Monday, June 30, 2008

Corned Beef for the Feast of the Most Precious Blood

It would have seemed somehow in bad taste to eat black pudding tonight or on tomorrow's feast of the Precious Blood...

Instead, while at the 24 hour supermarket on the way home, I bought some nice corned beef. It's simmering gently in a pot with four or five carrots and onions, bayleaves and peppercorns, and four Crown lagers poured over the meat and veg. - that's the way to cook corned beef!

And as for the feast itself (whose 1st Vespers I'll soon be saying), it reminds me forcefully of the little chapter read on ferias during the year at None, taken from I St Peter i, 17a-19:

In timore incolatus vestri tempore conversamini: scientes quod non corruptibilibus auro vel argento redempti estis, sed pretioso sanguine quasi Agni immaculati Christi. R/. Deo gratias.

(Conduct yourselves with fear in the time of your sojourning: knowing that ye were not redeemed with perishable things, with silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without spot or blemish. R/. Thanks be to God.)

After all, we call Christ's Blood Most Precious, because It is indeed both beyond all price, and also is the very high cost of our salvation, won by the shedding of that Sacred Gore.

St Paul Introduces Himself - Reposted

A reposting of a posting I somehow deleted!

Having attended today's Mass, for the Vigil of SS Peter and Paul, the Pauline Year of Jubilee has begun...

Let St Paul now introduce himself (Romans i, 1-7), to all of us who are "at Rome", that is, united to the See established in that City at the price of the blood of the two chief Apostles, and of their numerous retinue, the army of martyrs washed clean in the Blood of the Lamb, Whose Blood alone washes away all sin and crime; for, from being the seat of pagan Antichrist, it has become the chair of Christ's true Vicar, a signal instance of His triumph over all the powers of darkness, despite all the infidelities and faults of the clergy and people therein; we "at Rome", Christian Rome, are therefore called to be saints, by the gift of grace, provided we be stedfast in obedience to the Faith once delivered to the saints:

1 Παῦλος δοῦλος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ κλητὸς ἀπόστολος ἀφωρισμένος εἰς εὐαγγέλιον θεοῦ
2 ὃ προεπηγγείλατο διὰ τῶν προφητῶν αὐτοῦ ἐν γραφαῖς ἁγίαις
3 περὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ τοῦ γενομένου ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυὶδ κατὰ σάρκα
4 τοῦ ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν
5 δι' οὗ ἐλάβομεν χάριν καὶ ἀποστολὴν εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως ἐν πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ὑπὲρ τοῦ ὀνόματος αὐτοῦ
6 ἐν οἷς ἐστε καὶ ὑμεῖς κλητοὶ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ
7 πᾶσιν τοῖς οὖσιν ἐν Ῥώμῃ ἀγαπητοῖς θεοῦ κλητοῖς ἁγίοις χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ

1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
2 Which he had promised before, by his prophets, in the holy scriptures,
3 Concerning his Son, who was made to him of the seed of David, according to the flesh,
4 Who was predestinated the Son of God in power, according to the spirit of sanctification, by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead;
5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith, in all nations, for his name;
6 Among whom are you also the called of Jesus Christ:
7 To all that are at Rome, the beloved of God, called to be saints. Grace to you, and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

The following footnote to verse 4 is useful:

v.4 "Predestinated"... Christ as man, was predestinated to be the Son of God: and declared to be so (as the apostle here signifies) first, by power, that is, by his working stupendous miracles; secondly, by the spirit of sanctification, that is, by his infinite sanctity; thirdly, by his ressurection, or raising himself from the dead.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Two Masses for SS Peter and Paul

Originally the Pope sang two Masses on this day, one at St Peter's, the other at St Paul's, but because of the distance between them the custom grew up of postponing the second Mass till the next day - hence tomorrow's Commemoration of St Paul. The Mass and Office of the 29th of June is, therefore, almost wholly devoted to St Peter, except for the Collect and the marvellous hymn (split between Lauds and Vespers), and the Magnificat Antiphon at Second Vespers:

Hodie Simon Petrus ascendit crucis patibulum, alleluja:
hodie clavicularius regni gaudens migravit ad Christum:
hodie Paulus Apostolus, lumen orbis terræ, inclinato capite,
pro Christi nomine martyrio coronatus est, alleluja.

But today I at least had two sung Masses to attend: I came to my usual, the 9.15am, at which Quartessence were singing polyphony, but after I'd caught up with folks afterward I had to drive Fr Rowe over to Kelmscott for the 2pm Mass there, which was being sung by their choir - and ended up having to serve as an acolyte!

Now, the last few days have had their accidents: yesterday, my spectacle frames snapped and needed emergency repairs. Similarly, sadly, at the Kelmscott Mass, the thurifer managed to tip the coals out of the thurible onto the carpet in front of the altar, during the Introit; Fr decided to abandon the use of incense for the rest of Mass, feeling incensed enough already, no doubt. I counted seven holes burnt into the carpet! In any case, incense other than by indult at a Missa cantata is actually a very late pre-Conciliar development.

Further bloopers: I felt ridiculous in a tiny child's surplice over a cassock that only came half-way down my calves; and when I coughed during the Canon, I managed to blow out my candle, causing some fuss to get it relighted. Serving with decorum is not my strong point - at least I avoided thurible duty, though on second thoughts I may have been the better choice...

I then had to drive Fr to the airport (he's off to the funeral of a friend), drop stuff off at the sacristan's home, visit the ongoing works at St Anne's to pass on Fr's latest messages, and finally get home, there to return to my housemate James the surplice that he had given Rosemary to fix for him, before cooking dinner, and then heading over to George's to watch the latest Doctor Who episode (since we don't own a TV). Yes, I am a confirmed Dr Who fan!

Why is it that Australian TV never shows Christmas specials at Christmas? It happens for every sitcom or drama or whatever the same, with rare exceptions: Christmas specials are televised at random intervals through the year. So this first episode of Series 4 of the revamped Dr Who was the - 2007 Christmas special: only 6 months and 4 days late. Welcome to that strange Southern Hemisphere invention, "Christmas in July".

What a runaround day.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Prayer to SS Peter and Paul

This is taken from a medieval book of Hours, but is in fact the Magnificat antiphon, a versicle, and the Collect (with its pleasant nautical theme) for the Octave Day of SS Peter and Paul, eight days' hence:

Aña. Petrus apostolus et Paulus doctor gentium ipsi nos docuerunt legem tuam domine.

V/. In omnem terram exivit sonus eorum.
R/. Et in fines orbis terrae verba eorum.


Deus, cujus dextera beatum Petrum, ambulantem in fluctibus, ne mergeretur, erexit, et coapostolum ejus Paulum, tertio naufragantem, de profundo pelagi liberavit: exaudi nos propitius, et concede; ut, amborum meritis, æternitatis gloriam consequamur. Per...

Ant. Peter, the Apostle, and Paul, the Doctor of the Gentiles, they taught us Thy law, O Lord.

V/. In all the earth their voice has gone forth.
R/. And their words unto the ends of the earth.

Let us pray.

O God, Whose right hand raised up blessed Peter when he was walking on the waves, lest he be submerged, and saved his fellow apostle Paul from the depth of the sea when he was shipwrecked for the third time, hear us graciously and grant that we may pursue the glory of eternity by the favors of both. Through...

It used to be the custom that when Dominicans and Franciscans got together, they would sing a version of this antiphon, interlarded with Ps 116 and the doxology: Seraphicus Pater Franciscus, et Apostolicus Pater Dominicus, ipsi nos docuerunt legem tuam, Domine. (Seraphic Father Francis and Apostolic Father Dominic, they taught us Thy law, O Lord.) If it were Franciscans hosting Dominicans, out of politeness to their guests they would name St Dominic first, and vice versa.

Vigil Office Confusion

I have been confused regarding the Vigil Office - as I finally discovered after Lauds today: I should have said Lauds II (whose first psalm is Ps 50) rather than Lauds I as usual. While there would be no obligation to do so in any case, I read the omitted parts later. My having to read the Vulgate psalms from Tome I of the Breviary, and the rest from Tome II, is probably to blame for this stuff-up; my Breviaries are mismatched, since Tome II has the horrible neo-Ciceronian psalm version in it, which I avoid by juggling the two volumes.

Beginning of the Year of St Paul

After seeing the doctor yesterday evening, and getting some antibiotics, I feel rather better, and so have decided to brave the cold and rain of Perth mid-winter (a few showers, moderate wind, max. 18 C) for to go to Fr Rowe's 9 am Mass of the Vigil of SS Peter and Paul.

How kind of the Holy Father to decree 28th June 2008 to 29th June 2009 to be a Jubilee Year of St Paul the Apostle, that great Vessel of Election for the Conversion of the Gentiles!

I have decided to try and invoke this Apostle more (my first prayer upon awaking: St Paul, pray for us), to reread his writings and also the Acts of the Apostles, which so largely concern his missionary journeys - not to mention his marvellous conversion, the pattern for us all - and finally to take as guide Bl Columba Marmion, whose writings are redolent of the Christocentric spirituality of St Paul:

God chose us in Christ "before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and unspotted in His sight in charity. Who hath predestinated us unto the adoption of children through Jesus Christ unto Himself, according to the purpose of His Will: unto the praise of the glory of His grace, in which He hath graced us in His beloved Son (Eph. i, 4-6)".
These are the terms in which the Divine plan is set forth by the Apostle St. Paul, who had been caught up to the third heaven, and was chosen by God to bring to light, as he himself says, the economy of the mystery which hath been hidden from all eternity in God. We see the great Apostle labouring unceasingly to make known this eternal plan, established by God Himself for the sanctification of our souls. ...all the efforts of the Apostle tend, as he carefully points out, to bring to light this Divine dispensation... (Mihi data est gratia hæc... illuminare omnes, quæ sit dispensatio sacramenti absconditi a sæculis in Deo. Ephes. iii, 8-9)
(Bl Columba Marmion, Christ the Life of the Soul, p.3)

Friday, June 27, 2008

San Zanipolo

This day I'm sick at home, after getting through the last few days of work feeling worse and worse...

