Saturday, April 30, 2016

Sequences for St Peter Martyr and St Catherine of Siena

Having recently downloaded a pdf of the 1603 Dominican Missal (as one does), I have transcribed the Sequences for St Peter Martyr (whose feast was yesterday) and St Catherine of Siena (whose feast is today):

Sequentia S. Petri Martyris
1. Adest dies celebris, quo lumen de tenebris, exortum emicuit.
2. Nam ab infidelibus, Petrus dispar moribus, ortus mundo claruit.
3. Mundum mundus abjicit, ordini se subjicit Evangelizantium.
4. Fit salutis speculum‚ morumque spectaculum, vas virtutum omnium.
5. Сarnis pudicitiam, et baptismi gratiam, conservat viriliter.
6. Verbi semen seminat, errores exterminat, verbo pugnans fortiter.
7. Dum non cedit hostibus, resistens erroribus, justi sanguis funditur.
8. A profanis manibus Sanctus diris ictibus, invasus occiditur.
9. Сhristi factus hostia, cæli transit ostia, cum palma martyrii.
10. Sempiterna gaudia, possidet cum gloria, ter centeni præmii.
11. Мorbi, mors, dæmonia, Petri per suffragia, depelluntur penitus.
12. Credit plebs incredula, videns hæc miracula, fieri divinitus.
13. Nobis ergo veniam, det Deus et gratiam‚ Petri prece sedula.
14. Et post hanc miseriam, largiatur gloriam, per æterna sæcula. Alleluja.

Sequentia S. Catharinæ Senensis
1. Lux advenit veneranda, laus in choris jubilanda, piis cunctis cordibus.
2. Hujus læta lux diei, festum refert sponsæ Dei, dedicandum laudibus.
3. Hæc de Senis oriunda, virgo munda Catharina, justis ex parentibus.
4. Mundum, carnem, hostem fregit, et triumphum victrix egit, ornata virtutibus.
5. Matrem Christi venerandam, omni gradu salutandam, lustro primo didicit.
6. Multis sanctis circumcinctum, se benedicentem Christum, virgo sancta conspicit.
7. Virginalis vitæ votum, Deo spondet quam devotum, ætatis septennio.
8. Ob hoc virgo tribulatur, sed a Deo liberatur, columbæ indicio.
9. Regularis vitæ ritum amplexatur institutum, a sancto Dominico.
10. Hunc adepta virgo sancta, mox vita claret miranda, Deo placens unico.
11. O quam chara, quam accepta, Christo Regi est effecta, ob præclara merita!
12. Nam ab ipso visitari, et de cunctis edoceri, solebat frequentius:
13. Hinc in sponsam subarrhari, et in fidem desponsari, meruit cum gloria.
14. Quis condigne potest fari, quave lingua explicari, fletus et suspiria.
15. Quæ fraterna pro salute, Jesu sponso cum virtute, emittebat sæpius.
16. Ut peccanti creaturæ, et Redemptor suo jure, fieret propitius.
17. Christi corpus venerandum, sic ducebat frequentandum, magno desiderio.
18. Ut si sibi licuisset, omni die id sumpsisset, pro sui remedio.
19. Dulce signum charitatis, dum amator castitatis, cor mutat in virgine.
20. Quo sic flagrat, sic movetur, ut dilectum contempletur, in cælorum cardine.
21. A quo sane nulla sorte, nec in vita nec in morte, separari patitur.
22. Sed in eum tota rapta, et a terra sublevata, Deo vero fruitur.
23. Tandem Christus dulcis sponsus, pio cordi sic conjunctus, sponsæ suæ nobilis.
24. Claram miris prodigiis, sacris ornat studiis, vitæ donas gaudia.
25. Jesu bone, Jesu dulcis, qui ad lumen cæcos ducis, sponsæ tuæ precibus.
26. Nos purgatos a peccatis, fac regnare cum beatis, omnibus temporibus.
27. Tuque virgo Deo digna, mitis, clemens et benigna, precibus nos refove.
28. Nec oblita pietatis, ad conspectum Deitatis, populum hunc promove. Alleluja.

Monday, April 25, 2016

ANZAC Day 2016

For the first time in many, many years I went to the Dawn Service at the Cenotaph in Royal Park this morning. I was staggered to find nearly every parking spot in the Launceston CBD already taken – at 5:45 am! – and had to park opposite Holy Trinity (half a mile away), whence I walked smartly so as to arrive in time for the start of proceedings at 6 am.

