Friday, November 14, 2008

Missa contra amicas

What to do when you’re a bloke feeling the call to priesthood or religious life - but also drawn to your beloved whom you’ve been courting?


Get a certain Fr Joseph, O.P. [email address below, in the comments!], to offer his famous “Mass against girlfriends”, which by all accounts drives off the young lady, enabling you, good fellow, to bid the world adieu without regret.

This curious custom has been a long-standing joke among certain friends of mine in holy religion, some now rapidly approaching ordination...

(It can be taken too far, of course - one person I knew loudly proclaimed he wanted all his former beloveds weeping inconsolably at his ordination: but instead he discerned his vocation was to marry, after all...)

The precedent for this, BTW, is offered us by no-nonsense St Catherine of Siena: when a chap asked her what he should do with his life, she said, Be a priest; but he protested that he had a wife and family... Now don't you worry about that, said our Saint; and they all died of the plague within days.

Saints can be distressingly brusque.

What this potent formula? – perhaps the following Votive, a Missa contra amicas* (pro aliquibus locis) newly transcribed from a curious manuscript, may supply the answer, though I hesitate to post it lest this "secret men's business" inflame the age-old battle of the sexes…

[*amicas, accusative plural of amica, not amicos, ditto of amicus - now that would be an altogether graver problem!!!]