To distract from coughing, it seems an idea to mention a bit about the two saints of yesterday, John and Paul - who give their joint name, strangely changed, to a church in Venice: "San Zanipolo"!

The Breviary Lesson(s) tell the tale of their martyrdom under Julian the Apostate: apparently the exact details of their suffering for Christ are uncertain, but their cultus in Rome dates from the 4th Century, and of course one splendid feature of this is their mention in the very Canon of the Mass, whereby at every altar they have been remembered for the past 1600 years, just before that other famous pair, SS Cosmas and Damian.

(Guéranger adds a nice though apocryphal detail: precisely a year to the day after compassing the deaths of John and Paul, the wicked Julian perished in misery, having been soundly trounced by the Persians; his last words being, "Thou hast conquered, O Galilean".)

An enjoyable if embroidered version of their history is given in the incomparable Golden Legend.

Their Office in the '62 Breviary, besides the proper Lesson (condensed from Lessons iv-vi of earlier editions), features also two proper responsories (equivalent to R/. iv and R/. v in earlier editions), proper psalm antiphons used for both Lauds and Vespers (5 in total) and proper Magnificat and Benedictus antiphons (earlier editions including one for 1st Vespers), and of course a proper Collect. The best I can do is refer the reader to all these on another website.

Their Mass, also, is at least partially proper; the Collect, Epistle, Offertory and Postcommunion are special to this Mass. However, the Introit, Gradual and Alleluia are shared by other proper Masses - the latter two being used for feasts of holy brothers. Similarly, the Gospel and Communion come from the Common Masses of Martyrs, while the Secret is a modified form of one of those for Martyr-Bishops.

It interests me how many of the Masses of the very ancient saints of the Roman Calendar are composed in this manner out of parts, some shared with other Masses, some proper.

Apparently the Leonine Sacramentary had a proper Preface for these saints, but I don't have this to hand at present!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Why St John?

Guéranger answers my question of why Rome holds St John the Baptist as one of her principal patrons: the Cathedral of Rome, though originally dedicated to Our Saviour, came very many centuries ago to be known mainly as St John Lateran - and, although the Evangelist is also associated with it, this name refers in the first place to the Baptist. This is the more remarkable when one considers that neither St Peter's on the Vatican Hill, nor St Paul's Outside the Walls were designated the seat of the Bishop of Rome, despite the fact that these two Princes of the Apostles died for Christ at Rome.

Formerly, as at Christmas, there were three Masses on his feast, at midnight, dawn and Terce; moreover, the Leonine Sacramentary has two more Masses ad Fontem for neophytes, since once baptism was solemnly conferred on this day, as otherwise only at Epiphany, Easter and Pentecost.

It seemed to me a pity not to have a proper Preface at Mass for St John; here is that from the 1738 Paris Missal:

VD... Deus:
Qui nos de Præcursoris Unigeniti tui nativitate gaudere fecisti. Ipse enim fuit lucerna ardens et lucens: ipse est Elias venturus: ipse et quo inter natos mulierum nullus major, affirmante Unigenito tuo servatore nostro;
Per quem...

Oh, and I am not so opposed to the NO as to despise its Preface for St John the Baptist, except for its eschatocol (the part at the end about our joining with the carolling angels), which for this Preface is a bit anemic; as should be better known, it is permissible to use some of the modern Prefaces with the TLM, and this is no bad thing, whatever conspiratologists may imagine; consider the elegant Latin of the NO Preface:

VD... per XDN:
In cujus Præcursore beato Joanne
tuum magnificentiam collaudamus,
quem inter natos mulierum honore præcipuo consecrasti.
Qui cum nascendo multa gaudia præstitisset,
et nondum editus exsultasset ad humanæ salutis adventum,
ipse solus omnium prophetarum
Agnum redemptionis ostendit.
Sed et sanctificandis etiam aquæ fluentis
ipsum baptismatis lavit auctorem,
et meruit fuso sanguine supremum illi testimonium exhibere.
* Et ideo, cum cælorum Virtutibus, in terris te jugiter prædicamus, majestati tuæ sine fine clamantes:

* What I mean above is, the eschatocol Et ideo... above should be replaced with the fuller EF formula:

Et ideo, cum angelis et archangelis, cum thronis et dominationibus, cumque omni militia cælestis exercitus, hymnum gloriæ tuæ canimus, sine fine dicentes:

Fratres Oratorii; Nativity of St John the Baptist

It would have been nice to have had a bonfire tonight... The fallen leaves are blowing on the footpath outside the Pro.

Instead, we had Brothers of the Oratory Holy Hour (a chance to go to confession included), followed by sung Mass - yours truly having to sing it with Rosemary lending me a hand, thankfully. The attendance at Holy Hour and Mass was very sparse indeed, sadly.

For the Mass, we had "For all the saints" as processional, then I psalm-toned the Propers alone (would have loved to sing the Gregorian, but by myself I just can't do it), and we all sang Missa de Angelis and Credo III; at the Offertory and Communion, R. and I sang the Benedictus and Jesu dulcis memoria respectively; we ended with "Hark a herald voice is sounding" - it would probably have worked better at the start, with the opening hymn at the end, now I think about it, but no matter.

I had arrived at the Pro. just before 5.30pm; both Holy Hour and Mass started about 10 minutes late, for various reasons, Mass ended about 7.30pm if not a little earlier, and I left maybe fifteen minutes afterward. A good evening: always good to be brought to one's knees, to reflect, to confess, to offer thanksigiving.

I was struck by how St John the Baptist appears not merely in the Proper, but in the Ordinary of the Mass: in the Confiteor and in the Last Gospel, for instance; in the very Canon, we ask to be allotted some part and fellowship with the martyrs, firstly, St John, the Baptist (cf. Nobis quoque peccatoribus); the Agnus Dei and Ecce Agnus Dei are taken from his very words of prophecy; he is named first after the Blessed Virgin in the Suscipe Sancta Trinitas.

Along with the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, he is one of the principal Patrons of the Holy Roman Church - I don't recall reading why this is so. Ideas, anyone?

May he, who pointed out the Lamb of God, obtain for us the grace to follow along the path of eternal salvation.

Vigil of St John Baptist

Owing to pressure of events I didn't blog this yesterday as intended...

Yesterday was the Vigil of the Nativity of St John the Baptist (Midwinter's Eve, in other words): I was surprised to find that Lauds I, not Lauds II, was appointed, and that the Preces were not said: it turned out that they had been snipped out from Vigils, once called "kneeling days" after the Preces said thereon, in one of the last pre-Conciliar reforms, or rather impoverishments, of the Office. So I tacked on all the omitted bits as devotions after the Hours instead. One curious feature of the Vigil Office: the Lessons at Matins are proper, but the responsories are ferial.
I was wrong: Lauds II is the correct Hour to use on a Vigil; my bad.
In the evening, having arrived early at the Pro., I led the Rosary for once, and served Fr's Mass - always a privilege. Being a Vigil, the vestments were purple, there was no Gloria nor Alleluia. Using the Common Preface for so great a saint seemed a bit infra dig. There was no Ite, either, but Benedicamus Domino.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Welcome to visitors; according to the counter, I've just had the 4000th visit to the blog since the 11th of December 2007, a few days after I established it. I note that I marked the 2000th visit on the 26th of April, and the 1000th visit on the 11th of March. At present this blog attracts (?) about 35 visits a day, so I'm certainly not in the same league as Fr Z, or even my friend David Schütz! I just hope what I post here may be of interest.

St Paulinus of Nola, Bp & Conf

Where it not for Sunday supervening, today would have been the feast of St Paulinus of Nola; the Common used, that of Conf. Pont. (a Confessor Bishop), as opposed to that of Conf. non Pont. (a Confessor not a Bishop) – I’ve always been amused by the terminology of the latter!

In any case, today’s saint has his rightful claim to our attention, whose life I will summarize using the Matins Lesson for him in the 1962 Breviary. Born at Bordeaux, Paulinus was scion of a famous Roman house, attaining rank of Senator and Consul: following the pattern of so many noble Grecians and Romans at the dawn of the light of the Gospel, he resigned his high State offices when illumined by the touch of Divine grace, received the sacred laver of baptism and, regenerate in Christ, gave away his possessions to the poor, renouncing the use of marriage that his wife dedicate herself entirely to the Lord; and in due course he became first priest, then monk, then bishop much against his will, for the fame of his sanctity drew down upon him election to that high onerous task. He was most devout to the relics and cult of St Felix of Nola (cf. 14th January), establishing his monastery at the grave thereof, and writing many sacred poems – some sung as hymns even today – in honour of so great a wonderworking saint. The depredations of the barbarians then destroying the Roman world caused St Paulinus to give himself wholeheartedly to the cause of succouring those robbed and taken captive; having ameliorated the suffering caused by the Goths, he then turned to helping those attacked by the Vandals – and, having nothing left to give but himself, sold himself into slavery in Africa to redeem the only son of a widow. God blessed his most Christlike sacrifice of his person, and in due course Providence ordained his return to Italy, where at Nola he most piously slept in the Lord.

His Holiness Pope Benedict had much to say of St Paulinus at a General Audience late last year.

Guéranger adds an interesting detail: there is a tradition ascribing to Paulinus the introduction of the liturgical use of bells – apparently in Latin church-bells are named nolæ, or campanæ.

The Breviary has also a proper collect for St Paulinus, very interesting because addressed to Our Lord, appropriately quoting His own sacred words:

Deus, qui omnia pro te in hoc sæculo relinquentibus, centuplum in futuro et vitam æternam promisisti: concede propitius; ut, sancti Pontificis Paulini vestigiis inhærentes, valeamus terrena despicere, et sola cælestia desiderare: Qui vivis…

(O God, Who hast promised a hundredfold in the future, yea, and eternal life, to those relinquishing all things for Thee in this world; propitiously concede, that adhering to the footsteps of the holy Pontiff Paulinus, we may be able to despise terrene things, and solely to desire heavenly: Who livest and reignest…)

The Missal provides a Mass for Paulinus, the chants of which are drawn from the Common Masses for a Conf. Pont. , but whose lessons and orations are proper. The Scripture proposed for consideration deals with almsgiving: II Corinthians viii, 9-15 (surely because our saint followed the example of Our Lord in verse 9: “being rich, He became poor for your sakes, that through His poverty ye might be rich”) and St Luke xii, 32-34 (“Sell what ye possess, and give alms”).

It is noteworthy that all the prayers refer to him, not as “blessed Paulinus Thy Bishop and Confessor” as usual, but as “holy Pontiff Paulinus”, as if this were his special title.

The Secret and Postcommunion both beg that we obtain a conformity of our lives with the Divine Victim immolated for us, just as did St Paulinus:

Da nobis, Domine, perfectæ caritatis sacrificium, exemplo sancti Pontificis Paulini, cum altaris oblatione conjungere: et beneficientiæ studio sempiternam misericordiam promereri. Per…

(Give unto us, O Lord, to unite a sacrifice of perfect love, after the example of holy Pontiff Paulinus, with the oblation at the altar: and by our zeal of beneficence to merit everlasting mercy. Through…)

Tribue nobis per hæc sancta, Domine, illum pietatis et humilitatis affectum, quem ex hoc divino fonte hausit sanctus Pontifex tuus Paulinus: et, ipsius intercessione, in omnes, qui te deprecantur, gratiæ tuæ divitias benignus effunde. Per.

(Grant unto us by these Holy Gifts, Lord, that love of piety and humility that holy Pontiff Paulinus drew from this Divine source: and, at his intercession, benignly pour forth the riches of Thy grace upon all who pray Thee. Through…)

Interestingly, the Paris Missal of 1738, while supplying different proper chants and a different Gospel, retained the Epistle, and also all three orations, only very slightly modifying their text:

Deus, qui omnia pro te relinquentibus in hoc sæculo centuplum, et in futuro vitam æternam promisisti: concede propitius; ut, sancti Pontificis Paulini vestigiis inhærentes, peritura contemnamus, et ad sola mansura suspiremus. Per…

(… contemning things soon to perish, and sighing for what alone abides. Through…)

Da nobis, Domine, perfectæ caritatis sacrificium, exemplo sancti Pontificis Paulini, cum altaris sancti oblatione conjungere: et beneficientiæ studio sempiternam misericordiam promereri. Per…

Tribue nobis per hæc sancta, Domine, illum affectum pietatis et humilitatis, quem ex hoc divino fonte hausit sanctus Pontifex tuus Paulinus: et, ipsius intercessione, , gratiæ tuæ divitias, in omnes qui te deprecantur, benignus effunde. Per.

May this great because humble saint pray for us.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday Low Mass; Alert: Fratres Oratorii, Sessio VI

A great start to the day - a good sleep in, since I wasn't needed to sing at Mass!

I don't normally like missing the sung liturgy on Sunday, but once in a while it's okay, I find, and it was nice to attend the 11.15 am Low Mass.

Here is the glorious collect of the day, the 6th after Pentecost:

Deus virtútum, cujus est totum quod est óptimum: ínsere pectóribus nostris amórem tui nóminis,et præsta in nobis religiónis augmentum: ut quæ sunt bona, nútrias, ac pietátis stúdio, quæ sunt nutrita, custódias. Per...

Here is its Cranmerian version, infinitely better than any ICEL version of course:

LORD of all power and might, who art the author and giver of all good things; Graft in our hearts the love of thy Name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of thy great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Since Fr Rowe has headed off after lunch to Bunbury on his monthly supply there, we will have a Monday evening Mass this week, which I can attend after work.

Better still, on Tuesday, being the feast of St John the Baptist, there will be a second evening Mass (at 6.30 pm), and before it, at 5.30 pm, we will have Sessio VI of the on-again, off-again Brothers of the Oratory:

  • Solemn Exposition (as more congruent to the solemnity of the day)
  • Litanies of the Saints (invoking all the saints and angels, among them the great Precursor)
  • Half-an-hour of mental prayer
  • Solemn Benediction
  • Salve Regina
  • Hymn to St Philip

Angelic Life

Yesterday was of course the feast of St Aloysius Gonzaga, who has unfortunately acquired a bad image because of countless overpious - indeed saccharine-sweet - images of him as a pale half-dead creature rolling his eyes heavenwards while pawing a skull. (This is of course why bad art is bad: it so misrepresents the truth of sanctity as to make it a mockery in the eyes of worldings.)

But rather consider God, Who loads whomsoever He chooses with heavenly gifts and graces, and thus blessed the young Aloysius in a manner entirely supernatural, raised above every merely human possibility:

Cœléstium donórum distribútor, Deus, qui in angélico júvene Aloísio miram vitae innocéntiam pari cum pœniténtia sociásti: ejus méritis et précibus concéede; ut, innocéntem non secúti, pœniténtem imitémur. Per...

(O God, the dispenser of heavenly gifts, Who in the angelic youth Aloysius didst combine wonderful innocence of life with penance, grant by his merits and prayers that we, who have not followed him in innocence, may imitate his penance. Through..)

The real Aloysius did indeed unite innocence and penitence, as this his collect states, and very aptly the prayer goes on to beg God grant us sinners penitence, since we have not a like innocence. His life is called angelic, or as the Easterners say isangelic, equal to the angels [a monk being called isangelos], alluding to St Luke xx, 36 (itself parallel to the Gospel of the Mass):

Neither can they die any more: for they are equal to the angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.

For of course the saints, whether still running the race or having already finished their course, are called and shall truly be the children of God, delivered by Him from the terror of that death which is eternal, by reason of being children of the Resurrection, co-heirs of the Risen Victor, Christ.

However, the texts of his Mass say much more of interest about him and about why Mother Church proposes him for our peculiar veneration and model on his day.

The Introit therefore appointed for St Aloysius' Mass is taken from Psalms 8 and 148; of course, the former is principally applied not merely to the grandeur of man, as the pinnacle of material creation, being ensouled, and made in the divine image and likeness, little lower than the pure spirits called angels, but above all to the glory of the Incarnate Son of God, our Jesus and Christ, Who (as Hebrews relates) took not to Himself angelic nature, but descent from Abraham, and thus superabundantly graced mankind; for the first Adam, a man of the earth, earthy, was in God's most secret plan made in the image and likeness of the last Adam, God enfleshed, come down from heaven, heavenly. By reason of the saving action of Christ, Aloysius, and indeed all faithful Christians, can be called little less than angels, crowned - here in promise, one day in heaven in reality - with glory and honour immarcescible, invited to sit with Our Lord on His Father's throne. There in our heavenly homeland with the angelic hosts, therefore in a manner equal to them, we shall sing the praise of the Trinity evermore:

Thou hast made him a little less than the angels; Thou hast crowned him with glory and honour. (Psalm 8: 6)
Ps. Praise ye the Lord, all His angels: praise ye Him, all His hosts. (Ps. 148, 2)
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

This is the saint who, as his Matins Lessons have told, was baptized almost before he was born such was the concern that he might die, and who might fairly be claimed a citizen of heaven (in potentia) before he was a citizen of earth. Therefore was chosen for him this Gradual (Psalm 70: 5, 6):

My hope, O Lord, from my youth: by Thee have I been confirmed from the womb; from my mother’s womb Thou art my protector.

He ever kept intact his baptismal innocence, and in the midst of the vanities of noble and imperial courts he remained steadfast in righteousness; so the verse (Ps 40: 13) of the same Gradual:

V/. But Thou hast upheld me by reason of my innocence, and hast established me in Thy sight forever.

By interior inspiration, at but nine years old he vowed his virginity at the altar of the Most Blessed Virgin. He abandoned his title and rich inheritance to enter the Jesuits, which was a most astonishing thing then, and needs to be further reflected on now: it is no little thing to give up what family and the world promises, all to enter upon a strict life, a life in which one is under obedience, an obedience of the strictest type, the Jesuit, only bearable and grace-filled because introduced by St Ignatius Loyola, else it were a very hell!

Hence the passage appointed for his Epistle from the "Book of Wisdom" as the Liturgy rightly names it, Ecclesiasticus xxxi, 8-11:

Blessed is the man found without blemish, and that hath not gone after gold, nor put his trust in money nor in treasures. Who is he, and we will praise him? For he hath done wonderful things in his life. Who hath been tried thereby, and made perfect, he shall have glory everlasting: he that could have transgressed and hath not transgressed, and could do evil things, and hath not done them: therefore are his goods established in the Lord.

Consider furthermore St Matthew xxii, 29-40, the Gospel passage chosen:

At that time, Jesus answering, said to the Sadducees: "You err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they shall neither marry nor be married: but shall be as angels of God in heaven. And concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read that which was spoken by God, saying to you: I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living." And the multitudes hearing it were in admiration of His doctrine. But the Pharisees, hearing that He had silenced the Sadducees, came together: and one of them, a doctor of the law, asked Him, tempting Him: Master, which is the great commandment of the law? Jesus said to him:"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Of these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets."

