Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Holy Name

While I kept the Feast of the Most Holy Name of JESUS yesterday, since I was praying the 1962 Breviary (altho' I didn't get round to it till late at night after a very busy day!), in the modern Roman Rite the same feast (as an optional memorial) falls today, rather than attaching to the Sunday between the 2nd and the 5th inst., or failing that, on the 2nd; and the modern Martyrology declares:

Sanctissimi Nominis Jesu, in quo solo omne flectatur genu, cælestium, terrestrium et infernorum, ad gloriam divinæ majestatis.

(Of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, at which alone every knee shall bend, of celestials, of terrestrials and of infernals*, to the glory of the divine majesty.  [Cf. Phil. ii, 10-11.])

[*i.e. "of those who are in heaven, on earth, and in hell" – my little joke.]

This reminds me: one of the many things I like about the modern Divine Office is the inclusion of New Testament canticles at Vespers; and I liked to genuflect at the words Ut in nomine Jesu omne genu flectatur, cælestium, terrestrium, et infernorum, which appear each Saturday in the cancticle from Philippians ii, 6-11; I based this on the rubric requiring this genuflection at the same words when read on Palm Sunday (and on the feasts of the Holy Cross) as part of the Epistle at the Traditional Mass.

I also try to maintain the formerly universal Catholic custom of bowing the head at the name of Jesus.  It is a sad sign of secularization that this salutary practice has become so rare.

Today's a good day (especially since I hardly celebrated the Feast yesterday) to pray the Litanies of the Most Holy Name; also a good day to delight in the moving Office hymns – Jesu Rex admirabilis (at Matins), Jesu decus angelicum (at Lauds), and Jesu dulcis memoria (at Vespers)  – proper to the (Traditional version) of the feast, drawn from the Jubilus Rhythmicus (wrongly) attributed to St Bernard.

Certain versicles in the Office, widely used elsewhere in the Church's Liturgy, have great appeal also:

V/.   Sit nomen Domini benedictum.
R/.  Ex hoc nunc et usque in sæculum.  (Ps 112:2)

V/.  Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini.
R/.  Qui fecit cælum et terram.  (Ps 123:8)

V/.  Magnificate Dominum mecum.
R/.  Et exaltemus nomen ejus in idipsum.  (Ps 33:4)

Domine, Dominus noster, quam admirabile est nomen tuum in universa terra!  (Ps 8:2)

Ego autem in Domino gaudebo, et exsultabo in Deo Jesu meo.  (Hab.  iii, 18)

The last sentence - the 3rd antiphon at Vespers – is unique in that it is the actual Vulgate rendering of "But I will rejoice in the Lord, and exalt in God my Saviour": for that is the import of the Name Jesus.

This also reminds me of the pious customs for those at Sunday or festal Vespers to bow their heads (and doff their birettas...) at the half-verses Sanctum et terribile nomen ejus and Sit nomen Domini benedictum in Psalms 110 and 112, and even at et sanctum nomen ejus in the Magnificat.

Yesterday's Postcommunion at Mass in the extraordinary form is quite unusual:

Omnipotens æterne Deus, qui creasti et redemisti nos, respice propitius vota nostra: et sacrificium salutaris hostiæ, quod in honorem nominis Filii tui, Domini nostri Jesu Christi, majestati tuæ obtulimus, placido et benigno vultu suscipere digneris; ut gratia tua nobis infusa, sub glorioso nomine Jesu, æternæ prædestinationis titulo gaudeamus nomina nostra scripta esse in cælis.  Per eumdem Dominum...

(Almighty eternal God, Who hast created and redeemed us, graciously regard our prayers: and deign to receive with a placid and benign countenance the sacrifice of the saving Victim which we have offered unto Thy Majesty, in honour of the Name of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ; that Thy grace being poured forth into us,  we may rejoice at our names to be written in heaven under the glorious Name of Jesus as a title of eternal predestination.  Thro' the same...)

"For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved."  (Acts iv, 12.)

No comments: