Holy Saturday


Double of the First Class


   The interesting ceremonies which now take place on Holy Saturday morning were originally performed on Saturday night and ended at dawn on Easter morning. Hence their joyful character. The sequence of these ceremonies is:

   I. -- In the church porch. Here the BLESSING OF THE NEW FIRE, and of the five grains of incense to be placed in the paschal candle, takes place. The blessing of the fire, from which the lamps of the church were lighted, seems to have been originally a daily ceremony; now it takes place only on this day.
   Proceeding to the altar, the deacon, carrying the triple candle, pauses three times to light a branch from a taper, which in its turn, has received its light from the blessed fire. At each pause the deacon sings Lumen Christi -- the Light of Christ -- and the server answers Deo gratias -- Thanks be to God.

   II. -- BLESSING OF THE PASCHAL CANDLE. At the gospel side of the altar the deacon then sings the Exsultet -- a hymn of praise and triumph, during which the five grains of incense are placed in the paschal candle in the form of a cross, the paschal candle and the sanctuary lamps are lighted. The symbolic meaning of the fire and of all these lights is expressed in the prayer used in the blessing of the fire: --
   "Lord God, almighty Father, inextinguishable Light, who hast created all light, who hast enlightened the whole world, bless this light . . . make us enlightened by that light and inflamed with the fire of Thy brightness that we may attain to light and life everlasting."

   III. -- The reading of the PROPHECIES follows. These consist of twelve lessons from the Old Testament, each lesson being followed by a prayer. They begin describing the creation of the world and of man, and the promise of a Redeemer; they narrate the story of the Deluge, of Abraham sacrificing his son, and of the deliverance of Israel from the Egyptians; the prophecies of Isaias and Baruch concerning the trials of Israel, the coming of Christ, His Church, its spread, and its abundant graces; the story of the Paschal Lamb, of Jonas at Ninive, finally, of the golden idol of Nabuchodonosor, and the three young men delivered from the furnace of fire. In a word, these prophecies, including their references to Baptism and Penance, were an instructive summary of the principal points of Christian Doctrine for Catechumens.

   IV. -- THE BLESSING OF THE BAPTISMAL FONT. This blessing goes back to the early ages of the Church. The Catechumens were presented for Baptism on this day and on the Vigil of Pentecost. This blessing is an appeal that the Holy Spirit may descend on the water and endow it with regenerative virtue. Meantime the priest performs a series of expressive ceremonies; he divides the water in the form of a Cross, signs it with the sign of the Cross, divides it and casts it to the four cardinal points, breathes upon it, and dips the paschal candle into it. Finally he pours into it the Oil of Catechumens and of Holy Chrism.
   Then the priest proceeds to the altar where the litanies are chanted.

   V. -- HOLY MASS and VESPERS, in a form peculiar to this day.

I. -- The Blessing of the Fire

   At a convenient time, the altar is prepared, and the Hours are recited in choir, but the candles are not lighted until the beginning of Mass. Meanwhile fire is struck from a flint outside the church and coals are kindled from it. Near at hand lies a vessel containing five large grains of incense to be set in the paschal candle. The celebrant wearing amice, alb, girdle, stole and purple cope, goes to the church door accompanied by his ministers with the processional cross, holy water and incense, and blesses the new fire. -- The liturgy makes use of the fire or light as a symbol of Christ, whose teaching enlightens the minds of the faithful and whose grace enkindles thir hearts. Hence the importance attached to the blessing of the candles on February 2, and the blessing of the new fire and paschal candle on this day.
   The priest first blesses the new fire, saying:
V. Dominus vobiscum. V. The Lord be with you.
R. Et cum spiritu tuo. R. And with thy spirit.
   Oremus. -- Deus, qui per Filium tuum, angularum scilicit lapidem, claritatis tuae ignem fidelibus contulisti: productum e silice, nostris profuturum usibus, novum hunc ignem sanctifica: et concede nobis, ita per haec festa paschalia caelestibus desideriis inflammari; ut ad perpetuae claritatis, puris mentibus, valeamus festa pertingere. Per eumdem Christum Dominum Nostrum. R. Amen.    Let us pray. -- O God, Who hast bestowed on the faithful the fire of Thy brightness by Thy Son, Who is the Corner-stone, hallow this new fire produced from a flint that it may be profitable to us: and grant that during this Paschal festival we may be so inflamed with heavenly desires, that with pure minds we may come to the solemnity of perpetual light. Through the same Christ our Lord. R. Amen.
   Oremus. -- Dominus Deus, Pater omnipotens, lumen indeficiens, qui es conditor omnium luminum: benedic hoc lumen, quod a te sanctificatum, atque benedictum est, qui illuminasti omnem mundum: ut ab eo lumine accendamur, atque illuminemur igne claritatis tuae: et sicut illuminasti Moysen exeuntem de Aegypto, ita illumines corda, et sensus nostros; ut ad vitam et lucem aeternam pervenire mereamur. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. R. Amen.    Let us pray. -- O Lord God, almighty Father, never-failing Light, Who art the Creator of all lights, bless this light that is blessed and sanctified by Thee, Who hast enlightened the whole world: that we may be inflamed with that light and englithened by the fire of Thy brightness: and as Thou didst give light to Moses when he went out of Egypt, so nlighten our hearts and senses, that we may be found worthy to arrive at light and life everlasting. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.