He loved the Lord his God with all his heart, soul and might - as exemplified in the first place by his wonderful love of meditation and contemplation, in his entire commitment to ridding himself of all distractions therein so as to focus on the cynosure of his mind's eye, God alone. He is said to have once passed eight successive hours in such wrapt prayer: and at their end, begged of his superior the favour of another quarter hour!

But he was not a spiritual glutton, neglecting neighbour out of a pretended love of God: he died, after all, of the plague while indefatigably ministering to its victims.

No, he observed the two great commandments with entire devotion.

Having embraced religious life as a foretaste of heaven, where all shall be as angels, neither marrying nor giving in marriage, but serving and worshipping the Lord alone, he thereby definitively abandoned the lawful goods he could have had - earthly wedlock, possessions, his own will - as a Christian, so as to commit himself to God to the greatest degree possible in this life, making of himself, his soul and body, a living sacrifice acceptable to the Lord, not conformed to this passing world, but recreated in the newness of Christ (cf. Rom. xii, 1-2), a whole burnt-offering, a holocaust to the Lord (cf. Aquinas).

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercy of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God, your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be reformed in the newness of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God. (St Paul to the Romans xii, 1- 2)

Having died of the plague at such a young age, in the eyes of a fallen world his life might appear to have been wasted; but as the ancients said, He whom the gods love, dies young. Aloysius was accepted by God not merely to dwell in His courts on earth, in holy religion, but to abide in the royal court of Christ in heaven forever:

Alleluia, Alleluia. V/. Blessed is he whom Thou hast chosen, and taken to Thee: he shall dwell in Thy courts. (Ps. 64, 5) Alleluia.

And again, his gracefilled life was rewarded by God, the Giver of every good and perfect gift:

Who shall ascend into the mountain of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His holy place? The innocent in hands, and clean of heart. (Ps 23: 3-4)

This is the text of the Offertory anthem, connecting the fore-Mass with the Mass of the Faithful; it is polyvalent in signification, being interpreted not only of our saint's religious life and triumphant death (whereby he passed to heaven, the mountain of the Lord - and note, Aloysius had considered joining the Discalced Carmelites, devoted as they are to ascending spiritually the Mount of God), but of our access to the Most Holy Mysteries.

As is fitting, after the dispositive and didactic portion of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Catechumens, next comes the consummation of the Mysteries, their oblation and communication to men: and the secret, communion and postcommunion all very appropriately relate these unspeakable graces to St Aloysius, who was so rightly devoted to disposing his heart to the Holy Eucharist by avid preparation, and strove to fitly honour such a blessing by heartfelt thanksgiving:

Cœlésti convívio fac nos, Dómine, nuptiáli veste indutos accúmbere: quam beáti Aloísii pia praeparátio, et juges lácrymae inaestimabílibus ornábant margarítis. Per...

(Make us, O Lord, to come to the heavenly banquet clothed in the wedding-garment which the pious preparation and constant tears of blessed Aloysius adorned with priceless pearls. Through...)

Now, if as the Communion (Psalm 77: 24, 25) states -

He gave them the bread of Heaven: man ate the bread of angels.

- then it is most appropriate to state that we are called to the angelic or isangelic life, for the right property of the "bread of angels" is to nourish angels or those called to live as such; and for this alway to give thanks:

Angelórum esca nutrítos, angélicis étiam. Dómine, da móribus vívere: et ejus, quem hódie cólimus, exémplo, in gratiárum semper actióne manére. Per...

(Grant, Lord, those fed with the food of angels, to live in angelic manner: and by his example, whom today we celebrate, to remain always in thanksgiving. Through...)

It was good to serve Mass yesterday, at 9 am on Saturday morning, and to attend the priest, to attend to the Divine Sacrifice, and to attend to the instruction and exhortation provided in the Sacred Liturgy.

A happy (belated) feast day to the parishioners of St Aloysius, Caulfield, over in the great Archdiocese of Melbourne, most populous see of Oceania! I now see how propitious it was that my friend Justin left for Melbourne yesterday for reasons of work, seeing as he will be joining the congregation there, and, I hear, the choir.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Cherchez la femme

"More bitter than death is woman", saith the Preacher (Eccles vii, 27): this must be understood, of course, like the New Testament's imprecations against the world, as a prophetic denunciation of the sinful and fallen: how true of the most impious, depraved, wicked and heretical Theodora, Empress and ruler of the otherwise all-powerful Emperor Justinian; she who, once a lewd player shameless and obscene, dared vaunt herself in a mask of piety concealing her ruthless lust for power when once she ensnared the husband whose rise brought her to the purple. (To my utter, lasting amazement, the Cæsaropapist Orthodox unblushingly call her a saint!)

She it was who was all unwitting God's permitted agent in trying St Silverius, Pope and Martyr, in the furious furnace of temporal trials, as once the Three Youths were almost incinerated. For, directly upon his election, she wrote to him (disguising but barely her threats) to obtain the reinstatement of the heretical ex-Patriarch Anthimus to the throne of Constantinople; he, while remarking sadly that the letter would lead to his death, disillusioned her of any idea of his easy suborning. Furious, Theodora plotted and all too soon accomplished his demise, acting behind the back of her weak husband, and manipulating his victorious but likewise weak general, Belisarius, occupying Rome since his first conquests in the Gothic Wars, through the agency of the general's wily wife, Antonina, one of the Empress's own confidants.

Belisarius gave in and compassed the capture of the Pope, while pretending to wash his hands of the business in idle imitation of Pilate; so by a stratagem Silverius, insulted and stripped of his pontificals, was exiled while his own archdeacon, Vigilius, bought by Theodora with 700 gold pieces, was intruded by false election into the Apostolic See. But Justinian, alerted by a loyal bishop, revoked the decree of exile; alas for Silverius! on his way home he was waylaid by satellites of the Empress and Belisarius, and conveyed to the desolate isle of Ponza, to die there of ill-treatment: Procopius even reports that one of Antonina's serving women there murdered him, the very Vicar of Christ.

"From a woman comes woman's wickedness" (Ecclus xlii, 13) - Theodora, Antonina, and their murderous maidservant exemplify this. As is the proverb when it comes to murder mysteries, Cherchez la femme - look for the woman.

But thanks be to God, who always causes His saints to triumph in and in despite of all their sufferings: Silverius by his constancy refused to betray the Council of Chalcedon, nor to admit to communion Patriarchs of Eutychian belief, nor to countenance the Henotikon (better, Heretikon) of Zeno; Silverius died defeated, but won the crown of immarcescible glory; and his venal usurper, Vigilius, being acclaimed as rightful Pope now the see was vacant, confounded Theodora by turning orthodox, and from a wolf became a true shepherd.

God thus permits His Church to appear on the brink of foundering in the rough seas whipped up by the insane and frenzied malice of Satan, the seducer and deceiver and murderer of the whole world; but God delivers His Church most splendidly and miraculously also, at the time when all natural hope would be ready to fail, thereby proving her supernatural foundation and Divine election, being indefectible until the end of time.

But lest I appear sexist, let that redoubtable Catholic Englishwoman, the Wife of Bath, have the last word:

Begod yf women hadde wrytyn ſtoriys
As clerkis haue in her Oratorijs
They wolde haue writen of men more wickidnes
Than al the marke of Adam may redreſſe


All of this I cribbed, of course, from Dom Alban Butler's Lives of the Saints - for Fr Rowe has a nineteenth century twelve-volume edition of what appears to be the original text, so much better than modern rewrites that remove all the prodigious learning, unction and quaint turns of phrase from it. After going to confession, serving Mass for the feast of St Silverius, attending an art auction of all things, and then paying my priest a visit, we ended up having a good conversation over some food and drink, which led me to read off Butler's account of St Silverius as some recompense for the kind invitation: a happy feast of St Silverius, Pope and Martyr!

St Juliana, Obtain for us Viaticum

St Juliana Falconieri ever wept over Our Lord's sorrowful Passion and Our Lady's bitter sufferings as His compassionate coredeeming Mother. She was the first flower of the Servite Nuns. By reason of her great love for the Most Blessed Sacrament, she was specially favoured at her death by a Eucharistic miracle: for, being unable to swallow the Host, she had begged the priest to at least hold It close to her, whereupon the Sacred Particle disappeared, being piously supposed to have been translated into her that she might receive her Viaticum. Our Mother the Church Catholic therefore bits us pray for Viaticum and strengthening at the hour of our death:

Deus, qui beatam Julianam Virginem tuam extremo morbo laborantem, pretioso Filii tui corpore mirabiliter recreare dignatus es: concede, quæsumus; ut, ejus intercedentibus meritis, nos quoque eodem in mortis agone refecti ac roborati, ad cælestem patriam perducamur. Per...

(O God, who didst deign wondrously to refresh blessed Juliana Thy Virgin, labouring under her last disease, with the precious Body of Thy Son: grant, we beseech, that, her merits interceding, we also, being refreshed and strengthened in the same agony of death, may be brought to the heavenly fatherland. Through...)

From a sudden and unprovided death, good Lord, deliver us; may we rather expire in the peace of a good conscience, fortified by all the rites of Holy Church, shriven, annelled and houselled, granted the indulgence plenary and prayed for at our demise: so may we hope to win a saving judgement at the dread tribunal of Christ, and be welcomed by Him into the mansions of the blessed.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Harp of the Holy Ghost

Glory to God on this, the feast of St Ephræm, or Ephraim, the Syrian, Deacon, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church. As befits this Syriac Father, he has three names in three sacred tongues: Mor Afrêm Sûryāyâ, Ἐφραίμ ὁ Σῦρος and Ephræm Syrus. And best of his sobriquets is that of Harp of the Spirit (Kenārâ d-Rûḥâ, Spiritus Sancti cithara).

How the Holy Ghost, Consubstantial with the Father and the Son, favoured him with illumination and inspiration, that he became so great a singer of divine mysteries! Thus was fulfilled in him the words of our Saviour: from within the heart of the believer in Christ shall spring forth streams of living water, the very Holy Spirit (cf. St John vii, 38-39; iv,14). May St Ephræm intercede for us, that we not grieve the Spirit, but rather be exalted by Him as His docile instruments, pouring ourselves out, handing over to others the fruits of contemplation (cf. Aquinas), shining as lights before men - and, moreover, living out in our actions these fine words, spending ourselves in sacrificial love usque ad mortem! How appropriate that in God's providence this saint died while nursing the victims of plague, making himself a willing, living sacrifice, and so in that his last and greatest teaching emulating Christ Who willingly laid down His life for love of us sinners, Who preached His most eloquent sermon wracked upon the infamous gibbet. Give us at least the desire for this desire (as a later saint would say), obtain for us, St Ephræm, this gift and grace from the Holy Ghost.

Whence came his astonishing eloquence? After the Holy Ghost, from His Holy Writ, the Sacred Scriptures, which he diligently searched, that he might find Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life (cf. St John v, 39; xiv, 6): "He who applies himself with simplicity and purity of heart to the study of the Sacred Books will receive the knowledge of God. Some people glory in conversing familiarly with the great ones of the earth, with princes and kings, but let it be your glory to converse with the Holy Ghost in the presence of the angels of God by reading the divine Scriptures, for it is the Holy Ghost who there speaks to you. Spare no pains to become familiar with this study." (Thus St Ephræm himself, as quoted by Guéranger from a Latin translation of one of his sermons on patience and the end of the world.) What could better explicate those sacred words psallite sapienter?

His life (c.306-373) was lived mainly in the Roman border fortress-town of Nisibis, until its evacuation by treaty with the Persians in 363; he spent his last years in Edessa. Both cities were the locus of his teaching and preaching as deacon and doctor of the Faith; famously, he composed many hymns for the encouragement and instruction of the faithful, the better to guard them against the seductions of heresies and their devilish songs of false devotion, and even wrote metrical homilies.

It was good Pope Benedict XV, of happy memory, who exalted this humble ascetic as a Doctor of the Church, a worthy Syriac among the Greek and Latin Fathers his brethren: his encyclical so declaring, Principi Apostolorum Petro.

Our Most Holy Lord, Pope Benedict XVI, had things marvellous and wise to say about St Ephræm at a General Audience back on the 28th of November 2007.

Here is the collect for our saint:

Deus, qui Ecclesiam tuam beati Ephræm Confessoris tui et Doctoris mira eruditione et præclaris vitæ meritis illustrare voluisti: te supplices exoramus; ut, ipso intercedente, eam adversus erroris et pravitatis insidias perenni tua virtute defendas. Per...

(O God, who hast wiiled to enlighten Thy Church by the wondrous learning and shining merits of the life of blessed Ephræm Thy Confessor and Doctor; bowing down we humbly pray Thee, that, he himself interceding, Thou defend her, by Thine eternal power, against the snares of error and wickedness. Through...)

The Byzantine Rite glorifies "our Venerable Father Ephraim the Syrian" on the 28th of January; these praises may be read at Anastasis.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

St Gregory Barbarigo

What a joy for Good Pope John (now himself among the blessed) to canonize, on the 26th of May, 1960, the first bishop of Bergamo, his home diocese, and founder of the same far-famed seminary there that the young Roncalli attended and therein learnt the science of the saints (cf. Wisdom x, 10): St Gregory Barbarigo [Barbadicus, in Latin]. Blessed John XXIII thereupon inserted his dearly beloved saint (locally venerated in Bergamo and Padua since his death in 1697, and especially since his beatification in 1771) into the Roman Calendar on the 17th of June (one day before his actual deathdate, already occupied by St Ephræm), but (as with other luminaries) he was deleted therefrom in 1969 by bad Pope Paul, of course, who could always be relied upon to stuff up the Church.

Others have better biographied him; here is his collect:

Deus, qui beatum Gregorium Confessorem tuum atque Pontificem pastorali sollicitudine, et pauperum miseratione clarescere voluisti: concede propitius; ut, cujus merita celebramus, caritatis imitemur exempla. Per...

(O God, who hast wiiled blessed Gregory Thy Confessor and Pontiff to shine forth with pastoral sollicitude, and mercy for the poor; mercifully grant, that we may imitate his example of charity, whose merits we celebrate. Through...)


This evening, I provided a meal (good hearty soup, pasta and dessert, with beer, wine and muscat) for two weary workers - Justin and Rosemary - who have been labouring nonstop for the restoration of our new church, St Anne's. Despite a bold fool denting the newly rebuilt sanctuary platform without any authorization (and then blaming others!), that mischief will be covered over by the altar when installed; and said altar is at present being prepared by J. and R.; it will be a so-called temporary altar, of wood, but very fine, a true Catholic altar, the locus of Sacrifice, with an altar stone inset of course.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Santa Feria

Santa Feria has many devout clients, especially - alas! - among proponents of the aptly-named Ordinary Form, including many sad old dodderers still limping round the altar in tatty polyester green (when not ambling round the presbytery in foodstained cardigans) like the priests of Baal of old...

But traddies must not let the appalling votaries of Santa Feria put them off devotion to this ancient matron!

Santa Feria, and her younger sister Lectio Continua, are of the oldest noble Roman stock; and, if neither virgin nor martyr, she at least has the distinction of owning the greatest number of liturgical days in the calendar. In June alone, she possesses five days, and has four more as well, if one remembers that on those days other saints are only allowed a commemoration at Lauds. What wonder that, whenever the calendar has become overgrown with the multiplied feasts of lesser saints, the very Roman Pontiffs themselves have decreed a general purgation of such minor characters, the better to exalt Santa Feria.

Consider how the traditional Roman Divine Office, in its stark Scriptural beauty, shines forth most purely on its many days devoted to Santa Feria:

* on these days, Matins is of one Nocturn, with three Lessons, all devoted to her sister, Lectio Continua, who rules as the moon the night, while Santa Feria as the sun rules the day;

* all the antiphons, psalms, hymns, versicles and responsories are called ferial, in her honour;

* out of modesty, the collect of each day is drawn from the weekly festival of her elder sister, Dominica.

(It is for utterly the same reason that Santa Feria, as befits the sister of Dominica, should attire herself in the verdant green of nature, nature blossoming because raised up by grace to a new and supernatural effulgence.)

Santa Feria is shy, and gladly gives place to another: her so-called ferial Mass is instead in fact the repeated Mass of her sister Dominica - therefore she minds not if, at Mass, the priest chooses to offer up the Sacrifice as a votive in honour of some other saint or holy mystery on her days. But, jealous of her honour, her mother and ours, Sancta Mater Ecclesia, binds every priest to read his Breviary Hours in honour of Santa Feria on all such occasions. (When after some years during which Pope Leo XIII had permitted votive Offices to be read on ferial days, it was St Pius X who won for Santa Feria the greatest restoration of her cultus.)

Her name itself, which originally in Latin meant "a feast", has lost that meaning over time: but she is still much to be loved, not least by those who style themselves devotees of Sacra Liturgia, another of her holy relatives.

Indeed, the well-known song "Santa Lucia", it may appear, was surely written in honour of her: "Santa Fer-i-a, Santa Fer-I-a!"

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Eripe me

Here's an unusual item that has been in the back of my mind (always too occupied with recherche liturgy) the last few weeks when saying the Office: a cento psalm - a gathering together of various psalm verses, treated as a psalm - from the Mozarabic Office of the Dead, at Vespers. The words Eripe me, occurring in some of the Little Hours early in the weekly cycle, reminded me not just of the preces at Prime, where they used to occur, but also of this, the first of the strange invented psalms the Gothic Breviary gives in its Officium Mortuorum (coll. 976-989).

Here is the text, a transcription with annotations, and a translation - note that it is the opening "psalm" of Vespers of the Dead, prefixed only by the antiphon Eripe Domine animas nostras de morte, ut placeamus tibi in lumine viventium ("Deliver, Lord, our souls from death, that we may please Thee in the light of the living"), which is obviously based on eripuisti animam meam de morte,... ut placeam coram Deo in lumine viventium(Ps 55:13):

Text not available

Eripe animam meam ab impio, * frameam tuam ab inimicis manus tuæ. (Ps 16:13b-14a)
Eripe me de manu inimicorum [nostr]orum, * et a persequentibus me. (Ps 30:16b)
Illustra faciem tuam super servum tuum, salvum me fac in misericordia tua: * Domine, non confundar, quoniam invocavi te. (Ps 30:17-18a)
Eripe me de inimicis meis Deus meus: * et ab insurgentibus in me libera me. (Ps 58:2)
Eripe me de operantibus iniquitatem: * et de viris sanguinum salva me. (Ps 58:3)
Eripe me de luto ut non infigar: * libera me ab [h]is qui oderunt me, et de profundis aquarum. (Ps 68:15)
Eripe me, [quia] tu scis improperium meum, * et confusionem meam, et reverentiam meam. (Ps 68:19b-20)
Eripe me de inimicis meis Domine, ad te confugi: * doce me facere voluntatem tuam, quia Deus meus es tu. (Ps 142:9-10a)
Eripe me, et libera me de aquis multis; [et] de manu filiorum alienorum. * Quorum os locutum est vanitatem: et dextera eorum, dextera iniquitatis. (Ps 143:7b-8; 143:11)
Eripe me Domine ab homine malo: * a viro iniquo eripe me. (Ps 139:2)
Eripies me de contradictionibus populi: * constitues me in caput gentium. (Ps 17:44)
Eripiens inopem de manu fortiorum ejus; * egenum et pauperem a diripientibus eum. (Ps 34:10b)
Eripuit me de inimicis meis fortissimis, et ab his qui oderunt me: * quoniam confortati sunt super me. (Ps 17:18)
Gloria et honor Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto * in sæcula sæculorum. Amen. (Mozarabic Doxology)

