January 28, 2008
vol 19, no. 28

Reflections for Monday in Sexagesima
by
Abbe Dom Prosper Gueranger

    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."

Hardened Hearts force Man to Remember Death

    All flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth(1)-{Gen. vi. 12} The terrible lesson, then, which men had received, by being driven out of paradise in the person of our first parents, had been without effect. Neither the certainty of death, when they would have to stand before the divine Judge, nor the humiliations which attend man's first coming into this world, nor the pains and fatigues and trials which beset the whole path of life, had subdued men's hearts, or brought them into submission to that sovereign Master whose hand lay thus heavy upon them.

    They had the divine promise that a Savior should be given to them, and that this Redeemer (who was to be the Son of her that was to crush the serpent's head), would not only bring them salvation, but would moreover reinstate them in all the happiness and honors they had lost. But even this was not enough to make them rise above the base passions of corrupt nature.

    The example of Adam's nine hundred years' penance, and the admonitions he could so feelingly give who had received such proofs of God's love and anger, began to lose their influence upon his children; and when he at last descended into the grave, his posterity grew more and more heedless of what they owed to their Creator.

    The long life, which had been granted to man in this the first age of the world, was made but a fresh means of offending Him who gave it. When, finally, the sons of Seth took to themselves wives of the family of Cain, the human race reached the height of wickedness, rebelled against the Lord, and made their own passions their god.

    Yet, all this while, they had had granted to them the power of resisting the evil propensities of their hearts. God had offered them His grace, whereby they were enabled to conquer pride and concupiscence. The merits of the Redeemer to come were even them present to divine justice, and the Lamb, slain, as St. John tells us, from the beginning of the world, (1)-{Apoc. Xiii. 8} applied the merits of His Blood to this as to every generation which existed before the great Sacrifice was really immolated.

    Each individual of the human family might have been just, as Noah was, and, like him, have found favor with the Most High; but the thought of their heart was bent upon evil, and not upon good and the earth became peopled with enemies of God. Then it was that it repented God that He had made man,(2)-{Gen. vi. 6} as the sacred Scripture forcibly expresses it.

    He decreed that man's life on earth should be shortened in order that the thought of death might be ever before us. He, moreover, resolved to destroy, by a universal deluge, the whole of this perverse generation, saving only one family. The world would thus be renewed, and man would learn from this awful chastisement to serve and love this his sovereign Lord and God.



    January 28, 2008
    vol 19, no. 28
    LIVING IN TRADITION