St Peter Nolasco, Confessor: Missa “Justus ut palma florebit”
Today the Church celebrates the sainthood of St. Peter Nolasco, the saintly founder of the Royal and Military Order of Our Lady of Mercy of the Redemption of the Captives.
St. Peter (1182-1258) was born in southern France. After the death of his wealthy parents, he spent his inheritance in Barcelona to rescue Christians enslaved by the Moors. He formed a lay confraternity, which later developed into the religious order of the Mercedarians, and led his fellow workers into Moorish territory to purchase the freedom of Christian captives, and to make numerous conversions among the non-Christians. Later Peter’s Mercedarians labored among the Indians of the far-flung Spanish American Empire.
The Royal, Celestial and Military Order of Our Lady of Mercy and the Redemption of the Captives also known as Our Lady of Ransom (Latin: Ordo Beatae Mariae de Mercede redemptionis captivorum) was established in 1218 by St. Peter Nolasco in the city of Barcelona, at that time in the Kingdom of Aragon, for the redemption of Christian captives.
All members of the order are required to take a fourth vow to promise to lay down their lives for another, should it be necessary, in order to save those Christians who find themselves in extreme danger of losing their faith. In the First Constitutions of the Order, the Amerian Constitutions (1272): “… all the brothers of the Order must always be gladly disposed to give up their lives, if it is necessary, as Jesus Christ gave up his for us…”
The purpose of the order is those summed up as an order of consecrated men and women committed “to visit and to free Christians who are in captivity and in power of the Saracens or of other enemies of our Law… By this work of mercy… all the brothers of this Order, as sons of true obedience, must always be gladly disposed to give up their lives, if it is necessary, as Jesus Christ gave up his for us.”
St. Peter Nolasco was canonized by Pope Urban VIII. His festival was appointed by Pope Clement VIII to be kept on January 31. He is inscribed in the Roman Martyrology, the official list of saints, on 25 December, the day of his death according to tradition.
INTROIT Psalm 91: 13, 14
The just shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow up like the cedar of Lebanon: planted in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God. (Ps. 91: 2) It is good to give praise to the Lod: and to sing to Thy name, O most High. 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 just shall flourish like the palm tree…
O God, You Who, as an example of Your love, divinely taught St. Peter to enrich Your Church with new offspring, a family of Religious devoted to the ransom of the faithful, grant by his intercession, that we may be released from the slavery of sin and rejoice in lasting freedom in heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
EPISTLE 1 Cor. 4:9-14
Lesson from the first letter of St Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians. Brethren: We have been made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, but we are without honor! To this very hour we hunger and thirst, and we are naked and buffeted, and have no fixed abode. And we toil, working with our own hands. We are reviled and we bless, we are persecuted and we bear with it, we are maligned and we entreat, we have become as the refuse of this world, the offscouring of all, even until now! I write these things not to put you to shame, but to admonish you as my dearest children, in Christ Jesus our Lord.
GRADUAL Psalm 36:30-31
The mouth of the just tells of wisdom, and his tongue utters what is right. V. The law of his God is in his heart, and his steps do not falter. Ps 111:1-3 Happy the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commands. V. His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth; the upright generation shall be blessed. V. Wealth and riches shall be in his house; his generosity shall endure forever.
GOSPEL Luke 12:32-34
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, Do not be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom. Sell what you have and give alms. Make for yourselves purses that do not grow old, a treasure unfailing in heaven, where neither thief draws near nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalms 20: 2, 3
In Thy Strength, O Lord, the just shall joy, and in Thy salvation he shall rejoice exceedingly: Thou hast given him his heart’s desire.
We offer unto Thee, O Lord, the sacrifice of praise, in remembrance of Thy saints; through whose intercession we trust to be delivered both from present and future ills. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Matt 19:28-29
Amen I say to you that you, who have left all things and followed Me, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting.
Strengthened with heavenly meat and drink, we humbly pray Thee, O Lord our God, that the prayers of the Saint in memory of whom we have received Thy sacrament, may be to us a sure defense. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen.