As it approaches 0845, when Vespers from Saint-Eugène begins. I didn't get out of bed until half past three, lazy fellow. By the time I finished the Night Office, followed Holy Mass for Our Lady's Purification at Saint-E., completed a minimal toilette, said Prime and Terce, and toasted a bagel am here with only a few minutes before Vespers. I know how celebration of the Mass of the Purification this morning (their other Masses were of Sexagesima, and this is the 'external solemnization' of Tuesday's feast) is justified but am not sure how Vespers de la Chandeleur is 'legit' in terms of the rubrics of 1960-1962. But while I dabble in liturgical nonsense I certainly don't pretend to be an expert and when all is said and done I very much appreciated the splendid Mass de la Chandeleur and don't really care how its celebration was finessed.
The parable of the sower (Luke viii, 4-15) is aptly chosen by the Church for this feast of the Apostle Paul, who scattered the seed of the good tidings from Damascus and Arabia in the East even unto the Pillars of Hercules in the West. As then, so now, his word which we hear every day at Mass does not bear everywhere the same fruit, for shallowness of mind, excessive love of worldly things, and the hardness of a heart voluntarily closed to the promptings of grace often render profitless the labour of the sower. The wayside, the stony soil, the thorns, represent the many obstacles which hinder the successful working of the word of God in the human soul. St Gregory likewise commented upon this parable to the Roman people who were gathered together on this day at the tomb of St Paul. Even down to the late Middle Ages, the Romans continued to attend this station in great numbers, and we are told that St Frances of Rome once chose one of these occasions of popular assembly in order to mingle with the crowd of beggars who asked alms on this day at the doors of the Ostian Basilica...Many are the evils that threaten our eternal salvation, in the midst of the world. The good seed falls, indeed, on the highway, and not only is it in danger of being trodden under foot by wayfarers, devoured by birds, or choked by thorns, but, as Our Lord clearly warns us, the devil comes and takes the word of God from our hearts, lest believing we should be saved. In a work of such importance, on which our eternal happiness depends, no preparation can be too great, and each one of us should resolve at the foot of the altar to make use, as St Peter would have us do, of every means to ensure our final salvation. It was this thought taken seriously into consideration which gave rise to so many thousands of monasteries in days of old, and which drew to the cloister so great a number of the faithful of both sexes and of all ages and conditions. What shall it profit us to gain the whole world, if by so doing we imperil our own soul?
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