Liturgy for Sundays and Major Feastdays
Reflexion on the Liturgy of the Day – from L’Année Liturgique, by Dom Prosper Guéranger
Arise, why do You sleep, O Lord? Arise, and cast us not off to the end. Why do You turn Your face away and forget our tribulation? Our belly cleaves to the earth. Arise, O Lord, help us, and deliver us. Psalm. We have heard, O God, with our ears: our fathers have declared to us Your wonders.
O God, who sees that we place no confidence in anything we do: mercifully grant that, by the protection of the Doctor of the Gentiles, we may be defended against all adversity.
Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians, 2 Ch. XI
Brethren, you gladly suffer the foolish, whereas yourselves are wise. For you suffer if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take from you, if a man be lifted up, if a man strike you on the face. I speak according to dishonour, as if we had been weak in this part. Wherein if any man dare (I speak foolishly) I dare also. They are Hebrews: so am I. They are Israelites: so am I. They are the seed of Abraham: so am I. They are the ministers of Christ: (I speak as one less wise) I am more: in many more labours, in prisons more frequently, in stripes above measure, in deaths often. Of the Jews five times did I receive forty stripes, save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once I was stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck; a night and a day I was in the depth of the sea. In journeying often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils from my own nation, in perils from the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils from false brethren. In labour and painfulness, in much watchings, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Besides those things which are without: my daily instance, the solicitude for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is scandalized, and I am not on fire? If I must need glory, I will glory of the things that concern my infirmity. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed for ever, knows that I lie not. At Damascus the governor of the nation under Aretas the king, guarded the city of the Damascenes, to apprehend me; and through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and so escaped his hands. If I must glory (it is not expedient indeed), but I will come to the visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ about fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I know not, or out of the body, I know not, God knows), such an one rapt even to the third heaven. And I know such a man (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell, God knows), that he was caught up into paradise, and heard secret words, which it is not granted to man to utter. For such a one I will glory; but for myself I will glory nothing, but in my infirmities. For though I should have a mind to glory, I shall not be foolish: for I will say the truth. But I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he sees in me, or anything he hears from me. And lest the greatness of the revelations should exalt me, there was given me a sting of my flesh, an angel of Satan to buffet me. For which thing thrice I besought the Lord that it might depart from me: and He said to me: My grace is sufficient for you: for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly, therefore, will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
Reflexion on the Epistle
Let the Gentiles know that God is Thy name: Thou alone art the Most High over all the earth. O my God, make them like a wheel, and as stubble before the wind.
Thou hast moved the earth, O Lord, and hast troubled it. Heal the breaches thereof, for it is moved. That they may flee from before the bow: that Thy elect may be delivered.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke, Chapter VIII
At that time, when a very great multitude was gathered together, and hastened out of the cities to meet Jesus, He spoke by a similitude. The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell by the wayside, and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And other some fell upon a rock: and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And other some fell among thorns; and the thorns growing up with it, choked it. And other some fell upon good ground, and being sprung up, yielded fruit a hundredfold. Saying these things He cried out: He that has ears to hear, let him hear. And His disciples asked Him what this parable might be. To whom He said: To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to the rest in parables: that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. And they by the wayside are they that hear; then the devil comes, and takes the word out of their heart, lest believing they should be saved. Now they upon the rock are they who, when they hear, receive the word with joy: and these have no roots; for they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns, are they who have heard, and going their way, are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and yield no fruit. But that on the good ground, are they, who in a good and very good heart hearing the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit in patience.
Reflexion on the Gospel
St. Gregory the Great justly remarks, that this parable needs no explanation, since eternal Wisdom Himself has told us its meaning. All that we have to do, is to profit by this divine teaching, and become the good soil, wherein the heavenly seed may yield a rich harvest. How often have we, hitherto, allowed it to be trampled on by them that passed by, or to be torn up by the birds of the air! How often has it found our heart like a stone, that could give no moisture, or like a thorn plot, that could but choke! We listened to the word of God; we took pleasure in hearing it; and from this we argued well for ourselves. Nay, we have often received this word with joy and eagerness. Sometimes, even, it took root within us. But, alas! something always came to stop its growth. Henceforth, it must both grow and yield fruit. The seed given to us is of such quality, that the divine Sower has a right to expect a hundredfold. If the soil, that is, our heart, be good; if we take the trouble to prepare it, by profiting of the means afforded us by the Church; we shall have an abundant harvest to show our Lord on that grand day, when, rising triumphant from His tomb, He will come to share with His faithful people the glory of His Resurrection.
Inspirited by this hope, and full of confidence in Him who has once more thrown this seed into this long ungrateful soil, let us sing with the Church, in her Offertory, these beautiful words of the royal Psalmist: they are a prayer for holy resolution and perseverance.
Perfect Thou my goings in Thy paths; that my footsteps be not moved. O incline Thy ear unto me and hear my words. Show forth Thy wonderful mercies; who savest them that hope in Thee, O Lord.
The visit, which our Lord makes to us in the Sacrament of His love, is the grand means whereby He gives fertility to our souls. Hence it is that the Church invites us to draw nigh to the altar of our God; there, our heart shall regain all the youthful fervour of its best days.
I will go up to the altar of God; to God, who rejoices my youth.
Grant, we humbly beseech Thee, O almighty God, that those whom Thou refreshest with Thy sacraments, may, by a life well pleasing to Thee, worthily serve Thee.