29 March 2009

Passion Sunday

The royal banners forward go, * The Cross shines forth in mystic glow, * Where Life Himself our death endured * And by His death our life procured. * Where deep for us the spear was dyed, * Life's torrent rushing from His side, * To wash us in that precious flood, * Where mingled water flowed, and blood. * Fulfilled is all that David told * In true prophetic song of old, * To all the nations: God, saith he, * Hath reigned and triumphed from the Tree. * O Tree of beauty, Tree of light, * O Tree with royal purple dight, * Elect on whose triumphal breast * Those holy limbs should find their rest. * On whose dear arms, so widely flung, * The weight of this world's ransom hung, * The price of human kind to pay, * And spoil the spoiler of his prey. * O Cross, our one reliance, hail! * This holy Passiontide avail * To give new virtue to the saint * And pardon to the penitent. * To Thee, eternal Three in One, * Let homage meet by all be done, * As by the Cross Thou dost restore, * So rule and guide us ever more. Amen.

The Vexilla Regis, the Vespers hymn for Passiontide, is one of my favorite's for a variety of reasons, one of which is that it always reminds me of the heroism of the Catholic peasents of the Vendee in France who fought the godless French Revolutionaries from 1793-1796, with this hymn as their battle song. Highly to be recommended in this regard is Warren Carroll's The Guillotine and the Cross in which he devotes an entire chapter to the uprising of the Catholics of the Vendee, as well as generally exposing the French Revolution to be as truly horrific (in its motivations, in its execution, and in its effects) an event as just about any other in history.

On another note, we were ridiculous enough to forget to set our clocks forward last night, and as a result were exactly one hour late for Divine Liturgy this morning. In other words, we missed it. On the bright side, however, we now have a necessary reason for making the 40 minute drive to Amstetten for their 6:00 pm Tridentine Mass. The Mass is offered by a priest of the Congregation Servi Jesu et Mariae (servants of Jesus and Mary). The founder of this little order, who only just died last year, was expelled from the Jesuits in the 1970s on account of his orthodoxy and so founded the SJM in 1988 to carry on the work of the traditional Jesuits in the spirit of St. Ignatius Loyola.

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