What a sombre start to Septuagesima: death and destruction.
Since Adam's fall, sin has sundered us from God, and misery has been man's lot in this dark world: the original state of harmony and justice being broken, nature is armed against us, as the Magnificat antiphon at 1st Vespers puts before us:
Dixit Dominus ad Adam: De ligno quod est in medio paradisi, ne comedas: in qua hora comederis, morte morieris.
The Lord said to Adam: Of the tree that is in the midst of paradise, thou shalt not eat: in what hour thou shalt have eaten (of it), by death shalt thou die.
(Genesis ii, 17 & cf. 9)
How sadly appropriate then to sing at Mass to-morrow:
Circumdederunt me gemitus mortis, dolores inferni circumdederunt me: et in tribulatione mea invocavi Dominum, et exaudivit de templo sancto suo vocem meam.
(They have surrounded me the sorrows of death, the dolours of hell surrounded me: and in my tribulation I called upon the Lord, and He heard from His holy temple my voice.)
– Introit antiphon (Ps 17:5-7), Septuagesima Sunday.
Preces populi tui, quæsumus, Domine, clementer exaudi: ut, qui juste pro peccatis nostris affligimur, pro tui nominis gloria misericorditer liberemur. Per...
O Lord, we beseech thee favourably to hear the prayers of thy people: that we, who are justly punished for our offences, may be mercifully delivered by thy goodness, for the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. *
– Collect, Septuagesima Sunday
(English from the B.C.P.)
[* The words "by thy goodness" are not in the Latin, but are implied; and the long ending is a little idiosyncratic, as the Latin would be better rendered "through Our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son, who with thee liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end."]
Adjutor in opportunitatibus, in tribulatione: sperent in te, qui noverunt te: quoniam non derelinquis quærentes te, Domine.
(A helper in due time in tribulation: let them hope in Thee, who know Thee: for Thou dost not forsake them that seek thee, Lord.)
– Response of the Gradual (Ps 9:10-11), Septuagesima Sunday
De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine: Domine, exaudi vocem meam. V/. Fiant aures tuæ intendentes in orationem servi tui. V/. Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine: Domine, quis sustinebit? V/. Quia apud te propitiatio est, et propter legem tuam sustinui te, Domine.
Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, Lord: Lord, hear my voice. V/. Let Thine ears be attentive to the prayer of Thy servant. V/. If Thou, Lord, wilt mark iniquities: Lord, who shall abide it? V/. For with Thee there is merciful forgiveness, and by reason of Thy law I have waited for Thee, Lord.)
– Tract (Ps 129:1-4), Septuagesima Sunday.