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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Passion Sunday

Passiontide.

Today begins the fortnight

of immediate preparation for Easter,
which in the third century,
included a twelve days' fast
preceding the dawn of the Resurrection.
In the sacred Liturgy
and more especially in the Breviary,

we can still distinguish this special cycle

formed by this holy Passion-tide.

The season of Lent,

which was of later institution than Passion-tide.


In Lent
the Church was chiefly occupied
in the preparation of the penitents

for their solemn reconciliation on Holy Thursday,

Sacred Instruction into the Mysteries of the Faith.

and the instruction of catechumens
in preparation for their reception of Holy Baptism.

St. Peter baptizes those who were Catechumens.

Throughout Passiontide
these important occupations of Lent
take a secondary place.


The Pharisees take counsel with the Herodians.

During Passion-tide
but one thought predominates
in the Missal and in the Breviary

-the thought of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
who realizes the bitter persecution

which His enemies are plotting against Him.


During this fortnight,

in which the Liturgy illustrates with dramatic force
the ever-growing hatred of the enemies of our Lord,
the early
Ordines Romani
forbid the final doxology to be said

after either the antiphonic or the responsorial psalmody.


Psalm 42, introduced in the 8th century,

is also omitted at the beginning of Mass.

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Passion Sunday.
Station at St. Peter.

(
S. Pietro.)


The station at the Vatican today
is the last remaining trace of the pannuchis which,
in the time of Pope Gelasius,
was celebrated at the tomb of the Apostles

during the night previous to the solemn Ordination
of the priests and deacons
of Rome.


The Crucifixion of St Peter.

The Liturgical cycle of the Passion
begins with the Mass at the Vatican,

where Nero crucified the first Vicar of Christ

and where Pope Symmachus had built an oratory

named - Sancta Hierusalem -Holy Jerusalem
in honour of the triumphant Cross.


Who didst save Peter in the sea...

It was from that oratory near St. Peter's

that the following verses were introduced into the Liturgy:

Salve nos, Chrtiste Salvator,
per virtutem Crucis;

qui salvasti Petrum in mare,
miserere nobis.

Save us, Christ our Saviour,
by the virtue of Thy holy cross;

Thou who didst save Peter in the sea,
have mercy upon us.


The Mass of this Sunday
is entirely dominated
by the memory
of the Sacrifice on Golgotha,

and is one of the most beautiful and pathetic

of the whole
Roman Antiphonary.

Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord...
Thou wilt lift me up above them that rise up against me
From the unjust man Thou wilt deliver me.

(Gradual Ps. 17:48)

Quo vadis Domine?
Where art Thou going Lord?

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Oremus.
Let us pray.

Domine Jesu Christe, qui de coelis...
O Lord Jesus Christ,
Who didst come down to earth from heaven,
from the bosom of the Father,
and didst pour out Thy Precious Blood
for the remission of sins,
we humbly beseech Thee,
that on the day of judgment,
standing on Thy right hand,
we may be considered worthy to hear:
Come ye blessed.
Who livest and reignest for ever and ever.

Deus, qui errata...
O God, who settest straight
what has gone astray,
and gatherest together what is scattered,
and keeping what Thou hast gathered together,
we beseech Thee in Thy mercy
to pour down on Christian people
the grace of union with Thee,
and putting aside disunion
and attaching themselves
to the true shepherd of Thy Church,
they may be able to render Thee due service.
Through our Lord.

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