   Oremus. -- Domine sancte, Pater omnipotentens, aeterne Deus: benedicentibus nobis hunc ignem in nomine tuo, et unigeniti Filii tui Dei ac Domini nostri Iesu Christi, et Spiritus Sancti, cooperari digneris: et adiuva nos contra ignita tela inimici, et illustra gratia caelisti. Qui vivis et regnas cum eodem Unigenito tuo, et Spiritu Sancto, Deus: per omnia saecula saeculorum. R. Amen.    Let us pray. -- O holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God: vouchsafe to co-operate with us, who bless this fire in Thy Name, and in that of Thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ our Lord and God, and of the Holy Ghost: help us against the fiery darts of the enemy, and illumine us with Thy heavenly grace. Who livest and reignest with the same Thine only-begotten Son and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. R. Amen.
   He then blesses the five grains of incense to be placed in the paschal candle, saying the following prayer:
   Veniat, quaesumus omnipotens Deus, super hoc incensum larga tuae benedictionis infusio: et hunc nocturnum splendorum invisibilis regenerator accende; ut non solum sacrificium, quod hac nocte litatum est, arcana luminis tui admixtione refulgeat; sed in quocumque loco ex huius sanctificationis mysterio aliquid fuerit deportatum, expulsa diabolicae fraudis nequitia, virtus tuae maiestatis assistat. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. R. Amen.    May the abundant outpouring of Thy blessing, we beseech Thee, almighty God, descend upon this incense: and do Thou, O invisible Regenerator, lighten this nocturnal brightness, that not only the sacrifice that is offered this night may shine by the secret mixture of Thy light: but also into whatever place anything of this mysterious sanctification shall be brought, there the power of Thy Majesty may be present and all the malicious artifices of Satan may be defeated. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.
   During this prayer an acolyte fills the thurible with coals from the blessed fire. The celebrant then puts incense into the thurible, blessing it in the usual manner: he sprinkles the grains of incense and the new fire thrice with holy water, saying the Asperges Me, without the psalm,and thrice incenses them. All the lamps in the church are extinguished, that they may afterward be lighted from the blessed fire.
   The deacon, vested in a white dalmatic, now takes up a reed with a triple candle fixed on the top: and all enter the church. The thurifer goes first, with an acolyte carring in a dish the five grains of incense; the subdeacon follows with the cross, and the clergy in order; then the deacon with the reed and after him the officiating priest. When the deacon has entered the church, he lowers the reed, and an acolyte, bringing a taper lighted from the new fire, lights one of the three candles set on the top; and the deacon, raising the reed, kneels down, as do all the rest, except the subdeacon who carries the cross, and sings:
   Lumen Christi.    The light of Christ.
   R. Deo gratias.    R. Thanks be to God.
   In the middle of the church the second branch of the candle is lighted, wtih the same ceremonies; and the third branch is lighted in the sanctuary, the deacon each time singing: Lumen Christi on a higher tone.

II. -- The Blessing of the Paschal Candle

   The celebrant goes up to the epistle corner; and the deacon takes the book and asks the priest's blessing, as at the gospel; the blessing is given in the following words:
   May the Lord be in thy heart and on thy lips, that thou mayest worthily and fitly proclaim His Paschal praise. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. R. Amen.
   Then the deacon goes up to the lectern, puts the book on it and incenses it. At his right hand stands the subdeacon with the cross, and the thurifer, at his left two acoltyes holding the reed and the grains of incense which are to be fixed in the candle. All rise and stand as at the Gospel, and the deacon sings the Exsultet which is remarkable for its lyric beauty and symbolism and contains allusions to the Jewish Pasch and Christian Baptism. We are reminded here that the whole of this Office was originally a Vigil and took place during the night between Saturday and Sunday. The Mass which closes it was said at dawn on Easter Sunday. The expressions as those of the Exsultet: haec nox est . . .; O vere beata nox . . .; etc., and those of the Mass: Deus, qui hanc sacratissimam noctem . . . (Collect), and of the Canon et noctem sacratissimam . . . -- recall the fact that it was during the night (nox) that this service was originally held.
   The deacon proceeds to the blessing of the paschal candle, while singing:
   Exsultet iam Angelica turba caelorum: exsultent divina mysteria: et pro tanti Regis victoria, tuba insonet salutaris. Gaudeat et tellus tantis irradiata fulgoribus: et aeterni Regis splendore illustrata, totius orbis se sentiat amisisse caliginem. Laetetur et mater Ecclesia, tanti luminis adornata fulgoribus: et magnis populorum vocibus haec aula resultet. Quapropter astantes vos, fratres carissimi, ad tam miram huius sancti luminis claritatem, una mecum, quaeso, Dei omnipotentis misericordiam invocate. Ut qui me non meis meritis intra Levitarum numerum dignatus est aggregare: luminis sui claritatem infundens, Cerei huius laudem implere perficiat. Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum Filium suum: qui cum eo vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus per omnia saecula saeculorum. R. Amen.    Let the angelic choirs of Heaven now rejoice; let the divine Mysteries rejoice; and let the trumpet of salvation sound forth the victory of so great a King. Let the earth also rejoice, made radiant by such splendor; and, enlightened with the brightness of the eternal King, let it know that the darkness of the whole world is scattered. Let our mother the Church also rejoice, adorned with the brightness of so great a light; and let this temple resound with the loud acclamations of the people. Wherefore I beseech you, most beloved brethren, who are here present in the wondrous brightness of this holy light, to invoke wtih me the mercy of almighty God. That He who has vouchsafed to admit me among the Levites, without any merits of mine, would pour forth the brightness of His light upon me, and enable me to perfect the praise of this wax candle. Through our Lord Jesus Christ His Son, Who with Him and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth one God for ever and ever. R. Amen.
   V. Dominus vobiscum.    V. The Lord be with you.
   R. Et cum spiritu tuo.    R. And with thy spirit.
   V. Sursum corda.    V. Lift up your hearts.
   R. Habemus ad Dominum.    R. We have them lifted up to the Lord.
   V. Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.    V. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
   R. Dignum et iustum est.    R. It is meet and just.
   Vere dignum et iustum est, invisibilem Deum Patrem omnipotentem, Filiumque eius unigenium, Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, toto cordis ac mentis affectu, et vocis ministerio personare. Qui pro nobis aeterno Patri, Adae debitum solvit: et veteris piaculi cautionem pio cruore detersit. Haec sunt enim festa paschalia, in quibus verus ille Agnus occiditur, cuius sanguine postes fidelium consecrantur. Haec nox est, in qua primum patres nostros filios Israel eductos de Aegypto, mare Rubrum sicco vestigio transire fecisti. Haec igitur nox est, quae peccatorum tenebras, columnae illuminatione purgavit. Haec nos est, quae hodie per universum mundum, in Christo credentes, a vitiis saeculi, et caligine peccatorum segregatos, reddit gratiae, sociat sanctitati. Haec nox est, in qua destructus vinculis mortis, Christus ab inferis victor ascendit. Nihil enim nobis nasci profuit, nisi redimi profuisset. O mira circa nos tuae pietatis dignatio! O inaestimabilis dilectio caritatis: ut servum redimeres, Filium tradidisti! O certe necessarium Adae peccatum, quod Christi morte deletum est! O felix culpa, quae talem ac tantum meruit habere Redemptorem! O vere beata nox, quae sola meruit scire tempus et horam, in qua Christus ab inferis resurrexit! Haec nox est, de qua scriptum est: Et nox sicut dies illuminabitur: et nox illuminatio mea in deliciis meis. Huius igitur sanctificatio noctis fugat scelera, culpas lavat: et reddit innocentiam lapsis, et moestis laetitiam. Fugat odia, concordiam parat, et curvat imperia.    It is truly meet and right to proclaim with all our heart and all the affection of our mind, and with the ministry of our voices, the invisible God, the Father almighty, and His only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ, who repaid for us to His eternal Father the debt of Adam, and by the merciful shedding of His Blood, cancelled the debt incurred by original sin. For this is the Paschal Festival; in which that true Lamb is slain, with Whose Blood the doorposts of the faithful are consecrated. This is the night in which Thou didst formerly cause our forefathers, the children of Israel, when brought out of Egypt, to pass through the Red Sea with dry foot. This, therefore, is the night which dissipated the darkness of sinners by the light of the pillar. This is the night which at this time throughout the world restores to grace and unites in sanctity those that believe in Christ, and are separated from the vices of the world and the darkness of sinners. This is the night in which, destroying the chains of death, Christ arose victorious from the grave. For it would have profited us nothing to have been born, unless redemption had also been bestowed upon us. O wondrous condescension of Thy mercy towards us! O inestimable affection of love: that Thou mightest redeem a slave, Thou didst deliver up Thy Son! O truly needful sin of Adam, which was blotted out by the death of Christ! O happy fault, that merited to possess such and so great a Redeemer! O truly blessed night, which alone deserved to know the time and hour when Christ rose again from hell! This is the night of which it is written: And the night shall be as clear as the day; and the night is my light in my delights. Therefore the hallowing of this night puts to flight all wickedness, cleanses sins, and restores innocence to the fallen, and gladness to the sorrowful. It drives forth hatreds, it prepares concord, and brings down haughtiness.
   Here the deacon fixes the five blessed grains of incense in the paschal candle in the form of a cross.
   In huius igitur noctis gratia, suscipe, sancte Pater, incensi huius sacrificium vespertinum: quod tibi in hac Cerei oblatione solemni, per ministrorum manus de operibus apum, sacrosancta reddit Ecclesia. Sed iam columnae huius praeconia novimus, quam in honorem Dei rutilans ignis accendit.    Wherefore, in this sacred night, receive, O holy Father, the evening sacrifice of this incense, which holy Church renders to Thee by the hands of Thy ministers in the solemn offering of this wax candle, made out the work of bees. Now also we know the praises of this pillar, which the shining fire enkindles to the honor of God.
   Here the deacon lights the paschal candel with one of the three candles on the reed.
   Qui licet sit divisus in partes, mutuati tamen luminis detrimenta non novit. Alitur enim liquantibus ceris, quas in substantiam pretiosae huius lampadis, apis mater eduxit.    Which fire, although divided into parts, suffers no loss from its light being borrowed. For it is nourished by the melting wax, which the mother bee produced for the substance of this precious light.
   Here the lamps are lighted.
   O vere beata nox, quae exspoiliavit Aegyptos, ditavit Hebraeos! Nox, in qua terrenis caelestia, humanis divina iunguntur. Oramus ergo te, Domine: ut Cereus iste in honorem tui nominis consecratus, ad noctis huius caliginem destruendam, indeficiens perseveret. Et in odorem suavitatis acceptus, supernis luminaribus misceatur. Flammas eius lucifer matutinus inveniat. Ille, qui regressus ab inferis, humano generi serenus illuxit. Precamur ergo te, Domine: ut nos famulos tuos, omnemque clerum, et devotissimum populum: una cum beatissimo Papa nostro N. et Antistite nostro N. quiete temporum assidua protectione regere, gubernare, et conservare digneris. Per Christum Filium tuum: Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus: per omnia saecula saeculorum. R. Amen.    O truly blessed night, which plundered the Egyptians and enriched the Hebrews! A night in which heavenly things are united to those of earth, and things divine to those which are of man. We beseech Thee, therefore, O Lord, that this wax candle hallowed in honor of Thy Name, may continue to burn to dissipate the darkness of this night. And being accepted as a sweet savor, may be united with teh ehavently lights. Let the mornign star find its flame alight. That star, I mean, which knows no setting. He Who returning from hell, serenely shone forth upon mankind. We beseech Thee therefore, O Lord, that Thou wouldst grant peaceful times during this Paschal Festival, and vouchsafe to rule, govern, and keep with Thy constant protection us Thy servnats, and all the clergy, and the devout people, together with our most holy Father, Pope N...., and our Bishop N.... Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who with Thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth one God for ever and ever. R. Amen.

III. -- The Reading of the Prophecies

   After the blessing of the paschal candle the deacon lays aside his white dalmatic and puts on a purple one, and the officiating priest takes off his purple cope and puts on a purple chasuble. The prophecies are then chanted without any title, while the celebrant, standing at the epistle corner, reads them in a low voice. The twelve prophecies were formerly addressed to the catechumens, who would find therein outlined the principal points of Christian Doctrine; they were interspersed with prayers and tracts which sum up or explain the teaching contained in the Lessons just read.
THE FIRST PROPHECY Gen. 1. 1-31; 2. 1-2
[The creation of the world. -- The man created after the image of God and His likeness had dominion over all living creatures.]
   In principio creavit Deus caelum et terram. Terra autem erat inanis et vacua, et tenebrae erant super faciem abyssi: et Spiritus Deui ferebatur super aquas. Dixitque Deus: Fiat lux. Et facta est lux. Et vidit Deus lucem quod esset bona: et divisit lucem a tenebris. Appellavitque lucem Diem, et tenebras Noctem: factumque est vespere et name, dies unus. Dixit quoque Deus: Fiat firmamentum in medio aquarum: et dividat aquas ab aquis. Et fecit Deus firmamentum, divisitque aquas quae erant sub firmamento, ab his quae erant super firmentum. Et factum est ita. Vocavit Deus firmamentum Caelum: et factum est vespere et mane, dies secundus. Dixit vero Deus: Congregentur aquae, quae sub caelo sunt, in locum unum: et appareat arida. Et factum est ita. Et vocavit Deus aridam, Terram, congregationisque aquarum appellavit Maria. Et vidit Deus quod esset bonum. Et ait: Germinet terra herbam virentem, et facientem semen, et lignum pomiferum faciens fructum iuxta genus suum, cuius semen in semetipso sit super terram. Et factum est ita. Et protulit terra herbam virentem, et facientem semen iuxta genus suum, lignumque faciens fructum, et habens unumquodque sementem secundum speciem suam. Et vidit Deus quod esset bonum. Et factum est vespere et mane, dies tertius. Dixit autem Deus: Fiant luminaria in firmamento caeli, et dividant diem ac noctem, et sint in signa et tempora, et dies et annos: ut luminent terram. Et factum est ita. Fecitque Deus duo luminaria magna: luminaria maius, ut praeesset diei, et luminarie minus, ut praeesset nocti: et stellas. Et posuit eas in firmamento caeli, ut lucerent super terram, et praeessent diei ac nocti, et dividerent lucem ac tenebras. Et vidit Deus quod esset bonum. Et factum est vespere et mane, dies quartus. Dixit etiam Deus: Producant aquae reptile animae viventis, et volatile super terram sub firmamento caeli. Creavitque Deus cete grandia, et omnem animam viventem atque motabilem, quam produxerant aquae in species suas, et omne volatile secundum genus suum. Et vidit Deus quod esset bonum. Benedixitque eis, dicens: Crescite, et multiplicamini, et replete aquas maris: avesque multiplicentur super terram. Et factum est vespere et mane, dies quintus. Dixit quoque Deus: Producat terra animam viventem in genere suo: iumenta, et reptilia, et bestias terrae secundum species suas. Factumque est ita. Et fecit Deus quod esset bonum, et ait: Faciamus hominem ad imaginem et similitudinem nostram: et praesit piscibus maris, et volatilibus caeli, et bestiis, universaeque terrae, omnique reptili quod movetur in terra. Et creavit Deus hominem ad imaginem suam: ad imaginem Dei creavit illum, masculum et feminam creavit eos. Benedixitque illis Deus, et ait: Crescite et multiplicamini, et replete terram, et subiicite eam, et dominamini piscibus maris, et volatilibus caeli, et universis animantibus, quae moventur super terram. Dixitque Deus: Ecce dedi vobis omnem herbam afferentem semen super terram, et universa ligna quae habent in semetipsis sementum generis sui, ut sint vobis in escam: et cunctis animantibus terrae, omnique volucri caeli, et universis, quae moventur in terra, et in quibus est anima vivens, ut habeant ad vescendum. Et factum est ita. Viditque Deus cuncta quae fecerat: et erant valde bona. Et factum est vespere et mane, dies sextus. Igitur perfecti sunt caeli et terra, et omnis ornatus eorum. Complevitque Deus die septimo opus suum quod fecerat: et requievit die septimo ab universo opere quod patrarat.    In the beginning, God created heaven and earth. And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God moved over the water. And God said: Be light made. And light was made. And God saw the light that it was good: and He divided the light from the darkness. And He called the light Day, and the darkness Night: and there was evening and morning, one day. And God said: Let there be a firmament made amidst the waters: and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made a firmament, and divided the waters that were under the firmament from those that were above the firmament. And it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven: and the evening and morning were the second day. God also said: Let the waters that are under the heaven be gathered together into one place; and let the dry land appear. And it was so done. And God called the dry land Earth: and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good. And He said: Let the earth bring forth his green herb, after its kind, which may have seed in itself upon the earth. And it was so done. And the earth brought forth the green herb, and such as tieldeth seed according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And the evening and morning were the third day. And God said: Let there be lights made in the firmament of heaven to divide the day and the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years.: to shine in the firmament of heaven. and to give light to the earth. And it was so done. And God made two great lights: a greater light to rule the day; and a lesser light to rule the night: and the stars. And He set them in the firmament of heaven, to shine upon the earth, and to rule the day and the night, and to divide the earth, and to rule the day and the night, and to divide the light and the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And the evening and morning were the fourth day. God also said: Let het waters bring forth the creeping creature having life, and the fowl that may fly over the earth under the firmament of heaven. And God created the great whales, and every living thing and moving creature which the waters brought forth, according to their kinds, and every winged fowl according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And He blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the waters of the sea: and let the birds be multiplied upon the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. And God said: Let the earth bring forth the living creature in its kind, cattle, and creeping things, and beasts of the earth according to their kinds. And it was so done. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds, and cattle, and every thing and every thing that creepeth on the earth after its kind. And God saw that it was good. And He said: Let us make man to His own image and likeness: and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth. And God created man to His own image: to the image of God He created him, male and female He created them. And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all living creatures that move upon the earth. And God said: Behold, I have given you every herb-bearing seed upon the earth, and all trees that have in themselves seed of their own kind to be your meat: and to all the beasts of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to all that move upon the earth, and wherein there is life, that they may have to feed upon. And it was so done. And God saw all the things that He had made, and they were very good. And the evening and morning were the sixth day. So the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the furniture of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made: and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.
