Effúndam super vos aquam mundam, et mundabímini ab ómnibus inquinaméntis vestris: et dabo vobis spíritum novum...
Today is the Wednesday post Dominicam IVam Quadragesimae; the Mass is Dum sanctificatus fuero in vobis. There are two lessons from the Old Testament in this Mass, one from the Prophet Ezechiel and the second from the Prophet Isaias, each with its Gradual. Following the Tract, the Gospel lesson is taken from that of the Apostle Saint John, as is usual in these Lenten days. Today is the day I begin listening to the various settings of the Office of Tenebrae, in the chief place of which is the blessed Tomás Luis de Victoria's.
The Church of St Mennas was probably built in the 4th c by the Alexandrian colony in Rome. It stood on the left bank of the Tiber at the first milestone on the Via Ostiensis, nearly opposite, therefore, to the other Alexandrian sanctuary of the martyrs Cyrus and John, which was on the other bank of the river in the Via Portuensis. The devotion of his fellow-countrymen caused the Egyptian saint to become popular in Rome, so much so that his natalis on November 11 was still honoured in the 7th c by the celebration of the station at his sanctuary, where on one occasion St Gregory the Great himself delivered the sermon.
Today’s station is held at St Paul’s because he is the prototype and model of catechumens, on account of his conversion on the way to Damascus, where he was blinded by the light from heaven. The ceremony is also known as in aperitione aurium, because the miracle which Christ worked upon the deaf man was renewed in a spiritual sense upon the candidates for baptism, to whom the Pontiff explained for the first time with solemn rites the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and the beginning of the four Gospels. Thus the ears of the catechumens, deaf hitherto to the words of truth, were opened at length to hear the tidings of eternal life. The entire Mass is inspired by the thought of the Sacrament of Baptism. (Liber Sacramentorum)
... Much of this history and beauty [of the Basilica of Saint Paul extra muros] was destroyed on July 15, 1823, when embers left on the roof by workmen caused a conflagration that burned the structure to the ground. Although the Church had been left impoverished and marginalized by the revolutionary politics of the era, the entire world responded to Pope Gregory XVI’s appeal to contribute to the church’s reconstruction: the four alabaster columns framing the inside entrance and the alabaster window panes were gifts from Egyptian rulers, while the malachite altars were donated by the Russian emperor. The reconstruction resulted in what is, today, Rome’s closest approximation of a Constantinian basilica, its vast interior evoking the spaciousness of paleo-Christian design.
The simplicity of St. Paul’s tomb is in contrast to the surrounding grandeur. The opened section of wall under the altar allows a view of the side of the apostle’s marble sarcophagus; the lid, covered by the altar, reads 'Paul Apostle and Martyr', but a small stretch of the apostle’s Roman chains are visible. During the 2008–2009 Pauline Year, Vatican archaeologists found here first-century bone fragments and scraps of purple cloth shot with gold, fabric similar to that which may have been used to bind the bones of St. Peter, a finding that came to light when archaeologists examined bones excavated from beneath St. Peter’s Basilica in the mid-twentieth century. (Elizabeth Lev in Roman Pilgrimage)
Léctio Ezechiélis Prophétæ.
Ezech. 36, 23-28.
Hæc dicit Dóminus Deus: Sanctificábo nomen meum magnum, quod pollútum est inter gentes, quod polluístis in médio eárum: ut sciant gentes, quia ego Dóminus, cum sanctificátus Mero in vobis coram eis. Tollam quippe vos de géntibus, et congregábo vos de univérsis terris, et addúcam vos in terram vestram. Et effúndam super vos aquam mundam, et mundabímini ab ómnibus inquinaméntis vestris, et ab univérsis ídolis vestris mundábo vos. Et dabo vobis cor novum, et spíritum novum ponam in médio vestri: et áuferam cor lapídeum de carne vestra, et dabo vobis cor cárneum. Et spíritum meum ponam in médio vestri: et fáciam, ut in præcéptis meis ambulétis, et judicia mea custodiátis et operémini. Et habitábitis in terra, quam dedi pátribus vestris: et éritis mihi in pópulum, et ego ero vobis in Deum: dicit Dóminus omnípotens.
Graduale. Ps. 38, 12 et 6. Veníte, fílii, audíte me: timórem Dómini docébo vos. ℣. Accédite ad eum, et illuminámini: et fácies vestræ non confundéntur.
Léctio Isaíæ Prophétæ.
Is. 1, 16-19.
Hæc dicit Dóminus Deus: Lavámini, mundi estóte, auférte malum cogitatiónum vestrárum ab óculis meis: quiéscite ágere pervérse, díscite benefácere: quǽrite judícium, subveníte opprésso, judicáte pupíllo, deféndite víduam. Et veníte et argúite me, dicit Dóminus: si fúerint peccáta vestra ut cóccinum, quasi nix dealbabúntur: et si fúerint rubra quasi vermículus, velut lana alba erunt. Si voluéritis et audiéritis me, bona terræ comedétis: dicit Dóminus omnípotens.
Quis est, Dómine, ut credam in eum? Et dixit ei Jesus: Et vidísti eum, et qui lóquitur tecum, ipse est. At ille ait: Credo, Dómine. (Hic genuflectitur) Et prócidens adorávit eum.
Joann. 9, 1-38.
Secreta. Súpplices te rogámus, omnípotens Deus: ut his sacrifíciis peccáta nostra mundéntur; quia tunc veram nobis tríbuis et mentis et córporis sanitátem. Per Dóminum.
Communio. Joann. 9, 11. 1:13:12 Lutum fecit ex sputo Dóminus, et linívit óculos meos: et ábii, et lavi, et vidi, et crédidi Deo.
Postcommunio. Sacraménta, quæ súmpsimus, Dómine, Deus noster: et spirituálibus nos répleant aliméntis, et corporálibus tueántur auxíliis. Per Dóminum.
Oratio super populum. Humiliáte cápita vestra Deo. Páteant aures misericórdiæ tuæ. Dómine, précibus supplicántium: et, ut peténtibus desideráta concédas; fac eos, quæ tibi sunt plácita, postuláre. Per Dóminum.
... The Traditio Symboli thus completed, the Priest made the following allocution:
This is the compendium of our faith, dearly beloved Children, and these are the words of the Symbol, drawn up, not according to the conceits of human wisdom, but according to the thoughts of God. There is no one but can understand and remember them. There it is, that is expressed the one and co-equal power of God the Father and the Son, there that is shown to us the Only-Begotten Son of God born according to the flesh of the Virgin Mary, by the operation of the Holy Ghost; there, that are related His crucifixion and burial, and His resurrection on the third day. There that is proclaimed His ascension above the heavens, His sitting a the right hand of the majesty of the Father, and His future coining to judge the living and the dead. There, that is announced the Holy Ghost, who has the same divinity as the Father and the Son: there, in fine, that are taught the
vocation of the Church, the forgiveness of sins, and the resurrection of the flesh. You, therefore, put off the old man: pray, dearly beloved Children, that you may be reformed according to the new; once carnal, you begin now to be spiritual; once of earth, now of heaven. Believe with firm and unshaken faith, that the Resurrection which was accomplished in Christ, will likewise be accomplished in you and that this miracle, which has been achieved in Him who is our Head, will be repeated in all them that are members of His body.
The Sacrament of Baptism, which you are soon to receive, is the visible expression of this hope; for in it is represented both a death and a resurrection; there the old man is left, there the new man is assumed. The sinner descends into the water, and comes out justified. He that had dragged us into death, is cast off; and He is received that restored us to life, and who, by the grace that He will give you, will make you children of God, not by the flesh, but by the virtue of the Holy Ghost. It is your duty, therefore, to keep this short formula in your hearts, so as to make use of the Confession it contains as a help to you, on all occasions. The power of this armour is invincible against all the attacks of the enemy; it should be worn by the true soldiers of Christ. Let the devil, who tempts man without ceasing find you ever armed with this Symbol. Triumph over the adversary, whom you have just renounced. By God s grace, preserve incorruptible and unsullied, even to the end, the grace He is about to give you; that thus, He in whom you are soon to receive the forgiveness of your sins, may bring you to the glory of the Resurrection.
Thus, then, dearly beloved Children, you know the Symbol of the Catholic faith; carefully learn it, not changing one word. God's mercy is powerful; may it bring you to the faith of the Baptism to which you aspire; and may it lead us, who this day reveal to you the mysteries, to the heavenly kingdom together with you; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth, for ever and ever. Amen!
The Traditio Symboli was followed by another act, the giving of the Lord's Prayer.... (L'Année Liturgique)