The Time After Pentecost 1 relates
to the time between the Age of the Apostles and the End of the World -- it
relates to now, to the Church guided by the Holy Ghost, to our
of The Time After Pentecost"
from Dom Gueranger's "The Liturgical Year"
That we may thoroughly
understand the meaning and influence of the season of the liturgical year
upon which we have no entered, it is requisits for us to grasp the entire
sequel of mysteries, which holy Church has celebrated in our presence and
company; we have witnessed her services, and we have shared in them. The
celebration of those mysteries was not an empty pageant, acted for the sake
of being looked at. Each one of them brought with it a special grace, which
produced in our souls the reality signified by the rites of the liturgy.
At Christmas Christ was born within us; at Passiontide He passed on and into
us His sufferings and atonements; at Easter He communicated to us His glorious,
His untrammelled life; in His Ascension He frew us after Him, and this even
to heaven's summit; in a word, as the apostle expresses all this working,
'Christ was formed in us.'
But, in order to give solidity and permanence to the image of Christ formed
within us, it was necessary that the Holy Ghost should come, that so He might
increase our light, and enkindle a fire within us that should never be quenched.
This divine Paraclete came down from heaven; He gave Himself to us; He wishes
to take up His abode within us, and take our life of regeneration entirely
into His own Hands. The liturgy of this Time After Pentecost signifies and
expresses this regenerated life, which is to be spent on the model of Christ's,
and under the direction of His Spirit.
Two objects here offer themselves to our consideration: the Church and the
Christian soul. As to holy Church, the Bride of Christ, filled as she is
with the Paraclete Spirit, Who has poured Himself forth upon her, and from
that time forward is her animating principle, she is advancing onwards in
her militant career, and will do so till the second coming of her Heavenly
Spouse. She has within her the gifts of truth and holiness. Endowed with
infallibility of faith and authority to govern, she feeds Christ's flock,
sometimes enjoying liberty and peace, sometimes going through persecutions
and trials. Her divine Spouse abides with her, by His grace and the efficacy
of His promises, even to the end of time; she is in possession of all the
favors He has bestowed upon her; and the Holy Ghost dwells with her, and
in her, for ever. All this is expressed by this present portion of the liturgical
year. It is one wherein we shall not meet with any of those great events
which prepared and consummated the divine work; but, on the other hand, it
is a season when holy Church reaps the fruits of the holiness and doctrine,
which those ineffable mysteries have already produced, and will continue
to produce during the course of ages. It is during this same season that
we shall meet with the preparation for, and in due time, the fulfillment
of, those final events which will transform our mother's militant life on
earth into the triumphant one in heaven. As far, then, as regards holy Church,
this is the meaning of the portion of the cycle we are commencing.
As to the faithful soul, whose life is but a compendium of that of the Church,
her progress, during the period which is opened to her after the pentecostal
feasts, should be in keeping with that of our common mother. The soul should
live and act in imitation of Jesus, who has united Himself with her by the
mysteries she has gone through; she should be governed by the Holy Spirit,
whom she has received. The sublime episodes peculiar to this second portion
of the year will give her an increase of light and life. She will put unity
into these rays, which, though scattered in various directions, emanate from
one common centre; and, advancing from brightness to brightness, she will
aspire to being consummated in Him whom she now knows so well, and whom death
will enable her to possess as her own. Should it not be the will of God,
however, to take her as yet to Himself, she will begin a fresh year, and
live over again those mysteries which she has already enjoyed in the early
portion of previous liturgical cycles, after which she will find herself
once more in the season that is under the direction of the Holy Ghost, till
at last her God will summon her from this world, on the day and at the hour
which He has appointed from all eternity.
Between the Church, then, and the soul, during the time intervening from
the descent of the divine Paraclete to the consummation, there is this
difference--that the Church goes through it but once, whereas the Christian
soul repeats it each year. With this exception the analogy is perfect. It
is our duty, therefore, to thank God for thus provind for our weakness by
means of the sacred liturgy, whereby He successively renews within us those
helps which enable us to attain the glorious end of our creation.
Holy Church has so arranged the order for reading the Books of Scripture
during the present period, as to express the work then accomplished both
in the Church herself and in the Christian soul. For the interval between
Pentecost and the commencement of August, she gives us the four Books of
Kings They see a prophetic epitome of the Church's history. They describe
how the kingdom of Israel was founded by David, who is the type of Christ
victorious over His enemies, and by Solomon, the king of peace, who builds
a temple in honour of Jehovah. During the centuries comprised in the history
given in those books, there is a perpetual struggle between good and evil.
There are great and saintly kings, such as Asa, Ezechias, and Josias; there
are wicked ones, like Manasses. A schism breaks out in Samaria; infidel nations
league together against the city of God. The holy people, continually turning
a deaf ear to the prophets, give themselves up to the worship of false gods,
and to the vices of the heathen, till at length the justice of God destroys
both temple and city of the faithlesss Jerusalem; it is an image of the
destruction of this world, when faith shall be so rare, that the Son of Man,
at His second coming, shall scarce find a vestige of it remaining.
During the month of August, we read the Sapiential Books, so called because
they contain the teachings of divine Wisdom. This Wisdom in the Word of God,
who is manifested unto men through the teachings of the Church, which, because
of the assistance of the Holy Ghost permanently abiding within her, is infallible
in the truth.
Supernatural truth produces holiness, which cannot exist, nor produce fruit,
where truth is not. In order to express the union there is between these
two, the Church reads to us, during the month of September, the books called
'hagiographic'; these are Tobias, Judith, Esther, and Job, and they show
Wisdom in action.
At the end of the world the Church will have to go through combats of unusual
fierceness. To keep us on the watch, she reads to us, during the month of
October, the Books of Machabees; for there we have described to us the
noble-heartedness of those defenders of the Law of God, for which they gloriously
died; it will be the same at the last days, when power will be 'given to
the beast to make war with the saints, and to overcome them.'
The month of November gives us the reading of the Prophets: the judments
of God impending upon a world which He is compelled to punish by destruction
are there announced to us. First of all, we have the terrible Ezechiel; then
Daniel, who sees empire succeeding empire, till the end of all time; and
finally the Minor Prophets, who for the most part foretell the divine
chastisements, though the latest among them proclaim, at the same time, the
near approach of the Son of God.
Such is the mystery of this portion of the liturgical cycle, which is called
the Time after Pentecost. It includes also the use of green vestments, for
that colour expresses the hope of the bride, who knows that she has been
entrusted by her Spouse to the Holy Ghost, and that He will lead her safe
to the end of her pilgrimage. St. John says all this in those few words of
his Apocalypse: 'The Spirit and the bride say, Come!'
1 Like Time after Epiphany and Septuagesima, this
Season is known as "Ordinary Time" in the new calendar.