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The Week of Weeks

Monday of the Week of Weeks

Basilica Hymn
The earth was shaken and trembled
The foundations of the mountains trembled and were shaken
In the hour that the wood of your cross was fastened, you shook the foundations of death, O Lord. And those whom Sheol had swallowed in their sins, [Sheol] released while trembling – your command quickened them, O Lord. Because of this, we also glorify you, O Christ the King: Have mercy on us!

Tuesday of the Week of Weeks

Basilica Hymn
Come, let us bless and adore him
…his holy name forever and ever
We adore the Memorial of your honorable Passion, O Savior, and also your Cross, which prepared a joyful feast for us. In it, we all accept the forgiveness of debts and sins, and new life apart from Sheol dawns for us, as well as the reproof of the Jews, the boast of your faithful Church, and the glory of your victorious unending power!

Wednesday of the Week of Weeks

Basilica Hymn
Where can I go from your Spirit?
And where can I hide from you?
In the hour when, in the midst of silence, the trumpet of your coming sounds in great fearfulness, and the awesome legions of the angels fly down in turbulence, and when all men arise from the graves, trembling in their inquisition, the heavenly hosts will shake from the vehemence of the judgment of the earthly, when the Cherubim carrying you extol you, O Just Judge, indeed, in that fearful judgment when the actions of each man are repaid, have mercy on me, O Friend of men!

Thursday of the Week of Weeks

Basilica Hymn
I will exult you, O Lord my King
He lifts me up from the doors of death
Your death, O Lord Jesus, became the beginning of new life for us. And through baptism into you, we receive the token of life to come, which is your resurrection from among the dead. And so, in feasting rejoicings, we glorify your Name, O Lord, because you abolished error and took away the sin of the world. And the one on whose head was placed the decree of Adam’s condemnation, you returned to life everlasting.

The Feast of the Friday of the Confessors

Basilica Hymn
I will bless the Lord at all times
And blessed be his honored name forever
Blessed is the hidden power that dwells in the bones of the martyrs: for they are situated in their graves, and they chase demons out of the world. Through their teaching, they abolished the error of idolaters, and they quietly visit creation, and teach it to worship you, who alone are the Lord.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
Glory to you, O good and kind Lord, in whose power your true ones were victorious, and in whose aid scorned the threats of their persecutors, and destroyed the power of the haughty enemy. For he saw that the martyrs did not fall away from their true foundation.

Saturday of the Week of Weeks

Basilica Hymn
You have undone your wrath against us
You have untied my bounds
You have abolished and loosened, through your holy cross, O Christ the King, all the error of idols, and you have exalted and honored all those who believe in you. For lo, the splendid Service of your hidden and holy Mysteries is extolled like a bride in honoring the martyrs who were killed for your sake. The priests who sing, and we also who glorify you, say: O Lord, may the true faith be guarded until eternity!

The First Day of the Week 

The new Sabbath, the new Day of the Lord, is Sunday, the first day of the week. The old Sabbath, Saturday, has been superseded, though after the act of creation “God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation.” (Genesis 2:3) The reason is that the Lord is now more than the Creator; he is the Redeemer, the Savior, in actuality as opposed to anticipation. Before Christ, the People of God awaited his salvation; we need wait no longer. Our salvation has arrived, and the day the Lord rested from all the work he had done in Salvation is Sunday, the day he rose from the dead. That this day became the replacement for the Sabbath of the Jews is witnessed in the Acts of the Apostles 20:7, which mentions that Sunday was the day the disciples “gathered to break bread.”

This week, the week after Easter, has a Basilica Hymn for every day, not only for Sunday and Feast Days, which is usually the case for Basilica Hymns. This is our Liturgy telling us that the Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord is not an event whose joy can be exhausted in a single day or two – every day of this week is a feast, is a Sunday, is an entire week in itself – “The Week of Weeks.”

Monday

In the hour that the wood of your cross was fastened, you shook the foundations of death, O Lord. And those whom Sheol had swallowed in their sins, [Sheol] released while trembling – your command quickened them, O Lord. Because of this, we also glorify you, O Christ the King: Have mercy on us!

