The VerbumQUO (mar31quo.htm)

March 31, 2006
vol 17, no. 77

Tears of Redemption!

The VerbumQUO for today is "lacrimátus" from today's Gospel for "wept" as in "And Jesus wept" for a lacrimose theme is carried throughout today's Proper for the weeping of those who were dead and now alive, replicating the sinner who was dead and through grace, is now alive.

Michael Cain
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.

    The VerbumQUO for today's Proper of Friday in the Fourth Week of Lent is lacrimátus, from the Latin noun lacrima "tear" and lacrimare "to weep" and taken from verse 35 of John 11 in today's Gospel.

    The Latin lacrimátus - pronounced LAH-CREE-MAH-TOOSE with the emphasis on the bold in the phonetics and accent on the word itself - comes from the Latin verb "to weep" lacrimare. Again, the word "weep" is an Anglo Saxon derivation of the word wepan, meaning "lamentation" from the Latin Lamentatum a "lament." We can look at the English word "tear" and see here, also, the Anglo Saxon teran, so to find the etimology of lacrimatus we turn to "lacrimose" and see what Webster's defines it for Jesus was lacrimose over the death of Lazarus and the circumstances surrounding it.

    "lacrimose" - [From the Latin noun lacrima, tear; adjective lacrimosus, tearful.] Generating or shedding tears. Also lacrimal 1. Of or pertaining to tears. 2. Anatomy Designating, pertaining to, or situated, near the organs (lachrymal glands) producing tears." Thus to generate tears would be to lacrimate.

    Though lacrimátus is only mentioned once in today's Gospel, that one sentence "And Jesus wept" speaks volumes about both His human nature and divine nature. He wept not only for Lazarus, but for Mary and Martha in His Own human feelings for He was like us in all things except that He could not sin. But He wept also, as a precursor to Gethsemane, for those who were dead to God through sin. Today's Epistle is also about the tears of the mother of the young son in 3 Kings 17: 17-24, who, like yesterday's Epistle from Isaias, prefigures the Gentiles being blessed by God and Elias, like Eliseus yesterday, symbolically carries out the raising of the child as the precursor of Christ. The venerable Benedictine Abbot Dom Prosper Gueranger puts this all in perspective in discerning why Holy Mother Church has chosen the proper Scriptural reading for today's Propers:

       "Again it is a mother that comes, with tears in her eyes, praying for the resurrection of her child. This mother is the widow of Sarephta, whom we have already had as the type of the Gentile Church. She was once a sinner, and an idolatress, and the remembrance of the past afflicts her soul; but the God that has cleansed her from her sins, and called her to be His bride, comforts her by restoring her child to life. The charity of Elias is a figure of that of the Son of God. Observe how this great prophet stretches himself upon the body of the boy, fitting himself to his littleness, as did also Eliseus. Here again, we recognize the divine mystery of the Incarnation. Elias thrice touches the corpse; thrice, also, will our catechumens be immersed in the baptismal font, whilst the minister of God invokes the three Persons of the adorable Trinity. On the solemn night of Easter, Jesus, too, will say to the Church, His bride: Behold, thy son liveth; and she, transported with joy, will acknowledge the truth of God's promises. Nay, the very pagans bore witness to the truth; for when they saw the virtuous lives of this new people which came forth regenerated from the waters of Baptism, they acknowledged that God alone could produce such virtue in man. There suddenly arose from the midst of the Roman empire, demoralized as it was and corrupt beyond imagination, a race of men of angelic purity; and these very men had, but a short time before their Baptism, wallowed in all the abominations of paganism. Whence had they derived this sublime virtue? From the Christian teaching, and from the supernatural remedies it provides for man's spiritual miseries. Then it was that unbelievers sought for the true faith, though they knew it was at the risk of martyrdom; they ran to the Church, asking her to become their mother, and saying to her: We know that thou art of God, and the word of the Lord in thy mouth is true.

    In today's Introit from Psalm 18: 15 we see the supernatural remedies that in our hearts we can never deny:
Meditátio cordis mei in conspéctu tuo semper: Dómine, adjútor meus, et redémptor meus. (Ps. 18: 2) Cæli enárrant glóriam Dei: et ópera mánuum ejus annúntiat firmaméntum.
The meditation of my heart is always in Thy sight: O Lord, my helper, and my redeemer. (Ps. 18: 2) The heavens show forth the glory of God, and the firmament declareth the work of His hands.

    This is carried out in the Collect which reaffirms that the new Jerusalem is Holy Mother Church, the Mystical Bride of Christ who Jesus loves with the fullness of His most Sacred and Merciful Heart:
Deus, qui ineffabílibus mundum rénovas sacraméntis: præsta, quæsumus; ut Ecclésia tua et ætérnis profíciat institútis, et temporálibus non destituátur auxíllis.
God, Who dost renew the world with ineffable sacraments, grant, we beseech Thee, that Thy Church may both be profited by the eternal institutions and not left without temporal assistance.

    Today's Gradual from Psalm 117: 8,9 expresses what so many in the conciliar church today have forgotten, and for them we weep along with Jesus for their culpable ignorance or hard-hearted stubbornness and we cry and pray for them just as the widow of the Epistle cried and as Mary, Martha and Jesus wept in today's Gospel. Our Lord reminds Mary and Martha to trust and confide in God, just as we see in the Gradual:
Bonum est confídere in Domino, quam confídere in hómine. V. Bonum est speráre in Dómino, quam speráre in princípibus.
It is good to confide in the Lord, rather than to have confidence in man: V. It is good to trust in the Lord rather than to trust in princes.

    Trust is what the widow had in Eliseus, trust is what Mary and Martha had that Jesus would have saved their brother. True to our fallen human nature, that trust waned until Jesus proved that if one believed, one would see the Glory of God. It took the visible act of raising Lazarus from the dead to increase trust in Martha and Mary and imbue those Jews who were eyewitnesses to this miracle to trust that Jesus was the promised Messias. And yet, where were they on Good Friday? So also we, who have received the Sacrament of Baptism, have fallen back into sin and need the reassurance of the Sacrament of Penance and a contrite heart to rise from the ashes of sin and live again in the state of Sanctifying Grace. Without the Sacrament of Penance, and not withstanding a perfect Act of Contrition, our souls are dead and will remain so until we trust in the Lord and humble ourselves to partake of the Sacrament of Penance, confessing our sins with a sincere amendment not to sin again. That is another reminder to the catechumens to take their Faith seriously and treasure such a precious, priceless gift. It is another reason why the words ring hollow from the Protestants who preach that all you have to do is say, "Jesus, save me" and you'll be saved. It takes faith and good works and without the sanctifying Sacrament of Penance, which can only be administered by a validly ordained priest, there is no protection of sanctifying grace. One continues in sin without this healing sacrament which is manifested in today's Propers. Let's meditate on the beautiful, clear words of Dom Gueranger on today's Gospel from John 11: 1-45:

       "Let us meditate upon this admirable history; and as we meditate, let us hope; for it not only shows us what Jesus does for souls of others, but what He has done for ours. Let us, also, renew our prayers for the penitents, who how, throughout the world, are preparing for the great reconciliation. It is not a mother that is here represented as praying for the resurrection of her child [as in the Epistle]; it is two sisters asking this grace for a brother. The example must not be lost on us: we must pray for one another. But let us take our Gospel in the order of its truths.

        First, Lazarus was sick; and then, he died. The sinner begins by being tepid and careless; and then he receives the mortal wound. Jesus could have cured Lazarus of his sickness; but He permitted it to be fatal. He intends to work such a miracle, and that within sight of Jerusalem, that His enemies shall have no excuse for refusing to receive Him as the Messias. He would also prove that He is the sovereign Master of life, in order that He might hereby teach His apostles and disciples not to be scandalized at the death He Himself was soon to suffer. In the moral sense, God, in His wisdom, sometimes leaves an ungrateful soul to itself, although He foresees that it will fall into sin. It will rise again; and the confusion it will feel for having sinned will lead it to that great preservative against a future fall - humility.

