GOOD FRIDAY – TENEBRAE – THE NIGHT OFFICE

Roman Breviary which belonged to Pope Saint Pius V (1504–1572).

Roman Breviary which belonged to Pope Saint Pius V (1504–1572).

                     GOOD FRIDAY            

TENEBRAE – NIGHT OFFICE -MATINS

                                 Taken from

       The Liturgical Year by Fr. Dom Guéranger

                     Liturgical note

The Office of Matins and Lauds, for the last three days of Holy Week, differs, in many things, from that of the rest of the year. All is sad and mournful, as though it were a funeral-service: nothing could more emphatically express the grief that now weighs down the heart of our holy mother the Church. Throughout all the Office of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, she forbids herself the use of those formulas of joy and hope, wherewith, on all other days, she begins her praise of God. The Domine, labia mea aperies (O Lord, thou shalt open my lips): the Deus, in adjutorium meum intende (Incline unto mine aid, O God): the Gloria Patri, at the end of the Psalms, Canticles, and Responsories: — all are taken away. So likewise are those soul-stirring additions, which have been gradually made, in the different ages; and nothing is left, but what is essential to the form of the Divine Office, Psalms, Lessons, and Chants expressive of grief. Each Canonical Hour ends with the Psalm Miserere, and with a commemoration of the Death and Cross of our Redeemer. The name of Tenebrae has been given to the Matins and Lauds of the last three days of Holy Week, because this Office used formerly to be celebrated during the night: and even when the hour was anticipated, the name of Tenebrae was kept up for another reason; namely, that it began with day light, but ended after the sun had set. There is an impressive ceremony, peculiar to this Office, which tends to perpetuate its name. There is placed in the Sanctuary, near the Altar, a large triangular candlestick, holding fifteen candles. These candles, and the six that are on the Altar, are of yellow wax, as in the Office for the Dead. At the end of each Psalm or Canticle, one of these fifteen candles is extinguished; but the one, which is placed at the top of the Triangle, is left lighted. During the singing of the Benedictus, at Lauds, the Six candles on the Altar are also put out. Then the Master of Ceremonies takes the lighted candle from the Triangle, and holds it upon the Altar, whilst the Choir repeats the antiphon after the Canticle: after which, he hides it behind the Altar during the recitation of the Miserere and the Prayer, which follows the Psalm. As soon as this Prayer is finished, a noise is made with the seats of the stalls in the choir, which continues until the candle is brought from behind the Altar, and shows, by its light, that the Office of Tenebrae is over.

Tenebrae

Let us now study the meaning of these ceremonies. The glory of the Son of God was obscured, and, so to say, eclipsed, by the ignominies he endured during his Passion. He, the Light of the world, powerful in word and work, who, but a few days ago, was proclaimed King by the citizens of Jerusalem, is now robbed of all his honours; he is, says Isaias, the Man of sorrows, — a leper; he is, says the Royal Prophet, a worm of the earth, and no man; he is, as he says of himself, an object of shame even to his own Disciples, for they are all scandalized in him, and abandon him, yea, even Peter protests that he never knew him. This desertion on the part of his Apostles and Disciples is expressed by the candles being extinguished, one after the other, not only on the Triangle, but on the Altar itself. But Jesus, our Light, though despised and hidden, is not extinguished. This is signified by the Candle which is momentarily placed on the Altar; it figures our Redeemer suffering and dying on Calvary. In order to express his burial, the candle is hid behind the Altar; its light disappears. A confused noise is heard in the House of God, where all is now darkness. This noise and gloom express the convulsions of nature, when Jesus expired on the Cross; — the earth shook, the rocks were split, the dead came forth from their tombs. But the candle suddenly re appears; its light is as fair as ever; the noise is hushed, and homage is paid to the Conqueror of Death.

 Christ Carrying the Cross, LIGOZZI, Jacopo – 1604, wga

          THE FIRST NOCTURN

The first Psalm, after having spoken of the Eternal Generation of the Son of God, prophesies his Kingship over the Nations, and the vengeance he will take on his enemies, at the last day. As this magnificent Canticle also foretells the revolt of earthly Princes against Christ, the Church uses it on this day, when the Synagogue has plotted his Death.

Ant. The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together, against the Lord, and against his Christ.

                   PSALM 2

Why have the Gentiles raged, and the people devised vain things?  The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together, against the Lord, and against his Christ.

They said: Let us break their bonds asunder: and let us cast away their yoke from us. He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh at them: and the Lord shall deride them. Then shall he speak to them in his anger: and trouble them in his rage. But I am appointed king by him over Sion his holy mountain, preaching his commandment.

The Lord hath said to me: Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I will give thee the Gentiles for thy inheritance: and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession.

Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron: and shalt break them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. And now, O ye kings, understand: receive instruction, you that judge the earth. Serve ye the Lord with fear: and rejoice unto him with trembling.

Embrace discipline, lest at any time the Lord be angry: and you perish from the just way. When his wrath shall be kindled in a short time, blessed are all they that trust in him. Ant. The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together, against the Lord and against his Christ.

The second Psalm is pre-eminently the Psalm of the Passion. The first verse contains one of the Seven Words spoken by our Saviour on the Cross. The rest of the Psalm mentions so many circumstances of the Passion, and with such clearness, that we almost seem to be reading the account of an eyewitness. Thus it tells us, among other particulars of our Lord’s sufferings, of his Hands and Feet being pierced, of his body being violently stretched upon the Cross, of his Garments being divided, of Lots being cast for his Vesture, of his Agony, and of his being insulted by them that crucified him.

Ant. They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture they cast lots.

                     Psalm 21

O God, my God, look upon me: why hast thou forsaken me? Far from my salvation are the words of my sins.

O my God, I shall cry by day, and thou wilt not hear: and by night, and it shall not be reputed as folly in me. But thou dwellest in the holy place, the praise of Israel. In thee have our fathers hoped: they have hoped and thou hast delivered them. They cried to thee, and they were saved: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.

But I am a worm, and no man: the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people.

All they that saw me have laughed me to scorn: they have spoken with the lips, and wagged the head. They said: He hoped in the Lord, let him deliver him: let him save him, seeing he delighted in him. For thou art he that hast drawn me out of the womb: my hope from the breasts of my mother. I was cast upon thee from the womb. From my mother’s womb thou art my God, depart not from me. For tribulation is very near: for there is none to help me.

Many calves have surrounded me: fat bulls have besieged me. They have opened their mouths against me, as a lion ravening and roaring. I am poured out like water: and all my bones are scattered.

My heart is become like wax melting in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue hath cleaven to my jaws: and thou hast brought me down into the dust of death. For many dogs have encompassed me: the council of the malignant hath besieged me. They have dug my hands and feet: they have numbered all my bones. And they have looked and stared upon me: they parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture they cast lots.

But thou, O Lord, remove not thy help to a distance from me: look towards my defense. Deliver, O God, my soul from the sword: my only one from the hand of the dog. Save me from the lion’s mouth: and my lowness from the horns of the unicorns. I will declare thy name to my brethren: in the midst of the church will I praise thee. Ye that fear the Lord, praise him: all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him.

Let all the seed of Israel fear him: because he hath not slighted nor despised the supplication of the poor man. Neither hath he turned away his face from me: and when I cried to him he heard me. With thee is my praise in the great church: I will pay my vows in the sight of them that fear him.

The poor shall eat and shall be filled: and they shall praise the Lord that seek him: their hearts shall live for ever and ever. All the ends of the earth shall remember and shall be converted to the Lord. And all the kindreds of the Gentiles shall adore in his sight.

For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he shall have dominion over the nations. All the fat ones of the earth have eaten and have adored: all they that go down to the earth shall fall before him.

And to him my soul shall live: and my seed shall serve him. There shall be declared to the Lord a generation to come: and the heavens shall show forth his justice to a people that shall be born, which the Lord hath made.

Ant. They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture they cast lots.

The third Psalm was composed by David, when feeling the persecution of Saul. It shows us how this holy Prophet kept up his confidence in the Lord, in spite of all the dangers that threatened him. David is here a figure of Christ in his Passion.

