"He who exerciseth himself devoutly in the Passion of our Lord shall find abundantly all that is useful and necessary for him." - A Kempis.
Image from Wikipedia Commons
A blessed Holy Monday to you all, this will be our last post until after Lent is over and the blessed Resurrection of our Lord is upon us. We pray that you have a most holy and fruitful Holy Week and ask your prayers for our own same intentions.
The Office of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings in Holy Week is called Tenebraæ which signifies darkness), because in ancient times it was performed at midnight. In the sanctuary we notice a large triangular candlestick. The highest candle represents Jesus Christ, Who said of Himself, "I am the Light of the World," and the rest represent the Apostles and disciples, to whom He was pleased to communicate His own prerogative of being the Light of the world (Matt. v. 14). These candles are successively extinguished during the Office to represent how the Apostles fled and disappeared at the time of our Saviour's Passion. Near the end the candle representing our Lord is not extinguished, but hidden behind or under the altar to represent His death. Immediately there is profound silence to signify the horror of the Redeemer's death, followed by noise representing the earthquake and the confusion the world was in at that time.
The candlestick itself represents the Blessed Trinity, and the triangular arrangement of the candles gives us to understand that the light of truth which shone to the world from the life and doctrine of Christ and His disciples was derived from the same Blessed Trinity, and was intended to proclaim God's glory.
"The earth is darkened - rent the Temple's veil Now do the hearts of men with terror quail:
Rend Thou my heart, O God, in this dread hour; Break it with sweet contrition's holy power."
Example. - Count Elzear
The devout Count Elzear, despite the purity of his life, was blamed, calumniated, and otherwise badly treated even by his own subjects. Being asked one day by his wife Delphina how he would bear with indifference so many insults, he replied: "Whenever I receive an injury from anyone, I immediately turn away my heart to consider the great affronts that were put upon the Son of God by His own creatures, and I say to myself: Even if they were to pluck thee by the beard, or to buffet thee, what would that be in comparison with what they Divine Lord endured with so much patience? Know, moreover, that sometimes in these cases I feel great movements of anger, but then I fix my mind directly upon some corresponding injury that Jesus Christ once endured; nor do I let it wander from this consideration until I find that the inclination to anger has entirely passed away."
Links & Resources
Our friends over at Crusader's for Christ
have shared yet another WONDERFUL article on feast day traditions, they sure have some good resources! We thought you might enjoy, below you will find a teaser of this wonderful information. Also we are adding some Journaling Pages to each of the liturgical seasons and major feast days. They are intended for adults so that they may plan their feast day and/or season and have a record for the following year. These will also be replacing the Liturgical articles in the Holy Simplicity planner
(due to be out in May!) So far we have Lent
& St. Patrick's Day
Journaling pages up with more to follow!- A Candle is Lighted, Imprimatur 1945 -
This day was a general holiday, particularly for apprentices, and it would have been strange if it had not frequently become a day into which people tried to cram all the pleasure they would soon have to forego.
In Norwich, as probably in other cities, processions were made to symbolize the rapid approach of Lent. In 1440, say the Norwich records, such a procession was instigated by a certain John Gladman, who was known "as a man ever trewe (true) and feythfilll (faithful) to God." Crowned as king of Christmas, his horse bedecked with gilt and every sort of finery and tinsel he was preceded in the procession by twelve other horsemen, each representing a month of the year and each dressed appropriately. Last in the procession, following after the glittering king of Christmas, came Lent, a horseman dressed from head to foot in white cloth and herring skins, mounted on a horse with trappings of oyster shells--and this "in token that sadnesse shulde folowe (sadness should follow), and a holy tyme (time)." Thus they rode through Norwich, and many others of the townspeople joined in, dressed in every sort of fantastic dress, all of them "making myrth, disportes and playes."
That they ate pancakes everywhere is merely because eggs and butter and milk had to be finished off before the fasting began, and the making of pancakes, the beating of the batter, the frying and tossing of the pancakes, could be a festive affair.To finish reading visit Crusader's for Christ
"O Sacred Banquet in which Christ is received, the memory of His Passion renewed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given."
