Monday, March 16, 2015

VESPERS in the Little Office - The Bridegroom Comforts His Bride

In the evening of the day, after the day's work is done, and we are tired and weary, our tender Mother Church reminds us of God's love for His Immaculate Bride and encourages us by showing us the Triumph that awaits us after the Great Event. We have a duty to give glory to God via the Liturgy. Even if there were no priest offering Mass or praying the Divine Office, the laity could do its part by praying the Little Office.

Following are the Psalms of Vespers in the Little Office. The theme is the love God has for His Church and how He will destroy her enemies and restore her to her proper place. Christ the King reigns now, though he allows the enemy to persecute us as just chastisement for our sins. But after Our Lady intervenes at the command of Christ, all heresies will be destroyed and all things will be restored in Christ!

Psalm 109. Dixit Dominus
The Messiah, King and Priest, victorious over His enemies.

1 The Lord said unto my Lord * Sit Thou at My right hand.
2 Until I make Thine enemies * Thy footstool.
3 The Lord shall send forth the sceptre of Thy power out of Sion * rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies.
4 Thine shall be dominion in the day of Thy power; amidst the brightness of the Saints * from the womb, before the day-star, have I begotten Thee.
5 The Lord hath sworn, and He will not repent * Thou art a priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech.
6 The Lord upon Thy right hand * hath overthrown kings in the day of His wrath.
7 He shall judge among the nations; He shall fill them with ruins * He shall smite in sunder the heads in the land of many.
8 He shall drink of the torrent in the way * therefore shall He lift up His head.
Glory Be.

St. Alphonsus: THE Psalmist here speaks of the reign of Jesus Christ, of His eternal and temporal generation, of His Priesthood, and of His Passion. This Psalm must be understood literally of our Divine Saviour, since it is recorded in the Gospel that He applied it to Himself (Matt. xxii. 44) in order to convince the Jews that He was truly the Son of God: after drawing from them the avowal that the Messias must be the Son of David, He asked them how it was, then, David called Him his Lord: “The Lord said unto my Lord,” and thereupon followed up the argument by asking them how the same Messias Whom David called his Lord, was his Son: If David then call Him Lord, how is He his Son?” The Jews did not answer that the Messias could not be the Lord of David, as true God; but they would not allow that Jesus was the Messias or Christ of Whom David had spoken. We Christians all believe that Jesus Christ was the true Messias. This ought to convince the Arians, who deny that Jesus Christ is true Son of God and true God as His Father: how in fact can they deny this verity, seeing that David called Him his Lord, Who was to be his Son?

Thus far St. Alphonsus

Christ the King hath overthrown kings in the day of His wrath! He shall smite asunder the heads in the land of many. The world has fought against Christ the King since Adam’s fall. But, after the Great Event, He shall have His vengeance. Amidst the brightness of those who have persevered through the Apostasy and remained faithful to the Church, He shall lay waste His enemies. He has allowed the weeds to remain in the midst of the wheat until it appeared that the wheat had disappeared and there was nothing left but weeds. But now He will separate the weeds and throw them into the unquenchable fire. The Lord shall send forth the scepter of His power out of [the Church]and shall rule. 

Psalm 112. Laudate, pueri
Glory to God, so infinitely great and so admirably condescending.

1 Praise the Lord, ye children * praise ye the name of the Lord.
2 Blessed be the name of the Lord * from this time forth forevermore.
3 From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same * the name of the Lord is worthy to be praised.
4 The Lord is high above all nations * and His glory above the heavens.
5 Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high * and regardeth the things that are lowly in heaven and on earth?
6 Who raiseth up the needy from the earth * and lifteth the poor out of the dunghill;
7 That He may set him with princes * even with the princes of His people.
8 Who maketh the barren woman to dwell in her house * the joyful mother of children.
Glory Be.

St. Alphonsus:  The Psalmist invites the just to praise God for the care that He takes of all His creatures, even of the meanest. 

The Lord is sovereign, supreme over all the nations: His glory surpasses that of the heavens. Who can ever compare with the Lord our God, Whose goodness is such that, from the highest heaven where he dwells, He does not disdain to look upon the creatures that are the most lowly in heaven and on earth? He it is Who, beholding the spouse full of sadness in her house, at seeing herself barren, without offspring, makes her become the joyful mother of many children. This verse applies well to Jesus Christ, Who, when the Church was bereaved of children by the perversion of the Jews, made her, by His redemption, the mother of all the faithful. 

Thus far St. Alphonsus.

We, the children of Holy Mother Church, we, the poor, who are living in the midst of the dunghill of apostasy brought about once again by the machinations of the “perversion of the Jews” who have taken over the Vatican and the chanceries and every parish on earth; we the needy might well have wondered, if we had not the promise of Christ that the gates of hell would not prevail, whether the Church would be left childless, barren in the world. Christ Himself wondered if He would find faith on earth on His return. Our Mother has even been thrown from her house; all the structures of the Church, built by the blood, sweat and tears of our ancestors are occupied by our enemies. But the Lord will make the “barren woman” to dwell in her house once more, the joyful mother of children. No longer will we occupy the dunghills, we shall be set with princes, the saints who have gone before us. Notice the antiphon for the time before Advent: His left hand is under my head, and His right hand shall embrace me. Christ King, embracing His spouse, the Church and lifting her up to be beside Him for eternity. No, this exile will not last forever. It will end in the flash of a lightning bolt, in the wink of an eye. The event will come as Our Lady promised. 

Psalm 121. Lætatus sum
Song of the pilgrims in honor of Jerusalem.

1 I was glad at the things that were said unto me * We will go into the house of the Lord.
2 Our feet were standing * in thy courts, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem, which is built as a city * that is in unity with itself.
4 For thither did the tribes go up, even the tribes of the Lord * the testimony of Israel, to praise the name of the Lord.
5 For there are set the seats of judgment * the seats over the house of David.
6 Pray ye for the things that are for the peace of Jerusalem * and plenteousness be to them that love thee.
7 Let peace be in thy strength * and plenteousness in thy towers.
8 For my brethren and companions’ sake * I spake peace concerning thee.
9 Because of the house of the Lord our God * I have sought good things for thee.
Glory Be.

St. Alphonsus:  The joy of the Jews, on hearing that they are about to be released from the captivity of Babylon. Christians should by this Psalm enkindle anew their desires for heaven.

Thus far St. Alphonsus

How strongly we can understand the suffering of the Hebrews as they awaited the Messias; as they awaited their release from the captivity that was brought about by their own sins! We ourselves are suffering the same fate. We are exiled from our churches, we have lost everything from the top down: We have no pope, no bishops, almost no priests, hardly any Masses or Sacraments, the doctrine has been poisoned with the heresy of heresies – Modernism. And yet – we hope! We must hope! Especially since we know that we return to rest in the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church. We will go into the House of the Lord. Throughout the history of the Church, those called and chosen by God have ascended into heaven by being joined to the Mystical Body of Christ. We must pray – especially the Little Office and the Holy Rosary – for the things that are for the peace of the Church and those that love Her. We must pray for the salvation of our neighbors for the love of God. This is Charity. 

This is the second time this psalm is prayed, the first time being at the hour of sext. It must be very important to Holy Mother Church that we keep it in our hearts. It is terribly important that we nurture a strong desire to be with Christ. It is said in the lives of the saints that a certain person spent much time in purgatory because he did not have an intense desire to be with Christ! We must pray for the gift of a strong desire for the coming of Christ. It is easy to get used to anything, even living through the Apostasy because God has given us this strength so we can endure, but we must take care not to begin to take is as the way things should be. We must be glad at the very mention of the Holy Name of Jesus, at the word Catholic our heart should beat a little faster, our ears should perk up, we should be glad at the things that are said about the Faith, the Church, Our Lady and Our Lord. Let us not become lackadaisical but let our desire be for the courts of the Lord!

Psalm 126. Nisi Dominus
Man can do nothing without God’s help.

1 Unless the Lord build the house * they labour in vain that build it.
2 Unless the Lord keep the city * he watcheth in vain that keepeth it.
3 In vain do ye rise before the dawn * rise after ye have rested, O ye that eat the bread of sorrow!
4 For He hath given sleep to His beloved * Lo, children are a heritage from the Lord; and the fruit of the womb a reward.
5 As arrows in the hand of the mighty One * even so are the children of those that have been cast out.
6 Blessed is the man whose desire is satisfied with them * he shall not be confounded when he speaketh with his enemies in the gate.
Glory Be.

St. Alphonsus:  The Jews, on their return from Babylon, wish to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and the Temple, but are hindered by the incursions of their enemies; the Psalmist exhorts them to trust in God.

After the Lord shall have given to His beloved, that is, to His people, sleep, viz., peace by means of the promised Redeemer. – Then shall appear the inheritance of Jesus Christ the Lord, an inheritance which shall consist in the multitude of the children born in His Church according to the prophecy: “Ask of Me, and I will give Thee the Gentiles for Thine inheritance (Ps. ii. 8.) – The recompense of Christ the Lord shall be the fruit of the womb, that is, these same children shall be the recompense of Jesus Christ according to another prophecy: If He shall lay down His life for sin, He shall see a long-lived seed.” (Is. liii. 10).  This is well expressed in the Greek version in this sense: The multitude of children shall be the inheritance of the Lord and the recompense of Jesus Christ, Who was properly the fruit of Mary’s womb. These children, tormented by persecutions, shall be against their enemies as so many arrows in the hand of a strong man. Blessed is the man who shall see his desire satisfied by the birth of so many children; he shall not suffer confusion when he shall have to treat with his enemies before the gate of the city, that is, according to Bellarmine, at the last judgment, which shall take place at the great gate, or at the assize of the whole world, when Jesus Christ shall confound the demons, who thought to drag the entire human race down to hell.

Thus far, St. Alphonsus.

We see this psalm also for a second time. The Church, then, wants us to recall that Her enemies shall not prevail. Consider the beauty of the Antiphon for the time before Advent: Now is the winter past, the rain is over and gone: arise, my beloved, and come. This should make our heart skip a beat! The winter refers to the time when the Church was in the darkness of the Apostasy, kicked out of our houses and living in the wilderness, in the cold, dark winter. But now, the winter is past, the Lord comes to lift us, to embrace us as was mentioned in the previous antiphon. The cold rain is gone, the eclipsed sun comes out again, Christ says to His Bride, “Arise, my beloved, and come!”

Psalm 147. Lauda, Jerusalem
Thanksgiving for the restoration of Jerusalem.

1 Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem * praise thy God, O Sion.
2 For He hath strengthened the bars of thy gates * He hath blessed thy children within thee.
3 He hath made peace within thy borders * and filleth thee with the fat of corn.
4 He sendeth forth His speech upon the earth * His word runneth very swiftly.
5 He giveth snow like wool * He scattereth the mists like ashes.
6 He sendeth His ice like morsels * who shall stand before the face of His cold?
7 He shall send forth His word, and shall melt them * His wind shall blow and the waters shall run.
8 He declareth His word unto Jacob * His justice and judgments unto Israel.
9 He hath not done in like manner to every nation * and His judgments He hath not made manifest to them. Glory Be.

St. Alphonsus: The Psalmist exhorts the people of God to thank Him for His benefits. This Psalm regards the Jews now returned from captivity, and in the sweet enjoyment of peace. 

[The Lord] covers the earth with ice as with pieces of crystal; how shall he who is exposed to such great cold be able to endure it? Then the Lord will issue another command and will cause the snow to melt, for He will send forth the South wind, and the snows will thaw into water.

Thus far St. Alphonsus.

In this psalm, the metaphor of an icy winter being warmed into spring which we saw in the previous antiphon is expanded upon. He hath strengthened the bars of thy gates, He hath blessed thy children within thee. The Lord supported us during the frigid winter of our exile during the eclipse of the Church, when the warmth of the Sun was blocked and we lived only on Faith that the Sun was there, since the warmth of His rays were blocked by the false church which stood where it ought not to have been. He sustained us, even when we wondered, “How will we survive before the face of His cold?”  But, He sends forth His word and shall melt them, His wind shall blow and the [frozen] waters shall run. The Church shall come out from the eclipse and the brightness will once again warm the world. It will have been so long since She showed her face that people will not recognize Her and will ask, “Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?” The earth will be renewed and the mists of error, heresy, schism and apostasy will be scattered like ashes. 

¡Viva Cristo Rey!
¡Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!