Deliver my soul from the wicked one: * thy sword from the enemies of thy hand.
Deliver me out of the hands of [our] enemies; * and from them that persecute me.
Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; save me in thy mercy. * Let me not be confounded, O Lord, for I have called upon thee.
Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; * and defend me from them that rise up against me.
Deliver me from them that work iniquity, * and save me from bloody men.
Draw me out of the mire, that I may not stick fast: * deliver me from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.
Deliver me because thou knowest my reproach, * and my confusion, and my shame.
Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord, to thee have I fled: * teach me to do thy will, for thou art my God.
Deliver me from many waters: [and] from the hand of strange children: * whose mouth hath spoken vanity: and their right hand is the right hand of iniquity.
Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man: * rescue me from the unjust man.
Thou wilt deliver me from the contradictions of the people: * thou wilt make me head of the Gentiles.
Delivering the poor from the hand of them that are stronger than he; * the needy and the poor from them that strip him.
He delivered me from my strongest enemies, and from them that hated me: * for they were too strong for me.
Glory and honour to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost * unto the ages of the ages. Amen.

Missa Cantata at Kelmscott

After farewelling Peter at the airport, I went into town and went to confession at the Pro., before catching up with friends after the main Mass (which I'd missed).

After Fr Rowe finished the last Low Mass, I drove him over to Good Shepherd, Kelmscott, for the 2pm Mass there. This Sunday there was to be sung Mass there, so I joined the choir for its rehearsal and for the Mass itself.

We psalm-toned the Propers, and sang the Ordinary from a mixture of Mass settings (Kyrie from Mass XVI, Gloria from Mass VIII, Credo III, Sanctus and Agnus Dei from Mass XVIII, and Ite missa est from Mass XI). To fill up the time, the hymns Veni Creator Spiritus and Adoro te devote were sung at Offertory and Communion; whilst, as processional and recessional, "Sweet Heart of Jesus, fount of love and mercy" and "Holy God, we praise Thy Name" were sung in English.

Unfortunately, the church organ is in disrepair, and the two horrible Wurlitzer-type machines at the back are worse than useless, so there was no other music provided, but the newly formed choir acquitted itself well. They will sing again in a fortnight's time, and again after that in another two weeks; the plan is thereafter to sing on the 3rd Sunday of each month, and otherwise have Low Mass.

The collect of the day - with the BCP translation thereof:

Deus, qui diligentibus te bona invisibilia præparasti: infunde cordibus nostris tui amoris affectum: ut te in omnibus et super omnia diligentes, promissiones tuas, quæ omne desiderium superant, consequamur. Per...

(O God, who hast prepared for them that love thee such good things as pass man's understanding; Pour into our hearts such love toward thee, that wee, loving thee [pre-1662: in all things] [and] above all things, may obtain thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through...)

This seems to allude to I Corinthians ii, 9 - "But, as it is written: That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him." - which is St Paul quoting the Prophet Isaias: "From the beginning of the world they have not heard, nor perceived with the ears: the eye hath not seen, O God, besides thee, what things thou hast prepared for them that wait for thee." (Is. lxiv, 4.)

More directly still, the opening phrase echoes the last part of St James ii, 5 - "...which God hath promised to them that love Him" (quod repromisit Deus diligentibus se).

See ya, Pete

This morning I motored over to the airport to farewell Peter, who is travelling to the U.S. for to join the Carmelite Monks of Wyoming. He had driven up from Bunbury, his home, with his parents, three sisters, and littlest brother, Guy (aged seven), who seemed very sad to see his big brother go. His maternal grandparents were also there; only his other brother, Tom, was unable to come. I was there to represent the Pro., since all of the good people associated with it were of course at Mass! (Fr Rowe and Aaron had gone down to Bunbury and back on Friday to wish Peter well.)

His plane left just after 10am; he was to fly on to Sydney, and then from there to Honolulu, from Honolulu to Denver, from Denver to Cody, WY, and then - by car - to the monastery. (I think he has probably left Australia by now, and is somewhere over the Pacific.) Peter reckoned it would take him 46 hours to get from his family home to the monastery.

So now I have a motive to travel to the States - somewhere, unlike Europe, I have never previously wanted to visit (no disrespect intended): "See ya, Pete. See ya in America some time."

Saturday, June 14, 2008

St Basil the Great

Being rather overtired, I slept in and missed Mass for St Basil the Great, Bishop, Confessor, and Doctor - or, as the Easterners name him, Our Father among the Saints, Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia; here at least is his troparion:

Thy sound is gone out into all the earth, for it hath received thy word, whereby thou didst divinely teach, explaining the nature of creation and adorning the customs of men: O holy Father, venerable Basil, pray thou to Christ our God for the salvation of our souls.

The splendid praises sung in his honour by the Byzantine Rite (on the 1st of January, at Vespers, Matins and Liturgy) can be accessed at Anastasis, here.

I cannot omit, however, reproducing this most remarkable idiomel sticheron (sung at Vespers), which compares Basil to - a bee...

O godly and sacred bee of Christ’s Church, all-blessed Basil; for you armed yourself with the sting of divine longing and wounded the blasphemies of heresies hated by God; and you treasured up for the souls of the faithful the sweetness of true religion; and now, as you pass through the divine meadows of inviolate pasture, remember us also as you stand before the consubstantial Trinity.

Guéranger informs me that the Latin Church celebrates St Basil on the day of his ordination, the 14th of June; whereas the Greek Church feasts him on the day of his death, or rather of his entry into eternal life, the 1st of January.

St Antony of Padua

Last night I heard Mass of St Anthony of Padua, Confessor and Doctor, although I spent most of the silent parts of the Mass in prayer - saying Matins and Lauds! I must admit I found it an admirable way to participate in the work of our redemption. Of course, I did attend to the chants, lessons and orations; the proper prayers for St Antony are instructive:

Ecclesiam tuam, Deus, beati Antonii Confessoris tui atque Doctoris solemnitas votiva lætificet: ut spiritualibus semper muniatur auxiliis et gaudiis perfrui mereatur æternis. Per...

(May the votive solemnity of Thy Confessor and Doctor blessed Anthony rejoice Thy Church, O God: that she may ever be defended by spiritual helps and merit to enjoy eternal joys. Through...)

There is a set of words in the collect - lætificet... gaudiis... perfrui... - which all refer to joy and rejoicing in English. It is instructive to compare this Franciscan collect with that of St Dominic, Founder not of the Friars Minor, but the of Friars Preachers:

Deus, qui Ecclesiam tuam beati Dominici Confessoris tui illuminare dignatus es meritis et doctrinis: concede; ut, eius intercessione temporalibus non destituatur auxiliis, et spiritualibus semper proficiat incrementis. Per...

(O God, Who hast deigned to enlighten Thy Church by the merits and doctrines of blessed Dominic Thy Confessor: grant, at his intercession, that she may never be destitute of temporal assistance, and always advance in spiritual matters. Through...)

This prayer to St Dominic might almost be more apposite if applied to St Anthony, who, after all, is most widely invoked to supply temporal wants, such as for the finding of lost articles, rather than to obtain spiritual aid!

The secret for the feast of St Antony is especially interesting, being addressed to God the Son:

Præsens oblatio fiat, Domine, populo tuo salutaris: pro quo dignatus es Patri tuo te viventem hostiam immolare. Qui vivis...

(May the present oblation be salutary for Thy people, Lord: for whom Thou didst deign to immolate Thyself as a living Victim unto Thy Father. Who livest...)

After Mass, I had dinner with various parishioners, Fr Rowe, and our friend and former parishioner Anastasia, now happily engaged, who has come back to the West for a while (to visit family, etc.), though she will soon return to country Victoria for her upcoming wedding to Brad, on the 26th of July, the Feast of St Anne, a most appropriate day. I cannot forbear to quote the prayer that, I've been told by a old friend of mine, ladies pray to obtain a husband: "St Anne, St Anne, get me a man, get me a man as fast as you can!" ROTFL! Anyway, congratulations to Brad and Anastasia - they will make a great couple, and I pray will have a happy life together.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ten Hail Mary's

After work, I stopped off at the Redemptorist Monastery for confession; and was kept waiting for 20 minutes! I'm afraid I made a complaint... Anyhow, the confessor gave me ten Ave's for (unrelated) sins, and the extra waiting gave me a chance to finish off a lot of Office.

And how amazing, that by the voice of the priest my sins should be absolved on earth, and so in heaven; and that the frightful endless punishment due to my sins should be remitted; and that my act of satisfaction should be something in the eyes of the world so slight, but in power and consequence so mighty - the imploring the prayers of Blessed Mary, Mother of God and Virgin. For as God was pleased to bring into the world His Son, our Saviour, as God and Man through her and at her consent, so He is pleased to distribute the graces of His Son's Passion through her, who is full of grace, the throne of grace.

Hail, Mary,
full of grace,
the Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,

Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
and at the hour of our death.


