The VerbumQUO (mar5quo.htm)

March 5, 2008
vol 19, no. 65

Let that laver of grace flow freely in our lives.

The VerbumQUO for today is "lava" the demonstrative verb for "wash", taken from today's Epistle and Gospel on this Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent - known as "the Feria of the Great Scrutiny" - and, it is with this kind of scrutiny that we must wash ourselves - submerge our souls in - so that we can remember why we are Catholic.

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 Wednesday in the Fourth Week of Lent is lava taken from the second Epistle today of Isaias and the Gospel of Saint John, with the Gospel verse 11 repeated in the Communion Prayer. Today is known as "Wednesday in Mediana" or the "Feria of the Great Scrutiny" and is named such because on this day the Church designated that catechumens present themselves to be exorcised and to be reminded that Baptism will wash away the stain of Original Sin and cleanse their souls "as pure as white snow" - purified and sanctified. They were reminded that fasting, self-denial and prayer conditions their body, mind and soul for obtaining the forgiveness of their sins. This is addressed in the Introit from Ezechiel 36: 23-26 Cum sanctificatus and expanded in Ezechiel 36: 23-28 in the First Lesson. In the Second Lesson, which is actually the Epistle of the day following the first Gradual and Collect, we find the Epistle of Isaias 1: 16-19:
Hæc dicit Dóminus Deus: Lavámini, mundi estóte, auférte malum cogitatiónum vestrárum ab óculis meis: quiéscite ágere pervérse, díscite benefácere: quærite judícium, subveníte opprésso, judicáte pupíllo, deféndite víduam. Et veníte, et argúite me, dicit Dóminus: si fúerint peccáta vestra ut cóccinum, quasi nix dealbabúntur: et si fúerint rubra quasi vermículus, velut lana alba erunt. Si voluéritis, et audiéritis me, bona terra comedétis: dicit Dóminus omnípotens.
Thus saith the Lord God, Wash yourselves, be clean, take away the evil of your devices from My eyes; cease to do perversely, learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge for the fatherless, defend the widow, and then come, and accuse Me, saith the Lord: if your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow: and if they be red as crimson, they shall be white as wool. If you be willing and will harken to Me, you shall eat the good things of the land; saith the Lord almighty.

    Lava comes from the Latin verb lavare, meaning "to wash." Since "wash" is derived from the Anglo Saxon waescan, (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. We can see how a Latin word has been anglicized in commerce with the successful advertising campaign of "Lava soap" and when we hear "lava" we think of volcanoes but, in reality, it is an euphemism for the true definition as Webster's defines:

    "lava" - [From Latin lavare, to wash, and has its origins in Naples for a torrent of rain overflowing the streets form both Italian and Latin lavare, to wash.] Fluid rock such as that which issues from a volcano; also, such rock solidified. According to its constituent material, lava is classed as basaltic , trachtic, etc." We also get from lavare, the English verb "lave" and "laver" "To lave, pour water on. Chiefly Poetic. To wash, bathe; wash or flow along or against. laver, LAVABO, lavatorium, lavatory, lavation, lavage, nouns 1. A vessel, basin or bowl for washing. 2. Ecclesial A ritual washing of the hands by a celebrant of the Catholic Mass. a [from Latin verb "I will wash"] The verses 6-12 of Psalm 25 in the Vugate beginning "Lavabo inter innocentes," recited by the priest in the Mass, after the Offertory, while washing his hands. b The liturgical act which this recitation accompanies. c The towel used in this rite. d The basis used for this washing. 3. A wash basin with its necessary fittings. 4. A room with conveniences for washing. 5. Jewish Antiquity a A large brazen vessel where the priests washed their hands and feet. b One of several vessels in Solomon's Temple in which the offering for burnt sacrifices were washed. 5. That which cleanses; specifically baptismal water." Also from lava we get the "adjective lavish, a deluge of rain, [from Latin lavatio, a washing, from lavare to wash] 2. Expending or bestowing profusely; prodigal. 2. Expended or produced profusely; very abundant. Syn. See PROFUSE. - lavishly, adverb - lavishness, noun, to lavish, verb."

    Baptism is indeed a lavish bestowing of abundant graces carried out over the baptismal font (vessel) on which the laver of water flows over the catechumen making him the prodigal a new man, a saved soul. This Wednesday Feria of the Great Scrutiny was the final day for catechumens to commit. After this day, no new ones would be admitted until the next cycle of catechumen instruction and ritual. Those admitted, would assemble in the basilica at the hour of the Angelus and a specific, beautiful rite was carried out in which the men were sectioned off on the right, women to the left as a priest prayed over each catechumen blessing each with salt for the wisdom which Christ speaks of in Matthew 5 regarding being "the salt of the earth" and never to lose their savor. The priest would bid each catechumen to taste the salt as a reminder of this. Accompanied by their sponsors, they were escorted out of the church and then a porter, would bring them back in. The bishop, if present, would then chant the Collect and the sponsors, following the deacon's signal, would bless with the sign of the cross their respective catechumen. We shall now share the meaning as described by Dom Gueranger, the Benedictine Abbot whose masterpiece The Liturgical Year has left for us a treasure that identifies so clearly that which has been lost in the modern church:

       "A lector next read the lesson from the Prophet Ezechiel, which we give in its proper place. It was followed by a Gradual, composed of these words of David: 'Come, children, hearken to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Come ye to Him, and be enlightened; and your faces shall not be confounded.' In the Collect, which followed this lesson, the Church prayed that the faithful might receive the fruits of their lenten fast; and immediately a second lesson was read, from the Prophet Isaias, in which is foretold the remission of sins to be granted to those who shall be cleansed in the mysterious laver of Baptism.

        "During this reading of these two lessons, and the chanting of the two Graduals, the mysterious ceremony of opening the ears was being gone through. A priest went to each catechumen, and touching his ears, said: 'Ephpheta,' that is, be thou opened. This rite (which was an imitation of what our Savior did to the deaf and dumb man mentioned in the Gospel)(St. Mark 7: 32-34) was intended to prepare the catechumens to receive the revelation of the mysteries, which, up to that time, had been show them only under the veil of allegory. The first initiation made to them was regarding the holy Gospels.

        "As soon as the second Gradual was finished, there were seen coming from the secretarium, preceded by lights and incense, four deacons, each of them carrying one of the four Gospels. They advanced towards the sanctuary, and placed the sacred volumes on the altar, on on each corner. The bishop, or, if he wished it, a priest, addressed to the catechumens the following allocution, which we find still in the Gelasian sacramentary:"

    Because this prayer is so beautiful and puts to fallacy the claim made by conciliarists that Catholics were not allowed to read the Bible, we include the entire prayer and rite here so you can see how much we have truly lost and the significance of the four Evangelists and the significance of each day's VerbumQUO to this point, especially yesterday's Exáudi:

        'Being about to open to you the Gospels, that is, the history of the acts of God, it firstly behooves us, dearly beloved children, to tell you what the Gospels are, whence they come, whose words they contain, why, they are four in number, and who wrote them; in fine, who are the four men who were announced by the holy Spirit, and foretold by the prophet. Unless we were to explain to you these several particulars, we should leave your minds confused; and whereas you have come today that your ears may be opened, it would be unseemly in us to begin by bewildering your minds. Gospel literally means good tidings, because it tells us of Jesus Christ, our Lord. The Gospel came from Him, in order to proclaim and show that He, Who spoke by the prophets, has now come in the flesh, as it is written: 'I Myself that spoke, lo, I am here.' Having briefly to explain to you what the Gospel is, and who are the four men foretold by the prophet, we now give you their names, following the order of the figures under which they are designated. The Prophet Ezechiel says: 'And as for the likeness of their faces, there was the face of a man and the face of a lion, on the right side of all the four: and the face of an ox on the left side of all the four: and the face of an eagle over all the four.' These four figures are, as we know, those of the evangelists, whose names are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.'

    Following this, each of the four deacons - not to be confused with the modernist concept of lay deacons, but rather one of orders in preparing for the priesthood and wearing the talmic chasuble of the deacon, would ascend the ambo or pulpit and pronounce the following: "Be silent: hear attentively!" Following are the words of each of the four deacons as documented by Gueranger in Volume 5:

       'Dearly beloved children, we wish to hold you no longer in suspense: therefore, we expound to you the figure of each evangelist. Matthew [1: 1-21] has the figure of a man, because, at the commencement of his book, he gives the geneology of the Savior; for he begins with these words: The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham. You see, then, that it is not without reason, that to Matthew has been assigned the figure of the man, since he begins with the human birth of the Savior.

        'The evangelist Mark [1: 1-8] has the figure of the lion, because he begins with the desert, saying: A voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare ye the way of the Lord; or again, because the Savior now reigns, and is invincible. This type of the lion is frequently mentioned in the Scriptures, and is the application of those words: 'Juda is a lion's whelp: to the prey, my son, thou art gone up: resting, thou hast counched as a lioness: who shall rouse him?'

        'The evangelist Luke [1: 1-17] has the figure of the ox, which reminds us that the Savior was offered in sacrifice. This evangelist begins by speaking of Zacharay and Elizabeth, from whom, in their old age, was born John the Baptist.

        'John [1: 1-14] has the figure of the eagle, because he soars aloft in the high places. It is he that says: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. David also, speaking of the person of Christ, thus expresses himself: 'Thy youth shall be renewed like the eagle's;' because our Lord Jesus Christ, having risen from the dead, ascended into Heaven. Thus, dearly beloved children, the Church that has begotten you, and still bears you in her womb, exults at the thought of the new increase to be given to the Christian law, when, on the venerable day of Easter, you are born again in the waters of Baptism, and to receive, as all the saints, from Christ our Lord, the gift of the childhood of faith.'

    After this simple explanation, this beautiful ceremony continues the the granting of the Symbol called Traditio Symboli in which each catechumen is given the Apostles' Creed as the Symbol of Faith with the priest relaying the following:

       'Being now admitted to receive the Sacrament of Baptism, and become new creatures in the Holy Ghost, it behooves you, dearly beloved children, to conceive at once in your hearts the faith whereby you are to be justified: it behooves you, having your minds henceforth changed by the habit of truth, to draw nigh to God, Who is the light of your souls. Receive, therefore, the secret of the evangelical Symbol, which was inspired by the Lord, and drawn up by the apostles. Its words are few, but great are the mysteries it contains: for the Holy Ghost, Who dictated this formula to the first masters of the Church, has here expressed the faith that saves us, with great precision of words, in order that the truths you have to believe and unceasingly meditate on might neither surpass your understanding, nor escape your memory. Be, then, attentive, that you may learn this Symbol; and what, having ourselves received, we hand down to you, that same write, not on corruptible things, but on the tablets of your heart. Now, the confession of faith, which you have received, begins thus.'

    Following the pronouncement of accepting this by each catechumen, an acolyte would represent the catechumen who affirmed that the faith would be received in Greek because, as the Abbot pointed out, "under the emperors, the use of the Greek language was almost as general in Rome as that of the Latin." The acolyte then recites the Creed in Latin after bringing two catechumens forward - a male and then a female catechumen. Following this the priest conveys these beautiful words:

       'This is the compendium of our faith, dearly beloved children, and these are the words of the Symbol, drawn up, not according to the conceits of human wisdom, but according to the thoughts of God. There is no one but can understand and remember them. There it is, that is expressed the one and coequal power of God the Father and the Son; there, that is shown to us the only-begotten Son of God, born, according to the flesh, of the Virgin Mary, by the operation of the Holy Ghost; there, that are related His crucifixion, His burial, and His resurrection on the third day; there, that is proclaimed His ascension above the heavens, his sitting at the right hand of the majesty of the Father, and his future coming to judge the living and the dead; there, that is announced the Holy Ghost, who has the same divinity as the Father and the Son; there, in fine, that are taught the vocation of the Church, the forgiveness of sins, and the resurrection of the flesh. You, therefore, put off the old man, my dearly beloved children, that you may be reformed according to the new; once carnal, you begin now to be spiritual; once of earth, now of Heaven. Believe, with firm and unshaken faith, that the Resurrection which was accomplished in Christ will likewise be accomplished in you; and that this miracle, which has been achieved in Him Who is our Head, will be repeated in all them that are members of His body. The sacrament of Baptism, which you are soon to receive, is the visible expression of this hope; for in it is represented both a death and a resurrection; there the old man is left, there the new man is assumed. The sinner descends into the water, and comes out justified. He, that had dragged us to life, and who, by the grace that He will give you, will make you children of God, not by the flesh, but by the virtue of the Holy Ghost. It is your duty, therefore, to keep this short formula in your hearts, so as to make use of the confession it contains, as a help to you on all occasions. The power of this armor is invincible against all the attacks of the enemy; it should be worn by the true soldiers of Christ. Let the devil, who tempts man without ceasing, find you ever armed with this Symbol. Triumph over the adversary, whom you have just renounced. By God's grace, preserve incorruptible and unsullied, even to the end, the grace He is about to give you; that thus, He in Whom you are soon to receive the forgiveness of your sins, may bring you to the glory of the Resurrection. Thus, then, dearly beloved children, you know the Symbol of the Catholic Faith; carefully learn it, not changing one word. God's mercy is powerful; may it bring you to the faith of the Baptism to which you aspire; and may it lead us, who this day reveal to you the mysteries, to the heavenly kingdom together with you; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth, for ever and ever. Amen.'

