Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Why St John?

Guéranger answers my question of why Rome holds St John the Baptist as one of her principal patrons: the Cathedral of Rome, though originally dedicated to Our Saviour, came very many centuries ago to be known mainly as St John Lateran - and, although the Evangelist is also associated with it, this name refers in the first place to the Baptist. This is the more remarkable when one considers that neither St Peter's on the Vatican Hill, nor St Paul's Outside the Walls were designated the seat of the Bishop of Rome, despite the fact that these two Princes of the Apostles died for Christ at Rome.

Formerly, as at Christmas, there were three Masses on his feast, at midnight, dawn and Terce; moreover, the Leonine Sacramentary has two more Masses ad Fontem for neophytes, since once baptism was solemnly conferred on this day, as otherwise only at Epiphany, Easter and Pentecost.

It seemed to me a pity not to have a proper Preface at Mass for St John; here is that from the 1738 Paris Missal:

VD... Deus:
Qui nos de Præcursoris Unigeniti tui nativitate gaudere fecisti. Ipse enim fuit lucerna ardens et lucens: ipse est Elias venturus: ipse et quo inter natos mulierum nullus major, affirmante Unigenito tuo servatore nostro;
Per quem...

Oh, and I am not so opposed to the NO as to despise its Preface for St John the Baptist, except for its eschatocol (the part at the end about our joining with the carolling angels), which for this Preface is a bit anemic; as should be better known, it is permissible to use some of the modern Prefaces with the TLM, and this is no bad thing, whatever conspiratologists may imagine; consider the elegant Latin of the NO Preface:

VD... per XDN:
In cujus Præcursore beato Joanne
tuum magnificentiam collaudamus,
quem inter natos mulierum honore præcipuo consecrasti.
Qui cum nascendo multa gaudia præstitisset,
et nondum editus exsultasset ad humanæ salutis adventum,
ipse solus omnium prophetarum
Agnum redemptionis ostendit.
Sed et sanctificandis etiam aquæ fluentis
ipsum baptismatis lavit auctorem,
et meruit fuso sanguine supremum illi testimonium exhibere.
* Et ideo, cum cælorum Virtutibus, in terris te jugiter prædicamus, majestati tuæ sine fine clamantes:

* What I mean above is, the eschatocol Et ideo... above should be replaced with the fuller EF formula:

Et ideo, cum angelis et archangelis, cum thronis et dominationibus, cumque omni militia cælestis exercitus, hymnum gloriæ tuæ canimus, sine fine dicentes:

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