- St. Thomas
From Catholic Life
This day is commemorative of the Last Supper, at which our Lord instituted the Blessed Eucharist. The Gospel says: "And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to His disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat: This is My body. And taking the chalice He gave thanks: and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this, for this is My blood of the New Testament which shall be shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matt. xxvi 26-28).
All ought to assist at Holy Mass to-day, and receive Holy Communion out of love to our Lord, Who gave Himself to us as a most previous legacy on the very eve of His death.
The circumstances under which He instituted the Blessed Eucharist reveal His unbounded love. He instituted It 'the same night in which He was betrayed" (I Cor. xi. 23), and therefore at the very time when the hatred of His enemies was at its highest pitch, and when they were actually making their preparations to put Him to death. He instituted It though He knew that there was a vile traitor among His chosen followers, and that many Christians would despise and dishonour Him in this Sacrament.
At Mass to-day the priest consecrates a host to be reserved for the priest's communion to-morrow, there being, properly speaking, no Mass on Good Friday. This host is carried in solemn procession to the Altar of Repose, where it is kept till brought back in procession to the principal altar the following morning.
No bells are rung from the Gloria in excelsis till the same time on Saturday, to express the deep sorrow of the Church for the death of her Spouse.
After Mass the altars are uncovered, to put us in mind how Jesus, Whom the altar represents, was stripped of His garments at the time of His Passion; and therefore, while the priest uncovers them, he says the twenty-first Psalm, which is a clear prediction of our Saviour's Passion. During the day devout worshippers are to be seen coming and going to pay their homage and adoration to the God of love, and to get in return the love of God.
These worshippers feel better than they can express the reality of the Divine Presence. If they are in grief, they find peace and consolation. If in danger and temptation, they feel, rather than hear, Him say, "It is I: fear not," and their troubled bosoms enjoy a calm which is a foretaste of Heaven. Above all, they feel that their love is not misplaced, that it is not fruitless, that it is not followed by the emptiness of heart which succeeds the outpourings of love on created objects.
"No art or eloquence of man
Can tell the joys of love;
Only the Saints can understand
What they in Jesus prove.
Come, then, dear Lord, possess my heart,
Chase thence the shades of night;
Come, pierce it with Thy flaming dart
And ever-shining light."
Gabriel Garcia Moreno
Example. - Don Garcia Moreno
Moreno was re-elected President of Ecuador in 1869. During his term of office marvelous improvements were witnessed everywhere- in schools, in hospitals, the army and navy, finances, roads, railways, and especially in maintaining peace.
His last autograph letter was to the Holy Father Pius IX., announcing his re-election and begging benediction. "I have," he wrote, "the more need of the Divine protection now, since the Masonic lodges of the neighboring states vomit out every kind of atrocious insult and infamous slander against me, and have actually taken means secretly to assassinate me. What a happiness it is for me, most Holy Father, to be hated and calumniated for the love of our Divine Redeemer! What an immense blessing would it be for me if your benediction obtained for me grace to shed my blood for Him Who, being God, yet deigned to shed His blood for us on the Cross."
On the first Friday in August he received, as was his custom, Holy Communion in honour of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Some hours later, as he was passing the cathedral, he entered, and remained some time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. His assassins, three in number, were dogging his steps, and, becoming impatient at his remaining so long in church, they sent in word that some persons were waiting for him on important business.
He came out at once, and had already reached his palace when the first struck him with a heavy sword on the back of the neck. The President, fearless as ever, turned on the ruffian, when the two accomplices then rushed on him, and shot him many times with their revolvers and hacked him with their knives.
The troops, hearing the noise, rushed to the rescue, but it was too late. The President was mortally wounded. He was carried into the cathedral, where, after giving signs of consciousness and forgiveness of his assassins, he expired. His dying words were,
"GOD NEVER DIES!"
Great picture book!
Free Imprimatured E-Books
I'm starting a little project with my son called Notebooking Alban Butler's Lives of the Saints
. I recently found out about notebooking pages as a way to keep track of school projects and papers throughout the year in an orderly fashion as well as something presentable that the child can show family and friends. One of my little guys has taken up to learning about every saint that is mentioned and asking daily who the saint is on our Liturgical Year Bulletin Board
.I showed him one day Butler's Lives of the Saints, he isn't yet able to read on his own, but he was still in awe because the book was much bigger than his children's saint book. I asked if he wanted to learn about each saint listed there, being one for every day, and he was full of excitement. So I share with you our notebooking pages for the month of April Lives of the Saints. The goal is to share these monthly pages along with the saints for the Liturgical Year Bulletin Board. The bulletin board may not have as many as there are notebook pages as the ones for the board come from the mass prayers the Church has for each day where as the notebooking pages come from Butler's Lives of the Saints. Directions are included in the download but as always feel free to leave comments/questions below.*** As an additional note! ***Aprils Saint download for the Liturgical Bulletin Board had the wrong picture on the 29th for St. Peter of Verona. That file is corrected now and replaced, you may find it HERE as well. Pieces have also been added for Maunday Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday per reader request. God bless!
By: Maria Von Trapp
According to an old tradition, the first three days of Holy Week-- Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday--are dedicated to spring cleaning. In the days before the invention of the vacuum cleaner, this was a spectacular undertaking: sofas, easy chairs, and all mattresses would be carried out of the house and beaten mercilessly with a "Teppichpracker" (carpet-beater). Walls were dusted, curtains were changed--a thorough domestic upheaval. There is little time for cooking, and meals are made of leftovers. By Wednesday night the house looks spick and span.
And now the great "Feierabend" begins. "Feierabend" is an untranslatable word. It really means vigil--evening before a feast, the evening before Sunday, when work ceases earlier than on any other weekday in order to allow time to get into the mood to celebrate. "Feier" means "to celebrate," "Abend" means "evening." From now on until the Tuesday after Easter no unnecessary work will be done on our place. These days are set aside for Our Lord. On Wednesday, with all the satisfaction of having set our house at peace, and after the dishes of a simple early supper are finished, we go down to the village church in Stowe for the first Tenebrae service.
In the sanctuary, a large wrought-iron triangular candlestick is put up, with fifteen dark candles. We take our places in the choir, and the solemn chanting of matins and lauds begins. This is the first part of the Divine Office, which has been recited daily around the world by all priests and many religious since the early times of the Church. In the cathedrals and many monasteries it is chanted in common. For the last days of Holy Week, it is performed in public, so to speak--not only in cathedral churches, but in any church, so that the faithful may take part in it. We always consider this the greatest honor for us, the singing family, the greatest reward for all the trouble that goes along with life in public, that we can sing for all the Divine Offices in church.
Matins has three nocturnes, each one consisting of three psalms with their antiphons and three lessons. The first nocturne is always the most solemn one. We sing all the psalms on their respective "tonus". We sing the antiphons, some in Gregorian chant, some from the compositions of the old masters such as Palestrina, Lassus, Vittorio. The lessons were sung last year by Father Wasner, Werner, and Johannes. In the second and third nocturne we only recite the psalms in "recto tono" in order not to make it too long. Some of the antiphons and all of the lessons, however, are sung. After each psalm the altar boy extinguishes a candle, reminding us of how one Apostle after the other left Our Lord. Matins is followed by lauds, consisting of five psalms and antiphons which we recite. At the end of lauds there is only one candle left--the symbol of Our Lord all by Himself crying out, "Where are you, O My people!" And we, in the name of all the people, recite now the "Miserere," the famous penitential psalm, while the altar boy is carrying the last candle behind the altar and the church is now in complete darkness.