Oremus. Flectamus genua. R. Levate. Let us pray. Let us kneel. R. Arise.
   Deus, qui mirabiliter creasti hominem, et mirabilius redemisti: da nobis, quaesumus, contra oblectamenta peccati, mentis ratione persistere; ut mereamur ad aeterna gaudia pervenire. Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus: per omnia saecula saeculorum. R. Amen.    O God, who hast wonderfully created man, and more wonderfully restored him: grant us, we beseech Thee, to stand firm with strong minds against the allurements of sin, that we may deserve to arrive at everlasting joys. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
THE SECOND PROPHECY Gen. 5, 6, 7, and 8
[The deluge. -- The ark is the prefigure of the true Church, which is the Ark of Salvation.]
   Noe vero cum quingentorum esset annorum, genuit Sem, Cham, et Iapeth. Cumque coepissent homines multiplicari super terram, et filias procreassent, videntes filii Dei filias hominum, quod essent pulchrae, acceperunt sibi uxores ex omnibus, quas elegerant. Dixitque Deus: Non permanebit spiritus meus in homine in aeternum, quia caro est: eruntque dies illius centum viginti annorum. Gigantes autem erant super terram in diebus illis. Postquam enim ingressi sunt filii Dei ad filias hominum, illaeque genuerunt, isti sunt potentes a saeculo viri famosi. Videns autem Deus quod multa malitia hominum esset in terra, et cuncta cogitatio cordis intenta esset ad malum omni tempore, paenituit eum, quod hominum fecissit in terra. Et tactus dolore cordis intrinsecus: Delebo, inquit, hominem, quem creavi, a facie terrae, ab homine usque ad animantia, a reptili usque ad volucres caeli: paenitet enim me fecisse eos. Noe vero invenit gratiam coram Domino. Hae sunt generationes Noe: Noe vir iustus atque perfectus fuit in generationibus suis, cum Deo ambulavit. Et genuit tres filios, Sem, Cham, et Iapeth. Corrupta est autem terra coram Deo, et repleta est iniquitate. Cumque vidisset Deus terram esse corruptam (omnis quippe caro corruperat viam suam super terram), dixit ad Noe: Finis universae carnis venit coram me: repleta est terra iniquitate a facie eorum, et ego disperdam eos cum terra. Fac tibi arcam de lignis laevigatis: mansiunculas in arca facies, et bitumine linies intrinsecus et extrinsecus. Et sic facies eam: Trecentorum cubitorum erit longitudo arcae, quinquaginta cubitorum latitudo, et trigenta cubitorum altitudo illius. Fenestram in arca facies, et in cubito consummabis summitatem eius: ostium autem arcae pones ex latere: deorsum coenacula, et tristega facies in ea. Ecce ego adducam aquas diluvii super terram, ut interficiam omnem carnem, in qua spiritus vitae est subter caelum. Universa quae in terra sunt, consumentur. Ponamque foedus meum tecum: et ingredieris arcam tu et filii tui, uxor tua, et uxoris filiorum tuorum tecum. Et ex cunctis animantibus universae carnis bina induces in arcam, ut vivant tecum: masculini sexus et feminini. De volucribus iuxta genus suum, et de iumentis in genere suo, et ex omni reptili terrae secundum genus suum: bina de omnibus ingredientur tecum, ut possint vivere. Tolles igitur tecum ex omnibus escis, quae mandi possunt, et comportabis apud te: et erunt tam tibi, quam illis in cibum. Fecit igitur Noe omnia, quae praeceperat illi Deus. Eratque sexcentorum annorum quando diluvii aquae inundaverunt super terram. Rupti sunt omnes fontes abyssi magnae, et cataractae caeli apertae sunt: et facta est pluvia super terram quadraginta diebus et quadraginta noctibus. In articulo diei illius ingressus est Noe, et Sem, et Cham, et Iapeth, filii eius, uxor illius, et tres uxores filiorum eius cum eis in arcam: ipsi, et omne animal secundum genus suum, universaque iumenta in genere suo, et omne quod moventur super terram in genere suo, cunctumque volatile secundum genus suum. Porro arca ferebatur super aquas. Et aquae praevaluerunt nimis super terram: opertique sunt omnes montes excelsi sub universo caelo. Quindecim cubitis altior fuit aqua super montes, quos operuerat. Consumptaque est omnis caro quae movebatur super terram volucrum, animantium, bestiarum, omniumque reptilium, quae reptant super terram. Remansit autem solus Noe, et qui cum eo erant in arca. Obtinueruntque aquae terram centum quinquaginta diebus. Recordatus autem Deus Noe, cunctorumque animantium, et omnium iumentorum, quae erant cum eo in arca, adduxit spiritum super terram, et imminutae sunt aquae. Et clausi sunt fontes abyssi, et cataractae caeli: et prohibitae sunt pluviae de caelo. Reversaeque sunt aquae de terra euntes et redeuntes: et coeperunt minui post centum quinquaginta dies. Cumque transissent quadraginta dies, aperiens Noe fenestram arcae, quam fecerat, dimisit corvum: qui egrediebatur, et non revertebatur, donec siccarentur aquae super terram. Emisit quoque columbam post eum, ut videret si iam cessassent aquae super faciem terrae. Quae cum non invenisset ubi requiesceret pes eius, reversa est ad eum in arcam: aquae enim erant super universam terra: extenditque manum, et apprehensam intulit in arcam. Exspectatis autem ultra septem diebus aliis, rursum dimisit columbam ex arca. At illa venit ad eum ad vesperam, portans ramum olivae virentibus foliis in ore suo. Intellexit ergo Noe, quod cessassent aquae super terram. Exspectavitque nihilominus septem alios dies: et emisit columbam, quae non est reversa ultra ad eum. Locutus est autem Deus ad Noe, dicens: Egredere de arca, tu, et uxor tua, filii tui, et uxores filiorum tuorum tecum. Cuncta animantia, quae sunt apud te, ex omni carne, tam in volatilibus, quam in bestiis, et universis reptilibus, quae reptant super terram, educ tecum, et ingredimini super terram: crescite et multiplicamini super eam. Egressus est ergo Noe, et filii eius, uxor illius, et uxores filiorum eius cum eo. Sed et omnia animantia, iumenta, et reptilia, quae reptant super terram secundum genus suum, egressa sunt de arca. Aedificavit autem Noe altare Domino: et tollens de cunctis pecoribus et volucribus mundis, obtulit holocausta super altare. Odoratusque est Dominus odorem suavitatis.    