After being laved in the Lamb's Blood, I went and donated some of mine - this evening was my 28th blood donation via the Australian Red Cross. If He poured out every drop for me, that I might have supernatural life and not death, ought I not spare some of mine to help the natural lives of my fellows? It is one of my few good deeds, and I write this not to brag (which would be silly anyway, since it's hardly a big ask to give blood) but to persuade others to donate too, since this would help supply the continual need for clean blood and blood products. (Apparently, in other, more benighted countries, donors are paid to give blood - which seems almost immoral to me and obviously productive of dangers to the blood supply from desperate and/or unscrupulous persons, who shouldn't donate but do so to get cash.) Here in Australia, blood donation has always been unpaid and voluntary; I encourage all to donate who can.

Oh, and today is the feast of St Barnabas the Apostle, the "son of consolation". God, of course, is the God of all consolation (cf. II Cor. i, 3-4: which is the ferial capitulum at Vespers every night except Saturday, a very blessing of God at the beginning of the second half of the Hour), our great Consolation; His Son (cf. I St John ii, 1), and His Spirit (cf. St John xiv, 16), our Advocates, Comforters, and Counsellors. Gloria Trinitati!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mulier Fortis

A dear old lady, of the teaching-elocution variety, once told me that she was a Scottish Episcopalian, and that "our church was founded by St Margaret, Queen of Scots". (I forbore to say that my church was founded by Jesus Christ, and that St Margaret had belonged to His church, rather than to hers. In fairness, it is said that she did renew the Church in Scotland with her munificence and her godly ensample.)

Leaving aside this sad memory, I am gladdened by the recurrence of St Margaret's feast: she is indeed a pearl of great price, and a wonderworking patroness of the Scots (so declared by Pope Clement X) - and three out of four grandparents of mine have Scottish surnames and origins, so I count myself, all sinful, among that Celtic company.

As the Lord created in her a most marvellous love of the poor, so may He, at her intercession, make charity increase in our hearts more and more (cf. her collect)!

Reading the day Hours earlier today reminded me of that encomium of womanhood in Proverbs xxxi, 10-31, which is read on feasts of matrons (a better term in English than "neither virgins nor widows"), both at Mass, and in three parts as the First Nocturn Lessons on greater feasts; in the Hebrew, it is an acrostic, known by its opening words as אשת חיל (Eishet chayil):

א Who shall find a valiant woman? far and from the uttermost coasts is the price of her.
ב The heart of her husband trusteth in her, and he shall have no need of spoils.
ג She will render him good, and not evil, all the days of her life.
ד She hath sought wool and flax, and hath wrought by the counsel of her hands.
ה She is like the merchant's ship, she bringeth her bread from afar.
ו And she hath risen in the night, and given a prey to her household, and victuals to her maidens.
ז She hath considered a field, and bought it: with the fruit of her hands she hath planted a vineyard.
ח She hath girded her loins with strength, and hath strengthened her arm.
ט She hath tasted and seen that her traffic is good: her lamp shall not be put out in the night.
י She hath put out her hand to strong things, and her fingers have taken hold of the spindle.
כ She hath opened her hand to the needy, and stretched out her hands to the poor.
ל She shall not fear for her house in the cold of snow: for all her domestics are clothed with double garments.
מ She hath made for herself clothing of tapestry: fine linen, and purple is her covering.
נ Her husband is honourable in the gates, when he sitteth among the senators of the land.
ס She made fine linen, and sold it, and delivered a girdle to the Chanaanite [i.e., the merchant].
ע Strength and beauty are her clothing, and she shall laugh in the latter day.
פ She hath opened her mouth to wisdom, and the law of clemency is on her tongue.
צ She hath looked well to the paths of her house, and hath not eaten her bread idle.
ק Her children rose up, and called her blessed: her husband, and he praised her.
ר Many daughters have gathered together riches: thou hast surpassed them all.
ש Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: the woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
ת Give her of the fruit of her hands: and let her works praise her in the gates.

The three proper lessons for his feast (read as one, abbreviated, in the '62 Breviary) may be consulted here. It mentions, intriguingly enough, that, having been born in Hungary to Anglo-Saxon royalty (who were well-connected on the Continent, and did travel an awful lot), she perforce fled England after the Invasion, but was cast up in Scotland, there to be wooed and won by King Malcolm III.

St Margaret died in 1093, on the 16th of November, and was canonized in 1251. May she pray for us!

NB I find that in Scotland, even according to the Traditional Rite, her feast is kept on her dies natalis, the 16th of November, with a proper Mass...

Her sacred remains, buried at Dunfermline, were saved by the Catholics during the Protestant profanations of the sixteenth century: apparently her body was taken to rest at the Escorial Palace in Spain, while the Jesuits secured her head, which was kept by them at Douai - no doubt to the encouragement of the seminary priests trained there.

And I almost forgot to post the office hymn for matrons, written by Silvio Cardinal Antoniano (1540-1603), which is one of my favourites:

Fortem virili pectore
Laudemus omnes feminam,
Quæ sanctitatis gloria
Ubique fulget inclita.

Hæc sancto amore saucia,
Hujus caduca sæculi
Dum calcat, ad cælestia
Iter peregit arduum.

Carnem domans jejuniis,
Dulcique mentem pabulo
Orationis nutriens,
Cæli potitur gaudiis.

Rex Christe, virtus fortium,
Qui magna solus efficis,
Hujus precatu, quæsumus,
Audi benignus supplices.

[Jesu, tibi sit gloria,
Qui nos beatæ servulæ
Sperare das suffragia
Et sempiterna præmia.]

Deo Patri sit gloria,
Ejusque soli Filio,
Cum Spiritu Paraclito,
Nunc, et per omne sæculum. Amen.


Praise we the woman who, endued
With high heroic fortitude,
Hath won renown that shall not die,
A place among the saints on high.

Such holy love inflamed her breast,
She would not seek on earth for rest,
But, strong in faith and patience, trod
The narrow path that leads to God.

Restraining every froward sense
By gentle bonds of abstinence,
With prayer her hungry soul she fed,
And thus to heavenly joys hath sped.

O Christ, the strength of all the strong,
To whom alone high deeds belong,
Through her prevailing prayer on high
In mercy hear thy people's cry.

[Sweet Jesu, to thee glory be,
Who givest us to hope and see
Won by thy blessèd handmaid's prayer
Reward to last for e'er and e'er.]

All praise to God the Father be,
All praise, eternal Son, to thee,
Whom with the Spirit we adore
For ever and for evermore. Amen.


Why is it that, on ordinary Sundays, the psalm antiphons for Lauds and the Little Hours have alleluias, whereas the antiphons for Vespers and Matins do not?

And furthermore, prior to the Office reform under Pope St Pius X, Lauds on Sundays after Pentecost (and after Epiphany) had only three antiphons: for the first three psalms (92, 99, and counting 62 and 66 together) Alleluja, alleluja. (not retained in the post-1912 Breviary); for the Benedicite (Dan. iii), Tres pueri as in the 1962; and for the praising-psalms (148-150, under one conclusion), Alleluja, alleluja, alleluja. (again, not retained).


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Fun & Games at the Pro. - & St Anne's

A busy few days!

I had planned to attend evening Mass on Friday, and then knock on to attend the Holy Two Hours our group was to oversee at St Brigid's, as part of the prayers for the visit of the WYD Cross and Icon: I hadn't been planning to go to the latter, but Fr had asked me to come and help serve... Anyway, I was so dog tired after work, I went to bed at 5pm (!) and only got up later in the night to have some English muffins with jam, etc., and finish off Vespers, Matins, and Compline. I was too exhausted to go out - the Cross and Icon thingy (to be enlivened with Exposition and Benediction, plus sermon) was scheduled for 8.30 to 10.30 pm or later - and decided it was best to rest and be more energized on the morrow.


This proved correct: I was up and racing on Saturday - racing to get to Mass that is, but as I pulled in I espied a becassocked figure also dashing across the road to the Pro., no doubt tired after having run the late night devotions. However, the joke proved to be on me: as I entered church, the sacristan presented me with my cassock and surplice, and (since Fr was hearing last-minute confessions, and the confessional blocks entrance to the sacristy) I had perforce to get suited up behind the organ! And while serving Mass is a great privilege, I must admit to having my sore knee play up, and getting that sinking feeling when I saw the monstrance out on the credence, because that meant it was First Saturday Devotions after Low Mass. Mass itself was of Our Lady on Saturday, and since I know the texts I left my missal aside. We concluded with "Help of Christians, guard this land" after the Leonine Prayers, and after returning to the sacristy George and I then reset the altar for Benediction, while Fr dechasubled and encoped himself. Being a first Saturday, after Exposition we had the Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart, followed by Litany of Loreto - in English! - and the Benediction itself. Reposition of the Exposition Host was followed by the rather mawkish "O come to the throne of grace" (a.k.a. "Our Lady of Fatima, hail"): only the first two verses with chorus.

But wait, there's more! It transpired that the kindly Dean of the Cathedral was donating the old cathedral pulpit, plus a set of Stations of the Cross, a vestment press, and two great heavy boxes of hymnals, to Fr Rowe that very morning: so (after a quick cup of coffee nearby) we were all dragooned into loading cars and trailers and driving over to our church-to-be, St Anne's, to unload and do yet more work. Amazing - the pulpit will lift the preacher almost head-high above the congregation: it's the sort of platform from which to hurl down thunder and lightning!

Luckily, I escaped, pleading the necessity to go buy a birthday present for a dear relative of mine. However, in the late afternoon I came back, having cooked up some hearty stew, so that one of my housemates could take a squiz at the restoration afoot. So, unsurprisingly, Fr Rowe, and Rosemary, a fellow parishioner, ended up joining James and I for dinner. There was red wine and Belgian beer (Saison Regal), and, for dessert when I suddenly realized I needed to offer our guests some, a quick bit of tinned peaches and custard. All had second helpings of the stew, so I'm glad that went down alright.

