Wednesday, May 21, 2008

1st Vespers of Corpus Christi coram Sanctissimo

I had a bright idea - doubtless an illumination of my intellect by the Holy Ghost, as Fr Paul Newton once taught me - on the way home: I popped into the church at Highgate, which has a large and well-appointed perpetual adoration chapel (only two candles on the altar though, sigh!), and there I prayed 1st Vespers of Corpus Christi before Our Divine Lord, truly present in the Sacrament of His Love. I think the secondary cause of my coming there was my noticing the rubric, to the effect that if the Hour were read before the Blessed Sacrament exposed, one should kneel for the stanza Tantum ergo Sacramentum of the office hymn - which I therefore did, with a glad heart.


The antiphons of this Office repay careful attention; for they are the careful compositions of St Thomas Aquinas, composed as he meditated on the Sacred Scripture and Psalmody of the Church, and which have parallels in the Dominican antiphons for such feasts as that of St Stephen, in that each is based on the text of the psalm that it accompanies, while giving it a further nuance - for instance, according to the traditional reading of the Church, she herself is mentioned in the fourth and fifth antiphons as she whose children are as young shoots of the olive around the Lord's Table, she whose borders have been granted peace by the Lord:

Sacérdos in ætérnum * Christus Dóminus secúndum órdinem Melchísedech, panem et vinum óbtulit. (Cf. Ps 109:4; Gen. xiv, 18; Heb., passim)

Miserátor Dóminus * escam dedit timéntibus se in memóriam suórum mirabílium. (Cf. Ps 110:4b-5a,4a)

Cálicem salutáris * accípiam : et sacrificábo hóstiam laudis. (Ps 115:13a,17a)

Sicut novéllæ olivárum, * Ecclésiæ fílii sint in circúitu mensæ Dómini. (Cf. Ps 127:3b)

Qui pacem * ponit fines Ecclésiæ, fruménti ádipe sátiat nos Dóminus. (Cf. Ps 147:14)

O quam suávis est, * Dómine, spíritus tuus, qui, ut dulcédinem tuam in fílios demonstráres, pane suavíssimo de cælo præstito, esuriéntes reples bonis, fastidiósos dívites dimíttens inánes. (Cf. Wisdom xii, 1; xvi, 21, 20; St Luke i, 53)


While today I attended a less than ideal Novus Ordo, tomorrow there will be a 6.30pm Missa Cantata at the Pro., with Quartessence come to sing the chant and a polyphonic Mass, while beforehand, from after the 12.10pm Low Mass, there will be Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, so hopefully I can come and worship, praying the Hours and more, and get Benediction as well. It will be great, and a holy feast, a very small yet real foretaste of heaven, where we shall love and doxologize God evermore: which I pray God grant me and all men, of His infinite mercy and love.


UPDATE: I only realized much later that today was the anniversary of Fr Michael Rowe's ordination to the sacred priesthood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in 1994. Ad multos annos!

No comments: