Friday, November 21, 2008

Premonstratensian Presentation

A surprise to-day at the Pro. - Fr Rowe being away for the Canberra FSSP ordinations, a visiting priest offered Mass: and his white biretta gave him away as a son of St Norbert.  

Interestingly, he made a most curious error: at the doxology of the Collect, he was tripped up by the ejusdem before Spiritus Sancti, and then jumped as if by instinct to the words omnis honor et gloria (in the special doxology of the Canon) before concluding as always per omnia sæcula sæculorum.  Please don't get me wrong - I'm not finding fault, since on the contrary it is a most revealing point that shews his evident familiarity with the Latin of the Mass!

A beautiful feast, this, and one so appropriate on which to pray for those who pray, since this is (Oremus) Pro Orantibus Day.  I think of the good Carmelite nuns I know, and of Br Peter in his cloistered cell among the Carmelite Monks in far Wyoming, and of those sterling religious the Carthusians.

The Collect for this feast of Our Lady's Presentation - which is the 4th Mystery to be considered while praying the Rosary of St Anne, by the way - is profoundly apposite:

Deus, qui beatam Mariam semper Virginem, Spiritus Sancti habitaculum, hodierna die in templo præsentari voluisti: præsta, quæsumus; ut, ejus intercessione, in templo gloriæ tuæ præsentari mereamur.  Per... in unitate ejusdem Spiritus...

(God, Who didst will to present blessed Mary ever-Virgin, the little dwelling of the Holy Ghost, this day in the Temple, grant, we beseech, that, at her intercession, we may deserve to be presented in the temple of Thy glory.  Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who with Thee liveth and reigneth in the unity of the same Holy Spirit, God, world without end.  Amen.)

As the Office for this feast is taken from the Common of Our Lady, I felt a certain spiritual closeness to all those who pray her Little Office, a wonderful liturgy that if I had more time I would wish to say as well.


Anonymous said...

Dear Josh,

Did you know that St Pius V (that great Dominican) abolished the feast of the Presentation of the B.V. Mary? It was reinstated by Pope Sixtus V. - Martin

Joshua said...

Martin (are you an acquaintance?),

I did indeed! Pius V cleaned out the calendar, but succeeding Popes filled it back up again; just as has happened with Paul VI rejigging it, then JP II canonizing heaps and sticking various persons into the calendar to again fill it up.

My suggestion: make full and free use of the facility both old and new rites, I mean forms, afford to celebrate Masses of any saint listed in the Martyrology - for there are so many saints, all of whom are wonderful examples to us seeing as how they have run the great race, finished the course, kept the faith, and won the immarcescible crown.

One thing I dread about my return to Tasmania is not so much even the Novus Ordo, as having to put up with endless days of Boring Time deadened by grim lectio continua of obscure bits of the Good Book. More saints' celebrations would help lessen the pain.

Anonymous said...

Sacred scripture boring??? The rhythm of the liturgical year boring??? Not to me. saints are great, but too many of them is like eating chocolate every day. Pius V was right - keep the calendar lean and clean! - Martin

Joshua said...

Don't mistake me: of course Scripture ought be our food, the liturgical year the instrument by which time is sanctified - but I consider the Novus Ordo has not achieved this happy result as well as the classical form of the Roman Rite. In particular, I am not persuaded that lectio continua works well at Mass; it is more appropriate at Matins and for private lectio divina.

At Mass, I consider it best that the saints be commemorated on their anniversaries - since historically it is from the celebrations of the triumphs of the saints each passing year that the practice of daily Mass arose (together of course with the early development of proper liturgies during Lent in preparation for Easter, the Feast of feasts), supplemented by the celebration of Votive Masses for the priest or people's benefit.

I find ferial Masses in the old rite most wearying, being but a repetition of the Sunday down to the readings; if say the Paris Missal's proper Epistles and Gospels for Wednesdays and Fridays were allowed to be used, then this problem would be alleviated. Still, it seems to me more conducive to devotion to celebrate festal Masses on weekdays (or Votives).

It is a separate issue whether or not to clean out the calendar by demoting feasts to lower rank - since to do this makes the ferial office in the Breviary stand forth, and with that I agree.


As I said before - do I know you? (I know at least one Martin, but the one of whom I'm thinking is a priest.)