Mass against Girlfriends
[Violet Vestments]
Introit – Job xxxi, 1; Ecclesiasticus xxv, 28
Pepigi fœdus cum oculis meis, ut ne cogitarem quidem de virgine.  (T.P. Alleluia, alleluia.)
V/.  Ne respicias in mulieris speciem, et non concupiscas mulierem in specie.
Gloria Patri...
(I made a covenant with my eyes, that I would not so much as think upon a virgin.  (In Paschaltide: Alleluia, alleluia.) 
(V/. Look not upon a woman's beauty, and desire not a woman for beauty.
(Glory be…)
Non dicitur Gloria in excelsis.
Collect – for Continence & [sub una conclusione] against Evil Thoughts 
Ure igne Sancti Spiritus renes nostros et cor nostrum, Domine: ut tibi casto corpore serviamus, et mundo corde placeamus.
Omnipotens et mitissime Deus, respice propitius ad preces nostras: et libera corda nostra de malarum tentationibus cogitationum; ut Sancti Spiritus dignum fieri habitaculum mereamur.  Per... in unitate ejusdem Spiritus Sancti...
(Burn with the fire of the Holy Ghost our reins and our heart, Lord: that unto Thee with chaste body we may serve, and with clean heart please Thee. 
(Omnipotent and meekest Lord, look favourably toward our prayers: and deliver our hearts from the temptations of evil thoughts; that we may deserve to be made worthy habitations of the Holy Ghost.  Through… in the unity of the same Holy Ghost…)
Epistle – I Corinthians vii, 25-33
De virginibus autem præceptum Domini non habeo: consilium autem do, tamquam misericordiam consecutus a Domino, ut sim fidelis.  Existimo ergo hoc bonum esse propter instantem necessitatem, quoniam bonum est homini sic esse.  Alligatus es uxori? noli quærere solutionem. Solutus es ab uxore? noli quærere uxorem.  Si autem acceperis uxorem, non peccasti. Et si nupserit virgo, non peccavit: tribulationem tamen carnis habebunt hujusmodi. Ego autem vobis parco.  Hoc itaque dico, fratres : tempus breve est : reliquum est, ut et qui habent uxores, tamquam non habentes sint: et qui flent, tamquam non flentes: et qui gaudent, tamquam non gaudentes: et qui emunt, tamquam non possidentes: et qui utuntur hoc mundo, tamquam non utantur: præterit enim figura hujus mundi.  Volo autem vos sine sollicitudine esse. Qui sine uxore est, sollicitus est quæ Domini sunt, quomodo placeat Deo.  Qui autem cum uxore est, sollicitus est quæ sunt mundi, quomodo placeat uxori, et divisus est.
(Now concerning virgins, I have no commandment of the Lord; but I give counsel, as having obtained mercy of the Lord, to be faithful. I think therefore that this is good for the present necessity, that it is good for a man so to be. Art thou bound to a wife? seek not to be loosed.  Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But if thou take a wife, thou hast not sinned. And if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned: nevertheless, such shall have tribulation of the flesh. But I spare you. This therefore I say, brethren; the time is short; it remaineth, that they also who have wives, be as if they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as if they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as if they used it not: for the fashion of this world passeth away. But I would have you to be without solicitude. He that is without a wife, is solicitous for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please God. But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided.)
Gradual – Ecclesiastes vii, 27
Amariorem morte mulierem, quæ laqueus venatorum est, et sagena cor ejus; vincula sunt manus illius.
V/. Qui placet Deo effugiet illam; qui autem peccator est capietur ab illa.
(More bitter than death is woman, who is the hunter's snare, and her heart is a net, and her hands are bands.
(V/. He that pleaseth God shall escape from her: but he that is a sinner, shall be caught by her.)
Tract (from Septuagesima until Easter) – Ecclesiasticus xxv, 33. 17-19
A muliere initium factum est peccati, et per illam omnes morimur.
V/.  Omnis plaga tristitia cordis est, et omnis malitia nequitia mulieris.
V/.  Et omnem plagam, et non plagam videbit cordis.
V/.  Et omnem nequitiam, et non nequitiam mulieris.
(From the woman came the beginning of sin, by her we all die.
(V/.  The sadness of the heart is every plague: and the wickedness of a woman is all evil.
(V/. And a man will choose any plague, but the plague of the heart.
(V/. And any wickedness, but the wickedness of a woman.)
Alleluia – Ecclesiasticus xxv, 23
Alleluia, alleluia. V/. Commorari leoni et draconi placebit, quam habitare cum muliere nequam.  Alleluia.
(Alleluia, alleluia. V/. It will be more agreeable to abide with a lion and a dragon, than to dwell with a wicked woman. Alleluia.)
Second Alleluia (in Eastertide) – Ecclesiasticus xxv, 33
V/.  A muliere initium factum est peccati, et per illam omnes morimur. Alleluia.
(V/.  From the woman came the beginning of sin, by her we all die. Alleluia.)
Gospel – Matthew xix, 10-12
In illo tempore: 
Dicunt ei discipuli Jesu: Si ita est causa hominis cum uxore, non expedit nubere.  Qui dixit illis: Non omnes capiunt verbum istud, sed quibus datum est.  Sunt enim eunuchi, qui de matris utero sic nati sunt: et sunt eunuchi, qui facti sunt ab hominibus: et sunt eunuchi, qui seipsos castraverunt propter regnum cælorum. Qui potest capere capiat.
(At that time:
(Jesus’ disciples say unto him: If the case of a man with his wife be so, it is not expedient to marry. Who said to them: All men take not this word, but they to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs, who were born so from their mother's womb: and there are eunuchs, who were made so by men: and there are eunuchs, who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven. He that can take, let him take it.)
Offertory – Zacharias ix, 17
Quid enim bonum ejus est, et quid pulchrum ejus, nisi frumentum electorum, et vinum germinans virgines? (T.P. Alleluia.)
(For what is the good thing of him, and what is his beautiful thing, but the corn of the elect, and wine springing forth virgins?  (In Paschaltide: Alleluia.))
Secret – for Continence & [sub una conclusione] against Evil Thoughts
Dirumpe, Domine, vincula peccatorum nostrorum: et, ut sacrificare tibi hostiam laudis absoluta libertate ac munda mente possimus, retribue quæ ante tribuisti; et salva nos per indulgentiam, quos dignatus es salvare per gratiam.
Has tibi, Domine, offerimus oblationes pro salute nostra: quatenus animas nostras ab immundis cogitationibus purges, illæsasque custodias: et Sancti Spiritus gratia illuminare digneris.  Per... in unitate ejusdem...
(Break, Lord, the chains of our sins: and, that we may be able to sacrifice unto Thee the sacrifice of praise with absolute liberty and pure mind, restore what before Thou hadst given; and save us by indulgence, whom Thou didst deign to save by grace. 
(To Thee, Lord, these oblations we offer for our salvation: insofar as Thou mayest purge our souls from impure thoughts, mayest Thou keep them unsullied: and with the Holy Spirit's grace vouchsafe to enlighten them.  Through…  in the unity of the same...)
Communion – Apocalypse xiv, 4
Hi sunt, qui cum mulieribus non sunt coinquinati: virgines enim sunt. Hi sequuntur Agnum quocumque ierit. Hi empti sunt ex hominibus primitiæ Deo, et Agno. (T.P. Alleluia.)
(These are they who were not defiled with women: for they are virgins. These follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were purchased from among men, the firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.  (In Paschaltide: Alleluia.))
Postcommunion – for Continence & [sub una conclusione] against Evil Thoughts
Domine, adjutor et protector noster, adjuva nos: et refloreat cor et caro nostra vigore pudicitiæ, et castimoniæ novitate: ut per hoc sacrificium, quod tuæ obtulimus pietati, ab omnibus tentationibus emundemur.
Deus, qui illuminas omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundum: illumina, quæsumus, corda nostra gratiæ tuæ splendore; ut digna ac placita majestati tuæ cogitare semper, et te sincere diligere valeamus.  Per...
(Lord, our helper and protector, help us: and may our heart and flesh reflourish with the vigour of modesty and the newness of chastity: that by this sacrifice, which we have offered to Thy piety, from all temptations we may be cleansed. 
(God, Who dost enlighten every man coming into this world: illuminate, we beseech, our hearts with the splendour of Thy grace; that we may be able ever to think things worthy and pleasing to Thy Majesty, and to love Thee sincerely.  Through…)

Please note that, though a bachelor, I am not a misogynist.  Remember that deathless retort of the Wife of Bath – 

“By God, if women had but written stories, / As have these clerks within their oratories, / They would have written of men more wickedness / Than all the race of Adam could redress.” 

(Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue”, lines 699-702)


Anonymous said...

LOL. Fantastic!

Anonymous said...

LOL good old St Catherine. I'm sure that was only prophetic insight.


Anonymous said...

Latin cases can cause problems, but contra actually takes the accusative (as in "Athanasius contra mundum"), and so it should be "Missa contra amicas". One could, I suppose, offer a Missa contra amicos on behalf of those who want to don the veil but have interested suitors.
By the way, I believe I am the Fr Joseph OP referred to, and I would be willing to offer Mass for the above named intention for anyone who finds himself or herself in such a situation. I can be contacted at
As to the outcome of the prayers, I shall leave that in the hands of the Holy Spirit.

Anonymous said...

Gosh; well, now that you're here Father, it's hardly a joke! And there was me thinking this was all a bit of humour... :)

Joshua said...

Welcome, Father, to my humble blog! - I have corrected my Latin bloopers now...