Monday, May 12, 2008


Having just prayed Vespers in our chapel - Trad. Vespers, from the '62 Breviary, to make a festive end to a holy day - I must blog at least on the magnificent Magnificat antiphon:

Hodie completi sunt dies Pentecostes, alleluja:
hodie Spiritus Sanctus in igne discipulis apparuit,
et tribuit eis charismatum dona;
misit eos in universum mundum praedicare, et testificari:
Qui crediderit et baptizatus fuerit,
salvus erit, alleluia.

This is one of several antiphons in the Roman Rite that betray, by their style and their very beginning with the word Hodie, 'this very day', translating Σημερον, their origin in the Byzantine Greek Liturgy. They offer a synthesis of the mystery of each feast, as it affects us men and effects our salvation. Today, sings the Church, with this, the fiftieth day of Eastertide, the Paschal Mystery of Man's Redemption was brought to its intended completion, for - this very day - the Holy Ghost appeared in fire and bestowed charismatic gifts, sending forth the disciples to preach to and teach the whole world, that whosoever believe and is baptized shall be saved, praise God!

Other examples include:

  • the Epiphany antiphons Hodie cælesti Sponso juncta est Ecclesia and Tribus miraculis ornatum diem sanctum colimus;
  • the Christmas Vesper antiphon Hodie Christus natus est, plus the first two Matins responsories of that great feast, and its Day Mass Alleluia verse;
  • the Vesper anthem Hodie Simon Petrus ascendit crucis patibulum for the 29th of June, SS Peter and Paul;
  • the Magnificat anthem Hodie beata Virgo Maria puerum Jesum præsentavit for the Purification of Our Lady and Presentation of Our Lord, on the 2nd of February; and
  • the Marian anthems for the Magnificat - the latter possibly new compositions, or adapted from earlier sources - Hodie Maria Virgo cælos ascendit, Hodie egressa est virga de radice Jesse, and Hodie gloriosa cæli Regina in terris apparuit for the 15th of August, 8th of December and 11th of February.


The Holy Ghost has a twofold mission: to teach, govern and sanctify the Church, which is Holy because He, her Inspiration, is Holy; and to strengthen, comfort, console and sanctify each faithful soul, that He may save each one. (This was the theme of Fr Rowe's sermon today.)

After sleeping in, I arrived at the Pro. after the sung Mass, took the chance to say Office of Readings plus Lauds and go to confession for the first time in three weeks, then decided to skip the impending Low Mass and instead go sing at Fr's 2pm Missa cantata at Good Shepherd, Kelmscott. This gave me a chance to catch up with my friends who gather for coffee &c. after my usual Mass!

I did indeed reach Kelmscott, and was glad to join their new Latin choir, to sing with them at their first Mass. I really love Pentecost, and the Mass is superb - it is such a solemn moment when all kneel, priest, servers, choir and people, as the cantor sings Veni sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium, et tui amoris in eis ignem accende -

- and then all rise and the Golden Sequence Veni sancte Spiritus rolls forth, amplifying the cry of the Alleluia verse preceding it (Veni sancte Spiritus... Reple cordis... tuorum fidelium...). For Communion, we sang that vigorous chant, Factus est repente de cælo sonus with psalm verses. Before the Vidi aquam, "O breathe on me, Breath of God"; at Offertory, Veni Creator Spiritus (to gain today's plenary indulgence for its public recitation); and after Mass, one of my most favourite hymns, "Come down, O Love Divine".

Justin invited me to join him and his Dad for dinner, so I gave him a lift home, and had a good conversation about all manner of things, including much about St Gregory Nazianzen, whom he has studied in the past and hopes to study some more, when he can resume his postgraduate researches soon.

He told me the following odd tale: while living in Melbourne in 2004, he and his sister Isabel, going for an evening stroll in Elwood, saw a broken refrigerator awaiting the rubbish collectors on the kerb; they saw it had some fridge magnets on it, which on a whim they took home. But these magnets each bore a word, and after much discussion and rearrangement they found that these could only spell out one sentence, and that an unusual and most religious one:

Gorgeous elaborate worship, you have true produce above.

What do you make of that?

And now, a Hoegaarden beer and then to bed.

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