Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

send spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will lay sinews upon you and will cause flesh to grow over you, and will cover you with skin; and I will give you spirit, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord. And I prophesied as he had commanded me; and as I prophesied there was a noise, and behold a commotion and the bones came together, each one to its joint; and I saw, and behold the sinews and the flesh came up upon them. And he said to me, prophecy to the spirit; prophecy, O son of man, and say to the spirit, thus saith the Lord God-Come spirit from the four winds, and blow upon these slain, and let them live again. And I prophesied as he commanded me; and the spirit came unto them, and they lived ; and they stood up upon their feet, an EXCEEDING GREAT ARMY. And he said to me, all these bones are the house of Israel.” (Ezechiel xxxvii. 5, &c.)

“ And he said to me, all these bones are the bones of Israel.” Those that sit not in the Church; those that are not of the household of the faith ; that “ go out from us, because they were not of us,"—(St. John | Ep. ii. 19.) Alas! what are they but dry bones ? Though they seem to have an outward adornment, a seemingly fair ordinance, external decency, and a certain form of ceremonial; though they be covered with sinew, and flesh, and skin, what better are they than dry bones, in which there is no spirit? And such are they who close their eyes to the light of faith, and will not open their ears to the voice of their holy mother, calling to her lost sheep to return to the fold of ages. But, “ Prophecy again; O son of man,” and tell that the graces of the Church are as exhaustless as is her patience; that the life-giving spirit within her is as lively as her love is strong; her tenderness as exceeding as her forbearance is continual. Built like Sion, on a hill, this holier Sion is a city seated on a mountain that cannot be hid, and though such be the haze that a clouded intellect or unnatural prejudice may exhale, yet even “ from the depths” the dry hearts of Israel “may cry unto Him, and He">her divine spouse" will hear their voice, and his ears will be attentive to the voice of their supplication :"* for whether the depths be of heresy, or sin, of practical infidelity, or unwitting misbelief, it needs but the suppliant to open the eyes of his heart, it needs but a firm resolution to give all for God, to embrace TRUTH-though found where least looked for, and the needful of light shall come down from heaven, and,“ the Father of the poor, and

ray

* Ps. “ De Profundis,"

the Giver of gifts, and the light of hearts,"* shall come to lead the anxious inquirer by the hand, like a lamb to the fold of Christ, there to convince him, in the bosom of the Church, that the language of his holy prophets of old is to the letter true; that the son of man shall prophecy; that the graces of the holy sacraments applied by him, that is, by the ministry of Her priesthood, shall indeed bring back the spirit unto him, and set him on his feet, to go on rejoicing in the way of the Cross, teaching him “how, from the pages of both Testaments, to celebrate the Paschal mystery, and how to understand” (from his own resurrection to life) “God's mercy; that by receiving these present gifts, his expectation of those to come may be made more firm.”+

Again ; " In that day," says another prophet, “the bud of the Lord shall be in magnificence and glory, and the fruit of the earth shall be high, and great joy shall be to them that shall have escaped of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that every one that shall be left in Sion, and that shall remain in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, every one that is written in life in Jerusalem. If the Lord shall wash away the filth of the daughters of Sion, and shall wash away the blood of Jerusalem out of the midst thereof, by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of buruing. And the Lord will create on every place of Mount Sion, and where he is called upon, a cloud by day, and a smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire in the night; for over all the glory shall be a protection ; and that shall be a tabernacle, for a shade in the day time, from the heat, and a security and covert from the whirlwind and the rain.” (Isaiae iv. 1-16.)

Vinea facta est Dilecto in cornu in loco uberi."! “ The Beloved had a vineyard on a hill, in a fruitful place." Thither are we all called, and happy are they who till therein, or have found there a covert from the rain. For in God's holy vineyard, we see how the bud of the Lord has become magnificent, and glorious, and the little seed has grown into a goodly and wide-spreading tree, where the fowls of the air find shelter in its branches. Here is our filth and our blood, our wretchedness and dark thoughts of envy, hatred, and revenge, washed

* “ Veni sancte spiritus.

Veni Pater pauperum,
Et emitte cælitùs.

Veni dator munerum,
Lucis tuæ radium,

Veni lumen cordium."

Prosa Eccles, in Fest, Pentecostes. † Coll. Deus qui nos, post vii. Proph. in Offic. Sab. Sanct.

# Tract, post viii. in Off. Sab. Sanct.

away in the clean laver of regeneration. Even in those waters of the baptismal covenant, that were foreshown in those that once swept away the sins of the world in vengeance: but which, even then, by the first appearance of the bow of promise in the sky, told hope,—that they should again return, as they had done, not in vengeance but in love, to wash away our filth and our blood; not by extermination, punishment, and death, but by the sweet font of mercy, that stands by the right of THE PORCH in the venerable pile, beneath whose shadow we repose; making all those who are left in Sion, and remain in Jerusalem, holy, for their names are written in life;" and if they die, their angels shall behold the face of our Father who is in heaven.

For in the fullfilment there is a spirit of judgment, to decide ; and a spirit of burning to approve. “ Those that hear you,” says our blessed Saviour "hear me.” The Church speaks, and we obey— we believe the holy Catholic Church. She sits in judgment, and we bow, and the spirit of burning approves the judgment, when to the meekness of obedience there is kindled in the heart the holy approving fire of devotion. A' fire that riseth up in every place of Mount Sion, day and night, like incense, and everywhere accompanies that clean oblation which is continually offered up on altars that ever as our globe revolves, meet the rising sun, and hearts as rising, that come daily to renew their vows of faith and love, before the TRUE ORIENT that meets and supports them in the constantly offered clean oblation, “ from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same." (Mal. i. 11.)

Ob truly, then, may we rejoice for those "that have escaped of Israel,” and found, like the dove, a resting place for her weary foot, whether they be friends or strangers,-luke-warm Catholics, or those who return to the ark of our communion from the maze of error. Let us be glad that the places of the elect are filling up,—that the heart-the one heart that beats throughout the whole communion of the faith, is made to exult in one common throb of gratitude to God, who gathers in the stray sheep to the one fold of Christ. Let us find it good to bear and forbear, to repress all harsh and ungentle conduct towards those that are without—all unguarded and rude interpretation of other men's motives,-in a word, let us find it good to have more thoughtfulness for the wondrous and complex mechanism of the human heart in others, and mindfulness that ours may be disarranged. It is easy to accuse others, but self-accusation alone is safe : let us first clear our own eye, before we blame our brother ; first learn gentleness at the foot of the altar, and leave our gift there, that is, in the hands of God,

“ Vexilla Regis prodeunt,

Fulget Crucis mysterium
Qua vita mortem pertulit,

Et morte vitam protulit."* Behold, in long procession under this solemn banner, the reverential line of apostles, bishops, priests, virgins, widows, martyrs, and confessors. See the long line of innocent children, led by the holy band of “ Flowers of Martyrdom,"+ that were baptised in its anticipatory blood as those that follow were in the pure laver of regeneration. See them, as it were, innocent lambs sporting on the steps of the altar, on the green pastures of God's Church; see them scattering, as they go, the incense of sweet flowers, in honour of Him, who, as the Babe of Bethlehem, procured for them the gifts of everlasting purity and innocence. Behold the white-robed catechumens, who, like opening roses from chaste and comely vessels, even from the censors of youthful hearts, throw aloft thoughts unstained, and redolent with early devotion. Behold meek and gentle maidens of the Church, with veiled heads, bowing sweetly to the yoke of their dear Redeemer, and looking ever to their blissful Mother, who, in the retirement of their several homes, have stood beside her, like the fair flowers de luce, which the angel of the Annunciation held in his hand, when he said to her, as they now continu. ally repeat, “ Hail Mary, FULL OF Grace!" Behold the long line, holding palms in their hands. These are they who are gathered from every quarter of the globe, and who are everyday arriving,--these are they whose purity of intention and servent love, have deserved the highest grace of martyrdom. See the long line of chaste followers,— these are pure virgins, spotless and undefiled, who deserve to follow the Lamb, in white stoles, whithersoever he goeth. Behold the saintly line of men and women, who, amid the toils, and troubles, and temptations, of the present life, have ever kept the faith, and nourished in the fire of devotion, have sought and found in the faith, that peace and security, which it were vain to look for elsewhere; these are they who have put on the whole armour of God; who, by the graces that flowed in plenteous streams from the holy sacraments, have found, indeed, that within the Paradise restored of God's Church, the tree of life has been planted anew, and has shed down plenteous benediction on those who

* Hymn. Eccles. in Hepdom. Sanct.

† “Salvete Flores Martyrum.” See a new version of this exquisite inorsel of Prudentius in a succeeding page of this number of the Magazine.

[ocr errors]

time, thorns and briars spring up in the richest soil; not only scandals arise, but if we look into our own hearts, how sadly must we copfess, that they are full of noxious and unprofitable weeds. At times, all seems bright and pure—a plate of steel reflexing the clear lights of heaven; in the twinkling of an eye, a breath has stained its lustre, a wicked thought has passed suddenly across the heart, and sullied the purity of the soul, with its sinful exhalation. Let us mourn, then, over the briars and thorns of those that are without, and weep over the same that spring up so luxuriantly within our own hearts ; but not despairingly, lest by our so doing we make shipwreck, on its sunken shoal, forgetting, too, the guiding star of hope, which is sure to bring the barque of Peter into the haven of rest, and all who ride secure within its bulwarks.

Thus would we meditate, and thus build a tabernacle to the law, and a tabernacle to the spirit of prophecy, in the persons of Moses and Elias. But what shall our poverty do towards erecting the third tabernacle—to Him, in whose blessed person is the fulfilment, and more than the fulfilment, of what His two witnesses” have said or done of Him, since creation till his day. For “ as the creation in all its excellence is surpassed in wonder by the mystery of man's reparation, through the immolation of Christ, at the end of ages;" +-so the tabernacle that we would require to build, must needs surpass in glory what we would erect to the other two, as the subtance does the shadow, as the reality does the vision, as fruition does hope, or life does death. For if the temple of old were glorious, and the ministry of God's law stately and magnificent, when, as yet, all were but types and symbols but shadows of the good things to come, how needful must that temple be glorious, and that ministry magnificent, which arises as the antitype of all that has been forewarned from the creation of the world, the perfection, substance, and reality of all that had been seen and sung in prophetic vision. See, then, the glorious tabernacle which is built to Him, by Him, and in Him. Contemplate the Church of God, rising in stately splendour, and calling within her gates of peace, generations and generations of men. Behold her banner erected on high as an ensign and a sign; hearken to her solemn call,

*“ In fronte aliquando lepram, aliquando Thau, aliquando laminam auream gerimus.”—Sti. Bernardi Sententiæ, 120, P.

† Coll. Omnipotens, post ix. Proph. in Offic. Sanct. Sab.

« PredošláPokračovať »