At the end of the "Miserere" we all make a banging noise with the breviary books. This custom is quite ancient. It is supposed to indicate the earthquake at the moment of the Resurrection. After this noise, the altar boy emerges from behind the altar with the burning Christ-candle and puts it back on the candlestick. This is a ray of hope anticipating the glorious Easter night. (In Austria the Tenebrae service is called "Pumpernette," or "noisy matins.") The congregation is following closely with booklets in which the whole service, which we sing in Latin, is given in English. This is the most moving evening service of the whole year. When we sing "Tenebrae factae sunt," an awesome silence falls upon the whole church, and when we sing the famous "Improperia `Popule meus'" by Palestrina we all are moved to the depths.
Is there anything more heartrending than to listen to the outcry of the anxious Redeemer: "My people, what have I done to thee, or in what have I grieved thee, answer Me. What more ought I to do for thee that I have not done?" On the morning of Holy Thursday, the Church in her service tries most movingly to combine the celebration of the two great events she wants to commemorate "Who lives in memory of Him," Our Lord had said on the first Holy Thursday when He gave Himself to us in the Holy Eucharist; and, "Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me. Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." This cry He uttered only a few hours later. Therefore, as the Solemn Mass begins, the festive strains of the organ accompany the chant of the Introit and Kyrie, and when the priest intones the Gloria, all the bells on the steeple, as well as in the church, ring together once more for the last time because, right afterwards, Holy Church, as the Bride of Christ, goes into mourning as she accompanies the Bridegroom through His hours of unspeakable suffering.
The organ remains silent when she reminds the faithful in the Gradual: "Christ became obedient unto us to death, even unto the death of the Cross...." The Gospel of this day tells of the lesson Jesus gave us in brotherly love and humility as He first washed the feet of His disciples, afterwards saying: "Know you what I have done to you? You call me Master, and Lord; and you say well, for so I am. If then I being your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you do also."
Therefore, in all cathedrals and abbey churches the bishops and abbots go down on their knees on this day after Holy Mass and wash the feet of the twelve oldest members of their communities. It is wonderful that in our days more and more parishes are adopting this beautiful custom, which brings home to us better than the most eloquent sermon that we should remember this word of Our Lord "For I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you do also," which should become increasingly the watchword in our daily life.
This is what the Church wants us to take home with us on that day the attitude of washing one another's feet; and, because we Catholics have not awakened to this fact, we are rightly to be blamed for all wrong and injustice and wars going on in the world! As Good Friday has no Mass of its own, but only the "Mass of the Pre-Sanctified," an extra big host was consecrated by the priest during Mass on Holy Thursday, which is put into a chalice and covered up with a white cloth. This chalice is now incensed immediately after Mass and carried in solemn procession to the "Altar of Repose," while the "Pange Lingua" is chanted solemnly. This repository should remind us of the prison in which Our Lord was kept that terrible night from Thursday to Friday.
Unlike that first night, where He was all alone after all the Apostles had fled, the faithful now take turns in keeping watch. There is an old legend circulating in the old country, still fervently believed by the children, that all the bells fly to Rome on Holy Thursday, where the Holy Father blesses them; they return in time for the Gloria on Holy Saturday. Another custom still alive in the villages throughout Austria is this: As the bell cannot be rung for the Angelus on these three days, the altar boys man their outdoor "Ratschen" (a kind of rattle looking like a toy wheelbarrow, whose one wheel grinds out deafening noise) and race through the streets, stopping at certain previously designated corners, lifting up their "Ratschen" and chanting in chorus: Wir ratschen, ratschen zum englischen Gruss, Den jeder katholische Christ beten muss. (We remind you by this noise of the Angelus, Of a prayer to be said by every faithful Christian.) Needless to say, many a little boy's heart waits eagerly for these three holy days. While he might be too young to understand the great thoughts of Holy Week, he certainly is wide awake to his own responsibility of reminding his fellow-men, "Time to pray!"
My son Werner is living with his family just a little way down the road. When his little boys, Martin and Bernhard, are big enough to shoulder the responsibility, their father will make them such an old-world "Ratschen" and their mother will teach them the rhyme going with it. In the house also, the bells have to be silent. The bell rung for the meals or for family devotions is replaced by a hand clapper worked by the youngest member of the family, who announces solemnly from door to door that lunch is ready. Holy Thursday has a menu all its own.
For the noon meal we have the traditional spring herb soup (Siebenkraeutersuppe). Spring Herb Soup Dandelions Chervil Cress Sorrel Leaf nettle The mixture of the above herbs should total about 7 ounces. Whether bought at the market or picked, they should be washed well. Steam in butter with finely chopped onions and parsley. Press through a sieve into a flour soup and let it boil. You may put in one or two egg yolks, one to two tablespoons of cream, or 1/4 cup milk. You also may use sour cream. Afterwards there is the traditional spinach with fried eggs.
In Austria, Holy Thursday is called "Gruendonnerstag" (Green Thursday). Many people think that the word "gruen" stands for the color, but this is not so. It derives from the ancient German word "greinen," meaning "to cry or moan." Nevertheless, "Gruendonnerstag" will have its green lunch. The evening of Holy Thursday finds us in our Sunday best around the dining-room table. Standing, we listen to the Gospel describing the happenings in the Upper Room. On the table is a bowl with "bitter herbs" (parsley, chives, and celery greens), another bowl with a sauce the Orthodox Jews use when celebrating their Pasch, and plates with unleavened bread (matzos can be obtained from any Jewish delicatessen store, but can also be made at home). Unleavened Bread 1-1/2 cups flour 1 egg, slightly beaten 1/4 tsp. salt 1/2 cup butter 1/3 cup warm water Mix salt, flour, and egg (and butter). Add the water, mix dough quickly with a knife, then knead on board, stretching it up and down to make it elastic until it leaves the board clean. Toss on a small, well-floured board. Cover with a hot bowl and keep warm 1/2 hour or longer. Then cut into squares of desired size and bake in 350-degree oven until done.
Then comes the feast-day meal of a yearling lamb roasted, eaten with these bitter herbs and the traditional sauce. Each time we dip the herbs in the sauce, we remember Our Lord answering sadly the question of the Apostles as to who was the traitor: "He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, he shall betray me."
Afterwards the table is cleared and in front of Father Wasner's place is put a tray filled with wine glasses and a silver plate with unleavened bread. While breaking up portions of bread, he blesses the bread and wine individually and hands it to each one around the table and we drink and eat, remembering Our Lord, Who must have celebrated such a "love feast" many times with His Apostles. This was the custom in His days; just as we in our time will give a party on the occasion of the departure of a member of the family or a good friend, the people in the time of Christ used to clear the table after a good meal and bring some special wine and bread, and in the "breaking of the bread" they would signify their love for the departing one. The first Christians took over this custom, and after having celebrated the Eucharist together, they would assemble in a home for an "agape," the Greek word for "love feast." To share bread and wine together in this fashion therefore, was not in itself startling to the Apostles, but the occasion was memorable on this first Holy Thursday because it was Our Lord's own great farewell.
As we thus celebrate the breaking of the bread around our table at home, we keep thinking of the words He had said immediately before: "A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you...." Every Holy Thursday night spent like this knits a family closer together, "careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, one body and one Spirit...one Lord, one faith..." as St. Paul wrote to the Ephesians. On Good Friday Holy Mother Church gives her children a beautiful opportunity for a profession of faith: the adoration of the cross. Behind the priests and altar boys follows the whole congregation. We remove our shoes when we go to adore the cross. Three times we prostrate ourselves as we come closer, until we finally bend over and kiss the feet of the crucified. As we, the church choir, follow right behind the priest, we sing during the rest of the adoration.
Our songs are the heartrendingly moving "Crux fidelis" by King John of Portugal, and Eberlin's "Tenebrae factae sunt," of such haunting beauty. When the adoration of the cross is finished, the candles on the altar are lighted, the cross is most reverently taken up from the floor and placed on the altar, and a procession forms to get the Blessed Sacrament from the "Altar of Repose." During this procession the hymn "Vexilla Regis" is sung. And then follows a ceremony that is not a real Mass, although it is called the "Mass of the Pre-Sanctified."
The priest consumes the Host that was consecrated the day before. On the anniversary of Our Lord's death--the bloody sacrifice--the Church does not celebrate the symbol of the unbloody sacrifice. After the official service is finished, the altar is stripped again. The tabernacle is left open, no vigil light burns in the sanctuary. But in front of the empty tabernacle lies the crucifix on the steps of the altar, and the people come all during the day for adoration.
In Austria another custom was added. At the end of the official service the priest would carry the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance, covered with a transparent veil, and expose it on the side altar, where a replica of the Holy Sepulchre had been set up with more or less historical accuracy, with more or less taste, but always with the best of will. Like the creche around Christmas time, so the Holy Sepulchre on Good Friday would be an object of pride for every parish, one parish trying to outdo the other. The people in Salzburg used to go around at Christmas time and in Holy Week to visit the Christ Child's crib and the Holy Sepulchre in all thirty-five churches of the town, comparing and criticizing. There would be literally hundreds of vigil lights surrounding the Body of Christ in the tomb of rock, which was almost hidden beneath masses of flowers. There would be a guard of honor, not only of the soldiers, but also of firemen in uniform and of war veterans with picturesque plumed hats. I still remember the atmosphere of holy awe stealing over my little heart when as a child I would make the rounds of churches.
There in the Holy Sepulchre He would rest now, watched over by His faithful until Holy Saturday afternoon. Here in America we have found another lovely custom: people going from church to church not on Good Friday but on Holy Thursday. On that day, the churches are decorated with a profusion of flowers, as a sign of love and gratitude for the Holy Eucharist.
The contrast with the bare churches the day after, on Good Friday, is all the more striking and gives a tremendous feeling of desolation. Good Friday is a very quiet day with us. There is little to do in the kitchen, since fasting is observed rigorously on this day. We have no breakfast, and all that is served for lunch, on a bare table without tablecloth, is one pot of thick soup, "Einbrennsuppe," which everyone eats standing up in silence. There is little noise around the house. Talking is restricted to the bare essentials, as it would be if a dearly beloved were lying dead in the house.
As we are so privileged as to have a chapel in our house, we use the day when the holy house of God is empty and desolate to clean and polish all the sacred vessels and chalices and the ciborium, the monstrance, candlesticks, and censer. The vigil light before the picture of the Blessed Mother in the living room is also extinguished, because on Good Friday Christ, the Light of the World, is dead. From twelve until three, the hours of Our Lord's agony on the cross, all activity stops. We sit together in the empty chapel before the cross and spend these hours in prayer, meditation, and spiritual reading. From time to time we rise and sing one or the other of the beautiful Lenten hymns and motets.
On Holy Saturday, a new stir of activity starts in the kitchen. Eggs are boiled in different pots containing various dyes--blue, green, purple, yellow, and red. Every member of the household who wants to participate in this art takes some eggs to his or her room, after they have dried, to work on them in secret. One takes some muriatic acid with which she etches the most intriguing patterns out of the colored foundation. It is quite popular in our house to etch the first line of Easter songs--staves, notes, and words. Our cleverest artist sits with paint and brush, and under her fingers appear pictures of an Easter lamb, or of Our Risen Saviour Himself, or of the Blessed Mother, or of the different patron saints of the family. Sometimes they turn out to be little gems. Others fasten dried ferns or little maple leaves or other herbs around the eggs before they are boiled in dye. When these leaves are finally taken off, the shape of the flowers and herbs remains white, while the rest of the egg is colored. This is easily done and looks very pretty. These eggs first appear on trays and in bowls on Easter Sunday morning at the foot of the altar for the solemn blessing of the food. Afterwards they will be distributed at the solemn Easter breakfast.