Saturday, August 2, 2008


Mass at the Pro. this evening (after the First Friday Holy Hour) was of the Chains of St Peter. While still subsisting as an option (!) in the 1962 Missal, Bugnini & co. had removed it from the Breviary. Today is in fact a triple feast: in England of yore, it was the harvest festival (Lammas derives from hlæf-masse, "loaf Mass"); it is the feast of St Peter ad vincula; and today we commemorate the Holy Machabees, famous Martyrs of Old Testament times.

In any case, the Alleluia verse and Collect sum up the principal mystery represented very well, as does the extract from St Augustine formerly read at Matins as Lessons vii and viii:

Alleluja, alleluja. V/. Solve, jubénte Deo, terrárum, Petre, caténas, qui facis ut páteant cæléstia regna beátis. Alleluja.

(Loosen, at the command of God, the chains of the earth, Peter, who openest the heavenly kingdom to the blessed.)

Deus, qui beátum Petrum Apóstolum, a vínculis absolútum, illæsum abíre fecísti: nostrórum, quæsumus, absólve víncula peccatórum ; et ómnia mala a nobis propitiátus exclúde. Per...

(O God, Who didst loose blessed Peter Apostle from his chains and didst make him to go forth unharmed: loose, we beseech thee, the chains of our sins, and in thy mercy keep us from all evil. Through...)

Peter was the only one of the Apostles who was worthy to hear the words: Verily, I say unto thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church. Worthy indeed must he be, who, when the nations are to be built up into a Temple of God, is chosen as the ground-stone whereon the building is to stand: the pillar whereby it is to be held up, and the key wherethrough entrance is to be made into the kingdom. Concerning him the Word of God saith: That they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and counches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. If the shadow of his body then could give help, how much more shall the fulness of his strength give help now? If the very air, as he passed by, was then profitable to such as besought him, how much more shall his favour profit where now he abideth? It is with reason that, throughout all the Churches of Christ, the iron chains wherewith he was afflicted are reckoned more precious than gold.

If his shadow as a visitor was so healthful, what is his chain now that he bindeth and looseth? If his empty image in the air had healing power, how much power must have been contracted from his body by those chains, whose iron weight sank into his holy limbs during his suffering? If, before he testified, he was so mighty to aid them that called upon him, how much mightier is he now since his victory? Blessed were the links, doomed to be changed from fetters and shackles, into a crown, which by touching the Apostle, made him a Martyr. Blessed were the chains, whose prisoner left them for the Cross of Christ, and which brought him thither, not as the instruments of condemnation, but of sanctification.

No comments: