We have examined the History, Mystery and Practice of the Liturgical Season of Septuagesima, and now, thanks to the wise and holy abbot of the 19th century, we understand better Sexagesima Week as Abbe Dom Gueranger provides the nourishment necessary to properly prepare our bodies, minds and souls in concert with what is expected of the Mystical Body of Christ in preparation of the Lenten Season.
Editor's Note: Because the Liturgical Season of Lent, which officially began last week with Septuagesima Sunday, we have decided to bring you excerpts for this season with today focusing on Sexagesima Week (the excerpts for this week - to be posted each day - are taken from Volume 4, pages 148-178)and we have thus turned to the most traditional and practical Catholic source available, none other than the inspired and motivating words of the esteemed Abbot of Solesmes Dom Prosper Louis Pascal Gueranger, renowned for his masterful work The Liturgical Year, which is often considered the Summa for the Church's Liturgy in History, Mystery and Practice. It is in those areas that we feel it is important to address in order to help readers live as better Catholics in knowing, living, and applying their Faith to the fullest and giving to Christ and His Blessed Mother all that they can. Few capture the essence as this humble but brilliant abbot who is known simply as "the Gardener of the Canticles of Eternity."
O Mary! Help of Christians! Ark of the Covenant!
On the Saturday of the preceding week, which was devoted to the consideration of the fall of our first parents both in its own malice and in its sad consequences upon us, we turned our thoughts towards our blessed Lady, who, though a daughter of Eve, was, by the special mercy of God, preserved from the stain of original sin. Let us end this week with a like act of veneration and love towards this Immaculate Queen of Heaven. We, even the most saintly among us, have not only been stained with original sin; we have our actual sins to grieve over and do penance for. This should give us a higher appreciation of her, the one single member of the human family who never committed the slightest sin. Let us turn towards her, and give expression t our feelings.
We, O Mary! Have corrupted our way; we have disobeyed our Lord: we have broken His law; we have preferred our own selfish gratifications to the service we owed Him: but thou was ever filled with His holy love and there passed not even a shadow of sin upon thy soul, O spotless Mirror of justice and holiness! Virgin most faithful! The grace of the Son ever triumphed in thy heart. Mystical rose! The fragrance of thy virtues unceasingly ascended to His throne, changing only in its daily increase of sweetness. Tower of ivory! Fair beyond measure, without one spot to mar thy purity! House of gold! Thou dist ever reflect the precious gifts of the Holy Ghost. Have pity, then, upon us, for we are sinners.
We have obliged our God to repent that He made us: but in thee dear Mother, He has ever been well pleased. Thou art the good land, wherein His divine seed yielded its thousandfold of fruit: pray for us, that He give fresh fertility to our hearts, and root up from them the thorns, which choke the heavenly plant. We are defiled by sin: may He, through the merits of the tears thou didst shed at the foot of the cross, mercifully cleanse us. If thy divine Son have already pardoned us, there are the consequences of our sins, which still weaken and humble us, like the sores of wounds that have been cured: take us, sweet Mother of our Jesus under the mantle of thy tender care. We have too little dread of sin; we are so often on the verge of offending our God; oh! Obtain for these poor children of thine courage and firmness of resolution, and ambition for holiness of life. Thy intercession must win for us that precious devotedness to God's honor, which kills self-love, the root of sin. Oh! Accursed self-love, which may lead us to hell, who are now perhaps in the grace of thy divine Son!
The deluge, brought on by our sins, is hurrying its vengeance against mankind; and we, O Mary! Are resolved to seek our refuge in the Ark of the Church, the safe shelter created for us by thy Jesus. But we presume to pray to thee for our brethren throughout the world. Our God has given thee a power to stay His anger, and to win for guilty mortals an extension of mercy: show this power now for our world is provoking its Master to destroy it. If the flood-gate of His just indignation burst upon the face of our earth, millions of souls that have been redeemed by the Blood of thy divine Son would be lost eternally. If the sweet dove of peace bring her olive-branch only when that terrible justice is appeased, it would be too late for thy loving heart. Come before the deluge, O beautiful rainbow of our Father's reconciliation! The love of a Mother, who is the very Queen of mercy, emboldens us to sue for universal mercy. Can the prayer of her, in whose purity and innocence the very God of holiness finds no blemish, be denied? Pray Him, then, to pardon us, and all sinners!