Saint Gertrude the Great, Virgin and Abbess: Missa “Dilexisti”
The Roman Martyrology commemorates, today, the virgin St. Gertrude, who is to be distinguished from another virgin of the same name, whose life is recorded in the month of March. The Breviary relates of her, as follows: Gertrude was born at Eisleben, in Saxony, the same place where, two hundred years later, the unhappy Luther came into the world. When hardly five years old, she went into the Benedictine convent at Rudersdorf, to consecrate herself entirely to the service of the Most High. From that time, she despised all that was worldly, and striving only after virtue, led an almost heavenly life. The meditation of the divine mysteries, to which she was much devoted, served her as an incitement to virtue and perfection. In all her actions, she sought only the honor of God. Her conversations on our Lord and His holy life were most edifying, and her devotion to the Holy Eucharist, and the bitter passion and death of Christ was so fervent, that she frequently shed floods of tears in contemplating them. The Virgin Mother, whom in a vision, Christ had given her as mother, she venerated with filial affection. She daily offered all her prayers and other good works for the souls in purgatory, many of whom she freed from their sufferings.
When thirty years of age, she was chosen abbess or superior, and successively governed two convents, with so much mildness, wisdom and zeal for the maintenance of the Rule, that the houses under her charge were justly regarded and praised as true dwellings of religious perfection. Although the holy virgin, as superior, stood above all, she would be the least of them, and endeavored to show those under her all possible kindness. The Almighty favored her with extraordinary gifts. She had many visions of Christ, the Blessed Virgin and other Saints. The revelations which she had of secret and future events were almost numberless. She often went into ecstasy during her prayers and continued in it a considerable length of time. But notwithstanding these and other divine gifts, she was so humble that she frequently said that one of the greatest miracles of divine goodness was the fact that God suffered her to serve Him.
Quite different was the judgment of heaven; for, to say nothing of many other proofs of the favor with which she was regarded, we will only relate, that Christ Himself revealed to another holy person, that He had chosen for Himself a most lovely dwelling in the heart of Gertrude. God made the hour of her death known to her; and the nearer it approached, the more her zeal in the Lord’s service increased; until a happy death called her home, in 1292. She was during her life, venerated as an example of all virtues, among which her love of God was the brightest. This love was so great, that her death was caused rather by its ardor than by the sufferings of her malady. Before and after her death, God wrought many and great miracles by her intercession.
INTROIT Psalm 44: 8
Thou hast loved justice and hated iniquity: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. Ps. My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King. Glory be to the Father.
O God, Who didst prepare for Thyself a pleasant dwelling-place in the heart of blessed Gertrude, do Thou, through her merits and intercession, mercifully wipe away from our hearts every stain of sin, and grant us to enjoy her companionship. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R.Amen.
EPISTLE II Corinthians 10: 17-18
Brethren, he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he who commandeth himself is approved: but he whom God commandeth. Would to God you could bear with some little of my folly, but do bear with me: for I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God. For I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 44: 5,15,16
With thy comeliness and thy beauty set out, proceed prosperously, and reign. Because of truth, and meekness, and justice: and thy right hand shall conduct thee wonderfully. Alleluia, alleluia. After her shall virgins be brought to the king: her neighbours shall be brought to thee with gladness. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Matthew 25: 1-13
At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable: The kingdom of Heaven shall be like to ten virgins, who taking their lamps went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride. And five of them were foolish, and five wise: but the five foolish having taken their lamps, did not take oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps. And the bridegroom tarrying, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out. The wise answered, saying: Lest perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. Now whilst they went to buy, the bridegroom came: and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut. But at last came also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answering, said: Amen I say to you, I know you not. Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 44: 10
The daughters of kings are in thine honour, the queen stood on thy right hand in gilded clothing, surrounded with variety.
May the offering of Thy consecrated people be accepted by Thee, O Lord, in honour of Thy Saints, by whose merits it knoweth that it hath received aid in time of trouble. Through the same Jesus Christ, thy Son, Our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, 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. Through 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 us to join with them in confessing Thee, while we say with lowly praise:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Matthew 25: 4, 6
The five wise virgins took oil in their vessels with the lamps: and at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the Bridegroom cometh: go ye forth to meet Christ the Lord. .
Thou hast filled Thy household, O Lord, with sacred gifts; ever comfort us, we beseech Thee, through her intercession whose festival we celebrate. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God world without end. R. Amen.