Just five minutes ago there was at last a break...

In the very heavy layer of clouds; such a contrast today to yesterday morning when Prime was lit brilliantly by the advancing morning, today being almost nighttime dark even at the Gospel in Our Lady's Office. Today is the Wednesday in Passion Week (Introibo) and is also the feast of the Archangel Gabriel, added to the Calendar in 1921. Holy Mass will be streamed from Saint-Eugène at the usual hour. 

The Mass of the Passiontide Wednesday is Liberator meus de gentibus iracundis. The video recordings are of the Offertory Eripe me de inimicis meis and of the Communion Lavabo inter innocentes manus meas

The titulus de Pallacine [wherein is the collecta] built by Pope Marcus in the first years of the Peace of Constantine, is already known to our readers. That of Marcellus [the statio] stands on the Via Lata, on the site once occupied by the house of a matron named Lucina, who is said to have converted it into a parochial church. Recent excavations have corroborated the data furnished by the Acta of St Marcellus, so that we may hold for a certainty that the church was erected during the pontificate of the martyr who was afterwards buried there. 

The Introit is from Psalm 17, and is a hymn of praise for the deliverance of the Just One. 'My deliverer from the angry nations: thou wilt lift me up above them that rise up against me, from the unjust man thou wilt deliver me, O Lord'. In what manner did God reply to this steadfast hope of his dying Son? By freeing him from the bonds of death, and setting him as judge-- from whom there is no appeal-- over the whole human race, including those who, sitting formerly in the Lithostrotos or in the seats of the Sanhedrim, had cried out: Reus est mortis; by delivering him from the gates of hell; and finally by glorifying him as being the firstborn among all the dead who shall rise again, the source and fount of life unending. 

The Lenten fast is now drawing to its close, wherefore we pray in the Collect that the abstinence which we have practised, being sanctified by the mortification of all our evil passions, may serve to enlighten the hearts of the faithful. God himself has placed this desire in our hearts, so we trust that he will graciously accept it and will grant it abundant fruit. In a short time, the catechumens will be called upon to take a solemn vow in public that they will observe the Law of God, for which reason the Church, with more than her usual insistence, dwells on the teaching of the Decalogue in the lesson of today (Lev. 19, 1, 2, 3, 11-19, 25). The ten precepts of the Torah are indeed comprised in the New Testament in a single word, 'Love', for, as Saint Paul explains, the law of love having no limit, embraces God as well as our neighbour, and is the chief motive of all dutiful service. We must desire to serve God because he is our Father and our neighbour because he is our brother. The will to serve others is true charity, therefore love is the master-key of the entire Christian edifice. 

The Gradual comes from Psalm 29, and, as usual, anticipates the triumph of the resurrection amid the sorrows of the Passion. Our Lord himself did the same during the Last Supper-- and the Liturgy faithfully follows his example-- in order to strengthen our hope when faced with the 'scandal of the cross'; 'I will extol thee, O Lord, because thou hast delivered me from the darkness of hell, nor hast thou permitted my enemies to triumph over me, who, having slain me, had sealed my tomb and set their guard about it. Thou hast brought forth my soul from hell, and hast saved me as I was about to go down into the pit, and hast not suffered that my body should be subject to the common law of nature and see corruption; but, hearing my cry, hast raised it from death, healing its wounds and glorifying them with the sublimity of heavenly light'. The feast of the Encaenia-- as the Hellenist Jews called the new dedication of the temple-- was being celebrated at Jerusalem (John 10,22-38). The weather was rainy*, so Jesus walked in the Temple in Solomon's porch teaching the people after the manner of the peripatetics and stoics of Athens. Our Lord’s presence at the feast of the Encaenia again teaches us that we should take frequent part in the solemn festivals of the Church, in order that they may be in truth the social and collective expression of the mystical union which binds all the faithful to the person of the Redeemer in a common bond of faith, hope and charity. The question asked by the Jews, and the suspense in which they professed to be held, were not genuine but feigned and cunning; for in reality they wished to extort some word from Christ, by which he would be compromised in the sight of the Sanhedrim. Our Lord will not give his confidence and friendship to those who do not approach him with straightforwardness and candour. If those who questioned him were really desirous of learning the truth concerning his Messianic mission and his divine nature, they would have found abundant proof of both in his teaching and his miracles. This, however, was not what they wanted; they sought a pretext which would avail to bring Jesus to judgement before the Sanhedrim, but he refused to afford them such a pretext, and appealed instead to the testimony of his works. 

The Offertory is derived from Psalm 63: 'Deliver me from my enemies, O my God, and defend me from them that rise up against me, O Lord.' Save me, O Father, not indeed by delivering me from the cross, for I am come to die for all mankind, but by not permitting that death and hell should triumph over me-- that is, over my mystical Body, the Church. In the Secret we pray that we may bring to God the sacrifice of propitiation and praise with sincere devotion. The grace of piety is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost, and, as St Paul says, it is needed by us in every circumstance of life, for it supplies a supernatural motive to all our words, our acts and our judgements. Considered in this sense, piety is a special attitude of the soul which enables it to work in the light of God and under the guidance of his grace. 

The Communion is from Psalm xxiv, and speaks to us of that purity of heart with which we should draw near to the altar of God. An absolute freedom from every stain of venial sin is not required of us, for our God is a purifying and a....

*Cardinal Schuster tells us that although the Evangelist used the word 'winter' (in Latin, hiems) what he meant was 'rain'; the same word for both in Syriac, according to the learned Benedictine.

And a consuming fire. The entire next page of the pdf, including the three paragraphs or so that remain for today, seems to be uncopyable for some reason. Tomorrow-- without the introductory paragraphs for the Thursday of Passion Week-- should present an interesting bit of work. And tomorrow, it being the feast of the Annunciation, I'm going downtown to Saint Mary's for Holy Mass at 1215. Hmm.

Post Vesperas. The Mass of tomorrow's feria is Omnia quae fecisti nobis-- the Introit is from the 3rd chapter of the Prophet Daniel, as is the lesson. The Gospel lesson is from Saint John, in which the Apostle describes Our Lord invited to the Pharisee Simon's table, and the sinful woman with the alabaster jar. 

Quis est hic, qui étiam peccáta dimíttit? Dixit autem ad mulíerem: Fides tua te salvam fecit: vade in pace.

It is also the feast of Saint Catherine (14th century), of Saint Oscar (20th century), and of the Blessed Maria (20th century).

V. Et álibi aliórum plurimórum sanctórum Mártyrum et Confessórum, atque sanctárum Vírginum. R. Deo grátias.