Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Jacta cogitatum tuum

I realize that, contrary to my custom, I posted nothing about Sunday Mass just past, for the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost. (BTW, a nice lady thanked us guys in the choir for our singing, so we were all rather pleased!) Fr Rowe, given the Gospel, of course preached to us concerning Our Lord the Good Shepherd, leaving the 99 - the angels - to search out the stray sheep - the fallen human race. What struck me, however, was the text in verse 7 of the Epistle (I S. Peter v, 6-11), and its mirror in the soaring music of the opening of the Gradual (Ps 54:23), as it were reflecting upon the cure (both care and healing) of souls that is in the hands of the Lord our Shepherd:

...omnem sollicitudinem vestram projicientes in eum, quoniam ipsi cura est de vobis. ...

[πᾶσαν τὴν μέριμναν ὑμῶν ἐπιρίψαντες ἐπ᾽ αὐτόν, ὅτι αὐτῷ μέλει περὶ ὑμῶν.]

(...all your care casting upon Him, for He hath care of you. ...)

Jacta cogitatum tuum in Domino: et ipse te enutriet. ...

[ἐπίρριψον ἐπί Κύριον την μέριμνάν σου και αὐτός σε διαθέψει...]

(Cast thy care upon the Lord and He shall sustain thee. ...)

This latter line from the Psalms recurred today while I was saying Terce, and I have long since pencilled in the margin against this verse to highlight it; ever since the text first struck me, quite possibly when first in a schola singing the chant at Mass back in Hobart in the mid- to late nineties. Interestingly, the phrase recurs in the Introit Cum clamarem for the 10th Sunday after Pentecost, which may be where I remember the text from, since we tended to psalm-tone the Graduals as too hard, while we did by and large chant the Introits to their proper tone.

The verb in question is jactare, together with its parallel jácere's derivative projicere (behind which lies the Greek ῥίπτω and ἐπιρίπτω): the image is that of the throwing of a lance toward a target. What used to be called ejaculatory prayers are named after the same concept of casting one's cares upon the Lord, that He hear, heed and help.

It also reminds me of the gloss upon the rather distressing end of Psalm 136, concerning dashing the little ones against the rock (verse 9): this must be understood as dashing one's evil thoughts against our Rock, Who is Christ, thereby mortifying our passions and aspiring to the angelic life. (So avers my Douay-Rheims Bible's notes, anyway.)

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