Sunday, February 20, 2022

Sexagesima Sunday 2022

Arise, why dost Thou sleep, o Lord? Arise, and drive us not away forever; why dost Thou turn Thy face away, forgetting our tribulation? Our belly cleaveth to the earth; arise, O Lord, help us, and deliver us. Ps. 43 O God, our ears have heard, our fathers have declared to us. Glory be. As it was. Arise. (The Introit of Sexagesima Sunday.)

Exsurge, quare obdormis, Dómine? exsurge, et ne repellas in finem: quare faciem tuam avertis, oblivísceris tribulatiónem nostram? adháesit in terra venter noster: exsurge, Dómine, ádjuva nos, et líbera nos. Ps. 43 Deus, áuribus nostris audívimus: patres nostri annuntiavérunt nobis. Gloria Patri. Sicut erat. Exsurge.

“On Sexagesima is read the Gospel ‘When a very great crowd (was gathered together - Luke 8, 4-15)’, concerning the seed of the word of God, ... and because in many the seed is choked, therefore in the Introit it cries out ‘Arise, why dost Thou sleep, o Lord?’ ... Again, it says ‘Arise’ three times, for (the Church’s) three groups of sons.

In the first place, it cries out for those sons who are put to the test by adversities, but do not succumb to them, like Paul, for whose sake it says in the first place, ‘Arise, why dost Thou sleep?’ Which is to say, ‘Thou seemest to sleep, not hearing us or listening to us and the Lord does this, that they may be proved and tested in the fire of tribulation. For the three children came out of the furnace in Babylon purer than when they went into it. Wherefore (we know that) He does not sleep, as it is said in the first chapter of Jeremiah, ‘I see a rod that keepeth watch’, and the Lord answers him at once, ‘Well hast thou seen, because I keep watch over my word, that I may do it’, and the Psalmist says (120, 4) ‘Behold, he shall neither slumber nor sleep that keepeth Israel.’ ...”

The Prophet Jeremiah, 1477-82, by Melozzo da Forlì. Image from Wikimedia Commons by Sailko, CC BY-SA 3.0.
The second group of sons are those that fall in the fight, and for the sake of these the Church sayeth, ‘Arise, and drive us not away forever; why dost Thou turn Thy face away?’, as if to say, ‘Show Thy face, and we will return to Thee.’

The third group of sons are those who are tempted by pleasant things (blanda, also ‘alluring, enticing’), and do not succumb to temptation, but because they have no tolerance for adversity, there is a danger, lest prosperity break them, and therefore it says ‘Arise, o Lord, help us, and deliver us for Thy name’s sake.” (William Durandus, De Div. Off. VI, 26, 3-6 excerpta)

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