    With this completed the priest then presented an allocution on the Pater Noster for within the Lord's Prayer was the essence of the Apostles' Creed. The words of this are another VerbumQUO in itself, and so, for brevity sake, we will forego this symbol today, and proceed to the holy Gospel for this Feria of the Scrutiny, taken from John 9: 1-38:
In illo témpore: prætériens Jesus vidit hóminem cæcum a nativitáte: et interrogavérunt eum discípuli ejus: Rabbi, quis peccávit, hic, aut paréntes ejus, ut cæcus nascerétur? Respóndit Jesus: "Neque hic peccávit, neque paréntes ejus: sed ut manifesténtur ópera Dei in illo. Me opórtet operári ópera ejus, qui misit me, donec dies est: venit nox, quando nemo potest operári. Quámdiu sum in mundo, lux sum mundi." Hæc cum dixísset, éxspuit in terram, et fecit lutum ex sputo, et linívit lutum super óculos ejus, et dixit ei: "Vade, lava in natatória Siloë (quod interpretátur Missus). Abiit ergo, et lavit, et venit videns. Itaque vicini, et qui víderant eum prius quia mendícus erat, dicébant: Nonne hic est, qui sedébat, et mendicábat? Alii dicébant: Quia hic est. Alii autem: Nequáquam, sed símilis est ei. Ille vero dicébat: Quia ego sum. Dicébant ergo ei: Quómodo apérti sunt tibi óculi? Respóndit: Ille homo, qui dícitur Jesus, lutum fecit, et unxit óculos meos, et dixit mihi: Vade ad natatória SiÎoë, et lava. Et ábii, lavi, et video. Et dixérunt ei: Ubi est ille? Ait: Néscio. Addúcunt eum ad pharisæos, qui cæcus fúerat. Erat autem sábbatum quando lutum fecit Jesus, et apéruit óculos ejus. Iterum ergo interrogábant eum pharisæi, quómodo vidísset. Ille autem dixit eis: Lutum mihi pósuit super óculos, et lavi, et video. Dicébant ergo ex pharisæis quidam: Non est hic homo a Deo, qui sábbatum non custódit. Alii autem dicébant: Quómodo potest homo peccátur hæc signa fácere? Et schisma erat inter eos. Dicunt ergo cæco íterum: Tu quid dicis de illo, qui apéruit óculos tuos? Ille autem dixit: Quia prophéta est. Non credidérunt ergo Judæi de illo, quia cæcus fuísset, et vidísset, donec vocavérunt paréntes ejus, qui víderat: et interrogavérunt eos, dicéntes: Hic est fílius vester, quem vos dícitis, quia cæcus natus est? Quómodo ergo nunc videt? Respondérunt eis paréntes ejus, et dixérunt: Scimus quia hic est fílius noster, et quia cæcus natus est: quómodo autem nunc vídeat, ipsum interrogáte, ætátem habet, ipse de se loquátur. nescímus: aut quis ejus apéruit óculos, nos nescímus: Hæc dixérunt paréntes ejus, quóniam timébunt Judæos: jam enim conspiravérunt Judæi, ut si quis cum confiterétur esse Christum, extra synagógam fíeret. Proptérea paréntes ejus dixérunt: Quia ætátem habet, ipsum interrogáte. Vocavérunt ergo rursum hóminem, qui fúerat cæcus, et dixérunt ei: Da glóriam Deo. Nos scimus quia hic homo peccátor est. Dixit ergo eis ille: Si peccátor est, néscio: unum scio, quia cæcus cum essem, modo video. Dixérunt ergo illi: Quid fecit tibi? Quómodo apéruit tibi óculos? Respóndit eis: Dixi vobis jam, et audístis: quid íterum vultis audíre? Numquid et vos vultis discípuli ejus fíeri? Maledixérunt ergo ei, et dixérunt: Tu discípulus illíus sis: nos au­tem Móysi discípuli sumus. Nos scimus quia Móysi locútus est Deus: hunc autem nescímus unde sit. Respóndit ille homo, et dixit eis: In hoc enim mirábile est, quia vos nescítis unde sit, et apéruit meos óculos: scimus autem quia peccatóres Deus non audit: sed, si quis Dei cultor est, et voluntátem ejus facit, hunc exáudit. A sæculo non est audítum, quia quis apér­uit óculos cæci nati. Nisi esset hic a Deo, non póterat fácere quidquam. Respondérunt, et dixérunt ei: In peccátis natus es totus, et tu doces nos? Et ejecérunt eum foras. Audívit Jesus quia ejecérunt eum foras, et cum invenísset eum, dixit ei: "Tu credis in Fílium Dei?" Respóndit ílle, et dixit: Quis est, Dómine, ut credam in eum? Et dixit ei Jesus: "Et vidísti Eum, et Qui lóquitur tecum, ipse est." At ille ait: Credo Dómine. (Hic genuflectitur). Et prócidens adorávit Eum.