Ant. Unjust witnesses have risen up against me, and iniquity hath belied itself.

                   PSALM 26

The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the protector of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? Whilst the wicked draw near against me, to eat my flesh. My enemies that troubled me have been weakened, and have fallen.

If armies in camp should stand together against me, my heart shall not fear. If a battle should rise up against me, in this will I be confident. One thing have I asked of the Lord, this will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. That I may see the delight of the Lord, and may visit his temple.

For he hath hid me in his tabernacle: in the day of evils he hath protected me in the secret place of his tabernacle. He hath exalted me upon a rock: and now he hath lifted up my head above my enemies. I have gone round, and have offered up in his tabernacle a sacrifice of jubilation: I will sing, and recite a psalm to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, my voice, with which I have cried to thee: have mercy on me, and hear me. My heart hath said to thee, my face hath sought thee: thy face, Lord, will I still seek. Turn not away thy face from me: decline not in thy wrath from thy servant. Be thou my helper: forsake me not, do not thou despise me, O God my Saviour.

For my father and my mother have left me: but the Lord hath taken me up.

Set me, O Lord, a law in thy way: and guide me in the right path, because of my enemies. Deliver me not over to the will of them that trouble me: for unjust witnesses have risen up against me and iniquity hath belied itself.

I believe to see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living. Expect the Lord, do manfully: and let thy heart take courage, and wait thou for the Lord.

Ant. Unjust witnesses have risen up against me, and iniquity hath belied itself.

V. They parted my garments among them.

R. And upon my vesture they cast lots.

The Lessons of the first Nocturn, for each of these three days, are taken from the Lamentations of Jeremias, which describe the miserable state of Jerusalem, when, in punishment for her idolatry, her people were led captive into Babylon. How visibly is the anger of God shown in these ruins of the great City, over which Jeremias pours forth his inspired words of mourning! And yet, this first disaster was but a figure of a more terrible one to come. When the Assyrians took Jerusalem, and well nigh reduced her to a wilderness, she lost not her name; and the very Prophet, who laments over her destruction, had foretold that the desolation was not to last beyond seventy years. But, in her second destruction, the faithless City forfeited even her name. Rebuilt by her conquerors, she went, for two hundred years, under the name of Aelia Adriana; and when, after peace was granted to the Church, she was again called Jerusalem, it was not a restitution of honour to Juda, but a homage that was paid to the God of the Christians, whom Juda had crucified in her capital. Neither St. Helen’s and Constantine’s devotedness, nor the heroism of the Crusaders, could raise Jerusalem to the” position of even a second-rate City; she is doomed to be a slave, and a slave to infidels, to all but the very end of time. She drew this frightful curse upon herself by the crimes she committed against the Son of God; and nothing could give us a better idea of the enormity of those crimes, than the plaintive words of such a Prophet as Jeremias. This is the reason that his Lamentations are chosen for the Lessons of Tenebrae. The mournful chant, to which they are sung, is probably the one used by the Jews themselves. The names of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, which divide the stanzas of this inspired Elegy, show us that it was written by the Prophet as an Acrostic. The Jewish custom of singing these Lamentations has been retained in the Christian Church.

                   FIRST LESSON

From the Lamentation of Jeremias the Prophet

                      Chapter II. 

HETH. The Lord hath purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Sion: he hath stretched out his line, and hath not withdrawn his hand from destroying: and the bulwark hath mourned, and the wall hath been destroyed together.

TETH. Her gates are sunk into the ground: he hath destroyed and broken her bars: her king and her princes are among the Gentiles. The law is no more, and her prophets have found no vision from the Lord.

JOD. The ancients of the daughter of Sion sit upon the ground, they have held their peace; they have sprinkled their heads with dust, they are girded with hair-cloth: the virgins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground.

CAPH. My eyes have failed with weeping, my bowels are troubled. My liver is poured out upon the earth, for the destruction of the daughter of my people, when the children and the sucklings fainted away in the streets of the city.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord thy God.

V. All my friends have forsaken me, and they that lay in ambush for me prevailed: he whom I loved has betrayed me. * And they, with terrible looks striking me with a cruel wound, gave me vinegar to drink.

R. They cast me out among the wicked, and spared not my life. * And they, with terrible looks striking me with a cruel wound, gave me vinegar to drink.

              SECOND LESSON

LAMED. They said to their mother: Where is corn and wine? when they fainted away as the wounded in the streets of the city: when they breathed out their souls in the bosoms of their mothers.

MEM. To what shall I compare thee or to what shall I liken thee, daughter of Jerusalem to what shall I equal thee, that I may comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Sion? For great as the sea is thy destruction: who shall heal thee?

NUN. Thy prophets have seen false and foolish things for thee, and they have not laid open thy iniquity, to excite thee to penance: but they have seen for thee false revelations and banishments.

SAMECH. All they that passed by the way have clapped their hands at thee: they have hissed and wagged their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying: Is this the city of perfect beauty, the joy of all the earth?

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord thy God.

R. The veil of the temple was rent, *And all the earth shook: the thief cried out from the cross, saying: Remember me, O Lord, when thou shalt come into thy kingdom.

V. The rocks were split, and the monuments opened, and many bodies of the saints that were dead rose out of them.

*And all the earth shook: the thief cried out from the cross, saying: Remember me, O Lord, when thou shalt come into thy kingdom.

In the third Lesson, which now follows, Jeremias passes to another subject. According to the usage of the Prophets, he leaves Jerusalem to speak of Him who is the expectation of Israel, the Messias. But it is not of the glory of the Messias that he now Speaks: it is of the sufferings lie endures: he has made himself the object of God’s severest justice, by taking upon himself the sins of the whole world.

            THIRD LESSON

ALEPH.

I am the man that see my poverty by the rod of his indignation. Aleph. He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, and not into light.

ALEPH. Only against me he hath turned, and turned his hand all the day. Beth. My skin and my flesh he hath made old, he hath broken my bones.

BETH. He hath built round about me, and he hath compassed me with gall and labour.

BETH. He hath set me in dark places as those that are dead for ever.

GHIMEL. He hath built against me round about, that I may not get out: he hath made my fetters heavy.

GHIMEL. Yea, and when I cry and entreat, he hath shut out my prayer.

GHIMEL. He hath shut up my ways with square stones, he hath turned my paths upside down.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord thy God.

R. O my chosen vineyard, it is I that have planted thee:

*How art thou become so bitter, that thou shouldst crucify me, and release Barabbas?

V. I have hedged thee in, and picked the stones out of thee, and have built a tower.

The Mocking of Christ by Giuseppe Cesari

         THE SECOND NOCTURN

In the fourth Psalm, David humbly acknowledges that the rebellion of his son Absalom was a just punishment of the sins he himself had committed. He is a figure of the Messias, who, in his Agony, confesses that the iniquities, which he has taken upon himself, are a heavy burden upon him, that his heart is troubled, and that his strength hath left him.

Ant. They used violence that sought my soul.

                PSALM 37

Rebuke me not, Lord, in thy indignation: nor chastise me in thy wrath. For thy arrows are fastened in me: and thy hand hath been strong upon me.

There is no health in my flesh, because of thy wrath: there is no peace for my bones, because of my sins. For my iniquities are gone over my head: and as a heavy burthen are become heavy upon me.

My sores are putrefied and corrupted, because of my foolishness. I am become miserable, and am bowed down even to the end: I walked sorrowful all the day long. For my loins are filled with illusions: and there is no health in my flesh.

I am afflicted and humbled exceedingly: I roared with the groaning of my heart. Lord, all my desire is before thee: and my groaning is not hid from thee.

My heart is troubled, my strength hath left me: and the light of my eyes itself is not with me.

My friends and my neighbours have drawn near, and stood against me.

And they that were near me stood afar off: and they that sought my soul used violence. And they that sought evils to me spoke vain things: and studied deceits all the daylong. But I, as a deaf man, heard not: and was as a dumb man not opening his mouth.

And I became as a man that heareth not: and that hath no reproofs in his mouth.

For in thee, O Lord, have I hoped: thou wilt hear me, O Lord my God.

For I said: Lest at any time my enemies rejoice over me: and whilst my feet are moved, they speak great things against me. For I am ready for scourges: and my sorrow is continually before me.

For I will declare my iniquity: and I will think for my sin. But my enemies live, and are stronger than I: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied. They that render evil for good, have detracted me, because I followed goodness.

Forsake me not, O Lord my God: do not thou depart from me. Attend unto my help, O Lord, the God of my salvation.

Ant. They used violence that sought my soul.

The fifth Psalm also represents David, under persecution, as the figure of the Messias. But there is one verse in it, which refers only to Christ, and not to David: it is the tenth, wherein it is said: Burnt offerings and sin-offerings thou didst not require: then said I: “Behold I come!”

Ant. Let them be confounded and ashamed that seek after my soul, to take it away.

                  PSALM 39

With expectation I have waited for the Lord, and he was attentive to me. And he heard my prayers, and he brought me out of the pit of misery, and the mire of dregs.

And he set my feet upon a rock, and directed my steps.

And he put a new canticle into my mouth, a song to our God. Many shall see this, and shall fear : and they shall hope in the Lord.

Blessed is the man whose trust is in the name of the Lord: and who hath not had regard to vanities and lying follies. Thou hast multiplied thy wonderful works, O Lord my God: and in thy thoughts there is no one like to thee. I have declared, and I have spoken: they are multiplied above number. Sacrifice and oblation thou didst not desire: but thou hast pierced ears for me.

Burnt-offerings and sin-offerings thou didst not require: then said I: Behold I come. In the head of the book it was written of me, that I should do thy will: O my God, I have desired it, and thy law in the midst of my heart. I have declared thy justice in the great church: lo I will not restrain my lips:

O Lord, thou knowest it. I have not hid thy justice within my heart. I have declared thy truth and thy salvation. I have not concealed thy mercy and thy truth from the great council. Withhold not thou, O Lord, thy tender mercies from me: thy mercy and thy truth have always upheld me.

For evils without number have surrounded me: my iniquities have overtaken me, and I was not able to see.

They are multiplied above the hairs of my head: and my heart hath forsaken me. Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me: look down, Lord, to help me. Let them be confounded and ashamed together, that seek after my soul, to take it away. Let them be turned backward, and be ashamed, that desire evils to me. Let them immediately bear their confusion that say to me: Tis well, ’tis well.

Let all that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation, say always.

The Lord be magnified. But I am a beggar and poor: the Lord is careful for me.

Thou art my helper and my protector: O my God, be not slack.

Ant. Let them be confounded and ashamed that seek after my soul, to take it away.

In the sixth Psalm, David, persecuted by Saul, is a figure of our Saviour, against whom the Synagogue prepares its wicked plots.

Ant. Strangers have risen up against me, and the mighty have sought after my soul.

               PSALM 53

Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me in thy strength. God, hear my prayer: give ear to the words of my mouth. For strangers have risen up against me: and the mighty have sought after my soul: and they have not set God before their eyes.

For behold God is my helper: and the Lord is the protector of my soul. Turn back the evils upon my enemies: and cut them off in thy truth. I will freely sacrifice to thee, and will give praise, O God, to thy name: because it is good. For thou hast delivered me out of all trouble: and my eye hath looked down upon my enemies.

Ant. Strangers have risen up against me, and the mighty have sought after my soul.

V. Unjust witnesses have risen up against me.

R. And iniquity hath belied itself.

Here is said, in secret, the Our Father.

For the Second Nocturn Lessons the Church continues the Enarrations of St. Augustine, on the Psalms prophetic of our Lord’s Passion.

From the treatise of Saint Augustine, Bishop, upon the Psalms.

