|Thou hast not known the time of thy visitation|
|Today’s liturgy lays stress on the terrible punishments which will one day be inflicted on those who have denied Christ. They will all perish and not one of them will enter the kingdom of heaven. Those who have been faithful to Him through all the adversities of this life, will also one day, be saved from the hands of their enemies and will follow him into heaven, whither he went at His Ascension, whose feast the Church celebrates at Paschaltide. These thoughts about God’s justice are suggested on this ninth Sunday after Pentecost by the story of the prophet Elias which the Church reads in the Breviary at this time. After Solomon’s death the twelve tribes of Israel were divided into two kingdoms, Israel and Juda. The second of these consisted of the tribes of Juda and Benjamin, with Jerusalem as capital, while the first was composed of the remaining ten tribes, having for its capital Sichem, then Samaria.To this latter kingdom belonged the prophet Elias, who dwelt in the desert of Galaad in Samaria. A man of great virtue and austere life he wore a tunic woven of camel’s hair and a leathern girdle.” With zeal, zealous for the Lord God of Hosts”, he left the desert three times to convey the divine warnings to Achab, the seventh king of Israel and the queen, Jezebel, who seduced the people into idolatry; to secure the death of the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal whom he had put to confusion on Mount Carmel, and to foretell to the king who had taken Naboth’s vineyard for himself, that he would die bathed in his own blood, and to the queen, who had been Achab’s evil genius, that her blood would flow on the spot where Naboth’s flowed, while dogs should devour her flesh.
For these reasons Elias was persecuted by the Israelites and by Achab and Jezebel, and was obliged to flee to Mount Horeb to escape death. Later on, when Ochozias Achab’s son had become king, Elias advised him not to consult Beelzebub the god of Accaron as he intended but rather the God of Israel. Upon this Ochozias sent him a captain of fifty soldiers to summon him to come down from the mountain and to account for his words, but Elias answered: “If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume thee, and thy fifty.” And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and the fifty that were with him (Breviary). Still later, Elias set out towards the Jordan with Eliseus, and when they had crossed the river, a fiery chariot and horses separated them from each other, while Elias went up by a whirlwind into heaven. Then Eliseus took up Elias’s mantle that had fallen from him, and received a double portion of his spirit, while all Elias’ disciples exclaimed: “The spirit of Elias hath rested upon Eliseus.” On one occassion, when Elias was on his way up to Bethel he was mocked by some small boys, crying: “Go up, thou bald head. Go up, thou bald head.” And Elias cursed them in the name of God whom they had offended, “and there came forth two bears out of the forest and tore them two and forty boys”. All his life, Elias, with his words of fire, championed the rights of almighty God. Much later John the Baptist “came forward in the spirit and power of Elias”, clad like him, and like him dwelling in the desert; defending, with the same impassioned voice, the same rights of God, and foretelling the separation which Christ, who was at hand, would make between the chaff and the wheat. “He will gather the wheat into his barns, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” “Elias,” says St. Augustine, “was a type of our Redeemer and Lord. Elias suffered persecution from the Jews; our Lord, the true Elias, was despised and rejected by this same people. Elias left his own country; Christ forsook the synagogue and made welcome the Gentiles” (2nd Nocturn). Continuing the comparison, we may say that God rescued Elias from his enemies by raising him into the sky; and in the same way he took Christ from among His enemies, by making Him go up to heaven on Ascension Day. “Deliver me from my enemies, O my God, and defend me from them that rise up against me.” (Alleluia). Elias, carried away in a chariot of fire, was in the language of the Fathers, the type of Jesus ascending to heaven. The Gradual uses the same verse of the eighth psalm which the liturgy employs on Ascension Day. “O Lord, our Lord, how admirable is thy name in the whole earth. Thy magnificence is elevated above the heavens.” The Introit adds: “Behold God is my helper and the Lord is the protector of my soul. Save me, O God, by Thy name and deliver me by Thy strength.” This triumph of Christ over those who hated Him, typified by that of Elias over his despisers, will be ours also, if we do not “tempt Christ”, that is, if we avoid idolatry, impurity, and murmuring (Epistle), remaining faithful to grace. For if our Lord continues to be offered up on our altars to “make His work to avail on our behalf ” (Secret), and if “eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood, we abide in Him and He in us” (Communion), it is in order that “united” to Him (Postcommunion) we may faithfully keep His judgments which are “sweeter than honey” (Offertory). St. Paul indeed, tells us: “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able; but will make also with temptation issue, that you may be able to bear it” (Epistle). Let us, therefore, beseech the Lord that His merciful ears “may be open to the prayers” of His suppliants and, in order that to those who seek He may surely give that for which they ask, He may make us to ask only for those things which are well-pleasing to Him (Collect). But divine justice is not content with protecting the just against their enemies and with rewarding them for their fidelity; it punishes also those who do evil. Elias threatened the faithless kingdom of Israel and made fire from heaven to fall on his enemies (Breviary). The Israelites who tempted Christ by their murmurings perished by fiery serpents (Epistle), and Jerusalem, over which our Lord wept and whose punishment he foretold for its rejection of Himself, was destroyed by war and fire (Gospel). Three and twenty thousand of the children of Israel, we read, perished in one day through fornication and many were destroyed because of their murmuring. “Now,” St. Paul tells us, “all these things happened to them in figure, and they are written for our correction” (Epistle). More than a million Jews perished at the destruction of Jerusalem because they had rejected the Messias, and in the Gospel (see the first Sunday of Advent and the twenty-fourth after Pentecost), our Lord always compared this tragic ending to the catastrophies which will mark the end of all time when God will come to judge the world by fire. At that moment, the divine judge will accomplish the separation of the good from the evil, rewarding the first and banishing from the kingdom of God all who have denied Him by their unbelief or their sin, just as He drove from the Temple, the type of the Church on earth and in heaven, the traffickers who had transformed that house of God into a den of thieves (Gospel). “Turn back the evils upon my enemies, and cut them off in Thy truth, O Lord my protector” (Introit). For then the time of mercy will have passed, and that of justice only will remain. “Wherefore,” says the apostle, “he that thinketh himself to stand, let him take heed lest he fall” (Epistle).
|Ecce Deus ádjuvat me, et Dóminus suscéptor est ánimae meae: avérte mala inimícis meis, et in veritáte tua dispérde illos, protéctor meus, Dómine. Ps. ibid. 3. Deus, in nómine tuo salvum me fac: et in virtúte tua líbera me. v. Glória Patri.||Behold God is my helper, and the Lord is the protector of my soul: turn back the evils upon my enemies, and cut them off in Thy truth, O Lord my protector. Ps. Save me, O God, by Thy name, and deliver me in Thy strength. v. Glory be to the Father.|
|Páteant aures misericórdiae tuae, Dómine, précibus supplicántium: et ut peténtibus desideráta concédas; fac eos, quae tibi sunt plácita, postuláre. Per Dóminum.||Let Thy merciful ears, O Lord, be open to the prayers of Thy suppliant people; and that Thou mayest grant them their petitions, make them to ask such things as shall please Thee. Through our Lord.|
|Deus, qui nos beati Eusebii Confessoris tui annua solemnitatelaetificas: concede propitius; ut cujus natalitia colimus, per ejus ad te exempla gradiamur. Per Dominum.||O God, who dost gladden us by the yearly solemnity of blessed Eusebius, Thy confessor, mercifully grant that we who celebrate his birthday, may by following his example draw near unto Thee. Through our Lord.|
|A cunctis nos, quaésumus, Dómine, mentis et córporis defénde perículis: et, intercedénte beáta et gloriósa semper Vírgine Dei Genitríce María, cum beáto Joseph, beátis Apóstolis tuis Petro et Paulo, atque beáto N, et ómnibus Sanctis, salútem nobis tríbue benígnus et pacem; ut destrúctis adversitátibus et erróribus univérsis, Ecclésia tua secúra tibi sérviat libertáte. Per eúmdem Dóminum.||Defend us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, from all dangers of mind and body; that through the intercession of the blessed and glorious ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God, together with blessed Joseph, Thy blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and blessed N. (here mention the titular saint of the church1), and all the saints, mercifully grant us safety and peace; that all adversities and errors being overcome, Thy Church may serve Thee in security and freedom. Through the same Lord.|
|The Israelites in the desert tempted Christ, because, as we gather from the passage preceding this Epistle, read on Septuagesima Sunday, the Red Sea and the cloud in which they were baptized were types of baptism by which we are incorporated into Christ; the manna by which they were nourished, foreshadowed the Eucharist, by which this is accomplished; and the water from the rock which they drank, represented all the graces of which Christ was the source for the Israelites, as He still is for all men. Their idolatrous worship of the golden calf, their discontent at only having manna for their food, and all the infidelities of God’s people, went to make up what St. Paul calls “tempting Christ”, since to despise the blessings granted them by Jehovah, in view of the anticipated merits of His Son, was to deny Him.|
|Léctio Epístolae beáti Pauli Apóstoli ad Corínthios. Fratres: Non simus concupiscéntes malórum, sicut et illi concupiérunt. Neque idolólatrae efficiámini, sicut quidam ex ipsis: quemádmodum scriptum est: Sedit pópulus manducáre et bíbere, et surrexérunt lúdere. Neque fornicémur, sicut quidam ex ipsis fornicáti sunt, et cecidérunt una die vigínti tria míllia. Neque tentémus Christum, sicut quidam eórum tentavérunt, et a serpéntibus periérunt. Neque murmuravéritis, sicut quidam eórum murmuravérunt et periérunt ab exterminatóre. Haec autem ómnia in figúra contingébant illis: scripta sunt autem ad correptiónem nostram, in quos fines saeculórum devenérunt. Itaque qui se exístimat stare, vídeat ne cadat. Tentátio vos non apprehéndat, nisi humána: fidélis autem Deus est, qui non patiétur vos tentári supra id quod potéstis, sed fáciet étiam cum tentatióne provéntum, ut possítis sustinére.||Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians. Brethren, let us not covet evil things, as they also coveted. Neither become ye idolaters, as some of them: as it is written: The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed fornication, and there fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them tempted, and perished by the serpents1 Neither do you murmur, as some of them murmured, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them in figure, and they are written for our correction, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore he that thinketh himself to stand, let him take heed lest he fall. Let no temptation take hold on you, but such as is human: and God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able; but will make also with temptation issue, that you may be able to bear it.|
|Dómine Dóminus noster, quam admirábile est nomen tuum in univérsa terra! v. Quóniam eleváta est magnificéntia tua super caelos.
Allelúia, allelúia. v. Ps. lviii. 2. Eripe me de inimícis meis, Deus meus: et ab insurgéntibus in me líbera me. Allelúia.
|O Lord our Lord, how admirable is Thy name in the whole earth! v. For Thy magnificence is elevated above the heavens.
Alleluia, alleluia. v. Deliver me from my enemies, O my God: and defend me from them that rise up against me.
|“No one is ignorant,” says St. Gregory, “how our Lord in His grief foretold the ruin of Jerusalem, a ruin of which the Roman princes Vespasian and Titus were the authors. What was the fault for which this penalty of destruction was inflicted? “Because,” said our Lord, “thou hast not known the time of thy visitation “. For the Creator in His Incarnation vouchsafed to visit this city, but Jerusalem remembered neither to fear nor love. If this faithless city had known the ruin which threatened it, it also would have wept instead of giving itself up to pleasure, in that day which was still its own, and when it still had Jesus who could secure its peace. So would the abandoned soul weep over its sins, could it have known the eternal pains which threatened it” (Matins).|
|Sequéntia sancti Evan-gélii secúndum Lucam. In illo témpore: Cum appropinquáret Jesus Jerúsalem, videns civitátem, flevit super illam, dicens: Quia si cognovísses et tu, et quidem in hac die tua, quae ad pacem tibi, nunc autem abscóndita sunt ab óculis tuis. Quia vénient dies in te: et circúmdabunt te inimíci tui vallo, et circúmdabunt te: et coangustábunt te úndique: et ad terram prostérnent te, et fílios tuos, qui in te sunt, et non relínquent in te lápidem super lápidem: eo quod non cognóveris tempus visitatiónis tuae. Et ingréssus in templum, coepit ejícere vendéntes in illo, et eméntes, dicens illis: Scriptum est: Quia domus mea domus oratiónis est. Vos autem fecístis illam spelúncam latrónum. Et erat docens quotídie in templo.||Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Luke. At that time, when Jesus drew near to Jerusalem, seeing the city, He wept over it saying: If thou also hadst known, and that in this day, the things that are to thy peace: but now they are hidden from thy eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, and thy enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and straiten thee on every side; and beat thee flat to the ground, and thy children who are in thee; and they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone, because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation. And entering into the temple, He began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought, saying to them: It is written, My house is the house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves. And He was teaching daily in the temple.|
|1. Faith in Christ, typiflied by the brazen serpent, saved the Israelites, just as their complaints, which were directed against our Lord, as foreshadowed by the cloud (Baptism), the manna (the Holy Eucharist), and the water from the rock (grace), caused their destruction.|
|Justítiae Dómini rectae, laetificántes corda, et judícia ejus dulcióra super mel et favum: nam et servus tuus custódit ea.||The justices of the Lord are right, rejoicing hearts, and His judgments sweeter than honey and the honey-comb: for thy servant keepeth them.|
|Concéde nobis, quaésumus, Dómine, haec digne frequentáre mystéria: quia, quótie hujus hóstiae commemorátio celebrátur, opus nostrae redemptiónis exercétur. Per Dóminum.||Grant us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, worthily to frequent these sacred mysteries: for as often as this saving Victim is offered up, so often is furthered the work of our redemption. Through our Lord.|
|Exáudi nos, Deus salutáris noster: ut per hujus sacraménti virtútem, a cunctis nos mentis et córporis hóstibus tueáris; grátiam tríbuens in praesénti, et glóriam in futúro. Per Dóminum.||Graciously hear us, O God our Saviour, and by the virtue of this sacrament protect us from all enemies of soul and body, bestowing on us both grace in this iife and glory hereafter. Through our Lord.|
|Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutáre, nos tibi semper, et ubíque grátias ágere: Dómine sancte, Pater omnípotens, aetérne Deus: Qui cum unigénito Fílio tuo, et Spíritu Sancto, unus es Deus, unus es Dóminus: non in uníus singularitáte persónae, sed in uníus Trinitáte substántiae. Quod enim de tua glória, revelánte te, crédimus, hoc de Fílio tuo, hoc de Spíritu Sancto, sine differéntia discretiónis sentímus. Ut in confessióne verae sempiter-naéque Deitátis, et in persónis propríetas, et in esséntia únitas, et in majestáte adorétur aequálitas. Quam laudant Angeli atque Archángeli, Chérubim quoque ac Séraphim: qui non cessant clamáre quotídie, una voce dicéntes:||It is truly meet and just, right and availing unto salvation that we should at all times and in all places give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty and everlasting God. Who with Thine only-begotten Son and the Holy Ghost art one God, one Lord; not in the oneness of a single person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For that which we believe from Thy revelation concerning Thy glory, that same we believe also of Thy Son, and of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, we shall adore distinction in persons, oneness in being, and equality in majesty. Which the angels and archangels, the cherubim also and the seraphim do praise nor cease to cry out as with one voice:|
|Qui mandúcat meam carnem, et bibit meum sánguinem in me manet, et ego in eo, dicit Dóminus.||He that eateth My Flesh, and drinketh My Blood, abideth in Me, and I in him, saith the Lord.|
|Tui nobis, quaésumus, Dómine, commúnio sacraménti, et purifi-catiónem cónferat, et tríbuat unitátem. Per Dóminum.||May our reception of Thy holy Sacrament, O Lord, both purify us from sin and grant us unity in Thy service. Through our Lord.|
|Mundet et múniat nos, quaé-sumus, Dómine, divíni Sacra-ménti munus oblátum: et, intercedénte beáta Vírgine Dei Genitríce María, cum beáto Joseph, beátis Apóstolis tuis Petro et Paulo, atque beáto N., et ómnibus Sanctis; a cunctis nos reddat et perversitátibus expiátos, et adversitátibus expedítos. Per eúmdem Dóminum.||May the oblation of this divine sacrament cleanse and defend us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, and, through the inter-cession of the blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with blessed Joseph, Thy blessed apostles Peter and Paul, blessed N. (here mention the titular saint of the church), and all the saints, purify us from all our sins and deliver us from all adversity. Through the same Lord.|