Prosper Guéranger: Let Us Follow Our Emmanuel, and See Him as Our High Priest Saturday, May 26 2012 

Jesus has gone to heaven, not only that He may reign as King, but also that He may intercede for us as our High Priest.

[…] [T]he gate of heaven remained shut against us, until He threw it open by His own entrance into that sanctuary, where He was to exercise His eternal office of  “Priest according to the order of Melchisedech.”

By His Ascension into heaven, His priesthood of Calvary was transformed into a priesthood of glory.

He entered with the veil of His once passible and mortal Flesh, within the veil of His Father’s presence, and there is He our Priest forever.

How truly is He called Christ, that is, “the Anointed!” for, no sooner was His divine Person united to the human Nature, than He received a twofold anointing: He was made both King and High Priest.

[…] Let us, then, follow our Emmanuel, and see Him as our High Priest.

[…] Let us go in thought to the temple of Jerusalem.

[…] Man is banished from the place wherein God dwells; he is unworthy to enter into so holy a presence.

He was created that the he might see God and be eternally happy with that vision of God.

There is a veil between himself and Him who is the his last end; neither can he ever remove that veil.

Such is the severe lesson given to us by the symbolism of the ancient temple.

But there is a merciful promise, and it gives a gleam of hope. This veil shall one day be raised up, and man shall enter within.

[…] As we have already noticed, none was allowed to enter the Holy of holies; there was but one exception, and that was in favour of the high priest, who might, once a year, penetrate beyond the veil….

If he entered without holding in his hands a vessel containing the blood of two victims, previously immolated by him for his own and the people’s sins, he was to be put to death.

If, on the contrary, he faithfully complied with the divine ordinances, he would be protected by the blood he carried in his hands, and might make intercession for himself and all Israel.

How beautiful and impressive are these figures of the first covenant! But how much more so their fulfillment in our Jesus’ Ascension!

Even during the period of His voluntary humiliations, He made His power felt in this sacred dwelling of God’s Majesty.

His last breath on the cross rent the veil of the Holy of holies, hereby signifying to us that man was soon to recover the right he had lost by sin, the right of admission into God’s presence.

Prosper Guéranger (1805-1875): The Liturgical Year @ The Traditional Latin Mass in Michiana (which contains a fuller version of this reflection, in addition to other related and beautifully presented material).

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Prosper Guéranger: His Visible Presence would have Checked the Generosity of Our Faith Wednesday, May 23 2012 

Let us see what effects the mystery of the Ascension has produced on this land of our exile. These effects are of the most extraordinary nature.

[…] Our Saviour Himself explains it to us, by the words He spoke to His apostles after the last Supper: “It is,” said He, “expedient to you that I go.”

What means this, but that there is something more advantageous to us than having Him visibly present amongst us?

This mortal life is not the time for seeing and contemplating Him, even in His human Nature. To know Him, and relish Him, even in His human Nature, we stand in need of a special gift; it is faith.

Now, faith in the mysteries of the Incarnate Word did not begin its reign upon the earth, until He ceased to be visible here below.
Who could tell the triumphant power of faith? St. John gives it a glorious name; he says: “It is the victory which overcometh the world.”

It subdued the world to our absent King; it subdued the power and pride and superstitions of paganism.

It won the homage of the earth for Him who has ascended into heaven, the Son of God and the Son of Mary, Jesus.

[…] The departure of our Emmanuel was…the opening of that reign of faith, which is to prepare us for the eternal vision of the sovereign Good.

And this blessed faith, which is our very life, gives us, at the same time, all the light compatible with our mortal existence, for knowing and loving the Word consubstantial with the Father, and for the just appreciation of the mysteries which this Incarnate Word wrought here below in His Humanity.

It is now eighteen hundred years since He lived on the earth; and yet we know Him better than His disciples did before His Ascension.

Oh! Truly it was expedient for us that He should go from us; His visible presence would have checked the generosity of our faith.

And it is our faith alone that can bridge over the space which is to be between Himself and us until our ascension comes, and then we shall enter within the veil.

[…] Glory, then, and thanks to Thee O Jesus, who to console us in Thine absence, hast given us faith, whereby the eye of our soul is purified, the hope of our heart is strengthened, and the divine realities we possess tell upon us in all their power!

Preserve within us this precious gift of Thy gratuitous goodness; give it increase; and when our death comes—that solemn hour which precedes our seeing Thee face to face—Oh, give us the grand fullness of our dearest faith!

Prosper Guéranger (1805-1875): The Liturgical Year @ The Traditional Latin Mass in Michiana (which contains a fuller version of this reflection, in addition to other related and beautifully presented material).

Prosper Guéranger: Easter and Pentecost Saturday, May 12 2012 

The mystery of the seventh followed by an eighth day, as the holy one, is again brought before us by the number of weeks which form Eastertide.

These weeks are seven; they form a week of weeks, and their morrow is again a Sunday, the glorious feast of Pentecost.

These mysterious numbers – which God himself fixed when he instituted the first Pentecost after the first Pasch – were adopted by the Apostles when they regulated the Christian Easter

[…] Thus, then, the whole season of Easter is marked with the mystery expressed by each Sunday of the year.

Sunday is to us the great day of our week, because beautified with the splendour of our Lord’s Resurrection of which the creation of material light was but a type.

We have already said that this institution was prefigured in the Old Law, although the Jewish people were not in any way aware of it.

Their Pentecost fell on the fiftieth day after the Pasch; it was the morrow of the seven weeks.

Another figure of our Eastertide was the year of Jubilee, which God bade Moses prescribe to his people.

Each fiftieth year the houses and lands that had been alienated during the preceding forty-nine returned to their original owners; and those Israelites who had been compelled by poverty to sell themselves as slaves recovered their liberty.

This year, which was properly called the sabbatical year, was the sequel of the preceding seven weeks of years, and was thus the image of our eighth day, whereon the Son of Mary, by  his Resurrection, redeemed us from the slavery of the tomb, and  restored us to the inheritance of our immortality.

The rites peculiar to Eastertide, in the present discipline of the Church, are two: the unceasing repetition of the Alleluia, of which we have already spoken, and the colour of the vestments used for its two great solemnities, white for the first and red for the second.

White is appropriate to the Resurrection: it is the  mystery of eternal light, which knows neither spot nor shadow; it is the mystery that produces in a faithful soul the sentiment of  purity and joy.

Pentecost, which gives us the Holy Spirit, the ‘consuming Fire’ (Heb. xii 29), is symbolized by the red vestments, which express the mystery of the divine Paraclete coming down in the form of fiery tongues upon them that were assembled in the  Cenacle.

Prosper Guéranger (1805-1875): The Liturgical Year, tr. Dom Laurence Shepherd, O.S.B., Vol. 6, (Newman Pr., Westminster, Md, 1952).

Prosper Guéranger: Easter is the Renewal of the Entire Creation Saturday, May 5 2012 

We explained why our Saviour chose the Sunday for his Resurrection, whereby he conquered death and proclaimed life to the world.

[…] By selecting it now for the commencement of the new life which he graciously imparts to man, he would show us that Easter is the renewal of the entire creation.

Not only is the anniversary  of his glorious Resurrection to be, henceforward, the greatest of days, but every Sunday throughout the year is to be a sort of  Easter, a holy and sacred day.

The Synagogue, by God’s command, kept holy the Saturday or the Sabbath in honour of God’s resting after the six days of the creation.

But the Church, the Spouse, is commanded to honour the work of her Lord.

She allows the Saturday to pass – it is the day on which her Jesus rested in the sepulchre.

But, now that she is illumined with the brightness of the Resurrection, she devotes to the contemplation of his work the first day of the week.

It is the day of light, for on it he called forth material light (which was the first manifestation of life upon chaos), and on the same, he that is the ‘Brightness of the Father,’ (Heb. 1:3) and ‘the Light of the world,’ (Jn 7:12) rose from the darkness of  the tomb.

Let, then, the week with its Sabbath pass by. What we Christians want is the eighth day, the day that is beyond the measure of  time, the day of eternity, the day whose light is not intermittent  or partial, but endless and unlimited.

[…] It was, indeed, right that man should keep, as the day of his weekly and spiritual repose, that on which the Creator of the visible world had taken his divine rest.

But it was a commemoration of the material creation only.

The Eternal Word comes down in the world that he has created.

He comes with the rays of his divinity clouded beneath the humble veil of our flesh.

He comes to fulfil the figures of the first Covenant.

Before abrogating the Sabbath, he would observe it as he did every tittle of the Law.

He would spend it as the day of rest, after the work of his Passion, in the silence of the sepulchre.

But, early on the eighth day, he rises to life, and the life is one of glory.

[…] And rightly was the seventh changed into the eighth, because we Christians put our joy in a better work than the creation of the world….

Let the lovers of the world keep a Sabbath for its creation. But our joy is in the salvation of the world, for our life, yea and our rest, is hidden with Christ in God.

Prosper Guéranger (1805-1875): The Liturgical Year, tr. Dom Laurence Shepherd, O.S.B., Vol. 6, (Newman Pr., Westminster, Md, 1952).

Prosper Guéranger: These Fifty Days of Easter Are the Image of Our Eternal Happiness Sunday, Apr 29 2012 

Eternity in heaven is the true Pasch: hence, our Pasch here on earth is the feast of feasts, the solemnity of solemnities.

The human race was dead; it was the victim of that sentence, whereby it was condemned to lie mere dust in the tomb; the gates of life were shut against it.

But see! The Son of God rises from his grave and takes possession of eternal life.

Nor is he the only one that is to die no more, for, as the Apostle teaches us, ‘He is the first-born from the dead’(Col. 1:18).

The Church would, therefore, have us consider ourselves as having already risen with our Jesus, and as having already taken possession of eternal life.

The holy Fathers bid us look on these fifty days of Easter as the image of our eternal happiness.

They are days devoted exclusively to joy; every  sort of sadness is forbidden; and the Church cannot speak to her  divine Spouse without joining to her words that glorious cry of  heaven, the Alleluia, wherewith, as the holy Liturgy says, the streets and squares of the heavenly Jerusalem resound without  ceasing.

We have been forbidden the use of this joyous word during the past nine weeks; it behoved us to die with Christ.

But now that we have risen together with him from the tomb, and that we are resolved to die no more that death which kills the soul and caused our Redeemer to die on the cross, we have a right to our Alleluia.

The providence of God, who has established harmony between the visible world and the supernatural work of grace, willed that the Resurrection of our Lord should take place at that particular season of the year when even Nature herself seems to rise from the grave.

The meadows give forth their verdure, the trees resume  their foliage, the birds fill the air with their songs, and the  sun, the type of our triumphant Jesus, pours out his floods of  light on our earth made new by lovely spring.

[…] Speaking, in the Canticle, to the faithful soul, and inviting her to take her part in this new life  which he is now imparting to every creature, our Lord himself says:

‘Arise, my dove, and come! Winter is now past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers have appeared in our land. The voice of the turtle is heard. The fig-tree hath put forth her green figs.  The vines, in flower, yield their sweet smell. Arise thou, and come!’(Song 10:13).

Prosper Guéranger (1805-1875): The Liturgical Year, tr. Dom Laurence Shepherd, O.S.B., Vol. 6, (Newman Pr., Westminster, Md, 1952).

Prosper Guéranger: The Trinity has Taken Possession of Our Being Wednesday, Jun 22 2011 

The mystery of the blessed Trinity, which was taught us by the mission of the Son of God into this world, and by the promise of the speedy sending of the holy Spirit, is announced to men by these solemn words, uttered by Jesus just before His ascension into heaven.

He had said: “He that shall believe, and shall be baptized, shall be saved”; but He adds, that Baptism is to be given in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

Henceforward man must not only confess the unity of God, by abjuring a plurality of gods, but he must, also, adore a Trinity of Persons in Unity of Essence.

The great secret of heaven is now published through the whole world.

But, whilst humbly confessing the God whom we have been taught to know as He is in Himself, we must, likewise, pay a tribute of eternal gratitude to the ever glorious Trinity.

Not only has It vouchsafed to impress Its divine image on our soul, by making her to Its own likeness; but, in the supernatural order, It has taken possession of our being, and raised it to an incalculable pitch of greatness.

The Father has adopted us in His Son become Incarnate; the Word illumines our minds with His light; the Holy Ghost has chosen us for His dwelling: and this it is that is expressed by the form of holy Baptism.

By those words pronounced over us, together with the pouring out of the water, the whole Trinity took possession of Its creature.

We call this sublime marvel to mind as often as we invoke the three divine Persons, making upon ourselves, at the same time, the sign of the cross.

When our mortal remains are carried into the house of God, there to receive the last blessings and farewell of the Church on earth, the priest will beseech the Lord “not to enter into judgment with His servant”;

in order to draw down the divine mercy upon this Christian, who has gone to his eternity, he will say to the sovereign Judge that this member of the human family “was marked, whilst in this life, with the sign of the holy Trinity.”

Let us respect this divine impress which we bear upon us. It is to be eternal; hell itself will not be able to blot it out.

Let it, then, be our hope, our dearest title; and let us live for the glory of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen!

Prosper Guéranger (1805-1875): The Liturgical Year @ The Traditional Latin Mass in Michiana