Noe, when he was five hundred years old, begot Sem, Cham, and Japheth. And after that men began to be multiplied upon the earth, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God seeing the daughters of men, that they were fair, took to themselves wives of all, which they chose. And God said: My Spirit shall not remain in man for ever, because he is flesh: and his days shall be a hundred and twenty years. Now giants were upon the earth in those days. For after the sons of God went in to the daughters of men, and they brought forth children, thse are the mighty men of old, men of renown. And God seeing that the wickedness of men was great on the earth, and that all the thought of their heart was bent upon evil at all times, it repented Him that He had made man on the earth. And being touched inwardly with sorrow of heart, He said: I will destroy man, whom I have created, from the face of the earth, from man even to beasts, from the creeping thing even to the fowls of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them. But Noe found grace before the Lord. These are the generations of Noe: Noe was a just and perfect man in his generations, he walked with God. And he begot three sons, Sem, Cham, and Japheth. And the earth was corrupted before God, and was filled with iniquity. And when God had seen that the earth was corrupted (for all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth), He said to Noe: The end of all flesh is come before Me: the earth is filled with iniquity through them, and I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of timber planks: thou shalt make little rooms in the ark, and thou shalt pitch it within and without. And thus shalt thou make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. Thou shalt make a window in the ark, and in a cubit shall thou finish the top of it: and the door of the ark thou shalt set in the side; with lower, middle chambers and third stories shalt thou make it. Behold I will bring the waters of a great flood upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, under heaven. All things that are in the earth shall be consumed, and I will establish My covenant with thee: and thou shalt enter into the ark, thou and thy sons, and thy wife, and the wives of thy sons with thee. And of every living creature of all flesh, thou shalt bring two of a sort into the ark, that they may live with thee: of the male sex, and the female. Of fowls according to their kind: two of every sort shall go in with thee, that they may live. Thou shalt take unto thee of all food that may be eaten, and thou shalt lay it up with thee: and it shall be food for thee and them. And Noe did all things which God commanded Him. And he was six hundred years old when the waters of the flood overflowed the earth. All the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the flood-gates of heaven were opened; and the rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights. In the self-same day, Noe, and Shem, and Cham, and Japheth, his sons, his wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, went into the ark: they and every beast according to its kind, and all the cattle in their kind, and every thing that moveth upon the earth according to its kind. And the ark was carried upon the waters. And the waters prevailed beyond measure upon the earth: and all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. The water was fiften cubits higher than the mountains which it covered. And all flesh was destroyed that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beasts, and of all creeping things that creep upon the earth. And Noe only remained, and they that were with him in th eark. And the waters prevailed upon the earth a hundred and fifty days. And God remembered Noe, and all the living creaturs and all the cattle which were with him in the ark, and brought a wind upon the earth, and the waters were abated. The fountains also of the deep, and the flood-gates of heaven were shut up: and the rain from heaven was restrained. And the waters returned from off the earth, going and coming: and they begam to be abated after a hundred and fifty days. And after that forty days were passed, Noe, opening the window of the ark which he had made, sent forth a raven, which went forth and did not return, till the waters were dried up upon the earth. He sent forth also a dove after him, to see if the waters had now ceased upon the face of the earth. But she not finding where her foot might rest, returned to him into the ark: for the waters were upon the whole earth: and he put forth his hand, and caught her, and brought her into the ark. And having waited yet seven other days, he again sent forth the dove out of the ark. And she came to him in the evening, carrying a bough of an olive tree with green leaves in her mouth. Noe therefore understood that the waters were ceased upon the earth. And he stayed yet another seven days: and he sent forth the dove, which returned not any more unto him. And God spoke to Noe, saying: Go out of the ark, thou and thy wife, thy sons, and the wives of thy sons with thee. All living things that are with thee of all flesh, as well in fowls as in beasts, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, bring out with thee, and go ye upon the earth: increase and multiply upon it. So Noe went out, he and his sons, his wife, and the wives of his sons with him. And all living things, and cattle, and creeping things that creep upon the earth, according to their kinds, went out of the ark. And Noe built an altar unto the Lord, and taking of all cattle and fowls that were clean, offered holocausts upon the altar. And the Lord smelled a sweet savor.
Oremus. Flectamus genua. R. Levate. Let us pray. Let us kneel. R. Arise.
   Deus, incommuntabilis virtus, et lumen aeternum: respice propitius ad totius Ecclesiae tuae mirabile sacramentum, et opus salutis humanae, perpetuae dispositionis effectu tranquillius operare: totusque mundus experiatur et videat, deiecta erigi, inveterata renovari, et per ipsum redire omnia in integrum, a quo sumpsere principium: Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum Filium tuum: qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. R. Amen.    O God, unchangable power and light everlasting: mercifully regard the wonderful Mystery of Thy whole Church, and peacefully effect by Thine everlasting decree the work of man's salvation: and may the whole world experience and see that what was cast down is raised up, what was old is renewed, and all things are returning to perfection, through Him from whom they received their first being, our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son: who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
The offering of Abraham is a figure of the Sacrifice of the Cross. Faith and obedience of Abraham.]
   In diebus illis: Tentavit Deus Abraham, et dixit ad eum: Abraham, Abraham. At ille respondit: Adsum. Ait illi: Tolle filium tuum unigenitum, quem diligis, Isaac, et vade in terram visionis: atque ibi offeres eum in holocaustum super unum montium, quem monstravero tibi. Igitur Abraham de nocte consurgens, stravit asinum suum: ducens secum duos iuvenes et Isaac filium suum. Cumque concidisset ligna in holocaustam, abiit ad locum, quem praeceperat ei Deus. Die autem tertio, elevatis oculis, vidit locum procul: dixitque ad pueros suos: Exspectate hic cum asino: ego et puer illuc usque properantes, postquam adoraverimus, revertemur ad vos. Tulit quoque ligna holocausti, et imposuit super Isaac filium suum: ipse vero portabat in manibus ignem, et gladium. Cumque duo pergerent simul, dixit Isaac patri suo: Pater mi. At ille respondit: Quid vis fili? Ecce, inquit, ignis et ligna, ubi est victima holocausti? Dixit autem Abraham: Deus providebit sibi victimam holocausti, fili mi. Pergebant ergo pariter: et venerunt ad locum, quem ostenderat ei Deus, in quo aedificavit altare, et desuper ligna composuit: cumque alligasset Isaac filium suum, posuit eum in altare super struem lignorum. Extenditque manum, et arripuit gladium, ut immolaret filium suum. Et ecce Angelus Domini de caelo clamavit dicens: Abraham, Abraham. Qui respondit: Adsum. Dixitque ei: Non extendas manum tuam super puerum, neque facias illi quidquam: nunc cognovi quod times Deum, et non pepercisti unigenito filio tuo propter me. Levavit Abraham oculos suos, viditque post tergum arietum inter vepres haerentem cornibus, quem assumens obtulit holocaustum pro filio. Appellavitque nomen loci illius, Dominus videt. Unde usque hodie dicitur: In monte Dominus videbit. Vocavit autem Angelus Domini Abraham secundo de caelo, dicens: Per memetipsum iuravi, dicit Dominus: quia fecisti hanc rem, et non pepercisti filio tuo unigenito propter me: benedicam tibi, et multiplicabo semen tuum sicut stellas caeli, et velut arenam, quae est in littore maris: possidebit semen tuum portas inimicorum suorum, et benedicentur in semine tuo omnes gentes terrae, quia obedisti voci meae. Reversus est Abraham ad pueros suos, abieruntque Bersabee simul, et habitavit ibi.    In those days God tempted Abraham, and said to him: Abraham, Abraham. And he answered: Here I am. He said to him: Take thine only-begotten son, Isaac, whom thou lovest, and go into the land of vision: and there thou shalt offer him for a holocaust upon one of the mountains which I will show thee. So Abraham, rising up in the night, saddled his ass: and took with him two young men, and Isaac his son. And when he had cut wood for the holocaust, he went his way to the place which God had commanded him. And on the third day, lifting up his eyes, he saw the place afar off; and he said to his young men: Stay you here with the ass: I and the boy will go with speed as far as yonder, and after we have worshipped will return to you. And he took the wood for the holocaust and laid it upon Isaac his son: and he himself carried in his hands fire and a sword. And as they two were on together, Isaac said to his father: My father. And he answered: What wilt thou, son? Behold, saith he, fire and wood: where is the victim for the holocaust? And Abraham said: God will provide Himself a victim for a holocaust, my son. So they went on together; and they came to the place which God had shown him, where he built an altar and laid the wood in order upon it; and when he had bound Isaac, his son, he laid him upon the altar upon the pile of wood. And he put forth his hand, and took the sword to sacrifice his son. And behold an angel of the Lord from heaven called to him, saying: Abraham, Abraham. And he answered: Here I am. And he said to him: Lay not thy hand upon the boy, neither do thou any thing to him: now I know that thou fearest God, and hast not spared thine only-begotten son for My sake. Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw behind his back a ram amongst the briers, sticking fast by the horns, which he took and offered for a holocaust instead of his son. And he called the name of that place, the Lord seeth. Whereupon even to this day it is said: In the mountain the Lord will see. And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, saying: By My own self have I sworn, saith the Lord: because Thou hast done this thing, and hast not spared thine only-begotten son for My sake; I will bless thee, and I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand that is by the sea shore: thy seed shall possess the gates of their enemies, and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed my voice. Abraham returned to his young men, and they went to Bersabee together, and he dwelt there.
Oremus. Flectamus genua. R. Levate. Let us pray. Let us kneel. R. Arise.
   Deus, fidelium Pater summe, qui in toto orbe terrarum, promissionis tuae filios diffusa adoptionis gratia multiplicas: et per paschale sacramentum, Abraham puerum tuum universarum, sicut iurasti, gentium efficis patrem; da populis tuis digne ad gratiam tuae vocationis introire. Per Dominum nostrum, Iesum Christum, filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. R. Amen.    O God, the supreme Father of all the faithful, who all over the world dost multiply the children of Thy promise by diffusing the grace of Thine adoption: and by this Paschal Sacrament dost make Thy servant Abraham, according to Thine oath, the father of all nations: grant that Thy peopl may worthily enter into the grace of Thy vocation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who livest and reignest in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
THE FOURTH PROPHECY Exo. 14, 24; 15. 1
[As Moses freed the Israelites from the captivity of Egypt, so Christ by baptism reserves the catechumens from the yoke of Satan.]
   In diebus illis: Factum est in vigilia matutina, et ecce respiciens Dominus super castra Aegyptiorum per columnam ignis et nubis, interfecit exercitum eorum: et subvertit rotas curruum, ferebanturque in profundum. Dixerunt ergo Aegyptii: Fugiamus Israelem: Dominus enim pugnat pro eis contra nos. Et ait Dominus ad Moysen: Extende manum tuam super mare, ut revertantur aquae ad Aegyptios super currus et equites eorum. Cumque extendisset Moyses manum contra mare, reversum est primo diluculo ad priorem locum: fugientibusque Aegyptiis occurrerunt aquae, et involvit eos Dominus in mediis fluctibus. Reversaeque sunt aquae, et operuerunt currus et equites cuncti exercitus Pharaonis, qui sequentes ingressi fuerant mare: nec unus quidem superfuit ex eis. Filii autem Israel perrexerunt per medium sicci maris, et aquae eis erant quasi pro muro a dextris et a sinistris: liberavitque Dominus in die illa Israel de manu Aegyptiorum. Et viderunt Aegyptios mortuos super littus maris, et manum magnam. quam exercuerat Dominus contra eos: timuitque populus Dominum, et crediderunt Domino, et Moysi servo eius. Tunc cecinit Moyses, et filii Israel carmen hoc Domino, et dixerunt:    In those days, it came to pass in the morning watch, and behold the Lord looking upon the Egyptian army through the pillar of fire, and of the cloud, slew their host: and overthrew the wheels of the chariots, and they were carried into the deep. And the Egyptians said: Let us flee from Israel: for the Lord fighteth for them against us. And the Lord said to Moses: Stretch forth thy hand over the sea, that the waters may com again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and horsemen. And when Moses had stretched forth his hand towards the sea, it returned at the first break of day to the former place: and as the Egyptians were fleeing away the waters came upon them, and the Lord shut them up in the middle of the waves. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots and the horsemen of all the army of Pharao, who had come into the sea after them: neither did there so much as one of them remain. But the children of Israel marched through the midst of the sea upon dry land, and the waters were to thm as a wall on the right hand and the left: and the Lord delivered Israel on that day out of the hand of the Egyptians. And they saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore, and the mighty hand of the Lord had used against them: and the people feared the Lord, and they believed the Lord, and Moses His servant. Then Moses and the children of Israel sung this canticle to the Lord, and said:
TRACT Exo. 15. 1, 2
   Cantemus Domino: gloriose enim honorificatus est: equum et ascensorum proiecit in mare: adiutor, et protector factus est mihi in salutem. V. Hic Deus meus, et honorificabo eum: Deus patris mei, et exaltabo eum. V. Dominus conterens bella: Dominus nomen est illi.    Let us sing to the Lord, for He is gloriously honored: the horse and the rider He hath thrown into the sea: He has become my Helper and Protector unto salvation. V. He is my God, and I will honor Him: the God of my father, and I will extol Him. V. He is the Lord that destroys wars: the Lord is His Name.
Oremus. Flectamus genua. R. Levate. Let us pray. Let us kneel. R. Arise.
   Deus, cuius antiqua miracula etiam nostris saeculis coruscare sentimus: dum quod uni populo, a persecutione Aegyptiaca liberando, dexterae tuae potentia contulisti, id in salutem gentium per aquam regenerationis operaris: praesta; ut in Abrahae filios, et in Israeliticam dignitatem, totius mundi transeat plenitudo. Per Dominum nostrum, Iesum Christum, Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. R. Amen.    O God, Whose ancient miracles we see shining also in our days, whilst by the water of regeneration Thou dost operate for the salvation of the Gentiles, that which by the power of Thy right hand Thou didst confer upon one people, by delivering them from the Egyptian persecution: grant that all the nations of the world may become the children of Abraham, and partake of the dignity of the people of Israel. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who with Thee liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.