It is in fact before Dawn but I expect that it will be as lovely today as it was yesterday (I didn't see any evidence of approaching rain last evening); the beautiful morning is giving every indication that it will be warmer than yesterday and that the strong wind won't be returning, either. It's the first feria of Eastertide (those weekdays last week were 'days within the Octave' ), and so the Mass is yesterday's, Quasi modo geniti infantes, alleluia (Introibo). And so far as I know, it will be streamed at the usual hour of 1000 from Saint-Eugène.
... But to move from that to putting priests under arrest as dangerous criminals for putting lives at risk! We might also put the director of the RATP under arrest because I must take the crowded Métro where there are people not wearing their masks... The supermarket managers whose cashiers must serve people who aren't wearing their mask-- those people aren't arrested. There is a certain flexibility to be had, even if I understand that the public services are obliged to respect the law....
According to an ancient Roman custom, dating at least from the time of St Gregory the Great, the basilicas of the martyrs outside the walls were never chosen as the object of the stational processions on account of their distance from the city, but on a solemn day like this-- the Octave of Easter-- on which everything is still eloquent of spiritual youth, an exception is made in honour of the tomb of a young martyr, the fourteen-year-old Pancras. [I have a certain hesitation to take this explanation as gospel.] His sepulchral basilica in the Via Aurelia was erected by Pope Symmachus (498-514), and later was restored by Honorius I (625-38) and Adrian I (772-95) As was customary at Ravenna at the tomb of St Apollinaris, so at Rome solemn oaths used to be taken at the tomb of St Pancras, a custom which continued, as Gregory of Tours affirms, at least down to the 13th century. St Gregory the Great founded an abbey near the basilica, which, however, in order to distinguish it from the one dedicated to St Pancras near the Lateran, was named after the martyr Victor. The Roman devotion to St Pancras in the time of St Gregory spread over the seas as far as the shores of England, and it is well known that when the monks of the Lateran were sent by Pope Gregory to evangelize that island, one of the first basilicas which they erected in that distant land was dedicated to St Pancras, the patron of their first Roman monastery.
... Hierarchy, Doctrine, Sacraments: these are the all-important subjects upon which Our Lord instructs his Disciples during the forty days between his Resurrection and Ascension. But before following him in his divine work of organising the Church, let us spend the rest of this week in considering him as the Risen Jesus, dwelling among men, and winning their admiration and love. We have contemplated him in the humility of his swathing-bands and Passion; let us now, exultingly, feast on the sight of his glory.He presents himself to us as the most beautiful of the sons of men. He was always so, even when he veiled the splendour of his charms under the infirmity of the mortal flesh he had assumed; but what must not his beauty be now that he has vanquished death, and permits the rays of his glory to shine forth without restraint? His age is for ever fixed at that of thirty-three: it is the period of life wherein man is at the height of his strength and beauty, without a single sign of decay. It was the state in which God created Adam, whom he formed to the likeness of the Redeemer to come; it will be the state of the bodies of the just on the day of the General Resurrection, they will bear upon them the measure of the perfect age which Our Lord had when he arose from his Tomb. But it is not only by the beauty of his features that the Body of our Risen Jesus delights the eye of such as are permitted to gaze upon him: it is now endowed with the glorious qualities, of which the three Apostles caught a glimpse on Mount Thabor.In the Transfiguration, however, the Humanity shone as the sun because of its union with the Person of the Word; but now, besides the Brightness due to it by the Incarnation, the glorified Body of our Redeemer has that which comes from his being Conqueror and King. His Resurrection has given him such additional resplendence, that the Sun is not worthy to be compared with him; and St. John tells us that he is the Lamp that lights up the heavenly Jerusalem. To this quality which the Apostle of the Gentiles calls Brightness, is added that of Impassibility, whereby the Body of Our Risen Lord has ceased to be accessible to suffering or death, and is adorned with the immortality of life. His Body is as truly and really a Body as ever; but it is now impervious to any deterioration or weakness; its life is to bloom for all eternity. The third quality of our Redeemer's glorified Body is Agility, by which it can pass from one place to another, instantly and without effort. The Flesh has lost that weight which, in our present state, prevents the body from keeping pace with the longings of the soul. He passes from Jerusalem to Galilee in the twinkling of an eye, and the Spouse of the Canticle thus speaks of him: 'The voice of my Beloved! Behold he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping over the hills!' Finally, the Body of our Emmanuel has put on the quality of Subtility, (which the Apostle calls 'Spirituality') whereby it is enabled to penetrate every material obstacle more easily than a sunbeam makes its way through glass. On the morning of his Resurrection, he passed through the stone that stood against the mouth of the sepulchre; and on the same day, he entered the Cenacle, though its doors were shut, and stood before his astonished Disciples. Such is our Saviour, now that he is set free from the shackles of mortality.
Well may the little flock, that is favoured with his visits, exclaim on seeing him: 'How fair and comely art thou', O dearest Master! Let us join our praises with theirs, and say: Yes, dearest Jesus, thou art beautiful above all the sons of men! A few days back, and we wept at beholding thee covered with wounds, as though thou hadst been the worst of criminals; but now our eyes feast on the resplendent charm of thy divine beauty. Glory be to thee in thy triumph! Glory, too, be to thee in thy generosity, which has decreed that these our bodies, after having been purified by the humiliation of the tomb, shall one day share in the prerogatives which we now admire in thee! Let us, destined as we are to share in the glory of our Jesus, offer to him this beautiful canticle, which used to be sung in the Churches of Germany during the Middle-Ages....
It is also the feast of Saint Zeno (4th century), of Saint Saba (4th century), and of Saint Davide (20th century).
V. Et álibi aliórum plurimórum sanctórum Mártyrum et Confessórum, atque sanctárum Vírginum. R. Deo grátias.
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