Historical remembrance and the depth of sentiment found simply in the events themselves was the focus of all of Holy Week, but now, the events having been recalled to the fullest degree by our re-presentation of them, we begin to look back and reflect, gazing a second and third time upon what has transpired in the days past. Monday, we strike to the root of the problem – death itself, and Sheol (the place of the dead) as our main enemy. The death of Christ on the cross defeated our oldest enemy, and through his resurrection he becomes the new King before whom even death and Sheol shake and tremble in fear and obedience.

Tuesday

We adore the Memorial of your honorable Passion, O Savior, and also your Cross, which prepared a joyful feast for us. In it, we all accept the forgiveness of debts and sins, and new life apart from Sheol dawns for us, as well as the reproof of the Jews, the boast of your faithful Church, and the glory of your victorious unending power!

Because no photograph or journal could encapsulate the depth of the salvific act of the Messiah in his death, burial and resurrection, and indeed no human form of remembrance at all is up to the task, Christ himself had to give us the most powerful reminder of all: the Holy Eucharist. Such is its memorial power that it brings us – sacramentally and completely – back to the events themselves, and gives us access to their power: forgiveness of sins and new life.

Wednesday

In the hour when, in the midst of silence, the trumpet of your coming sounds in great fearfulness, and the awesome legions of the angels fly down in turbulence, and when all men arise from the graves, trembling in their inquisition, the heavenly hosts will shake from the vehemence of the judgment of the earthly, when the Cherubim carrying you extol you, O Just Judge, indeed, in that fearful judgment when the actions of each man are repaid, have mercy on me, O Friend of men!

From recalling the past, we turn to thinking about the future. The beginning of salvation points to the end of time, when Christ will come with his angels and judge all the people of the earth. He comes forth, not as a child in a manger or as a teacher on a mountain or as a sacrifice on a cross, but as a Judge of perfect Justice. With that in mind, we tremble and ask for mercy from the One who not only judges us justly, but loves us mercifully.

Thursday

Your death, O Lord Jesus, became the beginning of new life for us. And through baptism into you, we receive the token of life to come, which is your resurrection from among the dead. And so, in feasting rejoicings, we glorify your Name, O Lord, because you abolished error and took away the sin of the world. And the one on whose head was placed the decree of Adam’s condemnation, you returned to life everlasting.

The Church celebrates the redemption of Christ in all actuality, not simply as a memory, because his redemption is actual and present to us, not hidden in the past. His death was the beginning of new life, a life which is continually expressed through baptism, in which we are cleansed by sacramentally dying to sin and rising with Christ, and through the feasts of the Church, in which we continually live in communion with the Messiah.

Friday of the Confessors

Blessed is the hidden power that dwells in the bones of the martyrs: for they are situated in their graves, and they chase demons out of the world. Through their teaching, they abolished the error of idolaters, and they quietly visit creation, and teach it to worship you, who alone are the Lord.

Glory to you, O good and kind Lord, in whose power your true ones were victorious, and in whose aid scorned the threats of their persecutors, and destroyed the power of the haughty enemy – for he saw that the martyrs did not fall away from their true foundation.

By “Confessors” we mean those witnesses to the resurrection of Christ who gave their lives in telling this truth, on whose testimony our faith relies, since we were not there in Jerusalem or Galilee to see Christ risen ourselves. “Blessed are they who believe but do not see,” is a blessing that is available to us through their testimony. Indeed, this fact alone is enough to confound a nonbeliever: if Christ is not risen from the dead in truth, how can you explain the claims of these witnesses who gave up their lives saying he did?

Saturday

You have abolished and loosened, through your holy cross, O Christ the King, all the error of idols, and you have exalted and honored all those who believe in you. For lo, the splendid Service of your hidden and holy Mysteries is extolled like a bride in honoring the martyrs who were killed for your sake. The priests who sing, and we also who glorify you, say: O Lord, may the true faith be guarded until eternity!

Past, present and future mingle in this final hymn of the Week of Weeks; past tense in “abolished and loosened,” referring to Christ’s work accomplished on the cross; present in the Service of Mass, occurring every day in the Church; future in our song of supplication, asking for the faith to be guarded until the end of time. Thus, all of time, all of history, is summarized in the Redemption of Christ.