S. Eustace & Companions, Martyrs; Commemoration of the Vigil of St Matthew, Apostle: Missa “Sapiéntiam Sanctórum“
At the beginning of the second century, during the reign of Emperor Trajan, there lived in Rome a famous general by the name of Placidus, who was distinguished among his fellow citizens for his wealth and military prowess. It happened one day, that while following the chase he became separated from his companions, and was pursuing with eagerness a stag of extraordinary size, when suddenly it turned toward him, and he beheld raised aloft between its antlers the image of Jesus Christ suspended on the Cross. At the same time our blessed Savior addressed him in loving words, inviting him henceforth to follow Him by embracing the Christian faith, and to make eternal life in future the object of his pursuit.
Faithful to the grace which he had received, Placidus on his return home communicated the Heavenly vision to his wife Tatiana, who informed him that she too had been favored with a Heavenly apparition. Together they went immediately to the Pope, related their experience, and after due instruction received Baptism.
At the sacred font Placidus received the name of Eustachius (Eustace/Eustathius), and his wife was called Theopista, while his sons were Baptized by the names of Agapitus and Theopistus.
Upon returning to the spot where he first received the call, Eustachius was favored with another communication from Our Lord, announcing to him that he was destined to endure many and great afflictions for the sake of Christ. It was not long before his faith and patience were put to a severe trial. Stripped of all his possessions and forced to flee from the fury of the persecution, he was reduced to extreme distress, and in the course of his wanderings was by a series of calamitous events separated from his wife and children, of whom he lost all trace. For many years he dwelt in a remote spot, following the occupation of a farm laborer, until he was found by the messengers of the emperor, who was sadly in need of the skill of his former general, because a fierce war had broken out, in which the Romans sustained severe losses.
Being again invested with the command of the imperial troops, Eustachius set out for the seat of war, and achieved a decisive victory. In the course of his march he had the happiness, by a singular providence of God, to recover his wife and children, with whom he returned to Rome. His entrance into the city was attended with great rejoicings, and many were the congratulations which he received on his extraordinary good fortune. But soon afterward a solemn sacrifice of thanksgiving to the pagan deities was proclaimed, in which he was ordered by the emperor to take a part. Upon his refusal, after every effort had been made to shake his constancy, he was condemned to be exposed to the lions in the public amphitheater along with his wife and children. Finally, as the savage animals, laying aside their natural ferocity, refused to injure the confessors of Christ, Eustachius and his family were by order of the emperor enclosed in the body of an immense brazen bull, which was heated by means of a great fire enkindled beneath. The last moments of these heroic Martyrs was spent in chanting the Divine Praises, in the midst of which their happy souls passed to the enjoyment of everlasting bliss. Their bodies, miraculously preserved uninjured, were buried with great
devotion by the faithful Christians, and were afterward transferred to a magnificent church erected in their honor.
Note: St. Eustachius is usually called St. Eustace [he is also called St. Eustathius]. He is invoked for protection against fire, temporal and eternal.
INTROIT Sir 44:15; 44:14
Let the people shew forth their wisdom, and the church declare their praise. Their name liveth unto generation and generation. Ps 32:1 Rejoice in the Lord, O ye just: praise becometh the upright. v. Glory be…etc
O God, who dost permit us to keep the birthday of thy holy Martyrs Eustache and his companions, grant that we may enjoy their fellowship in everlasting happiness Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
Pro Vigiliae St Matthei Apostoli
Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that the worshipful Feast of thy blessed Apostle and Evangeliste S. Matthew on the eve whereof we now stand, may avail us to the increase both of godliness toward thee, and of health to our own souls. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
EPISTLE Wis 10:17-20
Lesson from the book of Wisdom. And she rendered to the just the wages of their labours, and conducted them in a wonderful way: and she was to them for a covert by day, and for the light of stars by night: And she brought them through the Red Sea, and carried them over through a great water. But their enemies she drowned in the sea, and from the depth of hell she brought them out. Therefore the just took the spoils of the wicked. And they sung to thy holy name, O Lord, and they praised with one accord thy victorious hand.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 123:7-8
Our soul hath been delivered as a sparrow out of the snare of the followers. The snare is broken, and we are delivered. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Alleluja, alleluja. Ps 67:4 And let the just feast, and rejoice before God: and be delighted with gladness. Alleluja.
GOSPEL Luke 6:17-23
And coming down with them, he stood in a plain place, and the company of his disciples, and a very great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and the sea coast both of Tyre and Sidon, Who were come to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases. And they that were troubled with unclean spirits, were cured. And all the multitude sought to touch him, for virtue went out from him, and healed all. And he, lifting up his eyes on his disciples, said: Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for you shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for you shall laugh. Blessed shall you be when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Be glad in that day and rejoice; for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For according to these things did their fathers to the prophets.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Ps 149:5-6
The saints shall rejoice in glory: they shall be joyful in their beds. The high praise of God shall be in their mouth, alleluia.
We present to thee, O Lord, these gifts for our sacrifice, as honoring thy holy ones may they please thee, and of thy pity, may they become profitable to us. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
Pro Vigiliae St Matthei Apostoli
Offering to thee these holy mysteries with reverence for the high dignity of the Apostleship, we beseech thee, O Lord that thropugh the prayers of blessed Matthew, thy Apostle and Evangelist, to whose feast we look forward , thy people ever may set forth their desires before thee and gain what they seek. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, and profitable unto salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks to thee, O Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God, through Christ, our Lord. Though whom the angels praise thy majesty, the dominions adore it, the powers are in awe. Which the heavens and the hosts of heaven together with the blessed seraphim joyfully do magnify. And do thou command that it be permitted to us join with them in confessing thee, while we say with lowly praise:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Matt 10:27
That which I tell you in the dark, speak ye in the light: and that which you hear in the ear, preach ye upon the housetops.
Grant, we beseech You, O almighty and merciful God, that through the intercession of Your holy Martyrs, Eustace and Companions. what we take into our mouths we may eat with pure heart. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
Pro Vigiliae St Matthei Apostoli
Be appease, we beseech thee, O Lord, by the prayers of thy holy Apostle and Evangelist, Matthew, and grant us pardon and unfailing remedies. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.