Skip to comments.The Mandatum of Love (meaning of Maundy Thursday/Holy Thursday) [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Posted on 04/21/2011 10:13:27 AM PDT by Salvation
The Triduum begins: From light to darkness - a symbolic darkness in which the better we understand the significance of the rubrics, the closer we grow to Christ in this world of darkness.
Holy Mother the Church has always given much attention, with the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, to giving her children the much needed guidance and assistance in bringing souls to closer union with Christ. This is, after all, her very reason for existence. We cannot ignore how the rituals, customs and liturgical celebrations have blossomed down through the centuries under her careful, loving hand, tended by the early Fathers, saints and Doctors of the Church. The rich symbolism and spiritual depth of the rituals of Holy Week speak loudly of a Church beckoning all to reach into the treasure chest of truth that is Catholicism, and experience the life that is available to all in Jesus Christ. The Sacred Triduum, the three most holy days of Holy Week present us with a marvelous opportunity to dig into the depths of all that the Church tries to convey to us mortals on our pilgrimage to the Resurrection. Hoping for a fruitful participation in this "Week of Lamentation," let us prepare for Maundy Thursday.
Having lost so much of the tradition of the Latin language, it is difficult for many to understand why Holy Thursday is often referred to as Maundy Thursday. The word Maundy derives from Mandatum, the first word of the Office of The Washing of the Feet.
A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another,
as I have loved you, says the Lord.
Ps. Blessed are the undefiled in the way: who walk in the law of the Lord.
A new commandment.
The feast of Maundy Thursday "solemnly commemorates the institution of the Eucharist and is the oldest of the observances peculiar to Holy Week" (The Catholic Encyclopedia). Traces of the ceremony of The Washing of the Feet are found in the most ancient rites. Other ceremonies were added to this commemoration, including the consecration of the holy oils (chrism) and the reconciliation of penitents. At one time there were three Masses celebrated on Maundy Thursday, the first for the reconciliation of public Penitents, the second for the consecration of the holy oils, and the third for special commemoration of the institution of the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, and the institution of the Priesthood. Today, only this last mentioned Mass is celebrated and the Bishop attended by priests and deacons blesses the holy oils in his Cathedral church. These holy oils will be used throughout the year for Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders and Extreme Unction.
On this day, the Church briefly puts aside her mourning, with the priest coming to the altar to celebrate the Liturgy, as commemorating the institution of the Blessed Sacrament, dressed in white vestments, conveying a solemn joy. The Gloria in excelsis is sung at this Mass accompanied by the ringing of bells, calling all the faithful to great "praise and gratitude to our Lord for having instituted this Blessed Feast of Love."
From this point on the bells will remain silent until the Gloria is once again heard on Easter Eve (Holy Saturday). The withdrawal of the bells and their silence is to make evident the expression, in an outward sense, of the Church's great sorrow or bereavement during the time of Christ's Passion and Burial. This silence which we will encounter for the ensuing three days dates back to at least the 8th century, referred to as "the still days." We are urged to spend these three days in a state of silence as far as possible, meditating in sorrow on the sufferings of our dear Lord as well as reflecting on the "shameful flight of the apostles at the capture of their master, and their silence during these days" (The Church's Year).
At this Mass, the priest consecrates two hosts, consuming one and preserving the other in the chalice for the following day, Good Friday, when there will be no consecration but rather a "service of the Presanctified." This practice is very ancient, although the elaborate observances surrounding it are of much more recent vintage.
The St. Andrew Daily Missal comments regarding the significance of the readings from this Mass as follows:
We are called, just as the public Penitents in the earliest years of the Church, to examine our souls as often as we receive communion, to see if we have committed any grievous sin which we have not yet confessed or for which we are not heartily sorry. We remember that Judas betrayed our Lord with a kiss, and we beg Christ's mercy that we, though sinners, may be accorded the privilege to receive Holy Communion in a worthy manner, coming to understand our constant need for conversion, reconciliation and a renewed return to the Lord.
After Mass, in solemn procession the consecrated Host in the chalice and the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle will be taken to an "altar of repose" adorned with flowers and candles, while the faithful sing the hymn, "Pange lingua gloriosi corporis mysterium." (Sing, my tongue, the Saviour's glory, Of His Flesh the mystery sing ) This ceremony commemorates "the earliest times of Christianity, when the consecrated hosts for the communicants and the sick were kept in a place especially prepared, because there was no tabernacle on the altar" (The Church's Year). It is also deeply symbolic of Christ's going out to the Garden of Gethsemane accompanied by the Apostles, during which time His "Godhead was concealed." After placing the Blessed Sacrament in the place of repose, Vespers are said.
The altar is then stripped while reciting the Diviserunt, (They parted My garments amongst them: and upon My vesture they cast lots) and Psalm XXI which our Savior applied to Himself (My God, my God, look upon Me: why hast Thou forsaken Me?). The stripping of the altar marks a definite interruption in the Holy Sacrifice, which will not be celebrated again until Holy Saturday. The significance of this external gesture shows that "Jesus took off, as it were at the time of His passion, His divine glory, and yielded Himself up in utter humiliation into the hands of His enemies to be crucified (Phil. 2:6,7) and that at the crucifixion He was forcibly stripped of His garments, which the soldiers divided among them, as foretold in the twenty-first psalm, which is said during this ceremony. The faithful are urged to put off the old sinful man with his actions, and by humbling themselves become conformable to Christ" (The Church's Year).
After the stripping of the altar, the washing of the feet takes place. The officiating priest kneels before each of twelve men chosen for the ceremony, representing the twelve Apostles, washes, wipes and kisses the foot of each. By this action we are reminded that Christ intended to teach all, from the highest office, the necessary virtues of humility and charity that must be extended to everyone according to the example of Jesus Christ. During this ceremony is sung the Mandatum, (A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, says the Lord ). The beautiful Antiphons which follow are a reminder of our need to be purified from evil inclinations, to love one another with a sincere heart, and to truly long for the "courts of the Lord." This new commandment of love, given us by Christ, should permeate all of our thoughts and actions just as it permeates the entire celebration of Maundy Thursday.
The night Office prayed by the clergy on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of Holy Week is referred to as Tenebrae, meaning darkness, and has been so called since at least the 9th century. The Office includes the chanting of the Lamentations of Jeremias accompanied by the gradual extinction of the fifteen candles in the "Tenebrae hearse" or triangular candlestick, as the service proceeds. At the end, the only candle left burning represents Jesus Christ, which is then removed and hidden behind the altar. For the entire Office of Tenebrae, including commentary and beautiful graphics, follow this link to the website of the Confraternity of Ss. Peter and Paul: Office of Tenebrae
"In the Tenebrae the Church mourns the passion and death of Jesus, and urges her children to return to God; she therefore makes use of those mournful words of Jeremias: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord, thy God!" (The Church's Year) The symbolism behind the Tenebrae recalls the time when the early Christians spent the whole night preceding great festivals in prayer. The gradual darkness that descends as the candles are extinguished symbolizes the darkness which lasted for three hours at the crucifixion, and also causes us to consider the words of St. John regarding Christ, " the true light which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not."
We sadly recall that the Apostles one by one gradually left Him on this night, and that the earth was covered by darkness at His death. The single candle left burning, which is hidden behind the altar to be brought forth again when prayers are finished, causes us to remember that Christ came forth from the grave on the third day as the true light of the world. At the end of the Tenebrae, a noise is made with clappers signifying the earthquake which took place at Christ's death. All arise and depart in silence.
Let us also go forth in silence to meditate on the rich significance of these ceremonies for Maundy Thursday, and pray that our hearts be touched by the finger of God as He speaks to us through the Holy Ghost in the traditions and practices of the Church instituted by His Only Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
For watching for one hour with the Lord on this night. This Adoration Hour always brings tears to my eyes. In fact, the screen is a little blurry right now.
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Tara Borge on Apr 21st, 2011
Maundy Thursday 2011 Holy Thursday is the other term for Maundy Thursday and it has been celebrated since the earliest days of the Christian Church.
This day give respect to Jesus last supper with his 12 disciples. On this night , Judas betrayed Jesus for a couple gold in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Maundy Thursday was from the old Latin word for the day, Dies Mandatum, which means the day of the new commandment. Dies Mandatum refers Christ command that we should love one another and this is before Jesus washed the feet of his disciples.
There were numerous traditions in many places around the world regarding Maundy Thursday. In United Kingdom, the tradition of the sovereign giving alms to the poor on this day.
In other countries, most business stop operations from Maundy Thursday to Black Saturday. In Malta, the Holy Thursday is known as Communion Thursday and the people visit seven churches and this tradition is called is-seba visti.
The washing of the feet in the Liturgy of Holy Thursday. In the revised ritual the washing of the feet takes placed after the Gospel, which narrates the same event at the Last Supper. The men who have been chosen are led to chairs prepared for them. Then the priest goes to each man, pours water over each one's feet, and dries them. Meanwhile the choir or congregation sings a number of antiphons from the appropriate Gospel account in St. John. The ceremony is called the mandatum because it was on the occasion of washing his disciples' feet that Christ gave us the new commandment (novum mandatum) to love one another as he has loved us (John 13:4-17). (Etym. Latin mandatum, commission, order.)
I have long celebrated the giving of the New Commandment.
I am always drawn to the phrase: Love one another as I have loved you.
The part that is beyond me is the 2nd part: “as I have loved you.”
More than anything else the contemplation of those words humbles me.
Thank you for your post.
**The part that is beyond me is the 2nd part: as I have loved you.
More than anything else the contemplation of those words humbles me.**
But it wasn’t beyond God the Father and God the Son.
Holy Spirit be with us and guide us to Love One Another as Christ Has Loved Us.
Our priest said this evening that when Jesus gave that Commandment, he also gave His followers the power to obey it, in His Spirit, through His presence dwelling in us. He said that in Christ, becoming Christlike, we really could love as He did ... love the unlovable, love the people who hate us, love the people we least want to love ... and not simply act the part.
I was baby-wrassling, so I may have missed a key point or two, but I caught that much!
And baby-wrangling, too. At one point, Francisco headed for the door at top speed, but my oldest boy, who was sitting with friends, reached an arm around the back of the chair, grabbed him by the collar, flipped him over, and handed him back to me upside down. Frank was squealing, “Never do that, Bill! Do that again!”
Usually he’ll put his head down and hold still if I sing to him in Spanish, but he’s figured out that’s a trick. I did get him to listen to the Ordinario, the fixed parts of the Mass, by telling him it was the Theme Song ;-).
Suppressed smile. Smile breaking out again. Big one.
The wonder of babies is that they always give you something to smile about. Even when you’re wishing the earth would open and swallow you because the whole congregation is staring at the crazy people with the inverted baby.
LOL from the belly!
From your posts, I love your children...;-D
They’re a phenomenon.
Last funny: James, the 7-year-old, asked me, “Have you ever been pregnant, Mama?” I said, “No, James, I ordered all of you from the Identical Baby Company catalog.” James asked, “How many pages does that have?”
Only one page, James. You order your Identical Baby, and either a boy or girl arrives, randomly chosen, but it looks exactly like all the others.
Bless his heart, he has the brains of a cinder block. And teeth like a bulldog.
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