Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter Joy

Today, after Confession, and praying Prime and some of Terce, I served the 12:10pm Mass for Fr Terence; strangely, only about four communicants presented themselves at the rails, but all was explained when I heard that the other two priests had said their Masses at 11am and 11:30 respectively! To prepare the better for his own Mass, Fr Terence had served the previous one. After the Sacrifice, I said the remainder of Terce, and Sext, as my thanksgiving. After lunch with our priests and some others, I finally got to None while in my car in the carwash...

Some Easter treasures from our Holy Mother the Church:

(1) the Paschal Vesper hymn (from Low Sunday onwards) Ad regias Agni dapes -

- which, in its modern recension in the Divine Office is the Ad cenam Agni providi, but, as used by the Dominicans and Benedictines is this Ad cenam Agni providi following, which has about half its verses (marked with the asterisk *) different to that in the modern books, let alone to the version in the Roman Breviary since Urban VIII:

Ad cenam Agni providi
* Et stolis albis candidi,
Post transitum Maris Rubri
Christo canamus principi.

Cujus corpus sanctissimum,
In ara crucis torridum:
*Cruore ejus roseo
*Gustando vivimus Deo.

Protecti Paschæ vespere
A devastante Angelo,
*Erepti de durissimo
*Pharaonis imperio.

Jam Pascha nostrum Christus est,
*Qui immolatus Agnus est:
Sinceritatis azyma
*Caro ejus oblatus est.

*O vere digna hostia,
Per quam fracta sunt tartara,
*Redempta plebs captivata,
*Reddita vitæ præmia!

Consurgit Christus tumulo,
Victor redit de barathro,
Tyrannum trudens vinculo,
*Et reserans paradisum.

*Quæsumus, Auctor omnium,
*In hoc paschali gaudio
*Ab omni mortis impetu
*Tuum defende populum.

*Gloria tibi, Domine,
*Qui surrexisti a mortuis,
*Cum Patre et Sancto Spiritu
In sempiterna sæcula. Amen.

(At the Lamb's high feast we sing
Praise to our victorious King,
Who hath washed us in the tide
Flowing from His pierced side.

(Praise we Him whose love divine
Gives the guests His Blood for wine,
Gives His Body for the feast,
Love the victim, love the priest.

(Where the Paschal blood poured,
Death's dark Angel sheathes his sword;
Israel's hosts triumphant go
Through the wave that drowns the foe.

(Christ, the Lamb whose Blood was shed,
Paschal victim, Paschal bread;
With sincerity and love
Eat we manna from above.

(Mighty Victim from the sky,
Powers of hell beneath Thee lie;
Death is conquered in the fight;
Thou hast brought us life and light.

(Now Thy banner Thou dost wave;
Vanquished Satan and the grave;
Angels join His praise to tell—
See o'erthrown the prince of hell.

(Paschal triumph, Paschal joy,
Only sin can this destroy;
From the death of sin set free,
Souls re-born, dear Lord, in Thee.

(Hymns of glory, songs of praise,
Father, unto Thee we raise;
Risen Lord, all praise to Thee,
Ever with the Spirit be.)

That great Pope, St Pius V, died while reciting the second-last verse: "We beseech Thee, O Author of all, in this [time of] Easter joy, from all motions of death to defend Thy people". I like to use this, and the fifth verse (but in the modern version - "O true, worthy Victim, by Whom Hell was smashed, a captive people redeemed, the prize of life returned!"), as my adoration at the Elevations in Paschaltide:

O vera, digna hostia,
Per quam franguntur tartara,
Captiva plebs redimitur,
Redduntur vitæ præmia!

Quæsumus, Auctor omnium,
In hoc paschali gaudio
Ab omni mortis impetu
Tuum defende populum.

(2) The passage from Colossians iii, 1-4, used as the Epistle at the Mass of the Easter Vigil, the first half of which, down to terram (vv. 1-2) is used at Prime daily:

Si consurrexistis cum Christo: quæ sursum sunt quærite, ubi Christus est in dextera Dei sedens:
quæ sursum sunt sapite, non quæ super terram.
Mortui enim estis, et vita vestra est abscondita cum Christo in Deo.
Cum Christus apparuerit, vita vestra: tunc et vos apparebitis cum ipso in gloria.

If you be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above; where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God:
Mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth.
For you are dead; and your life is hid with Christ in God.
When Christ shall appear, who is your life, then you also shall appear with him in glory.

(3) The collects for Easter Monday and Easter Tuesday:

Deus, qui solemnitate paschali, mundo remedia contulisti: populum tuum, quæsumus, cælesti dono prosequere; ut et perfectam libertatem consequi mereamur, et ad vitam proficiat sempiternam. Per...

(O God, who in the Paschal solemnity hast given a remedy to the world: we beseech Thee, further Thy people by heavenly gift, that they may both deserve to obtain perfect freedom, and profit unto life everlasting. Through...)

- This remedy, this celestial gift, is saving baptism, bestowed at the solemn Paschal vigil, by which alone, set free from sin's slavery, we may be set free in Christ (woe if we fall away! cf. Gal. iv, 31 - v, 1) and attain in Him eternal life -

Deus, qui Ecclesiam tuam novo semper fœtu multiplicas: concede famulis tuis: ut sacramentum vivendo teneant, quod fide perceperunt. Per...

(O God, who dost ever multiply Thy Church with new offspring: grant unto Thy servants, that they may keep hold of for living the sacrament, which by faith they received. Through...)

- The Sacraments, including Baptism, are sacraments of faith, for without faith they profit us not; and likewise, if the sacraments not be relied on and kept hold of that we may live by their grace, they are likewise profitless and serve only to merit us punishments for our falling away and abandonment of them, as we run heedlessly from life into death.

(4) The marvellous Easter Preface:

Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, te quidem, Domine, omni tempore, sed in hoc potissimum die (vel in hoc potissimum) gloriosus prædicare, cum Pascha nostra immolatus est Christus. Ipse enim verus est agnus, qui abstulit peccata mundi; qui mortem nostram moriendo destruxit, et vitam resurgendo reparavit. Et ideo cum angelis et archangelis, cum thronis et dominationibus, cumque omni militia cælestis exercitus, hymnum gloriæ tuæ canimus, sine fine dicentes: Sanctus...

(It is truly meet and just, right and salutary, to praise Thee, O Lord, at all times, but more especially on this day [or at this time] when Christ out Pasch was sacrificed [cf. I Cor. v, 7]. For he is the true lamb that hath taken away the sins of the world [cf. St John i, 29]; who by dying destroyed our death, and by rising again hath restored our life. And therefore with angels and archangels, with thrones and dominations, and with all the heavenly host, we sing a hymn to Thy glory, saying without ceasing: Holy...)

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