Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Mass for the Nativity of Our Lady

"On the eighth of September St Anna gave birth
And all of the world was filled with joy and mirth."

- No, we didn't sing that cringeworthy couplet tonight!

Instead, after Fr Rowe heard some confessions (incl. yours truly's), we had a Missa Cantata at 6.30pm.  Rosemary and Fadi joined me to form the choir; as usual I cheated and sang the Rossini psalm-tone versions of the Propers.  I felt it best to be safe, so we used old faithful Missa de Angelis and Credo III: the thirty or so congregants obviously approved, since they sang up well.  At the Offertory, we sang Ave maris stella and the simple Salve, and at Communion Ave verum - for obvious reasons.  Owing to a overzealous choirmaster (me), anxious to launch straight into the Ave maris stella, the Offertory verse was accidentally left out - so I sang it at Communion together with the real Communion!  For a processional, we sang "Maiden yet a Mother, Daughter of thy Son" (a lovely Englishing by Mgr Knox of Dante's prayer of St Bernard to the Virgin in Canto XXXIII of his Paradiso - see below), and for a recessional, the very popular "Hail Queen of heaven".  After Mass, which ended punctually in just under an hour, Fr Rowe returned to the altar rails to enroll five persons in the Brown Scapular, which he had commended inter alia in his sermon (in which he had also encouraged us to consecrate ourselves to the Blessed Virgin, and to imitate her in living virtuous lives in humility and obscurity as she did).

Today I've returned to the Breviary (altho' I skipped Matins owing to its length, and started with Lauds and Prime at breakfast time, and broke my trip home from work up by stopping to say Terce, Sext and None at the Redemptorist Monastery church and pay my devotions to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and to those of His saints whose images are there): so, after Mass, I said Vespers and Compline as my thanksgiving.

Fr had Aaron and I join him for dinner, and we had a good celebration of Our Lady's feast, including some festal bottles of Tripel Karmeliet beer.

And so to end with the above-mentioned hymn to Our Lady:

Maiden, yet a mother, 
Daughter of thy Son, 
High beyond all other, 
Lowlier is none; 
Thou the consummation 
Planned by God's decree, 
When our lost creation 
Nobler rose in thee! 

Thus His place prepared, 
He Who all things made 
'Mid His creatures tarried, 
In thy bosom laid; 
There His love He nourished 
Warmth that gave increase 
To the root whence flourished 
Our eternal peace. 

Noon on Zion's mountain 
Is thy charity; 
Hope its living fountain 
Finds on earth in thee. 
Lady, such thy power, 
He who grace would buy 
Not as of thy dower, 
Without wings would fly. 

Nor alone thou hearest 
When thy name we hail; 
Often thou art nearest 
When our voices fail; 
Mirrored in thy fashion 
All creation's good 
Mercy might, compassion 
Grace thy womanhood. 

Lady, lest our vision, 
Striving heavn'nward, fail, 
Still let thy petition 
With thy Son prevail, 
Unto Whom all merit, 
Pow'r and majesty 
With the Holy Spirit 
And the Father be.

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