        The two sisters, Martha and Mary, are full of grief, yet full of confidence in Jesus. Let us observe how their two distinct characteristics are shown on this occasion. Jesus tells Martha that He is the resurrection and the life, and that they who believe in Him shall not die - that is, shall not die the death of sin. But when Mary came to Him, and He saw her weeping, He groaned in spirit, and troubled Himself, because He knew the greatness of her love. His divine Heart was touched with compassion as He beheld these, who were so dear to Him, smarting under that chastisement of death which sin had brought into the world. Having reached the sepulchre where Lazarus was buried, He wept, for He loved Lazarus,. Thus did our Redeemer, by His Own weeping, sanctify the tears which Christian affection sheds over the grave of a relative or friend. Lazarus has been in the sepulchre four days; it is the image of the sinner buried in his sins. To see him now makes even his sister shudder; but Jesus rebukes her, and bids them take away the stone. Then with that voice which commands all nature and makes hell tremble, He cries out: Lazarus, come forth! He that has been dead rises up in the sepulchre; but his feet and hands are tied, his face is covered with a napkin; he lives, but he can neither walk nor see. Jesus orders him to be set free; and then, by the hands of men that are present, he recovers the use of his limbs and eyes. So is it with the sinner that receives pardon. There is no voice but that of Jesus which can call him to conversion, and touch his heart, and bring him to confess his sins; but Jesus has put into the hands of priests the power to loose, enlighten, and give movement [John 20: 23]. This miracle, which was wrought by our Savior at this very season of the year, filled up the measure of His enemies' rage, and set them thinking how they could soonest put Him to death. The few days He has still to live, are all to be spent at Bethania, where the miracle has taken place, and which is but a short distance from Jerusalem. In nine days from this, He will make His triumphant entry into the faithless city, after which He will return to Bethania, and after three or four days, will once more enter Jerusalem, there to consummate the Sacrifice, whose infinite merits are to purchase resurrection for sinners."

    This is all summarized in the Communion Prayer today:
Videns Dóminus flentes sorores Lázari ad monuméntum, lacrimátus est coram Judæis, et exclamávit: Lázare, veni foras: et pródiit ligátis mánibus et pédibus, qui fúerat quatriduánus mórtuus.
The Lord seeing the sisters of Lazarus weeping at the tomb, wept before the Jews, and cried out, Lazarus, come forth: and he that had been dead four days came forth bound hands and feet.

    As we pointed out here earlier this week, to cleanse and wash one's soul takes the sanctifying water of the Holy Ghost in Baptism for the soul, and the cleansing liquid of tears for the contrite heart in the Sacrament of Penance for the confessional, the infirmary of divine Mercy where we are healed of our infirmities, brought back to life if our soul had been dead to grace. What is lost today is the confidence and humility one nurtured by making a good confession each week, at the least once a month. Protestants don't understand why Catholics "have to tell their sins to a man." But the sad fact is they don't understand the Scriptures if they say such things, for they are admitting then that they don't believe Jesus' words in John 20: 23 "Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose you shall retain, they are retained."

    In the Leonine Prayers after Low Mass we acknowledge that we are here in this "valley of tears" - weeping and pleading for mercy and ask our Lady to intercede for us. We can see in the Scriptures that Christ cannot say 'no' to His Blessed,Immaculate and Sorrowful Mother. How can we say no to Him?
Salve Regina, Mater misericordiae, vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamamus, exsules filii Evae.
Ad te suspiramus gementes et flentes in hac lacrymarum valle.
Eia ergo, Advocata nostra, illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte.
Et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui, nobis, post hoc exilium, ostende.
O clemens, o pia, o dulcis Virgo Maria.
V. Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei Genitrix.
R. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope.
In thee do we cry poor banished children of Eve.
To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us.
And after this our exile, show unto us the blessed Fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
V.Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

    Christ wants us to shed our tears in the font of divine Mercy, He wants us to bring our tears to His most loving Mother who will take them and leave them with Him to be washed in His Most Precious Blood and forgotten forever by the Almighty Judge. He does not disdain tears for He Himself wept, and, because He did, we have for all time, tears of redemption.

Michael Cain, editor, The Daily Catholic

    March 31, 2006
    vol 17, no. 77