At that time, Jesus passing by, saw a man who was blind from his birth: and His disciples asked Him, Rabbi who hath sinned, this man of his parents, that he should be born blind? Jesus answered, "Neither hath this man sinned nor his parents, but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of Him that sent Me, whilst it is day; the night cometh when no man can work. As long as I am in the world I am the light of the world." When He had said these things, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and spread the clay upon his eyes, and said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloe," (which is interpreted, Sent). He went therefore, and washed, and he came seeing. The neighbors therefore and they who had seen him before that he was a beggar said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he. But others said, No, but he is like him. But he said, I am he. They said therefore to him How were thy eyes opened? He answered, That man that is called Jesus, made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, Go to the pool of Siloe, and wash: and I went, I washed, and I see. And they said to him, Where is He? He saith, I know not. They bring him that had been blind to the pharisees. Now it was the Sabbath when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. Again therefore the pharisees asked him how he had received his sight. But he said to them, He put clay upon my eyes, and I washed, and I see. Some therefore of the pharisees said, This man is not of God, who keepeth not the Sabbath. But others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. They say therefore to the blind man again, What sayest thou of Him that hath opened thy eyes? And he said, He is a prophet. The Jews then did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight and asked them, saying, Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then doth he now see? His parents answered them and said, We know that he is our son, and that he was born blind: but how he seeth we know not, or who hath opened his eyes we know not: ask himself; he is of age, let him speak for himself. These things his parents said, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had already agreed among themselves, that if any man should confess Him to to be Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore did his parents say, He is of age, ask him. They therefore called the man again that had been blind, and said to him, Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner. He said therefore to them, If He be a sinner, I know not; one thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see. They then said to him, What did He to thee? How did He open thine eyes? He answered them, I have told you already and you have heard; why would you hear it again? will you also become His disciples? They reviled him therefore, and said, Be thou His disciple: but we are the disciples of Moses. We know that God spoke to Moses; but as to this man, we know not from whence He is. The man answered and said to them, Why, herein is a wonderful thing that you know not from whence He is, and He hath opened my eyes. Now we know that God doth not hear sinners; but if a man be a server of God, and doth His will, him He heareth. From the beginning of the world it hath not been heard, that any man hath opened the eyes of one born blind. Unless this man were of God, He could not do anything. They answered and said to him, Thou wast wholly born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out. Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, "Dost thou believe in the Son of God?" He answered and said, Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him? And Jesus said to him, "Thou hast both seen Him, and it is He that talketh with thee." And he said, I believe, Lord: (Here all kneel down) and falling down he adored Him.

