Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Subdeacon Preached

Quæritur: Would it cause admiratio to the simple faithful if a priest, qua subdeacon, preaches at Mass? For it is fitting in the case of a priest or deacon, but surely not in the case of the subdeacon...

Anyways, Fr Terence, acting as subdeacon, did dare to preach today, the transferred 1st-class feast of the Annunciation, and reminded us that the greater mystery and marvel of the Annunciation is not Our Lady's sublime Fiat, wondrous and instructive though it be, but the Incarnation of the Eternal Word - that God, the grand, the majestic, the immense, the infinite, He Who Is, should take upon Him flesh, should submit to the scandal of particularity, should enter into the Creation He Himself had wrought: what humility this teaches us, that God should be so humble.

Fr Richard sang the High Mass for Lady Day (Fr Rowe was deacon), including the Preface in the tonus solemnior. Especially today Our Lady's Preface was perfect for the occasion, as indeed were all the orations of the Mass, rich in the doctrine that she is the Theotokos, God's chosen instrument to bring forth our Saviour into the world, to consummate the whole economy of salvation by His incarnation, passion, and resurrection:

Deus, qui de beatæ Mariæ Virginis utero Verbum tuum, Angelo nuntiante, carnem suscipere voluisti: præsta supplicibus tuis; ut, qui vere eam Genitricem Dei credimus, ejus apud te intecessionibus adjuvemur. Per eumdem...

(O God, Who didst will Thy Word, at the message of an Angel, to take flesh in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary, grant unto thy suppliants, that we, who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be helped by her intercession with Thee. Thro' the same...)

In mentibus nostris, quæsumus, Domine, verae fidei sacramenta confirma: ut, qui conceptum de Virgine Deum verum et hominem confitemur; per ejus salutiferæ resurrectionis potentiam, ad æternam mereamur pervenire lætitiam. Per eumdem...

(Confirm in our hearts, we beseech Thee, Lord the mysteries of the true faith, that we. who confess Him conceived of the Virgin to be true God and man, may, by the power of His salvific resurrection, deserve to come unto eternal joy. Thro' the same...)

Vere dignum... Et te in Annuntiatione beatæ Mariæ semper Virginis collaudare, benedicere et prædicare. Quæ et Unigenitum tuum Sancti Spiritus obumbratione concepit: et, virginitatis gloria permanente, lumen æternum mundo effudit, Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum. Per quem...

(Truly worthy... And to together laud, bless and preach [or, proclaim] Thee, on the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Who both conceived Thy Onlybegotten by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost; and, the glory of her virginity remaining, brought forth to the world the light eternal, Jesus Christ our Lord. Through Whom...)

Gratiam tuam, quæsumus, Domine, mentibus nostris infunde: ut qui, Angelo nuntiante, Christi Filii tui incarnationem cognovimus; per passionem eius et crucem, ad resurrectionis gloriam perducamur. Per eumdem...

(Thus the well-known collect of the Angelus is in fact the postcommunion of this feast.)

Unfortunately, while I had carefully photocopied the Gregorian Propers, and chosen appropriate extra items to sing, Justin was unable to come, and singing the full Propers on my own is beyond me; so we had to have Missa de Angelis, rather than Cum jubilo, and Credo III (though I did manage the Deo gratias to the Ite missa est from Mass II), and I psalm-toned the Propers, doing a particularly botched-up job of the Introit. (Thankfully, it was only the Proper I had to do by myself: for the rest, Rosemary agreed to join me to form "the choir", and the people joined in too.) The rest was more or less alright: before Mass we sang "The Angel Gabriel from heaven came", a favourite of mine;

at the Offertory, Ave maris stella to a simple tune, followed by the simple versions of the Regina cæli and Ave Regina cælorum to fill up the time (I had been going to sing the Alma Redemptoris, but got stuck for the right note); at the Communion - which was short, there being only just over a dozen in the congregation, exclusive of choir and ministers - we sang the Ave verum (how appropriate); and after Mass the Lourdes Hymn of course, at which the people spontaneously sang in harmony!

Afterward, we all had dinner, beer and a good chin-wag at Fr Rowe's. Frs T. and R. depart tomorrow after helping out over Easter, while Peter (a sometime commenter on this blog), who served tonight, has just returned from visiting the Carmelite Monks of the Immaculate Heart in Wyoming, and is earnest upon trying his vocation there. Please pray for him.

No comments: