[Footnote 23: “O that an angel” says St. Ambrose, “would appear to us also, when incensing the altar, and offering sacrifice”. Expl. in. Luc. l. 1, c. 25, n. 9.]
[Footnote 24: Incense is, as we shall see in c. 2; an emblem of prayer, and in this sense it is offered to the B. Sacrament, to Christ represented by the crucifix, and adored on the altar. The gospel is incensed to signify the sweet odour which it communicates to our souls; and the ministers of God, to signify, according to St. Thomas, that God maketh manifest the odour of his knowledge by us in every place: “For we are unto God the good odour of Christ in them who are saved, and in them who perish”. 2 Cor. II, 14, 15. In fine the bread and wine offered to God are incensed to signify the spices with which the body of Christ was embalmed in the tomb; such at least is the explanation given in the Liturgy of St. Chrysostom; and it is from the oriental churches that the Latin church has taken this last practice. Incense is a token of respect in these and other cases.]
[Footnote 25: A taper with a stand, called a bugia, is held at divine service for persons in ecclesiastical dignity, as a sign of distinction, and to throw additional light on the book from which they read. The taper held for the Pope at the cappelle has no stand, and is enkindled from a light concealed within the desk, on which the assistant Bishop places the missal. This is a memorial of an ancient monastic custom mentioned by Martene Lib. 1, De rit. Eccl. p. 277, 232.]
ON THE CEREMONIES OF PALM-SUNDAY
Part 1. Introductory. Mysteries and devotion of holy-week—Palm-Sunday, entry of Christ into Jerusalem—of Julius II into Rome—Sixtus V and Captain Bresca—triumphant return of Pius VII to Rome, contrasted with ancient Roman triumphs. Part 2. Descriptive, Palm-sunday—lights used at mass etc.—vestments—ubbidienza, blessing of the palms, benedictions, holy water, incense—distribution of the palms—order in which the prelates and others receive them—solemn procession with palms, sedia gestatoria—ceremonies peculiar to this procession—its antiquity—High mass, its peculiar ceremonies on palm-sunday—Passio—Cardinal great Penitentiary at S. John Lateran’s.
“Hosanna to the son
of David: blessed is he that cometh in
the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest”. Matt. XXI, 9.
[Sidenote: P. I. Holy-week]
The sufferings and death of Jesus Christ are the mysteries which the catholic church commemorates during holy week. “On these days” says S. John Chrysostom (in Ps. CXCIV) “was the tyranny of the devil overthrown, sin and its curse were taken away, heaven was opened and made accessible”. It was then becoming that christians should consecrate these days of mercy, of grace and salvation to exercises of penance, devotion, and thanksgiving. The imposing liturgy of the Roman church is at this season more than usually solemn; and it is our task to describe, and endeavour to trace to their origin, its varied ceremonies.