The RSL chaplain took as his text Psalm 26(27):3-4, “If armies in camp should stand together against me, my heart shall not fear. If a battle should rise up against me, in this will I be confident. One thing I have asked of the Lord, this will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. That I may see the delight of the Lord, and may visit his temple.”

After the short service (during which, sadly, the choir seemed virtually silent rather than leading the crowd of thousands – 7,500, so The Examiner reported the next day –  so the traditional hymn “O God, our help in ages past” and the National Anthem were both all but inaudible), I went to a nearby pub for breakfast, then walked back in the cold light of dawn through now-deserted streets.

In 1916, Tasmania had a population of 200,000; of those, 15,485 enlisted (38% of eligible men), and of those enlisted, 2,432 were killed – a 16% death rate.  In memory of the fallen, I have said the Dirge (Matins and Lauds of the Dead, so-named after the first antiphon at Matins, Dirige, Domine, Deus meus); at nine o’clock, I will join the choir at the ANZAC Mass at Apostles.

Entrance Antiphon (Cf. Rev 14:13)
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. Let them rest from their labours, for their good deeds go with them.

Collect
Almighty everlasting God, who sent your Son to die that we might live, grant, we pray, eternal rest to those who gave themselves in service and sacrifice for their country. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Prayer over the Offerings
Grant, O heavenly Father, that the sacrifice of Christ, who laid down his life for his friends, may raise all those who have died in war to the victory of eternal life. Through Christ our Lord.

Communion Antiphon (Cf. Jn 15:13)
Greater love has no one than to lay down his life for his friends, says the Lord.

Prayer after Communion
By our communion with this Sacrament, O Lord, grant us, we pray, fortitude in the cause of right, and may our remembrance of those who have died in war make us ardent defenders of your peace. Through Christ our Lord.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Our Best Yet

Attendance at our monthly 6 pm Missa cantata in Launceston was the best yet, and yesterday evening was marked also by the use and presentation to our nascent community of a new altar missal, recently purchased, in place of the battered old edition that we have previously used. This morning, despite being a public holiday, I had to rise well before dawn in order to get to St Francis again to serve the 7 am Low Mass. There is something so beautiful about the sacred silence.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Christmas and Circumcision, Epiphany and Baptism

It struck me yesterday, that just as the Octave Day of Christmas is (or was) the feast of the Circumcision (it still is, in the traditional Dominican Rite), so the Octave Day of the Epiphany is the feast of the Lord's Baptism: so the liturgy passes from Christ's Birth to his Circumcision, he being born a subject of the Law, and then on from the Epiphany, or the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, to his Baptism, a baptism of repentance which he vicariously undertook on our behalf at the hands of his cousin the Baptist, which sanctified the waters of the Jordan, and presaged his later institution of sacramental Baptism for all nations, by the power of his Passion applied to souls through the laver of regeneration.

Drink Mystic Monk Coffee

Yester-day I finally got around to unpacking and setting up my new coffee grinder and drip filter machines, so I could process and taste the Mystic Monk coffee beans I was given in Bunbury last year. Many thanks to my friends in Bunbury, who are the family of a friend of mine who joined the Carmelite Monks in Wyoming some years ago.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Litany of the Three Wise Men, in English

Some years ago, prior to my visit to Cologne, its Cathedral, and a pious veneration therein of the relics of the Magi, I posted a Litany of the Three Kings. A commenter once asked for a translation: now, years later, I've finally made one, which I subjoin below:

LITANY OF THE THREE HOLY KINGS OR MAGI OF THE GOSPEL

Lord, have mercy.       Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.     Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.       Lord, have mercy.

Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven,      Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,             Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God,          Have mercy on us.

Jesu, King of Kings,    Have mercy on us.

1. Holy Mary, Queen of Queens,       Pray for us.
Saint Joseph, tutor of the King of all,             Pray for us.

Holy King Gaspar,     Pray for us.
Holy King Melchior, Pray for us.
5. Holy King Balthazar,          Pray for us.

