In the Seventh Century the Roman Pantheon was dedicated to St. Mary and the heroic sons of the Roman Church, who had suffered martyrdom. The martyrs indeed seem to have a particular right to the glory of the Resurrection on account of their perfect resemblance to Christ crucified; and many ancient liturgies kept a special feast in their honor in the very midst of the Easter festival. Today’s station ad Martyres remains as a last record of this early liturgical tradition, for, later on, the collective feast of the martyrs was transferred, even in Rome, to the middle of the month of May, and still later to the first day of November.
The Introit contains an allusion to the paschal feast of the neophytes, who, like the Israelites of old, have escaped from the slavery of Egypt across the Red Sea, which is a symbol of holy Baptism. The enemy who was overwhelmed by the waves is Satan, or sin.
The covenants in the Old Testament are the figure of the new covenant under which the neophytes were brought through the baptismal font unto the adoption of children of God The doctrine taught in the lesson taken from 1 Peter is that contained in the article of the creed: “He descended into hell.” Among the souls in Limbo were patriarchs and prophets and some who had paid no heed to the warnings of Noe when and he predicted the destruction of the world in the flood. The words must not be taken to mean that Christ preached in hell in order to convert the souls who had already been condemned for their sin of unbelief; for the state of the soul cannot change after death. Christ descended into the abode of the dead to announce both to the good and to the wicked the redemption now accomplished; to the good for their supreme consolation, to the wicked as a further reason for their condemnation.
INTROIT Psalm 77: 53
The Lord brought them out in hope, alleluia: and the sea overwhelmed their enemies, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. (Ps. 77: 1) Attend, O my people, to My law: incline your ears to the words of My mouth. V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. REPEAT: The Lord brought them out…
Almighty, eternal God, Who in the covenant of man’s atonement hast be-stowed the paschal sacrament, grant unto our spirits that what we outwardly celebrate we may imitate effectually. again in the waters of baptism. Through Our Lord…
LESSON 1 Peter 3: 18-22
Dearly beloved, Christ died once for our sins, the just for the unjust, that He might offer us to God, being put to death indeed in the flesh, but enlivened in the Spirit. In which also coming, He preached to those spirits that were in prison, which had been some time incredulous, when they waited for the patience of God in the days of Noe, when the ark was building; wherein a few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water. Whereunto baptism being of the like form, now saveth you also; not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the examination of a good conscience toward God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord, Who is on the right hand of God.
GRADUAL Psalm 117: 24, 26-27
This is the day which the Lord bath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein. V. Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; the Lord Is God, and He hath shone forth unto us. Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Ps. 95: 10) Say ye among the gentiles, the Lord hath reigned from a tree.
SEQUENCE Victimae paschali laudes
Christians! to the Paschal Victim offer your thankful praises.
The Lamb the sheep redeemeth: Christ, who only is sinless, reconcileth sinners to the Father.
Death and life contended in that conflict stupendous: the Prince of Life, who died, deathless reigneth. Speak, Mary, declaring what thou sawest wayfaring.
“The tomb of Christ who now liveth: and likewise the glory of the Risen.
Bright Angels attesting, the shroud and napkin resting.
Yea, Christ my hope is arisen: to Galilee “He goeth before you.”
We know that Christ is risen, henceforth ever living: Have mercy, Victor King, pardon giving. Amen. Alleluia.
GOSPEL St. Matthew 28: 16-20
At that time, the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them: and seeing Him they adored; but some doubted. And Jesus coming, spoke to them saying, “All power is given to Me in Heaven and in earth. Going, therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.”
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Exodus 12: 14
This day shall be for a memorial to you, alleluia: and you shall keep it a solemn feast to the Lord: in your generations, an everlasting legal day, alleluia, alleluia.
Be appeased we beseech Thee, O Lord, and accept the sacrifices we bring both for the expiation of the sin of those born again in Thee, and for the hastening of heavenly aid. Through our Lord…
PREFACE of EASTER
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, at all times to praise Thee, O Lord, but more gloriously especially at this time above others when Christ our Pasch was sacrificed. For He is the true Lamb Who hath taken away the sins of the world: Who by dying hath destroyed our death: and by rising again hath restored us to life. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing the hymn of Thy glory, evermore saying:
COMMUNICANTES – For Easter
Communicating, and keeping the most holy day of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh and also reverencing the memory, first, of the glorious Mary, ever Virgin, Mother of the same our God and Lord Jesus Christ: as also of Thy blessed Apostles and martyrs Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon and Thaddeus: Linus, Cletus, Clement, Xystus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian, and of all Thy Saints, through whose merits and prayers, grant that we may in all things be defended by the help of Thy protection. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
HANC IGITUR For Easter
W e therefore beseech Thee, O Lord, graciously to accept this oblation of our service, as also of Thy whole family, which we make unto Thee on behalf of these whom Thou hast vouchsafed to bring to a new birth by water and the Holy Ghost, granting them remission of all their sins: and to dispose our days in Thy peace, preserve us from eternal damnation and rank us in the number of Thine Elect. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
COMMUNION ANTIPHON St. Matthew 28: 18-19
All power is given to Me in Heaven and on earth, alleluia: going, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: alleluia, alleluia.
Have regard to Thy people, we beseech Thee, O Lord, and graciously absolve of their temporal sins those whom Thou hast deigned to refresh with eternal mysteries. Through our Lord…