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Christ's ascension, was stoned to death by the
27 Dec. St. John, Apostle and Evangelist; after writing his gospel in his banishment, and receiving his revelations, lived to the time of Trajan the Emperor, and both founded and governed the Church of Asia.
28 Dec. Holy Innocents, a feast in commemoration of the infants barbarously slaughtered by Herod, when he sought to take away the life of our blessed Saviour. It is also called Childer-Mass-Day, from the particular commemoration of those martyred children in the Mass of that day.
29 Dec. St. Thomas, Archbishop of Canterbury, and patron of the English Clergy, for maintaining the privileges of the Church of God, was martyred at vespers in his own ca. thedral, anno 1170.
The several festivals of the other saints are instituted by the Church, to bonour God in his saints, and to teach us to imitate their virtues, and honour their martyrdom and sufferings for the faith of Christ.
An Explanation of the ORNAMents and
CEREMONIES that are used in the holy
Sacrifice of the Mass. ALL the visible rights employed in and about the sacrifice of the Mass tend to instruction, and to the commemoration of the death and passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, in compliance with his own command,“ Do this for the commemoration of me," 1 Cor. xi. 24: that is, do this in memory of my passion. This is plainly to be observed in the altar and its ornaments, as likewise in the garments with which the priest is invested, viz.,
The Altar signifies Mount Calvary, whereon
Jesus Christ (the only Son of God, and second Person of the most blessed Trinity, our Re. deemer) was crucified upon a reproachful cross; which very word of Altar hath relation to sacrifice, which must necessarily be offered to God in that Church, where his true faith is professed; and therefore this name of Altar is mentioned by St. Paul, Heb. xiii. 10. . We have an altar, whereof they have no power to eat, who serve the tabernacle:" and 1 Cor. ix. xiii. as it is likewise in St. Matt. v. 24. All which is a sufficient warrant for us to use the name of Altar; which also represents the table whereon our Saviour did celebrate his last supper with his disciples, the night before he suffered.
The Corporal and Linen Cloths that cover the altar, do signify the linen cloth that wrapped the sacred body of Christ, when he was laid in the sepulchre.
The Candles lighted on the altar signify the light of faith revealed to the Jews and Gentiles; and they advertise us of the great splendour both of faith, of good life and works, required in the celebration of so high and dreadful a mystery.
The Crucifir betokens our blessed Redeemer's victory over death, and is placed in the midst of the altar, to represent to our mind the death and passion of Jesus Christ which is there chiefly to be considered, and piously meditated on in that holy sacrifice.
The Chalice betokens the holy sepulchre of our Lord.
The Paten, the great stone which was rolled against the door of the same sepulchre.
The GARMENTS wherewith the Priest is when they smote and buffeted him, saying : “ Prophesy unto us, Christ, who is he that struck thee?" Matt. xxvi. 68.
vested during the time of Mass. The Amice, a linen cloth which the priest pulls over his face, and fastens on his neck, signifies the rag of linen wherewith the Jews blindfolded Christ our Saviour in mockery,
The Alb (that is, a white linen garment) does represent the garment which Herod put on Christ, after he had despised and mocked him. Luke xxiii. 12.
The Maniple that the priest weareth on bis left arm, and the Stole that hangeth about his neck, and the Girdle, do figure the cords and fetters with which the officers of the Jews bound Christ, and led him from one place to another. John xviii. 12.
The Chasuble (that is, the upper garment) doth express the purple garment the soldiers put on Jesus Christ, (Matt. xxvii. 28.) and the heavy cross also that Christ carried on his blessed shoulders on Mount Calvary.
The priest's Tonsure (that is to say, the crown of his head shaved in fashion of a circle) doth represent the crown of thorns which the soldiers plaited, and put about the sacred head of our Saviour. Mark xv. 17.
The CereMONIES of the Holy Mass. The Confiteor denotes the repentance and preparation we ought to have when we assist at the holy mysteries, and puts us in mind of the infinite faults we have committed, for which we ask pardon of God.
The Gloria in excelsis Deo puts us in mind of the hymn and praise which the angels sung at Christ's nativity.
The Collect signifies the prayers which our Lord made in the temple, when he went with his mother and St. Joseph to Jerusalem, there to worship his heavenly Father.
The Epistle resembles the preaching of St. John Baptist.
The Gradual, the penance which ensued among the good people upon that preaching.
The Holy Gospel betokens the holy preaching of our Saviour Jesus Christ.,
The Credo in Deum signifieth the great fruit which ensued from the holy sermons of Christ.
The Offertory denotes the great promptitude and fervent affection of a deliberate will, which our Saviour had during his whole life, offering himself to God his Father for our redemption, and to suffer death for us.
The Orate Fratres, with the secret prayers, signify the retreat of our Redeemer, when hé withdrew into the desert of Ephraim, where he retired secretly with his disciples previous to his death and passion.
The Preface and Sursum Corda, signify his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, at which time the devout people received him with great acclamations of joy, saying, Hosanna in the highest.
The Canon represents his prayer in the garden, the agony and sweating of blood he endured, and how all his disciples left him.
The sundry Crosses that the Priest makes over the Flost and Chalice, before and after Consecration, are mystical representations of the many grievous torments which Christ endured for the accomplishment of the general redemption of mankind.
The Elevation of the Host and Chalice do figure the lifting up of Christ on the Cross ; and inasmuch as the Host and Chalice are exhibited apart, the ceremony declares the separation of Christ's soul from his body, and his blood from his veins. The division of the Host into three distinct parts, doth show the three substances in Christ, viz., the divine, of his person; the spiri. tual, of his soul; and the material, of his body. And whereas one of the said parts is put into the chalice, and as it were buried therein, thereby is signified Christ's body in the sepulchre ; likewise its mingling with the blood, demonstrates that the divine personality was never separated, neither from his soul in his descent into hell, nor from his body lying in the sepulchre.
The Pax and Agnus Dei make us call to mind, that our Saviour being the innocent Lamb without spot, has reconciled us to God his Father by his death and passion, accomplishing his triumph at the resurrection, being our true Paschal Lamb.
The Priest's Benediction, given at the end of the Mass, represents the peculiar recommenda. tions wherewith Christ did recommend his Church, at the rendering of his soul into the hands of his divine Father.
An Explanation of the COLOURS used by
the Church at Divine Service, White on the Feasts of our Lord, of the blessed Virgin, and of all the Saints not Martyrs.
Red. At Whitsuntide, on the Invention and Exaltation of the Cross, and on the Feasts of the Apostles and Martyrs.
PURPLE or VIOLET, the penitential colour. On all the Sundays and Ferias of Advent; the penitential time from Septuagesima till Easter ; and on Vigils, Ember and Rogation days, when the office is of them.
GREEN. On all Sundays and Ferias from Trinity Sunday to Advent exclusively, and from the Octave of the Epiphany to Septuagesima, exclusively, whenever the office is of the Sun. day; but in the Paschal time WHITE.
Black. On Good-Friday, and Masses for the dead, which may be said on any day which is not a Sunday or a double, except from PalmSunday to Low-Sunday, and during the Octaves of the Epiphany, or of Pentecost, and of Corpus Christi.
Upon the Sign of the Cross. This sign is prescribed in our Rituals, to be frequently used, particularly in the administration of baptism, and in the sacrifice of the altar, to signify, that all grace is derived from the