            Psalm LXIII

 Judas betrays Christ - Woe to that man through whom the Son of Man is betrayed! Caravaggio

            FOURTH LESSON

Thou hast protected me O God, from the assembly of the wicked, from the multitude of those that work iniquity. Now let us behold our head himself. Many martyrs have suffered such torments, but nothing is so conspicuous as the head of the martyrs; there we see better what they endured. He was protected from the multitude of the wicked: that is, God protected himself; the Son, and the Man assumed by the Son, protected his own flesh. For he is the Son of Man, and the Son of God: the Son of God because of the form of God: the Son of Man because of the form of a servant, having it in his power to lay down his life, and take it up again. What could his enemies do against him ‘? They killed his body, but they did not kill his soul. Take notice, then. It signified little for our Lord to exhort the martyrs by word, if he had not fortified them by his example.

R. Ye are come out to take me, as a thief, with swords and clubs. * I was daily with you in the Temple teaching, and ye did not apprehend me: and lo! ye scourge me, and lead me to be crucified.

V. And when they had laid hands on Jesus, and taken him, he said to them: * I was daily with you in the Temple teaching, and ye did not apprehend me: and lo! ye scourge me, and lead me to be crucified.

             FIFTH LESSON

You know what was the assembly of the wicked Jews, and what the multitude of those that work iniquity. But what was that iniquity? It was that they intended to kill our Lord Jesus Christ. I have done, saith he, so many good works among you: for which of them will you kill me? He bore with all their weaknesses, he cured all their sick, he preached the kingdom of heaven, he concealed not their crimes, that they might rather hate them, than the physician that healed them. Yet such was their ingratitude for all these cures, that like men raving in a high fever, they raged against the physician that came to cure them, and formed a design of destroying him: as if they had a mind to try whether he was a real man that could die, or something above men, and would not die. We find their words in the Wisdom of Solomon: Let us condemn him, say they, to a most shameful death. Let us examine him: for regard will he had to his words. If he is truly the Son of God, let him deliver him.

R. Darkness covered the earth, whilst the Jews crucified Jesus: and about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice: My God! why hast thou forsaken me? * And bowing down his head, he gave up the ghost.

V. Jesus crying out with a loud voice said: Father! into thy hands I commend my spirit!

*And bowing down his head, he gave up the ghost.

JESUS BEFORE PILATE

                SIXTH LESSON

They sharpened their tongues like a sword. Let not the Jews say: ” We did not kill Christ: ” for they delivered him up to Pilate, the judge, that they might seem innocent of his death. Thus when Pilate had said to them: Put him to death yourselves: they answered: It is not lawful for us to put any man to death. Hereby, they pretended to throw the injustice of their crime upon a judge that was a man: but could they deceive a Judge that is God? What Pilate did, made him partaker of their crime: but in comparison with them, he was much more innocent. For he laboured what he could to get him out of their hands; and for that reason ordered him to be scourged and shown to them. This he did to our Lord, not by way of persecution, but to satisfy their rage; that the sight of him in that condition might move them to pity, and make them desist from desiring his death. All this he did. But when they still persisted, you know that he washed his hands, and said, that he had no hand in it, that he was innocent of his death. And yet he really put him to death. But if he was guilty for doing so against his will: are they innocent that forced him to if? By no means. He pronounced sentence upon him, and commanded him to be crucified, and so might be said to kill him: but you, O Jews, you also killed him. How? With the sword of your tongues: for ye sharpened your tongues. And when gave you the stroke, but when you cried out: Crucify him, crucify him?

R. I have delivered my beloved soul into the hands of the wicked, and my inheritance is become to me like a lion in the forest: my adversary gave out his words against me, saying: Come together, and make haste to devour him. They placed me in a solitary desert, and all the earth mourned for me: * Because there was none found that would know me, and do good unto me.

V. Men without mercy rose up against me, and they spared not my life.

* Because there was none found that would know me, and do good unto me.

R. I have delivered my beloved soul into the hands of the wicked, and my inheritance is become to me like a lion in the forest: my adversary gave out his words against me, saying: Come together, and make haste to devour him. They placed me in a solitary desert, and all the earth mourned for me: * Because there was none found that would know me, and do good unto me.

