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Tag Archives: Maundy Thursday

PRAYER FOR MAUNDY THURSDAY

PRAYER FOR MAUNDY THURSDAY

PRAYER FOR HOLY THURSDAY (MAUNDY THURSDAY):

PRAYER TO APPRECIATE THE MASS

O Lord Jesus,
in order that the merits of Your sacrifice
on the Cross
might be applied to every soul of all time,
You willed that it should be renewed
upon the altar.
At the Last Supper, You said:
“Do this in remembrance of Me.”
By these words
You gave Your Apostles and their successors
the power to consecrate
and the command to do what You Yourself did.
I believe that the Mass is
both a sacrifice and a memorial –
reenacting Your Passion, Death and Resurrection.
Help me to realize that the Mass
is the greatest gift of God to us
and our greatest gift to God.
At every Mass I attend
grant me the grace
to participate fully, actively and consciously
so as to give the greatest glory to God
and achieve the highest benefits for myself,
my relatives, friends and benefactors
as well as all humankind.
Amen.

 

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PRAYER FOR MAUNDY THURSDAY

PRAYER FOR HOLY THURSDAY (MAUNDY THURSDAY):

PRAYER TO APPRECIATE THE HOLY MASS

O Lord Jesus,
in order that the merits of Your sacrifice
on the Cross
might be applied to every soul of all time,
You willed that it should be renewed
upon the altar.
At the Last Supper, You said:
“Do this in remembrance of Me.”
By these words
You gave Your Apostles and their successors
the power to consecrate
and the command to do what You Yourself did.
I believe that the Mass is
both a sacrifice and a memorial –
reenacting Your Passion, Death and Resurrection.
Help me to realize that the Mass
is the greatest gift of God to us
and our greatest gift to God.
At every Mass I attend
grant me the grace
to participate fully, actively and consciously
so as to give the greatest glory to God
and achieve the highest benefits for myself,
my relatives, friends and benefactors
as well as all humankind.
Amen.

 

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OF THE GLORIOUS BODY TELLING (PANGE, LINGUA)

LATIN:

Pange, lingua, gloriosi
Corporis mysterium,
Sanguinisque pretiosi,
Quem in mundi pretium
Fructus ventris generosi
Rex effudit gentium.

Nobis datus, nobis natus,
Ex intacta Virgine,
Et in mundo conversatus,
Sparso verbi semine,
Sui moras incolatus
Miro clausit ordine.

In supremae nocte cenae,
Recumbens cum fratribus,
Observata lege plene,
Cibis in legalibus,
Cibum turbae duodenae,
Se dat suis manibus.

Verbum caro, panem verum,
Verbo carnem efficit:
Fitque sanguis Christi merum,
Et si sensus deficit,
Ad firmandum cor sincerum,
Sola fides sufficit.

Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui:
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.

Genitori Genitoque
Laus et jubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.
Amen.

ENGLISH:

Of the glorious Body telling,
O my tongue, it’s myst’ries sing,
And the Blood, all price excelling,
Which the world’s eternal King,
In a noble womb once dwelling,
Shed for this world’s ransoming.

Given for us, for us descending,
Of a Virgin to proceed,
Man with man in converse blending,
Scattered he the Gospel seed,
Till his sojourn drew to ending,
Which he closed in wondrous deed.

At the last great Supper lying,
Circled by his brethren’s band,
Meekly with the law complying,
First he finished its command,
Then, immortal Food supplying,
Gave himself with his own hand.

Word made Flesh, by word he maketh
Very bread his Flesh to be,
Man in wine Christ’s Blood partaketh:
And if senses fail to see,
Faith alone the true heart waketh
To behold the mystery.

Therefore we before him bending,
This great sacrament revere,
Types and shadows have their ending,
For the newer rite is here;
Faith, our outward sense befriending,
Makes the inward vision clear.

Glory let us give, and blessing
To the Father and the Son,
Honour, might, and praise addressing,
While eternal ages run;
Ever too his love confessing,
Who, from both with both is one.
Amen.
– St Thomas Aquinas,
tr. Edward Caswall

 

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“LET US CALL TO MIND THAT SAD, AND AT THE SAME TIME MOST BLESSED NIGHT”

THE LAST SUPPER

“Let us call to mind that sad, and at the same time most blessed night, on which Jesus Christ was delivered up, that He might be crucified the next day: He, who knew all things, feeling His last hour approach, having always loved His own who were in the world, loved them to the end: and gathering together in the person of His apostles all those for whom He was about to die, He said to them when leaving them this precious gift of His Body and Blood: ‘Do this in commemoration of me.” Celebrate this mystery until I come to judge the living and the dead, and call to mind, when you celebrate it, what I have done for your salvation; and, above all, never forget that I am going to die for your salvation.

THE INSTITUTION OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST

Let us think of all these things, and, touched by so many tokens of our Saviour’s love, let us henceforth be all love for Him. That is what He looks for from us, and it is in order to enkindle this love that He has instituted this sacred mystery.

IT IS FOR JESUS I LIVE

My Saviour, I gladly hear that I must remember your death, that I must contemplate through faith your wounded Flesh, and your Blood shed for me; that it is by this means that you have ransomed me. This is what I do in the Eucharist, the fruit of which is to impress your death upon my mind, to place in it my hope, and to conform me to it by the mortification of my senses. O my Saviour, this is, then, Your Body, this same Body covered with wounds. I unite myself to them all; it was through them that your Blood was shed for me. You languish, You die, You pass away: here is Your passing; I pass, I expire with you. Farewell, farewell! I am departing, I am no longer anything, I am no longer myself. It is for Jesus that I live, it is Jesus who lives in me.

It must be thus; such is the fruit of the Eucharist. Ah, how far I am from it, but I shall return to it only by the Eucharist.”
– Bossuet

 

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MAUNDY THURSDAY – IN THE MIDST OF MOURNING WE CELEBRATE OUR LORD’S LAST GIFT BEFORE HIS PASSION

“The name ‘Maundy’ is from ‘Mandatum,’ the ceremony of washing the feet at the end of the Mass, whose first antiphon begins: ‘Mandatum novum do vobis.’ It is usual to call a service after the first word of its chants. In the same way we speak of a ‘Requiem,’ a ‘Dirge’ (‘Dirge’ is the beginning of the first antiphon at Matins for the dead), and so on. It is curious that in England the ceremony of washing the feet should have given its name to the whole day.

THE MAIN FEATURE

The main feature of the function today and tomorrow is that on Good Friday the holy Sacrifice is not offered. That is as old a custom as any in the Church. It obtains equally in all rites. Indeed, in most of the Eastern rites, as once at Rome, there were many ‘aliturgical’ (that is, days on which the holy Liturgy [Mass] was not celebrated) days in Lent. The Byzantine rite, for instance, has this Liturgy of the Presanctified every Wednesday and Friday in Lent, and on Monday and Tuesday in Holy Week. We now have it only on Good Friday. But, although no priest consecrates on Good Friday, it is the equally old custom that the priest (and once the people, too) should make their Communion. For this purpose it is necessary to reserve the Sanctissimum consecrated at the Mass the day before. Nowadays, it would be easy to take the Sanctissimum from the tabernacle; but the ceremonies of Holy Week date from a time when it was by no means the universal custom to reserve in every church. So special arrangements had to be made to reserve for this occasion. At the Mass on Maundy Thursday the priest consecrates [hosts, some of them he takes to a place prepared where they are kept] till Communion on Good Friday. That is the root of the service on both days.

THE BETRAYAL OF JUDAS

For the rest, the Mass of Maundy Thursday is a festal Mass, with white vestments, with the ‘Gloria in excelsis.’ It is the only case in the year when the Mass of the day and office do not correspond. The office is all mournful. Here the memory which seems most to fill the mind of the Church is the betrayal of Judas. But when Mass is said the Church cannot forget, although it is the middle of the week of mourning, that this is the day to which we owe the Holy Eucharist. So, a startling exception to the usual note of the time, at Mass at least we put aside all thought of mourning and celebrate with joy our Lord’s last gift before he died.

The ringing of the bells at the ‘Gloria’ is only the sign that from now on they will not be heard again until the first Easter Mass. The Church is accustomed to do a thing solemnly for the last time before it ceases, as we say the ‘Alleluia’ solemnly twice at the end of Vespers before Septuagesima. Probably the time of the ‘Gloria’ is chosen because it corresponds to the time when the bells ring out on Holy Saturday. The playing of the organ at the same time is obviously a further development of the same idea. The organ, too, comes back at the ‘Gloria’ on Holy Saturday. (Thurston, pp. 277-281). To play the organ on Maundy Thursday is less logical, since it should not have been heard during all Lent; but one can see the connection of ideas.

From this time begin the ‘still days’ of our forefathers, on which all are to be intent only on the memory of what our Lord bore for us.

After Mass the procession takes the Sanctissimum to the place where it is kept till the next day. This is an example of a real Roman procession, having a definite object. It is usual to call the place to which the Blessed Sacrament is taken the ‘altar of repose.’ This is a harmless popular name; but it is not really an altar. No sacrifice is offered on it.

THE ‘ALTAR OF REPOSE’

At first it seems that nothing more was done than to keep the Sanctissimum reverently in some safe place, often in the sacristy, as it is still reserved in many Eastern Churches. Then people realised that this was the one occasion when they had the Blessed Sacrament in their churches. So they made much of it. They fitted up and adorned a place of honour; they began to watch and pray before the ‘altar of repose’ all the day and all night. Much of the ideas of such later developments as Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, of the ‘Forty Hours’ and so on, seems to have begun during this time between Mass on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. And then, even after it had become usual to reserve the Sanctissimum on the altar of nearly every church all the year round, the old custom of special reverence on this occasion went on. That, too, is nearly always so. Custom preserves many things in liturgy after their first reason has ceased.

SPECIAL REVERENCE

This accounts for the special reverence with which we still treat the Sanctissimum at the altar of repose, although we have it now in the tabernacle always. And, indeed, on this night of all nights, when our Lord was suffering his bitter torment, it is natural that people should spend part of the time with him in prayer, honouring the gift of that day.

REGARDING THESE FAST DAYS

We leave the altar of repose, come back to the High Altar and say Vespers. This is not really a special feature of these days. On all fast days Vespers are now said in the morning, from the old idea that one does not break one’s fast till after Vespers. Easier rule now allows people to eat at midday on fast days; but the liturgical sequence is preserved; so the meal pushed Vespers back to the morning. The fact that on fast days at the end of Mass the deacon says not: ‘Ite missa est,’ but ‘Benedicamus Domino,’ meant once that he did not dismiss the people then, because they were to stay for Vespers.

STRIPPING THE ALTAR

After Vespers the altar is stripped. This ceremony has become to us one of the features of Holy Week; yet it is only one more case of an archaic custom, otherwise abolished, but preserved on these days. Once, after Mass on any day, the altar was stripped. Now on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday the stripping of the altar has become a symbol of desolation, or a memory that our Lord was stripped of his garments.

THE WASHING OF FEET

The Maundy follows. When our Lord had washed the feet of the Apostles he gave us a clear command to do as he had done (John xiii. 15). Doubtless this means, in the first place, rather the general attitude he then observed; but the Church has always taken his command literally too. There are innumerable cases of washing feet (at one time a very practical work of charity) by Heads of religious houses, done to poor travellers, pilgrims, and so on, by Popes, bishops, Kings. Still in Catholic countries it is the custom for the Sovereign to wash the feet of thirteen poor men today. Indeed, so definite is our Lord’s command to carry out this ceremony, so clear the implication of a grace given thereby (John xiii, 10, 11, 17), that at one time it seems to have been considered almost to approach the dignity of a sacrament. We shall certainly not consider the Mandatum to be a real sacrament; but it may be counted among the sacramentals.

Naturally, it was most of all on this day that people obeyed our Lord’s command. Whereas Fathers and synods, from the fourth century, recommend the washing of feet in general, often especially the washing of the feet of the newly baptised (Thurston, pp. 307-309. As a typical example see the Rule of St Benedict, chap. 35 and 53), in the seventh century we find a Spanish council insisting on the restoration of this ceremony on Maundy Thursday, since in some places it was falling out of use (Seventeenth Syn. of Toledo (694), can. 3 (Hefele-Leclerq: Hist. Des Conciles, iii, p. 586). It is curious that thirteen men whose feet are washed, not twelve, are constantly mentioned. In the twelfth century the Pope washed the feet of twelve subdeacons after Mass, and of thirteen poor men after dinner (Ordo rom. xii, 25, 27). Various explanations are given of the number thirteen. Either it is meant to include St Matthias, or St Paul, or perhaps the Lord himself. There is a legend about an angel who appeared and joined the twelve poor men entertained on one occasion by St Gregory I. No number is specified in the missal; but the Ceremonial of Bishops speaks of thirteen (Caer. Ep., L. II, cap. XXIV, 2); this is the usual number now in the West (the Eastern rites keep to twelve).

After the washing of feet the church is left all empty and bare; only in a distant chapel the lights burn and people watch silently before the altar of repose, waiting for the service of the next morning.”
– Adrian Fortescue, from “The Holy Week Book”, Burns Oates & Washbourne, London, 1913

 

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PRAYER FOR MAUNDY THURSDAY

PRAYER FOR HOLY THURSDAY (MAUNDY THURSDAY):

PRAYER TO APPRECIATE THE MASS

O Lord Jesus,
in order that the merits of Your sacrifice
on the Cross
might be applied to every soul of all time,
You willed that it should be renewed
upon the altar.
At the Last Supper, You said:
“Do this in remembrance of Me.”
By these words
You gave Your Apostles and their successors
the power to consecrate
and the command to do what You Yourself did.
I believe that the Mass is
both a sacrifice and a memorial –
re-enacting Your Passion, Death and Resurrection.
Help me to realize that the Mass
is the greatest gift of God to us
and our greatest gift to God.
At every Mass I attend
grant me the grace
to participate fully, actively and consciously
so as to give the greatest glory to God
and achieve the highest benefits for myself,
my relatives, friends and benefactors
as well as all humankind.
Amen.

 

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HOLY WEEK: “WE SHOULD LEAVE BEHIND US OUR USUAL CARES AT THE THRESHOLD OF PALM SUNDAY”

So, on Palm Sunday, with the chant of ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’ we seem to enter another world.

THE RITES OF HOLY WEEK [PART I] BY ADRIAN FORTESCUE

“The week before Easter, now commonly called Holy Week (in the missal it is ‘Hebdomada maior’) is not only the most sacred time of the year; liturgically it forms an exception to the normal course of church functions in many ways. Indeed these great days stand out from all the rest of the year, with their rites unlike anything we are accustomed to see in church. It is true that some of the services, as for instance the Mass on Palm Sunday and Maundy Thursday, are not so very different from Mass on other days; but even they have many noticeable peculiarities; other services, such as those of Good Friday and Holy Saturday morning, are quite unlike anything else. To the student of liturgy these days, as no others, are full of interest for the history of our Roman rite in the past.

Perhaps the first thing to note about Holy Week is that it is part of the same feast as Easter Week following. We must think of all that fortnight, from Palm Sunday to Low Sunday, as one event. The whole fortnight makes up the Easter feast, the ‘paschalia solemnia,’ in which we remember, each year, our redemption by the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ. It is true that the character of these two weeks seems as different as anything could be. Holy Week is the time of mourning, the saddest week of the year, the Easter octave the most joyful. Yet they belong together; we should think of them as the two halves of one whole. The change from the mourning of Holy Week to the joy of Easter, taking place in the middle of the function of Holy Saturday, is of the essence of this Paschal solemnity. It was so at the first Easter. Our Lord said to the disciples of Emmaus: ‘Was it not necessary that Christ should suffer these things, and so enter into his glory?’ (Luke, xxiv, 26). So now, as we remember the story of our Redemption, we too, following him, pass during the one feast from the mournful memory of his suffering to the joyful memory of his glory.

The reason why this Paschal feast is the greatest of all is not so much because it is the remembrance of certain events in our Lord’s life, as that these events mean our Redemption. After our belief in the existence of God, nothing in the Christian religion is more fundamental than the idea that we are redeemed by the Sacrifice of Christ on the cross; this is the very heart of all our religion.

And we must understand too that his Resurrection is just as much part of our Redemption as his pain and death. ‘Christ was delivered up for our sins, and rose again for our justification’ (Rom. iv, 25). The Resurrection is the great witness of Christ’s mission, without which no one would have believed in him, no one would have received the fruit of his suffering. So the Apostles say: ‘If Christ has not risen again, our preaching is vain, vain is your faith’ (1 Cor. xv, 14). The Church always looks upon the Resurrection as an integral part of our Redemption, as much as the cross. What the Apostles preached was not only Christ crucified, it was ‘Christ Jesus who died and who rose again’ (Rom. viii, 34); we believe in ‘Jesus who died and rose again’ (1 Thes. iv, 14), and so on throughout the New Testament.

Inevitably then, the early Church took all this, the memory of the Crucifixion, and of the Resurrection, as one thing. In every Mass the solemn remembrance of our redemption is of ‘the blessed passion and Resurrection from the dead of Christ thy Son, our Lord,’ and, as completing the idea of the Resurrection, also of his ‘glorious ascension into heaven.’ Inevitably too the Church makes the memory of these things the cardinal feast of all the year. More important than Christmas, greater than Pentecost, standing out from all other feast and memories, towering above the normal course of the year is this great Paschal solemnity around the Sunday after the first Spring full moon. No wonder that five-sixth of the year revolves around Easter [from Septuagesima to Advent]; no wonder that these days are unlike any other. And this Paschal feast begins on Palm Sunday and lasts till Low Sunday. The Easter octave has fewer liturgical peculiarities than the former week; it needs less explanation of its ceremonies; but it is all part of one solemnity.

So, on Palm Sunday, with the chant of [‘Hosanna to the Son of David’] we seem to enter another world. All the usual course of Saints’ days is laid aside; no other thought may disturb the yearly remembrance of our Redemption. One would like to spend these days in something in something of the nature of a retreat. That is not possible for most people. But at least, we should, as far as we can, leave behind our usual cares, at the threshold of Palm Sunday, to take them up again when we come out of the grat days after Low Sunday.

Symbols of this exceptional time are the strange rites we see then in church.

The rites of Holy Week consist chiefly of three main elements, from which others follow. The first is the blessing of palms and procession on Palm Sunday, the second the fact that no Mass is said on Good Friday, though the celebrant makes his Communion on that day, the third the Easter vigil and anticipation of Easter on Holy Saturday. The fourth element, Tenebrae, is less of an exception than it may seem.”
– Adrian Fortescue, from “The Holy Week Book”, Burns Oates & Washbourne, London, 1913

 

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