1. Most Holy Three Kings,    Pray ye for us.
Most Holy Three Magi of the East,   Pray ye for us.
Kings of Tharsis,        Pray ye for us.
Kings of the Arabians and of Saba,     Pray ye for us.
Patriarchs of the faithful,        Pray ye for us.
6. First-fruits of the nations, Pray ye for us.
Princes of the peoples,           Pray ye for us.
Whose expectation was Jesus,            Pray ye for us.
Whose desire was Jesus,         Pray ye for us.
Whose perfect joy was Jesus,            Pray ye for us.
11. Most illuminated by faith,            Pray ye for us.
Most robust in hope,  Pray ye for us.
Most fervent in charity,         Pray ye for us.
Most splendid with the gold of love, Pray ye for us.
Most religious with the incense of devotion,             Pray ye for us.
16. Most incorrupt with the myrrh of patience,        Pray ye for us.
Most profound in humility,   Pray ye for us.
Strongest in constancy,           Pray ye for us.
Most abundant in gratitude,   Pray ye for us.
Most liberal in munificence,   Pray ye for us.
21. Mirrors of all virtues,       Pray ye for us.

1. Who, seeing the star, reverently admitted divine inspiration,        Pray ye for us.
Who by free will obeyed, prompted by efficacious grace,     Pray ye for us.
Who departed your land, relations and friends for love of the heavenly King,
            Pray ye for us.
Who nothing dreaded the troubles and difficulties of the journey,     Pray ye for us.
Who in Jerusalem sought the new-born King of the Jews,     Pray ye for us.
6. Who before Herod intrepidly confessed faith in Christ,    Pray ye for us.
Who were taught by the Scribes and Pharisees from the Scriptures about the place where the Messias was to be born,    Pray ye for us.
Who were sent away by Herod to Bethlehem,           Pray ye for us.
Who, the star again appearing, with great joy greatly rejoiced,          Pray ye for us.
Who followed the same preceding you, until it stopped above where the Child was,
            Pray ye for us.
11. Who entering the house, found the Child with Mary his Mother,           Pray ye for us.
Who falling down worshipped the Infant abiding on her virginal lap,            Pray ye for us.
Who opening your treasures offered gold, incense and myrrh to the Child Jesus,
            Pray ye for us.
Who by mystic gifts demonstrated your faith to the whole world,   Pray ye for us.
Who declared the Child Jesus by gold to be King, by incense to be God, by myrrh to be Man doomed to die,       Pray ye for us.
16. Who provided provisions for the Child Jesus to be conveyed to Egypt,
            Pray ye for us.
Who by your kneeling worship provided for us an example of all virtues,
            Pray ye for us.
Who taught us to offer to God the gold of charity, the incense of prayer and the myrrh of patience,          Pray ye for us.
Who after adoring the Lord and offering gifts, humbly saluted the Most Holy Virgin Mother and Joseph her Spouse,      Pray ye for us.
Who received from the same Most Holy Virgin Mary and her Virginal Spouse Joseph thanks with joy for the offered gifts,        Pray ye for us.
21. Who commended yourselves, and your kingdoms and the peoples of the nations to Christ, and to the Most Holy Virgin, and to her Spouse,           Pray ye for us.
Who departed from the same Most Holy Virgin and her Spouse with a most felicitous appreciation of all goods,             Pray ye for us.
Who, forbidden by angelic address in dreams to return to Herod, were returned by another way to your country,            Pray ye for us.
Who wisely deceived Herod by divine command,      Pray ye for us.
Who prudently delivered the Child Jesus from peril of murder,        Pray ye for us.
26. Holy Three Kings,            Pray ye for us.

1. We sinners,             We beseech you, hear ye us.
That you would obtain for us true and perfect contrition,     We beseech you, hear ye us.
That courteously you would assume patronage over us,       We beseech you, hear ye us.
That you would choose to reconcile, commend and present us to the King of Kings,
            We beseech you, hear ye us.
That you would brighten our souls with your virtues,          We beseech you, hear ye us.
6. That you would procure for us the gold of charity, the incense of devotion and the myrrh of mortification,      We beseech you, hear ye us.
That we may deserve ever to seek and find Christ the Lord our King with you,
            We beseech you, hear ye us.
That before heretics and infidels we may intrepidly confess the faith of Christ,
            We beseech you, hear ye us.
That to Herod, that is, the blandishments of the world and its noxious desires, where Christ is not found, we may never return,             We beseech you, hear ye us.
That finally we may return by another way with you to the heavenly fatherland,
            We beseech you, hear ye us.
11. That you would assist us in death's agony, and in abandoning all,
            We beseech you, hear ye us.
That you would enrich our poverty with your precious gifts,
            We beseech you, hear ye us.
That you would excite the Church militant, especially the [Holy] Roman Empire [i.e., Germany], to a more abundant love and cult towards you,         We beseech you, hear ye us.
That by your patronage you would safeguard, defend and protect your devout clients, and the place established for your cult, from the snares of adversaries, the tumults of wars, the insults of enemies, hunger besides and plague, and other perils,
            We beseech you, hear ye us.
That you would drive far off all pertinacious heretics from this province [i.e. of the Rhine],           We beseech you, hear ye us.
16. That you would procure for all those, whosoever are able to accomplish this, the help of efficacious grace,     We beseech you, hear ye us.
That persuaded by the prayers and good customs of the people, you would never desert that famous place [of your relics, i.e. Cologne],           We beseech you, hear ye us.
That you would obtain the grace of final perseverance for your votaries,
            We beseech you, hear ye us.
19. That you would vouchsafe graciously to hear us,            We beseech you, hear ye us.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,          Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,          Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,          Have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Our Father…
V. And lead us not into temptation.
R. But deliver us from evil. (Mt 6:9-13)

