Take up the Cross! |
The VerbumQUO for today is "tolle" the demonstrative verb "take up", taken from today's Epistle with the theme of taking up the Faith carried throughout today's Proper as a follow-up to yesterday's Proper for the Feria of the Great Scrutiny. It is a reinforcement to catechumens and the baptized alike to "take up" the life of grace by embracing our crosses for there can be no Resurrection without the Cross.
Editor, The Daily Catholic
Editor's Note: This is a new series the editor has launched in highlighting one word from the Proper of the day's Mass. Taking the Latin Verbum and Quotidianum, which mean respectively "Word" and "Daily", we have coined the word "Verbumquo" by contracting quotidianum to quo and running it together as VerbumQUO for this feature series, thus "The Daily Word," as in the sum of the message, the 'quotient', if you will. It is also our hope that in choosing the Latin word with its meaning and etimology more will be attuned to hearing the word read at the altar and better comprehend the beauty of the Mother tongue. Hopefully in this Time of Lent we can gain a higher appreciation and contemplation on how the Daily Proper of the Holy Mass applies in our lives in alignment with the will of Christ and His Blessed Immaculate Mother and His Mystical Bride, His Holy Roman Catholic Church.
Michael Cain, editor, The Daily Catholic
The VerbumQUO for today's Proper of Thursday in the Fourth Week of Lent is tolle, the demonstrative verb for "take up" or "lift up" and is taken from today's Epistle of 4 Kings 4: 25-39 on the healing of the Sunamite woman's son through the prayers and belief of the Prophet Eliseus, prefiguring Christ, as we see in the following:
Léctio libri Regum.In diébús illis: Venit múlier Sunamítis ad Eliséum in montem Carméli: cumque vidísset eam vir Dei a contra, ait ad Giézi púerum suum: Ecce Sunamítis illa. Vade ergo in occúrsum ejus, et die ei: Recte ne ágitur circa te, et circa virum tuum, et circa fílium tuum? Quæ respóndit: Recte. Cumque venísset ad virum Dei in montem, apprehéndit pedes ejus, et accéssit Giézi ut amovéret eam. Et ait homo Dei: Dimítte illam: ánima enim ejus In amaritúdine est, et Dóminus celávit a me, et non indicávit mihi. Quæ dixit illi: Numquid petívi fílium a dómino meo? Numquid non dixi tibi: Ne illúdas me? Et ille ait ad Giézi: Accínge lumbos tuos, et tolle báculum meum in manu tua, et vade. Si occúrrerit tibi homo, non salútes eum et si salutáverit te quíspiam, non respóndeas illi: et pones báculum meum
super fáciem púeri. Porro mater púeri ait: Vivit Dóminus, et vivit ánima tua, non dimíttam te. Surrexit ergo, et secútus est eam. Giézi autem præcésserat ante eos, et posúerat báculum super fáciem púeri, et non erat vex, neque sensus: reversúsque est in occúrsum ejus, et nuntiávit ei, dicens: Non surréxít puer. Ingréssus est ergo Eliséus domum, et ecce puer mórtuus jacébat in léctulo ejus: ingressúsque clausit óstium super se, et super púerum: et orávit ad Dóminum. Et ascéndit, et incúbuit super púerum: posuítque os suum super os, ejus, et óculos suos super óculos ejus, et manus suas super manus ejus: et incurvávit se super eum: et calefácta est care púeri. At ille revérsus, deambulávit in domo, semel huc atque illuc: et ascéndit, et incúbuit super eum: et oscitávit puer sépties, aperuítque óculos.At ille vocávit Giézi, et dixit ei: Voca Sunamítidem hanc. Quæ vocáta, ingréssa est ad eum, Qui ait: Tolle fílium tuum. Venit illa, et córruit ad pedes ejus, et adorávit super terram: tulítque fílium suum, et egréssa est, et Eliséus revérsus est in Gálgala.
In those days, a Sunamite woman came to Eliseus to Mount Carmel: and when the man of God saw her coming towards, he said to Giezi his servant, Behold that Sunamitess. Go therefore to meet her, and say to her, Is all well with thee, and with thy husband, and with thy son? And she answered, Well. And when she came to the man of God to the mount, she caught hold on his feet: and Giezi came to remove her. And the man of God said, Let her alone, for her soul is in anguish, and the Lord hath hid it from me and hath not told me. And she said to him, Did I ask a son of my Lord? did I not say to thee, Do not deceive me? Then he said to Giezi, Gird up thy joins, and take up my staff in thy hand and go. If any man meet thee, salute him not; and if any man salute thee, answer him not; and lay my staff upon the face of the child. But the mother of the child said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth I will not leave thee. He arose, therefore, and followed her. But Giezi was gone before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child, and there was no voice nor sense; and he returned to meet him, and told him, saying, The child is not risen. Eliseus therefore went into the house, and behold the child lay dead on his bed; and going in he shut the door upon him, and upon the child, and prayed to the Lord; and he went up and lay upon the child: and he put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he bowed himself upon him, and the child's flesh grew warm. Then he returned and walked in the house, once to and fro; and he went up, and lay upon him; and the child gaped seven times, and opened his eyes. And he called Giezi, and said to him, Call this Sunamitess. And she being called,. went in to him, and he said, Take up thy son. She came and fell at his feet, and worshipped upon the ground; and took up her son, and went out, and Eliseus returned to Galgal.
Tolle, pronounced TOLL-LAY, comes from the Latin verb tollere, meaning "to lift up," or "take up." Since "take", like yesterday's word "wash", is an Anglo Saxon derivation tacan, (just as we've seen regarding a few words of Anglo Saxon origin over the past several weeks in this VerbumQUO series), let us look at the actual Latin. From tolle we get the English verb "tolerate" so let us look at its etimology in Webster's:
"tolerate" - [From Latin toleratus, past participle of tolerare, from the same root as tollere, to lift up, to take up.] 1. To bear up under; to endure; Obs. exc. Med. to endure or resist, esp. without injurious effect, the action of , as a poison. 2. To suffer to be, or to be done, without prohibition or hindrance to allow or permit by not preventing." From this come the nouns tolerance and toleration; the adjective tolerable and tolerant: 1. Capable of being borne or endured. 2. Moderately good or agreeable; satisfactory; passable. - and the adverb tolerably and tolerantly.
Unfortunately today, too many mistake tolerance for accepting man's idea of mediocrity and mask the fact that they must "take up" the cross and the sword of truth to restore Christ's Church and kingdom. In today's Epistle and Gospel the theme of "take up" the life of grace comes through, especially in light of yesterday's liturgy, to encourage the catechumens on and take up the new man which soon they will embrace with Baptism. We see this thread in both the Epistle and the Gospel where Jesus resurrects the young man from the dead, signifying one dead to sin has risen out of the sin and to lift up his soul with grace, purified and tolerated by God in the most heavenly way.
The inspiring words of the Benedictine Abbot Dom Gueranger, in the fifth volume of The Liturgical Year, bring into focus the meaning of today's liturgy and the fulfillment of the Old Covenant:
"In this mysterious event are clustered together all the wonders of the plan laid down by God for the salvation of man. If the catechumens were instructed in these sublime truths, it would be a disgrace in us to be ignorant of them; therefore, let us be attentive to the teachings of this Epistle. This dead child is the human race; sin has caused its death, but God has resolved to restore it to life. First of all, a servant is sent to the corpse; this servant is Moses. His mission is from God; but of itself, the Law he brings gives not life. This Law is figured by the staff which Giezi holds in his hand, and which he lays upon the child's face; but to no purpose. The Law is severe; its rule is one of fear, on account of the hardness of Israel's heart; yet is it with difficulty that it triumphs over his stubbornness; and they of Israel who would be just must aspire to something more perfect and more filial than the Law of Sinai. The Mediator who is to bring down from Heaven the sweet element of charity, has not yet come; He is promised, He is prefigured; but He is not made flesh, He has not yet dwelt among us. The dead child is not risen. The Son of God must Himself come down.
