Thursday, December 11, 2008

St Damasus

After Mass of St Damasus, Mike and I went over to Northbridge and had some dim sum - yum.

On our way into town, he read Lauds while I drove; and, getting to Mass early rather than late, I had time for a quick private Rosary (Luminous Mysteries, I'm not incorrigible) and Prime, Terce and Sext, then some private prayers during Mass and None afterward.  Matins... will hopefully get said later to-day.

Of all the parts of the much-used Mass Si diligis me of Sainted Popes, the Epistle (I Peter v, 1-4 & 10-11) is I think the most interesting, repaying much careful consideration:

Most dearly beloved:
The elders that are among you, I beseech, who am myself also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ: as also a partaker of that glory which is to be revealed in time to come: feed the flock of God which is among you, taking care of it, not by constraint, but willingly, according to God: not for filthy lucre's sake, but voluntarily: neither as lording it over the clergy, but being made a pattern of the flock from the heart.  And when the prince of pastors shall appear, you shall receive a never fading crown of glory. 
But the God of all grace, who hath called us into his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will himself perfect you, and confirm you, and establish you.  To him be glory and empire for ever and ever. Amen.

I was especially struck (hence the above prefatory details) by verses 12-14a of Psalm 73 at Sext:

Deus autem Rex noster ante sæcula: operatus est salutem in medio terræ.
Tu confirmasti in virtute tua mare: contribulasti capita draconum in aquis.
Tu confregisti capita draconis...

But God is our King before the ages: He hath wrought salvation in the midst of the earth.
Thou hast strengthened the sea in Thy power: Thou hast crushed the heads of the dragons in the waters.
Thou hast broken the head of the dragon...

While literally these allude to the saving acts of God during the Exodus from Egypt, spiritually they may most justly be interpreted as referring to Christ our God, Who is indeed our King before all ages, but in this the last age has wrought our salvation in the midst of the earth upon His Cross outside Jerusalem, and has therefore crushed the head of the Dragon, drowning that ancient enemy of our race - and all his imps and minions - in the saving laver of Baptism, in the waters mystically empowered by secret sacramental grace.

The first verse above - Ps 73:12 - is the most striking, and is noteworthy for being quoted in the following Ambrosian Rite collect, used at Vespers as I recall, though eminently suitable for Compline:

Deus, qui operatus es salutem in medio terræ (Ps 73:12b); a quo tenebræ non obscurabuntur, et nox sicut dies illuminabitur (Ps 138:12a), illumina, quæsumus, tenebras nostras: ut, tranquillam et quietam noctem deducentes, matutinis horis in tuis laudibus consurgamus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. R/. Amen.

O God, who hast wrought salvation in the midst of the earth, from whom darkness is not hid, and night is as light as day, enlighten, we beseech thee, our darkness: that, having passed a tranquill and quiet night, we may arise in the morning hours to thy praises. Through Christ our Lord.
R/. Amen.

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