during the feast in honour of the Eucharist, is an affectionate homage paid to the Virgin-Mother. The Church is mindful that the "first blasphemy against "the dogma of the Sacrament of the Altar, consisted "in the denying,—that the eucharistic Body of Christ "was the one born of Mary."1 Seeing, too, that the later heretics, who denied the Real Presence, have constantly insulted the Mother of that Jesus who resides in the Holy Sacrament, the Church united them together in one and the same formula of confession and praise, when standing before the sacred Host. Those early and brave witnesses of the Faith, Saints Ignatius and Irenaeus, did the like; for, as St. Augustine says: "Christ took flesh from Mary's "flesh; and it is that very flesh that he gave us to "eat, for our salvation; and we adore it as the foot"stool ofhis feet." (Ps. xcviii. 5).J
At this evening hour, when holy Church is proclaiming the adorable Sacrament, let us be imbued with these same sentiments, and offer our love to the sacred Host, which, in a few hours, is to be receiving our joyous adorations. "We may, for this purpose, make use of the following formula, which has been such a favourite, in so many of our Churches, ever since the 14th Century. It used, formerly, to be sung, in Germany and France, during the Elevation, as an appropriate termination to the trisagion; for, as we find in the best manuscripts, this piece concluded with the same words as the Sanctus,—in excelsis. This kind of liturgical composition went under the name of Tropes, and were much loved by the Faithful of the Middle-Ages; it is from them that were afterwards suggested our Prose or Sequence.
1 Mob. Pie, Bishop of Poitiers. Homily given at Issoudun, Sept. 8, 1869.
2 Enarrat. in Psalm xcviii. 9.
OF CORPUS CHRISTI.
Let us adore Christ, the Christum regem adoremus
King, who ruleth the nations; dominantem gentibus, qui se
who giveth fatness of spirit to manducantibus dat spirittts
them that eat him. pinguedinem.
A Great solemnity has this day risen upon our earth: a Feast both to God and men: for it is the Feast of Christ the Mediator, who is present in the sacred Host, that God may be given to man, and man to God. Divine union,—yes, such is the dignity to which man is permitted to aspire; and, to this aspiration, God has responded, even here below, by an invention which is all of heaven. It is to day that man celebrates this marvel of God's goodness.
And yet, against both the Feast and its divine object, there has been made the old fashioned objection: How can these things be done ?1 It really does seem, as though reason has a right to find fault with what looks like senseless pretensions of man's heart.
Every living being thirsts after happiness; and yet, and because of that, it only aspires after the good of which it is capable; for it is the necessary condition of happiness, that, in order to its existence, there must be the full contentment of the creature's desire. Hence, in that great act of creation, which the Scripture so sublimely calls his playing in the world,2 when, with his almighty power, he prepared the heavens, and enclosed the depths, and balanced
1 St. John, iii. 9 ; vi. 53. 2 Prov. viii. 30, 31.
the foundations of the earth,1 we are told that Divine Wisdom secured the harmony of the universe by giving to each creature, according to its degree in the scale of being, an end adequate to its powers; he thus measured the wants, the instinct, the appetite (that is, the desire) of each creature, according to its respective nature; so that it would never have cravings, which its faculties were insufficient to satisfy. In obedience, then, to this law, was not man, too, obliged to confine, within the limits of his finite nature, his desires for the good and the beautiful, that is, his searching after God, which is a necessity with every intelligent and free being? Otherwise, would it not be, that, for certain beings, their happiness would have to be in objects, which must ever be out of the reach of their natural faculties?
Great as the anomaly would appear, yet does it exist; true psychology, that is, the true science of the human mind, bears testimony to this desire for the infinite. Like every living creature around him, man thirsts for happiness; and yet, he is the only creature on earth that feels within itself longings for what is immensely beyond its capacity. Whilst docile to the lord placed over them by the Creator, the irrational creatures are quite satisfied with what they find in this world; they render to man their several services, and their own desires are all fully gratified by what is within their reach: it is not so with Man; he can find nothing in this his earthly dwelling, which can satiate his irresistible longings for a something, which this earth cannot give, and which time cannot produce;—for that something is—the infinite. God himself, when revealing himself to man through the works he has created, that is, when showing himself to man in a way which his natural powers can take in; God, when giving man to know him as the First Cause, as Last End of all creatures, as unlimited perfection, as infinite beauty, as sovereign goodness, as the object which can content both our understanding and our will,—no, not even God bimself, thus known and thus enjoyed, could satisfy man. This being, made out of nothing, wishes to possess the Infinite in his own substance; he longs after the sight of the face, he ambitions to enjoy the life, of his Lord and God. The earth seems to him but a trackless desert, where he can find no water that can quench his thirst. From early dawn of each wearisome day, his soul is at once on the watch, pining for that God who alone can quell his desires; yea, his very flesh, too, has its thrilling expectations for that beautiful Infinite One.1 Let us listen to the Psalmist, who speaks for us all: As the hart panteth after the fountains of water, so my soul panteth after thee, 0 God! My soul hath thirsted after the strong, living, God: when shall I come and appear before the face of God? My tears have been my bread, day and night, whilst it is said to me daily: "Where is thy God?" These things I remembered, and poured out my soul in me: for I shall go over into the place of Vie wonderful tabernacle, even to the house of God. With the voice of joy and praise, the noise of one that is feasting. Why art thou sad, O my soul? and why dost thou trouble me? Hope in God, for I will still give praise unto him: the salvation of my countenance, and my God.2
1 Prov. viii. 27, 29.
If reason is to be the judge of such sentiments as these, they are but wild enthusiasm and silly pretensions. Why talk of the sight of God, of the life of God, of a banquet wherein God himself is to be the repast? Surely, these are things far too sublime for man, or any created nature, to reach. Between the wisher and the object longed for, there is an abyss,—the
1 Pa. lxii. 2 Ibid. xli.