Sunday, April 15, 2012

Divine Mercy Sunday

A few thoughts on this Sunday...

From Fr. Z:

This Sunday has many nicknames. In the post-Conciliar calendar it is the “Second Sunday of Easter (or of Divine Mercy)”. It is also called “Thomas Sunday” (because of the Gospel reading about the doubting Apostle), and “Quasimodo Sunday” (from the first word of the Introit), and “Low Sunday”.

This is also the conclusion of the Octave of Easter, during which we halted our liturgical clocks and contemplated the mysteries we celebrated from different points of view.

Since ancient times this Sunday has been called “Dominica in albis” or “in albis depositis”, the Sunday of the “white robes having been taken off.” 1 Peter 2:2-3 says:
“Like (Quasimodo – from a Latin Scripture translation that pre-dated the Vulgate by St Jerome) newborn babes (infantes), long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation; for you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.”

Holy Mass on “Low Sunday” begins with an exhortation of the newly baptized, who were called infantes. The infantes wore their white baptismal robes for the “octave” period following Easter during which they received special instruction from the bishop about the sacred mysteries and about the Christian life. Today they put off their robes and, in some places, left them in the cathedral treasury as a perpetual witness to their baptismal vows.

Following along the theme of this Sunday as “Dominica in albis”, here is an excerpt from the readings for the office of matins (emphases added):

From the Sermons of St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
1st Sermon for the Octave of the Passover, being the 157th for the Seasons.

The Feast of this day is the end of the Paschal solemnity, and therefore it is today that the Newly-Baptized put off their white garments: but, though they lay aside the outward mark of washing in their raiment, the mark of that washing in their souls remains to eternity. Now are the days of the Passover, that is, of God's Passing-over our iniquity by His pardon and remission; and therefore our first duty is so to sanctify the mirth of these holy days, that our bodily recreation may be taken without defilement to our spiritual cleanness. Let us strive that our relaxation may be sober and our freedom holy, holding ourselves carefully aloof from anything like excess, drunkenness or lechery. Let us try so to keep in our souls their Lenten cleansing, that if our Fasting hath left us aught yet unwon, we may still be able to seek it.

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