Eliseus is the type of this divine Redeemer. See how he takes on himself the littleness of the child's body, and bows himself down into closest contact with its members, and this in the silence of a closed chamber. It was thus that the Word of the Father, shrouding His brightness in the womb of a Virgin, united Himself to our nature, and as the apostle expresses it, emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men (Philippians 2: 7). that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly (St. John 10: 10) than when it was given to them at the beginning. Take notice, too, of what happens to the child, and what are the signs of the resurrection wrought in him. He breathes seven times: the Holy Ghost with His seven gifts, is to take possession of man's soul and make it His temple. The child opens his eyes: the blindness of death is at an end. Neither must we forget the Sunamitess, the mother of the child: she is the type of the Church, who is praying her divine Eliseus to give her the resurrection of her dear catechumens, and of all unbelievers who are dwelling in the region of the shadow of death (Isaias 9: 2). Let us join our prayers with hers, and beg that the light of the Gospel may be spread more and more, and that the obstacles, opposed by satan and the malice of men to its propagation, may be for ever removed."
For today's Gospel from St. Luke 7: 11-16, the Abbot ties in the theme of the Resurrection and grace so beautifully:
"The Church, both today and tomorrow, gives us types of the Resurrection; it is an announcement of the coming Pasch, and an encouragement for sinners to hope that their spiritual death will soon be changed into life. Before entering on the two weeks which are to be devoted to the commemoration of our Savior's Passion, the Church shows her children the tender mercies of Him Whose blood is to purchase our reconciliation with divine Justice. She would have us argue, for our own consolation, that from such a Savior we may well hope for pardon. Being this rid of our fears, we shall be the more at liberty to contemplate the Sacrifice of our august Victim, and compassionate His sufferings. Let us attentively consider the Gospel just read to us. A heart-broken mother is following to the grave the corpse of an only son. Jesus has compassion upon her; He stays the bearers; He puts His divine hand on the bier; He commands the young man to arise; and then, as the Evangelist adds, Jesus gave him to his mother. This mother is the Church, who mourns over the death of so many of her children. Jesus is about to comfort her. He, by the ministry of His priests, will stretch forth His hand over these dead children; He will pronounce over them the great word that gives resurrection; and the Church will receive back into her arms these children she had lost, and they will be full of life and gladness."
We can see here Christ lifting up His children and taking up His cross in order to merit for us eternal salvation. What great love. The Abbot continues with the mystery surrounding three resurrections:
"Let us consider the mystery of the three resurrections wrought by our Savior: that of the ruler's daughter (given in the Gospel for the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost), that of the young man of today's Gospel, and that of Lazarus, at which we are to assist tomorrow. The daughter of Jairus (for such was the ruler's name) had been dead only a few hours: she represents the sinner who has but recently fallen, and has not yet contracted the habit of sin, nor grown insensible to the qualms of conscience. The young man of Naim is the figure of a sinner, who makes no effort to return to God, and whose will has lost its energy: he is being carried to the grave; and but for Jesus' passing that way, he would soon have been of the number of them that are for ever dead. Lazarus is an image of a worse class of sinners. He is already a prey to corruption. The stone that closes his grave seals his doom. Can such a corpse as this ever come back to life? Yes, if Jesus mercifully deign to exercise His power. Now, it is during this holy season of Lent that the Church is praying and fasting, and we with her, to the end that these three classes of sinners may hear the voice of the Son of God, and hearing, rise and live (St. John 5: 25). The mystery of Jesus' Resurrection is to produce this wonderful effect in them all. Let us take our humble share in these merciful designs of God; let us, day and night, offer our supplications to our Redeemer, that , in a few days hence, seeing how He has raised the dead to life, we may cry out, with the people of Naim: A great Prophet is risen among us, and God hath visited His people!"
By us taking up our crosses daily during this Lent and offering penance, self-denial and prayer, we can be more confident that on Easter Sunday He will lift us up. Lent is more than half-way over. Have we been faithful to our pact with God? We can all intensify our efforts more and take up this most serious matter of heart so that more will be saved. It can be a wonderful production with rave reviews from the Church Triumphant. There can be no Resurrection without the Cross. So, let's all stand by Tradition. Ready to roll? And... Action. Take up the cross!