Sunday, March 16, 2008

Three Masses

I am going to do what I have never done, and omit all today's Office except for Compline. After singing at the 9.15am High Mass (which ended at 11am), then driving some of the reverend clergy out to Kelmscott for to join them in singing at the Missa Cantata there (2.05pm till about 3.25pm), returning to Fr Rowe's place and rustling up food and drink for three, then going over to St Bridget's to help ferry church supplies for a funeral there tomorrow, and, last but not least, driving back to the Pro. to serve a Low Mass for a visiting priest who had bolstered the choir for the earlier Masses, I really think I've done enough for to-day.

If more than one Mass relieves priests of their obligation to the Office, by the same logic a layman nowise bound thereto (but for his love thereof) may without scruple - indeed, in order to prevent and abolish any scruple - most rationally omit it, after singing at two and serving one. So I shall.

As for today's music - 'twas great to sing the Pueri Hebræorum (both chants), the Gloria laus et honor, and - albeit it with difficulty and mistakes, owing to lack of practice - the Proper of the Mass. I really stuffed up the Communion, since we were to sing psalm-verses with it (in itself, it's easy), and fitting the Introit-style psalm-tone to unseen text was a bit much for me; I've asked my betters to shush me lest I ruin something like that again, rather than realize I shouldn't blunder on, mea culpa.

High Mass, BTW, was unique in that it featured 2½ priests - Fr Holmes, the subdeacon, had another Mass to say elsewhere, and had to doff his tunicle and speed away after the Passion had been read, leaving Fr Terence Mary Naughtin O.F.M. Conv. (here to assist for Holy Week and Easter Week) to make do with Fr Rowe as deacon sine subdiacono!

Strange to say, singing Mass was much easier second time round! - especially as we psalm-toned not just the Tract, but the Gradual and Offertory as well. This left time to sing the superb Vexilla regis at the offertory, and the simple tone of the Stabat Mater at Communion: both are among my favourite hymns.

Oh, and at both Masses we sang "All glory, laud and honour" while the priest revested for Mass after the Procession, and at the second Mass we ended with "Hail Redeemer, King Divine". Fr Rowe had preached a fervorino, reminding us that the Procession with palms has no purpose other than to glorify the kingship and victory of God and His Christ, and our bearing the palms is to summon us to imitate the saints, oft portrayed (the martyrs in especial, as is most proper) holding the palm of victory - would that we may so walk as to persevere in this unto death, unto the gates of the new and eternal Jerusalem, that we may with all the angels and saints forever celebrate the triumph of Our Lord in heaven.

Serving a private Low Mass was a last delight today: it struck me how the Roman liturgy (since the solemn ceremony of Good Friday is sui generis, and not a Mass) uses today - and also the coming Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week - to offer the Sacrifice in special memory of the Passion, and hearing the appointed short Gospel of the Crucifixion and Death of Christ our God (St Matthew xxvii, 45-52) and the proper Last Gospel of His Entry into Jerusalem (St Matthew xxi, 1-9 - that of the Palms otherwise), after the earlier, longer ceremonies helped crystallize the importance of this day.

1 comment:

Mark said...

I am honestly having problems keeping up with the Office these days. I make sure that if I omit an hour, that it is "commuted" to something else, e.g. Morning Offering and other prayers in the morning, Angelus at lunchtime, Rosary in the evening, de profundis at night... that kind of thing. Interesting to know that 2+ Masses allows for commutation... any reference material for this?

We had a beautiful blessing, procession and Mass today. You will probably see vidoes here in a few days.

Good to hear you serving Low Mass. We don't seem to have servers in the private ones in the House.

God bless,
Mark