    Here we see how the cleansing, sanctification take place through the exterior act of washing, and Baptism is the laver of grace effected through this action for the soul that believes is cleansed, as Jesus promised in Matthew 16: 16-17, "He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not, shall be condemned. And these signs shall follow them that believe: In My name they shall cast out devils: they shall speak with new tongues.". Earlier before the Mass the appointed acolytes pronounced the exorcisms of the evil spirits over the foreheads of each catechumen. Now they have just heard today's Gospel, which shows the font of divine Mercy that our dear Lord lavers upon the truly sincere. Dom Gueranger shares the following:

        "In the early ages of the Church, Baptism was frequently called illumination, because this Sacrament confers supernatural faith, whereby man is enlightened with the divine light. It is on this account, that the history of the cure of the man born blind was read on this day, for it is the figure of man's being enlightened by Christ. This subject is frequently met with in the paintings in the catacombs, and on the bas-reliefs of the ancient Christian monuments.

        "We are all born blind; Jesus, by the mystery of His Incarnation, figured by this clay which represents our flesh, has merited for us the gift of sight; but in order that we may receive it, we must go to the pool of Him that is divinely Sent, and we must be washed in the water of Baptism. Then shall we be enlightened with the very light of God, and the darkness of reason will disappear. The humble obedience of the blind man, who executes, with the utmost simplicity, all that our Savior commands him, is an image of our catechumens, who listen with all docility to the teachings of the Church, for they, too, wish to receive their sight. The blind man of the Gospel is, by the cure of his eyes, a type of what the grace of Christ works in us by Baptism. Let us listen to the conclusion of our Gospel, and we shall find that he is, also, a model for those who are spiritually blind, yet would wish to be healed.

        "Our Savior asks him, as the Church asked us on the day of our Baptism: Dost thou believe in the Son of God? The blind man, ardently desiring to believe, answers eagerly: Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him? Faith brings the weak reason of man into union with the sovereign wisdom of God, and puts us in possession of His eternal truth. No sooner has Jesus declared Himself to be God, than this simple-hearted man falls down and adores Him: he that from being blind is blessed with bodily sight is now a Christian! What a lesson was here for our catechumens! At the same time, this history showed them, and reminds us, of the frightful perversity of Jesus' enemies. He, the pre-eminently Just Man, is shortly to be put to death, and it is by the shedding of His Blood that He is to merit for us, and for all mankind, the cure of that blindness in which we were all born, and which our own personal sins have tended to increase. Glory, then, love, and gratitude be to our divine Physician, Who, by uniting Himself to our human nature, has prepared the ointment, whereby our eyes are cured of their infirmity, and strengthened to gaze, for all eternity, on the brightness of the Godhead!"

    Oh, what a laver of absolute truth and tradition that we are washed in today from this beautiful ceremony and precise care in instructing the catechumens before they are to become committed Catholics. Finally, as Webster's referred above, we have the cleansing ritual after the Offertory before the Canon of the Mass of the Lavabo which, of course, means in English "I will wash":
Lavabo inter innocentes manus meas: et circumdabo altare tuum, Domine. Ut audiam vocem laudis: et enarrem universa mirabilia tua. Domine, dilexi decorem domus tuae: et locum habitationis gloriae tuae. Ne perdas cum impiis, Deus, animam meam: et cum viris sanguinum citam meam. In quorum manibus iniquitates sunt: dextera eorum repleta est muneribus. Ego autem in innocentia mea ingressus sum: redime me, et miserere mei. Pes meus stetit in directo: in ecclesiis benedicam Te, Domine.
I will wash my hands among the innocent: and I will compass Thine altar, O Lord. That I may hear the voice of praise: and tell of all Thy wonderous works. I have loved, O Lord, the beauty of Thy house and the place where Thy glory dwelleth. Take not away my soul, O God, with the wicked: nor my life with blood-thirsty men. In whose hands are iniquities, their right hand is filled with gifts. But I have walked in my innocence: redeem me, and have mercy on me. My foot hath stood in the direct way, in the churches I will bless Thee, O Lord.

   Truly, so much has been washed out in these times, including the fullness and pious humility of the above Lavabo prayer, as well as these magnificent steps and ceremonies in the Church's curriculum for catechumens in advancing toward full conversion. Therein, is one of the main reasons today why so many do not fully know their Faith and are, consequently, losing it, allowing the dogmas and doctrines, the complete belief of the Creed, to be compromised in order to assuage modern man. Abhor the modernity and, like the blind man of today's Gospel, let us return to that simple faith so that we may truly see, truly remember the importance of Baptism and why, every time we enter a true church and bless ourselves with holy water as we pass forward into the nave and past the baptismal font in the back, we will remember why we are Catholics and let that laver of grace flow freely in our lives.

Michael Cain, editor, The Daily Catholic

    March 5, 2008
    vol 19, no. 65