Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Ferial Mass, Deo Gratias

Having some devotion to the Good Shepherd, it was a great honour indeed to serve Fr Holmes' Low Mass at the Pro., at 6:30pm on this Monday, a feria, which therefore repeated the texts of the Sunday Mass. Furthermore, it was quite something to kneel close to the altar and attend to this Camillan priest as he said the Mass he was ordained for, his every gesture and word gently expressive of his attention and devotion. Fr Rowe is away on a priests' retreat this week, but I think I had my own moment of retreat and meditation in observing a priest in prayer, at God's altar. Ad multos annos, Pater!

I was struck once more by the orations of this Mass, which - along with the chants and readings - I had read over before hand, the better to serve without the distraction and encumbrance of a hand missal:

Deus, qui in Filii tui humilitate jacentem mundum erexisti: fidelibus tuis perpetuam concede lætitiam; ut, quos perpetuæ mortis eripuisti casibus, gaudiis facias perfrui sempiternis. Per eumdem...

(O God, Who didst raise up the fallen world by the humility of Thy Son, grant unto Thy faithful perpetual gladness, that those whom Thou hast delivered from the perils of endless death, Thou mayest make to enjoy eternal joys. Through the same...)

Benedictionem nobis, Domine, conferat salutarem sacra semper oblatio: ut, quod agit mysterio, virtute perficiat. Per...

(May the sacred oblation ever confer upon us, Lord, a blessing that worketh unto salvation: that, what it celebrates in mystery, it may perfect in power. Thro'...)

Præsta nobis, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus: ut vivificationis tuæ gratiam consequentes, in tuo semper munere gloriemur. Per...

(Grant unto us, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that receiving the grace of Thy enlivening and quickening, we may ever glory in Thy gift. Thro'...)

These three prayers of the sacred liturgy together present and compose a nice little catechesis: the world that fell through its mad irrational pride has been restored by the wise humility of the Incarnate God, delivering us from the threat of eternal death, that we may rejoice here and hereafter for ever - if God works in us both to will and to do. The sacrifice, the offering that is made holy (sacrum facere > sacrificium), we pray will accomplish in us the salvation that God offers us as His blessing, for this offering truly has the power to effect this, since what it represents in mystery, in sacramental form, is the very humbling unto death on the Cross of the Logos-made-flesh, which alone can save us from eternal death and give us endless delight. And so may we ever glory in the Holy Gifts to us of the Body and Blood of Christ, the Holies for His Saints (Sancta sanctis!), the sanctorum communio (the communion of holy things) for the sanctorum communio (the fellowship of holy persons), for these impart to us God's freely-given gift of a grace that gives us true supernatural life, a gift and a grace entirely beyond the natural order.

Furthermore, today in the new rite (I mean, O.F.) is the memorial of St John Baptist de la Salle, patron saint of teachers and schools.

And I cannot forbear to post the orations of the Mass of St Camillus de Lellis (18th July), in honour of the Founder of Fr Holme's congregation, since I used them as part of my thanksgiving after Mass; for a different perspective on them, I attach the translations provided in the 1796 "A Companion to the Altar, or Compact Pocket Missal" that I have in my possession:

Deus, qui sanctum Camillum, ad animarum in extremo agone luctantium subsidium, singulari caritatis prærogativa decorasti: ejus, quæsumus, meritis spiritum nobis tuae dilectionis infunde; ut in hora exitus nostri hostem vincere, et ad cælestem mereamur coronam pervenire. Per...

(O God, who didſt gloriouſly animate bleſſed Camillus with a ſingular charity in aſſiſting ſouls in their laſt agony: pour forth, we beſeech thee, into us, by his interceſſion, the ſpirit of thy love, that we may overcome the enemy at the hour of death, and arrive at a crown in heaven. Thro.')

Hostia immaculata, qua illud Domini nostri Jesu Christi immensæ caritatis opus renovamus, sit, Deus Pater omnipotens, sancto Camillo intercedente, contra omnes corporis et animæ infirmitates salutare remedium, et in extremo agone solatium et tutela. Per eumdem...

(Let the ſpotleſs victim, by the offering of which we renew the work our redemption, (the effect of the immenſe charity of Jeſus Chriſt) become for us, by the interceſſion of bleſſed Camillus, a ſalutary remedy againſt all our weakneſs of body and ſoul, and a comfort and defence in our laſt agony. Thro.')

Per hæc cælestia alimenta, quæ sancti Camilli Confessoris tui solemnia [commemoratione] celebrantes, pia devotione suscepimus: da, quæsumus, Domine; ut in hora mortis nostræ sacramentis refecti, et culpis omnibus expiati, in sinum misericordiae tuæ læti suscipi mereamur. Qui vivis et regnas...

(Grant, we beſeech thee, O Lord, by theſe heavenly myſteries, which we have received with piety and devotion on this feſtival [commemoration] of bleſſed Camillus, that we may be refreſhed with the ſame at the hour of death, and, being delivered from all ſin, be joyfully received into the boſom of thy mercy. Thro.' [sic;lege Who liveſt.])

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