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St. Augustine's Annual Reminder

Updated: Apr 8

I boast regularly about how detached I am from media regarding current events, so it's not surprising that Our Lord allows in equal measure temptations for me to fall into old habits. Yesterday yielded such an occurrence, and I was faced with the news of how the NO in the US will roll out a disclaimer ahead of printed copies of St. John's Passion for Good Friday. Though not astonishing, feelings of dismay could not be helped.

The above link provides more than enough detail refuting the asinine decree that there's no need for any rehashing. However, I did encounter a sermon this morning which, of a providential nature, covered the same subject with the True Mind of the True Church. And for those religious and laity who recite the Divine Office (yes, even in its 1962 form), they will encounter this reading early this Friday morning during Matins (and for the privileged few, during Tenebrae).

Before Caiaphas, c. 1490, Artist Unknown

Lessons 4-5 in Nocturn II of Good Friday

From the Treatise of St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Upon the Psalms

On Psalm lxiii, 2

Thou hast hidden me from the secret counsel of the wicked, from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity. Now let us fix our eyes upon our Head. Many martyrs have suffered such things as He suffered, but God's hiding of His suffering servants is not so well seen in the Martyrs, as it is in the Captain of the Martyrs. And it is in Him that we best see how it fared with them. He was hidden from the secret counsel of the wicked; hidden by God, being Himself God; hidden, as touching the Manhood, by God the Son, and the very Manhood, Which is taken into God the Son; because He is the Son of man, and He is the Son of God; Son of God, as being in the form of God; Son of man, as having taken upon Him the form of a servant, Phil. ii. 6, 7, Whose life no man taketh from Him, but Who layeth it down of Himself. He hath power to lay it down, and He hath power to take it again, John x. 18. What then was all that they which hated Him could do? They could kill the Body, but they were not able to kill the Soul. Consider this very earnestly. It had been a small thing for the Lord to preach to the Martyrs by His word, if He had not also nerved them by His example.

We know what secret counsel was that of the wicked Jews, and what insurrection was that of the workers of iniquity. Of what iniquity were they the workers? The murder of our Lord Jesus Christ. Many good works, saith He, have I showed you for which of those works go ye about to kill Me? He had borne with all their weaknesses: He had healed all their diseases: He had preached unto them the kingdom of heaven: He had discovered to them their iniquities, that they might rather hate them, than the Physician That came to cure them. And now at last, without gratitude for all the tenderness of His healing love, like men raging in an high delirium, throwing themselves madly on the Physician, Who had come to cure them, they took counsel together how they might kill Him, as if to see if He were a Man and could die, or Something more than a man, and That would not let Himself die. In the Wisdom of Solomon we recognize their words, ii. 18, 19, 20, Let us condemn Him with a shameful death. Let us examine Him; for, by His own saying, He shall be respected. If He be the Son of God, let Him help Him.

They whetted their tongue like a sword. The Jews cannot say: We did not murder Christ, albeit they gave Him over to Pilate His judge, that they themselves might seem free of His death. For when Pilate said unto them, Take ye Him: and kill Him, they answered, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death. They could throw the blame of their sin upon a human judge: but did they deceive God, the Great Judge? In that which Pilate did, he was their accomplice, but in comparison with them, he had far the lesser sin. John xix. 11. Pilate strove as far as he could, to deliver Him out of their hands; for the which reason also he scourged Him, John xix. 1, and brought Him forth to them. He scourged not the Lord for cruelty's sake, but in the hope that; he might so slake their wild thirst for blood: that, perchance, even they might be touched with compassion, and cease to lust for His death, when they saw What He was after the flagellation. Even this effort he made! But when Pilate saw that he could not prevail, but that rather a tumult was made, Matth. xxvii. 24, ye know how that he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying: I am innocent of the blood of this Just Person. And yet he delivered Him to be crucified! But if he were guilty who did it against his will, were they innocent; who goaded him on to it? No. Pilate gave sentence against Him. and commanded Him to be crucified. But ye, O ye Jews, ye also are His murderers! Wherewith? With your tongue, whetted like a sword. And when? But when ye cried, Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Mark xv.13-14

5th Responsory for Matins of Good Friday

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