« السابقةمتابعة »
He, Christ our Lord, Alpha and Omega, he is coming, who is to come to judge mankind.
Alpha et Omega
Our readers, after this charmingly simple appeal, which was so long heard in Erin, will be interested, too, by the following lyric Antiphon, which, formerly, was used in the Church of Gaul. It was sung at the moment of Communion, on days of great solemnity, as an invitation calling the Faithful to a participation in the Immortal Mystery.
WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF CORPUS CHRIST!.
Let us adore Christ, the Christum regem adore
King, who ruleth the nations: mus dominantem gentibus,
who giveth fatness of spirit to qui se manducantibus dat
them that eat him. spiritus pinguedinem.
My days are vanished like smoke, and my bones are grown dry like fuel for the fire: I am smitten as grass, and my heart is withered : because I forgot to eat my bread. Thus sadly speaks the hundred and first Psalm, whose title is: Prayer of the poor man, when he was anxious, and poured out his supplication before the Lord.1 And who is this poor man? It is Adam; it is the whole human race, the inheritor of Adam's miseries. God had given him his divine law, as his food; as the bread of his soul, he had given him the Word of God. Instigated by the old serpent, and led on by the woman, Adam took the forbidden fruit; he forgot the Word. Deservedly has he been blighted as the grass of the field: deservedly has his heart been withered; for he has despised the fruit of life, he has drunk poison, he has preferred to eat ashes,i rather than the nourishment that was made for him.
But, lo! there appeareth the true bread of heaven, He, in whose Flesh thou mayest, if thou wilt, find the Word thou hadst forgotten. Cry out, from the depths of thy poverty, to heaven; regain thy former plenty. Eat! for thou art member of Him who hath said: I am the living Bread, which came down from heaven.3 Thou hadst forgotten to eat thy bread; but, now that
1 Ps. ci. 1, i. *Ibid. ci. 10. » St. John, vi. 61.
Christ is crucified, all the ends of the earth shall ReMember ; and shall be converted unto the Lord.1 Poor withered grass! thy flesh2 shall flourish again, because of the Saviour's Blood;3 it shall become, as St. Bernard tells thee, like that holy herb of the virgin field, that lies in the crib for thy sake.4
Bird of the desert ! bird of the night, that sattest moaning on the heap of ruins, thy loneliness was scoffed at by the enemy that had scared thee. But the Lord God, thy Redeemer, hath broken the captive's chains. Peoples and kings, gathered together in Sion, declare his name in unity. It is their proclamation of his victory, the declaration of his greatness and his strength.5 "Jerusalem, then," says St. Augustine, "Jerusalem, our mother, having come back from exile, "and surrounded by her many children, answereth him, "her God, in unity. That God is one; the Church is "unity; unity alone can give response to the God who "is One." 6 And Jesus, who is at the head, and is the head, of this triumphant unity, which overthrows the kingdom of Babylonish discord and disunion, gives himself this response to his Father: In the midst of the Church, will I praise thee; in the sight of a great Church, I will pay my vows, I will offer the victim which is to save them; and the poor shall eat, and shall be filled; and their hearts, which before were parched up, shall become freshened unto life, and shall live for ever and ever."1
Praise and glory be to this Christ, the Saviour, who thus, by his Flesh offered up in Sacrifice, restores to us the bread of life and understanding !8 O Body of Jesus! most august temple built by eternal Wisdom to himself! It is from his Side,9 opened by a spear, that comes the sacred stream, which brings the Word to our parched lips. He hath visited the earth, and inebriated it; he hath prepared their food for the children of men. But the cup he proffers, is a chalice of Sacrifice; the table he sets up, is an Altar: for so is the preparation of the food he gives.1 It is a Victim who gives us his own Flesh to eat, and his. own Blood to drink; so that Immolation, Sacrifice, is the direct and necessary preparation of the banquet he puts before his guests.
1 Ps. xxi. 28. 6 In Psalm, ci.
8 Is. xl. 6-8. 7 Ps. xxi. 23-27.
5 St. Aug. in Ps. ci. 8 Ecclus. xv. 3.
* St. Bernard, ad mil. tempi, vi. 9 Ezechiel, xlvii. 2. «Ps.ci.24.
Yea, are not they themselves Christ's food at that sacred table? He gives himself, but he intends to have these his guests in return, and make them all his own. We are those guests ; and what other preparation can we make, but that which he goes through,—Sacrifice? Such, such must be the preparation! Ita est prceparatio ejus! Observe, how, when Wisdom is shown us, in Scripture, as setting forth the table, and inviting the little ones to eat His Bread and drink His Wine, he does not slay one, but many victims: He hath slain his victims ! 2 After his Incarnation, he uses the same language; he sends his messengers, he invites us to the marriage-feast, saying: 2" ham prepared the feast; my beeves and failings are slain, my Victims are ready; come I for all things are ready ! 3 What means this, but that, for the very members of Christ,—who are the Victims fattened, as our Invitatory expresses it, with the fatness of the Spirit,—the true immediate preparation for the sacred banquet is immolation,—that is, Sacrifice,—that is, the Mass,—celebrated, or assisted at, in most perfect possible union with the great, the principal, Victim. Quoniam, ita est Praparatio ejus! Christians! you have been brought around the one same Table, by the same love, the same thirst, which you have all for the strong living God;4 understand this well, then: he will give himself to you the more completely and intimately, in proportion as the same Sacrifice, which gives him to you, shall have made you become the food of his own longing love. The hour of the Sacrifice is that, wherein the Bride finds her well Beloved under the tree of the Cross, takes him as a bunch of myrrh, and puts him next her heart:' it is the hour wherein the King takes her into his divine stores, and gives her to partake of the vine of Engaddi, after he has pressed out the precious drink in the wine-press of his love.2 And for Him, the Spouse, what is this same hour? It is one of harvest, one of vintage. It is then that the southwind, the Holy Spirit who produces the sacred Mysteries, breathes upon the Bride, who is the garden of Christ, and fills her with the fragrance of grace; 3 the Divine Spouse then comes down into this his garden, that he may eat of the fruits of his trees, and gather the myrrh and spices that grow there, and drink the wine for which he so thirsted, as that it drew him down from heaven ; 4 it is the love which we can so richly and warmly give him,6 and he so loves our love, as to deign to call it the best of wine, worthy for the Beloved to drink, and for his divine lips to relish and enjoy.6
1 Pb. briv. 10. 'St. Matth. xxii. i.
2 Prov. ix. 2-6. « Ps. xli. 3.
Then, let the soul prepare herself for the banquet of her Beloved, by the means of that same which he expects from her. Let her rise, early in the morning, with this thought upon her, as he himself does.' Let her go down to the garden,8 to see if the flowers be in order, and the lilies, he loves so much, be fresh;• let her go forth into the field, and gather for him fruits, both new and old;10 let her examine the vineyard which the Spouse values so highly, as to reserve the vintage to himself;u let her see if the vineyard be in
'Cant. i. 12. 7 Cant. vii. 12.
2 Ibid, i. 3, 15; ii. 3, i. 8 Ibid, vi. 10.
* Ibid. iv. 16. 9 Hid. ii. 16.
4 Ibid. v. 1. I0 Ibid. vii. 11, 13.
5 Ibid. v. 6. » Ibid. viii. fl, 12.
6 Ibid. vii. 9.