Friday, July 4, 2008

A First Friday

Great is God's grace and mercy: tonight I went to Confession and then heard Holy Mass at the Redemptorist Monastery (waiting for both of which gave me a chance to catch up on a lot of the Office as well). It was strange attending a Novus Ordo Mass after so long, but I braved it and found it fine - and it did afford me that special privilege of drinking the Most Precious Blood of Christ, one which I savour when available. As the old Redemptorist so rightly said in his short sermon, his Congregation was founded to minister to the most abandoned souls; as my Confessor had said before, God waits for us as did the Father of the Prodigal Son: two insights into Divine Mercy, that grace superabounding that St Alphonsus preached in the face of Jansenist cruelty.

Reading over the Matins of the Visitation, for reasons best known to myself - and rejoicing that, having appealed to Our Lady, my Confessor gave me the Magnficat as penance, which I repeated with joy while saying Vespers after making my Communion - I was struck by the Metaphrast's vigorous version of Chrysostom elucidating the joy of the still-enwombed Baptist at the near approach to him of the unborn Christ, which may with profit be read here. And how happy are the 1st and 4th Responsories, drawing upon the Canticle of Canticles and the Psalms to illustrate the wondrous synaxis of Our Lady and St Elizabeth, of Christ and the Baptist -

R/. i. Surge, própera, amíca mea, formósa mea, et veni: jam enim hiems tránsiit, imber ábiit et recéssit: * Vox túrturis audíta est in terra nostra. V/. Intrávit María in domum Zacharíæ et salutávit Elísabeth. * Vox túrturis audíta est in terra nostra.

(R/. i. Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away : for lo the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; * Yea, the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our land. V/. Mary entered into the house of Zacharias and saluted Elisabeth. * Yea, the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our land.)

R/. iv. Ecce iste venit sáliens in móntibus, transíliens colles: * Símilis est diléctus meus cápreæ hinnulóque cervórum. V/. Exsultávit ut gigas ad curréndam viam, a summo cælo egréssio ejus. * Símilis est diléctus meus cápreæ hinnulóque cervórum.

(R/. iv. Behold he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills: * Like a roe or a young hart is my Beloved. V/. He rejoiceth as a giant to run his course, going forth from the uttermost part of the heaven. * Like a roe or a young hart is my Beloved.)

I also had the Matins of the Precious Blood before me (interestingly, I recognized the Lessons of the 2nd Nocturn, again from Chrysostom, as supplying the modern Office's 2nd Reading for Good Friday), and trusting in Our Lady's intercession and Our Lord's all-availing Blood I was much comforted.

Today, of course, marks the earth's aphelion from the Sun; by a mistake that I have just realized, I prayed the Breviary for the feast - which should in fact be kept tomorrow! - of St Antony Maria Zaccaria, founder of the Barnabites, or Clerks Regular of St Paul. Oh, well! I suppose repeating his Collect won't hurt me; it does after all ask for a most important grace:

Fac nos, Dómine Deus, supereminéntem Jesu Christi sciéntiam, spíritu Pauli Apóstoli edíscere; qua beátus Antónius María mirabíliter erudítus, novas in Ecclésia tua clericórum et vírginum famílias congregávit. Per eúmdem Dóminum...

Make us, Lord God, to learn the pre-eminent knowledge of Jesus Christ in the spirit of Paul the Apostle; by the which marvellously taught, blessed Anthony Mary established in thy Church new families of clerks and virgins. Through the same...

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