Liturgy for Sundays and Main Feasts
Reflection on the Liturgy of the Day – from Epistles and Gospels, by Abbot M.-F. James
Prayer.– Give us tears, Lord, to weep for our woes; give us a heart broken with sorrow for not having known You. Is it no longer time to appease Your anger? Remember Your former mercies: give us a penance that will make You forget our crimes.
O God, Who dwell in the saints, and forsake not the hearts that are united to You in religion and piety: deliver us from all earthly desires and all carnal passion, so that the empire of sin may be destroyed in us, so that we may serve You with complete freedom as our only Lord and Master.
Introit. Behold! God is my helper, and the Lord is the support of my soul: turn out the evils upon mine enemies, and cut them off in Thy truth, O Lord, my protector. Psalm. O God, in Thy name save me: and, in Thy strength, deliver me.
Collect. May the ears of Thy mercy, O Lord, be opened to the prayers of Thy suppliants: and, that Thou mayst grant to Thy petitioners the things they desire, make them to ask those that are agreeable to Thee.
Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul, the Apostle, to the Corinthians, 1 Chapter X.
Brethren: Let us not covet evil things, as they also coveted. Neither become ye idolaters, as some of them: as it is written: The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed fornication, and there fell in one day twenty three thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ: as some of them tempted, and perished by the serpents. Neither do ye murmur: as some of them murmured, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now, all these things happened to them in figure: and they are written for our correction, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore he that thinketh himself to stand, let him take heed lest he fall. Let no temptation take hold on you, but such as is human. And God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which ye are able; but will make also with temptation issue, that ye may be able to bear it.
Gradual. O Lord, our Lord, how wonderful is Thy name over the whole earth! For Thy majesty is above the heavens. Alleluia, alleluia. Rescue me, O my God, from mine enemies: and, from them that rise up against me, deliver me. Alleluia.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke. Chapter XIX.
At that time: When He drew near Jerusalem, seeing the city, Jesus wept over it, saying: If you also had known, and that in this day, the things that are to your peace: but now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days shall come upon you: and your enemies shall cast a trench about you, and compass you round, and straiten you on every side, and beat you flat to the ground, and your children who are in you: and they shall not leave in you a stone upon a stone: because you have not known the time of your visitation. And entering into the temple, He began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought. Saying to them: It is written: My house is the house of prayer: but you have made it a den of thieves. And He was teaching daily in the temple.
Reflexion on the Gospel
Each one of us is this Jerusalem on which Jesus Christ sheds tears. If we are not careful, our doom is near. Harder than the Jews, we see Jesus Christ weeping, and we are insensitive. We are much more guilty than the Jews, since we have received more abundant graces. We have been washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. We are nourished in His holy flesh. We have not been preached the truths necessary for salvation, wrapped in figures and words; we have seen miracles in all ages. These truths to which we are deaf, and whose practice we regard as impossible, have been practiced by all the Saints in all times. It is the abuse and desecration of these truths that makes all our crimes complete and our loss inevitable.
The misfortune of Jerusalem is that it did not know the time of the Lord’s visit. How many wonders God shows in our eyes! How many examples does the history of the Church give us! We see admirable models of penance and holy retreats in the Monasteries, where regularity was established as in the early days. The examples of so many holy people in all states and conditions are hidden from our eyes by the excesses of our passions. If we do not take advantage of the examples that God sends us, do we not have to fear that He will take us away from the help that we are unworthy of? Let us pray to Him that He will not treat us according to the strictness of His justice. Let us ask Him that He may still grant us the graces we need to work for our salvation.