Page images

lation shall last even to the end this prophecy is lost sight of? thought of it, they would not put for by putting him to death, country!

how comes it, that Surely, if they Christ to death, they ruin their

But to return to the Council. The High-Priest, who governed the Synagogue during the last days of the Mosaic Law, is a worthless man, by name Caiphas; he presides over the Council. He puts on the sacred Ephod, and he prophesies; his prophecy is from God, and is true. Let us not be astonished: the veil of the temple is not yet rent asunder; the covenant between God and Juda is not yet broken. Caiphas is a blood-thirsty man, a coward, a sacrilegious wretch; still, he is High-Priest, and God speaks by his mouth. Let us hearken to this Balaam: Jesus shall die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but to gather in one the children of God, that were dispersed. Thus, the Synagogue is near her end, and is compelled to prophesy the birth of the Church, and that this birth is to be by the shedding of Jesus' Blood. Here and there, throughout the world, there are Children of God who serve him, among the Gentiles, as did the Centurion, Cornelius; but there was no visible bond of union among them. The time is at hand, when the great and only City of God is to appear on the mountain, and all nations shall flow unto it.2 As soon as the Blood of the New Testament shall have been shed, and the Conqueror of death shall have risen from the grave, the day of Pentecost will convoke, not the Jews to the Temple of Jerusalem, but all nations to the Church of Jesus Christ. By that time, Caiphas will have forgotten the prophecy he uttered; he will have ordered his servants to piece together the Veil of the Holy of Holies, which was

1 Dan. ix., 26, 27.

2 Is., i. 2.

torn in two at the moment of Jesus' death; but this Veil will serve no purpose, for the Holy of Holies will be no longer there; a clean oblation will be offered up in every place, the Sacrifice of the New Law; and scarcely shall the avengers of Jesus' death have appeared on Mount Olivet, than a voice will be heard in the Sanctuary of the repudiated Temple, saying: "Let us go out from this place!"

Bow down your heads to God.

Grant, we beseech thee, O Almighty God, that we who seek the honour of thy protection, may be delivered from all evil, and serve thee with a secure mind. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Humiliate capita vestra Deo.

Concede, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus, ut qui protectionis tuæ gratiam quærimus, liberati a malis omnibus, secura tibi mente serviamus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.


This Friday of Passion Week is consecrated, in a special manner, to the sufferings which the Holy Mother of God endured at the foot of the Cross. The whole of next week is fully taken up with the celebration of the mysteries of Jesus' Passion; and, although the remembrance of Mary's share in those sufferings is often brought before the Faithful during Holy Week, yet, the thought of what her Son, our Divine Redeemer, goes through for our salvation, so absorbs our attention and love, that it is not then possible to honour, as it deserves, the sublime mystery of the Mother's Com-passion.

It was but fitting, therefore, that one day in the

Malach., i. 11.

year should be set apart for this sacred duty; and what day could be more appropriate, than the Friday of this Week, which, though sacred to the Passion, admits the celebration of Saints' Feasts, as we have already noticed? As far back as the 15th century, (that is, in the year 1423,) we find the pious Archbishop of Cologne, Theodoric, prescribing this Feast to be kept by his people.1 It was gradually introduced, and with the connivance of the Holy See, into several other countries; and at length, in the last century, Pope Benedict the Thirteenth, by a decree dated August 22nd, 1727, ordered it to be kept in the whole Church, under the name of the Feast of the Seven Dolours of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for, up to that time, it had gone under various names. We will explain the title thus given to it, as also the first origin of the devotion of the Seven Dolours, when our Liturgical Year brings us to the Third Sunday of September, the second Feast of Mary's Dolours. What the Church proposes to her children's devotion for this Friday of Passion Week, is that one special Dolour of Mary, her standing at the Foot of the Cross. Among the various titles given to this Feast,-before it was extended, by the Holy See to the whole Church, we may mention, Our Lady of Pity, The Compassion of our Lady, and the one that was so popular throughout France, Notre Dame de la Pamoison. These few historical observations prove that this Feast was dear to the devotion of the people, even before it received the solemn sanction of the Church.

That we may clearly understand the object of this Feast, and spend it, as the Church would have us do, in paying due honour to the Mother of God and of men, we must recall to our minds this great truth : that God, in the designs of his infinite wisdom, has

1 Labb, Concil. t. xiii. p. 365.

willed that Mary should have a share in the work of the world's Redemption. The mystery of the present Feast is one of the applications of this Divine law, a law which reveals to us the whole magnificence of God's Plan; it is also, one of the many realisations of the prophecy, that Satan's pride was to be crushed by a Woman. In the work of our Redemption, there are three interventions of Mary, that is, she is thrice called upon to take part in what God himself did. The first of these was in the Incarnation of the Word, who takes not Flesh in her virginal womb until she has given her consent to become his Mother; and this she gave by that solemn FIAT which blessed the world with a Saviour. The second was in the sacrifice which Jesus consummated on Calvary, where she was present, that she might take part in the expiatory offering. The third was on the day of Pentecost, when she received the Holy Ghost, as did the Apostles, in order that she might effectively. labour in the establishment of the Church. have already explained on the Feast of the Annunciation, the share Mary had in that wonderful mystery of the Incarnation, which God wrought for his own glory and for man's redemption and sanctification. On the Feast of Pentecost we shall speak of the Church commencing and progressing under the active influence of the Mother of God. To-day we must show what part she took in the mystery of her Son's Passion; we must tell the sufferings, the Dolours, she endured at the foot of the Cross, and the claims she thereby won to our filial gratitude.



On the fortieth day after the Birth of our Emmanuel, we followed, to the Temple, the happy Mother carrying her Divine Babe in her arms. venerable old man was there, waiting to receive her Child; and, when he had him in his arms, he proclaimed him to be the Light of the Gentiles, and the glory of Israel, But, turning to the Mother, he

spoke to her these_heart-rending words: Behold! this Child is set to be a sign that shall be contradicted, and a sword shall pierce thine own soul. This prophecy of sorrow for the Mother told us that the holy joys of Christmas were over, and that the season of trial, for both Jesus and Mary, had begun. It had, indeed, begun; for, from the night of the Fight into Egypt, up to this present day, when the malice of the Jews is plotting the great crime,what else has the life of our Jesus been, but the bearing humiliation, insult, persecution, and ingratitude? And if so, what has the Mother gone through ?-what ceaseless anxiety? what endless anguish of heart? But, let us pass by all her other sufferings, and come to the morning of the great Friday.

Mary knows, that on the previous night, her Son has been betrayed by one of his Disciples, that is, by one that Jesus had numbered among his intimate friends; she herself had often given him proofs of her maternal affection. After a cruel Agony, her Son has been manacled as a malefactor, and led by armed men to Caiphas, his worst enemy. Thence, they have dragged him before the Roman Governor, whose sanction the Chief Priests and the Scribes must have before they can put Jesus to death. Mary is in Jerusalem; Magdalene, and the other holy women, the friends of Jesus, are with her; but they cannot prevent her from hearing the loud shouts of the people, and if they could, how is such a heart as hers to be slow in its forebodings? The report spreads rapidly through the City that the Roman Governor is being urged to sentence Jesus to be crucified. Whilst the entire populace is on the move towards Calvary, shouting out their blasphemous insults at her Jesus,-will his Mother keep away, she that bore him in her womb, and fed him at her breast? Shall his enemies be eager to glut their

« PreviousContinue »