V. Three were the precious gifts.
R. Which the Magi offered to the Lord.
V. The kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer presents.
R. The kings of the Arabians and of Saba shall bring gifts. (Ps. 71:10)

Let us pray.

Collect. O God, who didst wondrously enlighten the three Magi of the East and Holy Kings Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar, that they might visit and honour thy Son recently born in Bethlehem: grant, we beseech thee, that aided by their example and intercession, and in the darkness of this world illumined by the true faith, we may acknowledge thee, the eternal light, and advance securely between favourable and adverse things, until, all impediments being removed, we may readily attain unto thee, who inhabitest light unapproachable. Through the same Christ our Lord. R. Amen. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

End of Advent; Christmas Eve

I've had a blessed Advent: last week, I made a five-day silent retreat in Bowral, N.S.W., run by two priests from the Abbey of St Joseph de Clairval in Flavigny. What a marvel that such an orthodox Benedictine monastery flourishes, and has as its apostolate the giving of a condensed form of the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius to men, in conformity to the spirit of its founder and first abbot, God rest him, who was converted after making such a retreat in 1940, and in due course became a monk after the death of his wife, with the resolve to give to others what had so changed him. It was easily the best retreat I have ever done, really brilliant, and, I hope, marks a milestone in my spiritual life. I would heartily recommend these retreats to one and all.

Either side of the retreat, I spent the weekend in Sydney, and went to High Mass at Maternal Heart, Lewisham. Since my return home, I've prepared for Christmas in the commercial sense, by buying gifts for family and friends. Tonight, just after sunset, Mass at St Canice-in-the-fields, Glengarry, then Midnight Mass at Carmel; tomorrow morning, back to Carmel for the Day Mass.

My prayer is for all readers and friends to receive every holy blessing from above, with hearts opened wide to Christ Whose glorious Nativity in the flesh we celebrate on this most holy feast.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Beginning of Advent

A beautiful day, materially and spiritually: for this evening marks the beginning of Advent. At the parish OF Vigil Mass, it was good to sing "Wake, awake, for night is flying", one of those hymns without which Advent Sunday seems incomplete; and I listened a little time ago to another one, "Lo! he comes with clouds descending", which I have enjoyed singing at this time of year in the past. After Mass, I went to another Advent necessity, a performance of The Messiah

(Unfortunately the choir, harpsichordist, trumpeter and bass soloist were not of the highest standard: the last-named lost his place most embarrassingly in "The people that walked in darkness", the second-last named did not do much of a job of his part in "The trumpet shall [or rather, should] sound", the harpsichordist was inaccurate, and the choir didn't keep in time with each other in "His yoke is easy". I would have to say, it was the worst performance of Handel's masterpiece I've attended; even the booklet hadn't been proofread, both omitting parts sung, and including parts not sung. I hope they improve for next year, otherwise I will offer them 80% of the ticket price, and not waste 20% of my money as I did this year.)

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Cistercian Elevation Chants

UPDATE: I have made a more accurate transcription of all three elevation chants.

The Cistercian Rite retained down to the liturgical changes of the 1960's the mediæval practice of singing an elevation motet after the elevation of the Host; and presumably all EF Masses in the Cistercian Rite still retain this laudable and pious custom. At Mass, after the chanted Sanctus, but before the Benedictus, the O salutaris Hostia is sung after the elevation; however, if it be Mass in honour of the Blessed Virgin, the Sanctus and Benedictus are sung first, and then the Ave verum after the elevation. The Cistercian version of the Ave verum includes a slight change in wording (fudit aquam cum, not fluxit aquam et), an additional last phrase (Tu nobis miserere, set to the same notes as fili Mariæ) and a few minor variants in the assignment of notes to syllables (for in exa- and …li Mari…).

At Requiem Masses, the Sanctus and Benedictus are sung first, then the Pie Jesu after the elevation. This last chant is particularly interesting, as it is clearly based on a variant tune for the last lines of the Sequence Dies iræ, which is not sung in the Cistercian liturgy. The invocation Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem is sung thrice, then sempiternam (from the Agnus Dei melody) is appended, with a final Amen. 

Herewith, the Cistercian O salutaris Hostia (whose melody is a slightly more elaborate variant of the Roman), Ave verum, and Pie Jesu:





At present, I like to silently pray these three in succession after the Elevation, during the silent Canon of the Mass.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Christus Rex Pilgrimage Diary

This year, I kept note of my experiences on the Christus Rex Pilgrimage… on which the following are based.

I flew out of Tasmania to Victoria just after 2 pm on Thursday 22nd October, and dallied at the airport till Simon collected me at five o'clock in his already pilgrim-filled minivan. I was dropped off at my hotel in Ballarat a little after 6:15 pm, and then attended the sung Requiem (advertised for 7 pm, but beginning at 7:17 pm) at the Cathedral, just around the corner. The full Gregorian propers were chanted, along with extra verses for the Introit, and the whole De profundis, interspersed with the repetend of the Lux æterna, at Communion time, after which the choir sang Anerio's polyphonic version of the Requiem Introit. About the only slight suggestion I would venture is that an extra verse or two of the Offertory could with advantage be chanted, in order to fill up the time. The Missa cantata concluded with the recessional hymn "The day thou gavest, Lord, is ended".

A little later, having registered, I had dinner and a pint or two with Hugh at a local Irish pub, before walking to a nearby supermarket for breakfast supplies.

Friday morning began very early for me, at 5 am, as I wanted to be properly organised for the pilgrimage. I headed to the Cathedral at 6:10 am, and after the usual announcements and greetings from 6:30 am onwards, Solemn High Mass (Votive of the Holy Cross) began at 6:45 am. In addition to Mass IV and the Gregorian Propers, the choir sang Guerrero's Per signum crucis and Byrd's Ave verum. Mass concluded just after eight o'clock, followed at once by the blessing of pilgrims, so we all left the Cathedral and began walking after eight thirty.

I believe there were a little under 400 pilgrims this year.

The walk out from central Ballarat, via the cemetery, was pleasant, as was the climb up through the hills to the north. We stopped in the forest for morning tea at 11:15 am, and reached Creswick for lunch at 2 pm. A few of us, unwilling to face the unappetising Subway vegetarian rolls provided, had a fasting lunch with beer at an establishment on the main street, before rejoining the pilgrims at 3:15 pm.

The afternoon route was a change to that taken on previous years, and was most attractive, taking us across gently rising country through to Kingston (where we stopped for afternoon tea at 5 pm). At 6:45 pm, just a quarter hour from Smeaton, I was collected by car and taken to the mobile chapel, since Fr Rowe required a server for his Low Mass, but apart from that I walked the whole day quite comfortably.

After Mass, we spent from 7:15 to 8:30 in putting up the tent and so forth, before joining the rest for the pilgrim meal, then a drink at the pub and so to bed at 10:30 pm.

Saturday morning I arose at 5:30 am, and after the usual pilgrim breakfast we all resumed walking just before 7:15 am. Morning tea break was at 8:40 am (a little ahead of schedule), and then we walked on to Campbelltown, reaching it at 11:15 am. High Mass coram episcopo (Votive of Our Lady Help of Christians, Patroness of Australia) lasted from 11:48 am to 1:18 pm. The music was sublime: as always, the full chanted Propers, with Mass IX, enhanced by the Slavonic Sub tuum during the Offertory, the polyphonic Czech Sanctus, Josquin dez Prez's magnificent motet Ave Maria… Virgo serena at Communion, and O sanctissima to conclude; the choir then sang the Romantic Panis angelicus as a fitting meditation after Communion.

Lunch followed, then some of us caught a lift a bit less than a kilometre up the road and quenched our thirst at the Black Duck Tavern from 2 to 2:30 pm.

The walk across three hills to Sandon was tiring as always, but we reached the Catholic cemetery there at 4:30 pm, and conducted the usual devotions in supplication for the faithful departed, before the afternoon tea break there. At 5:22, we pushed on to Newstead, arriving fairly exhausted (if I do say so myself) at 7:05 pm. Again, putting up the tent and then lining up for a shower took a long time, and we didn't get dinner till nearly nine o'clock; I had planned to go for a beer at the pub but was completely done in and went to bed by a quarter to ten.

On Sunday, my alarm rang at 5:30 am, and strangely I didn't have to wait so long to access the shower! By six I was back at the tent, which had to be taken down of course, before heading to breakfast at 6:45 am. We were on the buses by 7:20 and headed off via Maldon at 7:34, beginning our last day's walk at Mulberry Lane at 8:13 am. Our morning tea stop was reached at 9:40 am, and after crossing the last hills we lunched at Kangaroo Flat at 12:40 am. An hour later we headed off to Sacred Heart Cathedral, reaching it at 2:55 pm.

The Bishop of Sandhurst welcomed us to his cathedral with the usual blessing, and after prayers Pontifical High Mass was sung by the retired Bishop of Christchurch. A glorious Mass indeed, with Missa Papæ Marcelli and many beautiful motets, such as Palestrina's Sicut cervus, concluded at 5 pm. The organist played Widor's Toccata as the recessional. After Mass, again the thirty-strong choir couldn't resist singing a few more motets…

As David remarked, no cathedral in Australia would have such splendid liturgy ordinarily.

Having prayed, and then collected my bags, I checked into the adjoining motel and freshened up, before walking over to the Queen's Arms for the après-pèlerinage dinner. The establishment was absolutely packed, with two bishops and priests galore alongside the many laity, and a good time (and many a refreshing beverage) was had by all.

On Monday morning, a final High Mass (of the feria) was sung at 9:10 am, followed by, not the expected buffet brunch, but lunch at the nearby National Hotel from about eleven o'clock onwards. My ride to the airport departed a little after 1 pm. I arrived there at 2:45, and tried to change to an earlier flight, but given bad weather I had no change but to keep to my earlier booking. Instead, I wandered the airport (how boring that place can be!), and my flight was delayed till 8:30, and I didn't get home from the airport until a few minutes past ten at night.

Another wonderful Christus Rex Pilgrimage: I look forward to next year!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Off on Pilgrimage

Tomorrow I head off to Ballarat, there to embark on the annual Christus Rex Pilgrimage to Bendigo. It is the 25th Pilgrimage, and will be my seventh. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Nativitas tua Dei Genitrix Virgo

The Magnificat antiphon for the Feast of Our Lady's Nativity, Nativitas tua Dei Genitrix Virgo, is a translation of the Apolytikion of the Feast in the Byzantine Liturgy (Ἡ γέννησίς σου Θεοτόκε, χαρὰν ἐμήνυσε πάσῃ τῇ οικουμένῃ, ἐκ σοῦ γὰρ ἀνέτειλεν ὁ Ἥλιος τῆς δικαιοσύνης, Χριστὸς ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν, καὶ λύσας τὴν κατάραν, ἔδωκε τὴν εὐλογίαν, καὶ καταργήσας τὸν θάνατον, ἐδωρήσατο ἡμῖν ζωὴν τὴν αἰώνιον.).

Its Gregorian chant melody is interesting to me because it resembles a very ornate psalm-tone (rather in the style of that of the Ambrosian Transitorium Te laudamus Domine omnipotens), which I transcribe as follows, breaking the chant into sense-lines to reveal the repeated motifs:

Note that the first and fourth lines are all but identical as regards the chant, while the second, third and fifth lines are the same from the climacus (five descending notes) onwards, and after the quarter bar are all but the same as the first and fourth lines, just as the beginnings of the first and fourth (but for the climacus) resemble that of the second and to a lesser extent the fifth, while at the same time the beginnings of the third line is quite different in melody.

In the Dominican Rite, this antiphon is (or was) used also for Our Lady's Visitation and Presentation, as well as for other Marian feasts, in each case changing the word Nativitas into, respectively, Visitatio,  Præsentatio, and Solemnitas. Likewise, in the Monastic Breviary, the same is done for the feast of Our Lady's Maternity, changing Nativitas into Maternitas (and ending the chant at Christus Deus noster).

We had a lovely OF parish Mass in the evening of the Feast yesterday; perhaps next year our schola can learn this chant and sing it either at Mass or Benediction.