          THIRD NOCTURN

The seventh Psalm was composed by David at the time when he was being persecuted by Saul. The Prophet, by describing the fury of his own persecutors, shows us what kind of men were the enemies of the Messias.

Ant. From them that rise up against me, deliver me, O Lord; for they are in possession of my soul.

              PSALM 58

Deliver me from my enemies, O my God: and defend me from them that rise up against me. Deliver me from them that work iniquity: and save me from bloody men. For behold they have caught my soul: the mighty have rushed in upon me. Neither is it for my iniquity, nor for my sin, O Lord: without iniquity have I run and directed my steps. Rise up thou to meet me, and behold: even thou Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel. Attend to visit all the nations: have no mercy on all them that work iniquity.

They shall return at evening, and shall suffer hunger like dogs: and shall go round about the city. Behold they shall speak with their mouth, and a sword is in their lips: for who, say they, hath heard us?

But thou, O Lord, shalt laugh at them: thou shalt bring all the nations to nothing. I will keep my strength to thee, for thou art my protector: my God, his mercy shall prevent me.

God shall let me see over my enemies: slay them not, lest at any time my people forget. Scatter them by thy power: and bring them down, O Lord, my protector. For the sin of their mouth, and the word of their lips: and let them be taken in their pride. And for their cursing and lying they shall be talked of, when they are consumed: when they are consumed by thy wrath, and they shall be no more. And they shall know that God will rule Jacob: and all the ends of the earth. They shall return at evening, and shall suffer hunger like dogs: and shall go round about the city. They shall be scattered abroad to eat: and shall murmur if they be not filled.

But I will sing thy strength: and will extol thy mercy in the morning. For thou art become my support and my refuge, in the day of my trouble. Unto thee, my helper, will I sing, for thou art God, my defense: my God, my mercy.

Ant. From them that rise up against me, deliver me, O Lord; for they are in possession of my soul.

In the eighth Psalm, the Royal Prophet shows us the Messias threatened with death, and complaining of his Disciples having abandoned him.

Ant. Thou hast put away my acquaintance far from me: I was delivered up, and I escaped not.

             PSALM 87

O Lord, the God of my salvation, I have cried in the day, and in the night before thee. Let my prayer come in before thee: incline thy ear to my petition. For my soul is filled with evils: and my life hath drawn nigh to hell. I am counted among them that go down to the pit: I am become as a man without help, free among the dead. Like the slain sleeping in the sepulchres, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cast off from thy hand.

They have laid me in the lower pit: in the dark places and in the shadow of death. Thy wrath is strong over me: and all thy waves thou hast brought in upon me.

Thou hast put away my acquaintance far from me: they have set me an abomination to themselves. I was delivered up, and came not forth: my eyes languished through poverty. AU the day I cried to thee, Lord: I stretched out my hands to thee. Wilt thou show wonders to the dead: or shall physicians raise to life, and give praise to thee? Shall any one in the sepulchre declare thy mercy, and thy truth in destruction? Shall thy wonders be known in the dark: and thy justice in the land of forgetfulness?

But I, Lord, have cried to thee: and in the morning my prayer shall prevent thee.

Lord, why castest thou off my prayer: why turnest thou away thy face from me? I am poor, and in labours from my youth: and being exalted, have been humbled and troubled. Thy wrath hath come upon me: and thy terrors have troubled me. They have come round about me like water all the day: they have compassed me about together. Friend and neighbour thou hast put far from me: and my acquaintance because of misery.

Ant. Thou hast put away my acquaintance far from me: I was delivered up, and I escaped not.

The ninth Psalm invokes the vengeance of God upon the unjust judges, who shed the blood of the innocent Jesus, and forget that there is One in heaven who is witness of their injustice and of his immolation. The High Priests, the Doctors of the Law, the dastardly Pontius Pilate, are here described as unjust judges, upon whose heads will fall the wrath of heaven.

Ant. They will hunt after the soul of the Just; and will condemn innocent Blood.

              PSALM 93

The Lord is the God to whom revenge belongeth: the God of revenge hath acted freely. Lift up thyself, thou that judgeth the earth: render a reward to the proud. How long shall the wicked, O Lord, how long shall the wicked make their boast? How long shall they utter and speak wrong things: how long shall the workers of iniquity talk? Thy people, O Lord, they have brought low: and they have afflicted thy inheritance. They have slain the widow and the stranger: and they have murdered the fatherless. And they have said: The Lord shall not see: neither shall the God of Jacob understand. Understand, ye senseless among the people: and you fools be wise at last. He that planted the ear, shall he not hear: or he that formed the eye, doth he not consider?

He that chastiseth nations, shall he not rebuke: he that teacheth man knowledge? The Lord knoweth the thoughts of men, that they are vain. Blessed is the man whom thou shalt instruct, Lord: and shalt teach him out of thy law. That thou mayest give him rest from the evil days: till a pit be dug for the wicked. For the Lord will not cast off his people: neither will he forsake his own inheritance.

Until justice be turned into judgment: and they that are near it are all the upright in heart. Who shall rise up for me against the evil doers? or who shall stand with me against the workers of iniquity? Unless the Lord had been my helper: my soul had almost dwelt in hell. If I said: My foot is moved: thy mercy, Lord, assisted me. According to the multitude of my sorrows in my heart: thy comforts have given joy to my soul. Doth the seat of iniquity stick to thee: who framest labour in commandment? They will hunt after the soul of the just: and will condemn innocent blood. But the Lord is my refuge: and my God the help of my hope. And he will render to them their iniquity: and in their malice he will destroy them: yea, the Lord our God will destroy them.

Ant. They will hunt after the soul of the Just; and will condemn innocent Blood.

V. They have spoken against me with a deceitful tongue.

R. And they have compassed me about with words of hatred, and have fought against me without cause.

Here is said the Our Father, in secret.

          SEVENTH LESSON

From the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews.

           Chapter IV. and V.

Let us hasten therefore to enter into that rest: lest any man fall into the same example of unbelief. For the word of God is living and effectual and more piercing than any two-edged sword, and reaching unto the division of the soul and the spirit, of the joints also, and the marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature invisible in his sight: but all things are naked and open to the eyes of him, to whom our speech is. Seeing then that we have a great High Priest that hath passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast oar confession. For we have not a High Priest who cannot have compassion on our infirmities: but one tempted in all things like as we are, without sin.

R. They delivered me into the hands of the impious, and cast me out among the wicked, and spared not my life: the powerful gathered together against me; * and like giants they stood against me.

V. Strangers have risen up against me, and the mighty have sought my soul. * And like giants they stood against me.

             EIGHTH LESSON

Let us go therefore with confidence to the throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in seasonable aid. For every High Priest taken from among men, is appointed for men in the things that appertain to God, that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sins: who can have compassion on them that are ignorant, and that err: because he himself also is compassed with infirmity. And therefore he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.

R. The wicked man betrayed Jesus to the chief priests and elders of the people: * But Peter followed him afar off, that he might see the end.

V. And they led him to Caiphas the high priest, where ‘the Scribes and Pharisees were met together.

* But Peter followed him afar off, that he might see the end.

MY SOUL IS SORROWFUL EVEN UNTO DEATH

             NINTH LESSON

Neither doth any man take the honour to himself, but he that is called by God, as Aaron was. So also Christ did not glorify himself to be made a high priest: but he that said to him: Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place: Thou art a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech. Who in the days of his flesh, offering up prayers and supplications, with a strong cry and tears, to him that was able to save him from death, was heard for his reverence: and whereas indeed he was the Son of God, he learned obedience by the things which he suffered: and being consummated, he became the cause of eternal salvation to all that obey him, called by God a high-priest according to the order of Melchisedech.

R. My eyes are darkened by my tears: for he is far from me that comforted me. See all ye people, * If there be sorrow like unto my sorrow.

V. All ye that pass by the way, behold and see,

* If there be sorrow like unto my sorrow.

R. My eyes are darkened by my tears: for he is far from me that comforted me. See all ye people, * If there be sorrow like unto my sorrow.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s