As an aside, it was nice to have Our Lady on Saturday at Mass and Office: and I was very pleased to have read and prayed all one hundred and fifty psalms this week, since there were no first- nor second-class feasts to interrupt the cursus psalmorum so beloved of the Fathers.


This Sunday morning: off to Mass, the 4th after Pentecost, with the delicious chance to sit in the pews! Our St Cecilia's mixed choir was singing one of Dom Moreno's Masses (SATB with organ), and psalm-toning the propers; very nicely, the ladies sang Jesu dulcis memoria at Offertory, and Ave verum at Communion. We received a topical sermon on industry, avoidance of slackness, eye-service and laziness, and our need to solicit the divine blessing for our work by living pious and virtuous lives, rather than being "curious meddlers". Fr referred to the tale of St Silvanus, Abbot, who suffered a monk who would not work, but liked only to read and pray: he let him do so, but neglected to feed him, apologizing to the hungry hermit for the fleshliness of himself, so unworthy an Abbot, and for the other monks, who still needed to eat, not being entirely raised up to contemplation and a wholly spiritual life - whereupon the lazy one agreed to work that he too might eat bread. The sermon concluded by quoting St Frances de Chantal: "Hell is full of the talented - Heaven, of the industrious."

After Mass and our post-liturgy coffee, I again went back to St Anne's - and ended up spending all afternoon there, clearing out rubbish in the sacristy (how messy some people are!), picking lemons off the tree, and chatting with Justin, who's doing the major part of the rebuild of the sanctuary, his mum, who was also there busily at work, and Fay, who was gardening: Fr assures us all we are doing this for God, and so aren't breaking Sunday rest.

To conclude, I've had dinner with a relation of mine, and look forward to the week ahead.


BTW, I ascertained today, while resetting the altar for Benediction and packing up afterward, that these are the saints whose relics are on the altar at St John's Pro-Cathedral: St Pius V, St Francis de Sales, St Bruno, and St Margaret Mary Alacoque.


Tomorrow, in Australia, traditionalists feast St Columba: I have only an old copy of the Supplement, prior to the simplification of the rubrics, so I assume the best I can do is to merge together the biographical lessons of his former second Nocturn, so as to constitute a third Lesson for the saint. His collect is taken from the Common of Abbots; nothing else is proper.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Vicariate Apostolic of Mars

I am grateful to the inestimable (not to say unidentifiable) cœtus behind Coo-ees from the Cloister for noising abroad news of the Papal erection - of the Vicariate Apostolic of Mars of the Latins...

As I have suggested to them, it is of course most necessary speedily to give succour to any Martian natives or intending settlers dying of thirst and inanition for want of the one thing necessary: liturgical books.

Mars, as all men know, has a year of 668.6 sols (Martian days), and hence, as the good guys at NASA suggest, the most appropriate calendar for the planet is one of years alternating in length between either 95 or 96 weeks. This means that the calendar is perpetual, with the same day of the week falling on the same date ex hoc nunc et usque in sæculum.

(Remember: on Mars, June hath 10 weeks; April, May and July each hath 9; March and September, 8; January, February, October, November, 7; December hath 6; while in even years, August hath 8, but in odd years, 9. A prize to anyone who can versify this!)

Since over 70 weeks of Ordinary Time manifestly would cause insuperable psychological difficulties, and encourage the growth of atheism, it is agreed that only the Missal and Breviary of the Extraordinary Form, supplemented with extra feasts and fasts, can plug the present lamentable gap in Martian spiritual life.

Indeed, a moment's consideration will shew that many Traditionalists are all-too-adapted to life in outer space; indeed, some may as well be living on Mars already.

(To avoid any confusion: Traditionalists are from Mars, Modernists are from Venus. The latter is, after all, a planet closely resembling Hell.)

The skeleton of the Martian calendar reform needed to be applied to Missal and Breviary is as followeth.

First, as Vatican II permitted, it will be well to fix the date of Easter on Mars to a given Sunday there, since else the date, if tied to the Earthly, would wander all through the year, causing endless confusion (after all, what to do when Christmas and Easter coincide?).

Second, since the day and date always coincide, the first of each month always being a Sunday and so forth, all feasts of saints shall be permanently assigned to weekdays, as St Pius X's reforms clearly intended to keep Sundays free for, well, Sundays.

For utterly the same reason, all Saturdays shall be at the least commemorations of Our Lady, if not Marian feasts.

The season of Lent shall likewise, as recent Papal reforms have indicated, be kept free of saints' days.

These measures still leave over 440 days free for Mass and Office of saints: an increase over the allowance for them at present, and making possible the feasting of many obscure figures, to the joy of their votaries and clients on all worlds.

It will be well, in order to fill in the time, to extend Advent (as in the Ambrosian Rite) to six full weeks before the Solemnity of Our Lord's Temporal Nativity.

For much the same reason, Christmastide shall last a full forty days until Candlemas; ransacking of liturgical books shall provide suitable Propers.

Septuagesimatide, Lent, and the Paschal Season (including Whitsuntide) remaining the same - but for the fixing of Easter Day - there shall be the restoration (as in the Carmelite Rite) of the Octave or rather Triduum of the Trinity, but Wednesday before Corpus Christi shall be made the Vigil of the latter. The Octaves of Corpus Christi and the Sacred Heart shall likewise be restored, and the first three Sundays and weeks after Pentecost moved wholesale until after the end of the last such Octave, pushing back all the post-Pentecost green season.

Since the great length of the Martian year will still not be filled up, recourse is to be had to the Ambrosian Rite to provide extra Proper Sunday Masses.

Many cœtûs are even now convening to begin this valuable work, an offworld presage of the Reform of the Reform - that is to be, as is the only sensible and organic option, a supplementation, not a destruction, of the classical terrestrial liturgy of Rome.

It is anticipated that these liturgical forms will be available online, to save valuable space and mass on interplanetary vessels.

Finally: beware! An heretical sect trumpeting itself as the Universal Church of Mars is already active! Let Catholics crusade against such wickedness!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

St Francis Caracciolo: 400th Anniversary of His Death

When finishing Matins late last night, I realized that it was the 400th anniversary of the death of St Francis Caracciolo, joint founder of the Clerks Regular Minor (not to be confused with the Minims): for, as Guéranger confirms, he died on the day before the Nones of June, at the hour of first Vespers of Corpus Christi, at the house of some Oratorians in Agnone, being taken by a violent fever. He had ever loved the Blessed Sacrament, keeping all-night vigils of adoration: how fitting he should die at such an hour of such a day. His collect is instructive:

Deus, qui beátum Francíscum, novi órdinis institutórem, orándi stúdio et pœniténtiæ amóre decorásti: da fámulis tuis in ejus imitatióne ita profícere; ut semper orántes, et corpus in servitútem redigéntes, ad cæléstem glóriam perveníre mereántur. Per Dóminum...

(O God, who didst endow blessed Francis, institutor of a new Order, with a striving for prayer and love of penitence: grant to thy servants to so profit by his imitation, that ever praying, and bringing the body into subjection, they may merit to attain to heavenly glory. Through...)

The three proper lessons for his feast (read as one, abbreviated, in the '62 Breviary) may be consulted here.

Interestingly, the motto of the Clerks Regular Minor is Ad Majorem Resurgentis Gloriam: "For the Greater Glory of the Risen One".

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Jacta cogitatum tuum

I realize that, contrary to my custom, I posted nothing about Sunday Mass just past, for the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost. (BTW, a nice lady thanked us guys in the choir for our singing, so we were all rather pleased!) Fr Rowe, given the Gospel, of course preached to us concerning Our Lord the Good Shepherd, leaving the 99 - the angels - to search out the stray sheep - the fallen human race. What struck me, however, was the text in verse 7 of the Epistle (I S. Peter v, 6-11), and its mirror in the soaring music of the opening of the Gradual (Ps 54:23), as it were reflecting upon the cure (both care and healing) of souls that is in the hands of the Lord our Shepherd:

...omnem sollicitudinem vestram projicientes in eum, quoniam ipsi cura est de vobis. ...

[πᾶσαν τὴν μέριμναν ὑμῶν ἐπιρίψαντες ἐπ᾽ αὐτόν, ὅτι αὐτῷ μέλει περὶ ὑμῶν.]

(...all your care casting upon Him, for He hath care of you. ...)

Jacta cogitatum tuum in Domino: et ipse te enutriet. ...

[ἐπίρριψον ἐπί Κύριον την μέριμνάν σου και αὐτός σε διαθέψει...]

(Cast thy care upon the Lord and He shall sustain thee. ...)

This latter line from the Psalms recurred today while I was saying Terce, and I have long since pencilled in the margin against this verse to highlight it; ever since the text first struck me, quite possibly when first in a schola singing the chant at Mass back in Hobart in the mid- to late nineties. Interestingly, the phrase recurs in the Introit Cum clamarem for the 10th Sunday after Pentecost, which may be where I remember the text from, since we tended to psalm-tone the Graduals as too hard, while we did by and large chant the Introits to their proper tone.

The verb in question is jactare, together with its parallel jácere's derivative projicere (behind which lies the Greek ῥίπτω and ἐπιρίπτω): the image is that of the throwing of a lance toward a target. What used to be called ejaculatory prayers are named after the same concept of casting one's cares upon the Lord, that He hear, heed and help.

It also reminds me of the gloss upon the rather distressing end of Psalm 136, concerning dashing the little ones against the rock (verse 9): this must be understood as dashing one's evil thoughts against our Rock, Who is Christ, thereby mortifying our passions and aspiring to the angelic life. (So avers my Douay-Rheims Bible's notes, anyway.)