Sunday, June 14, 2009

Corpus Christi Again

I will pass over the Mass I attended this morning, for Corpus Christi juxta modum Novi Ordinis...

I decided to look back to the Office of Corpus Christi according to the Dominican Rite (since I have the 1962 Breviarium S.O.P.) and compare it with the Roman:

According to the custom of the Friars Preachers (shared I believe with many mediæval uses), the psalms at Vespers are sung under one antiphon only - Sacerdos at first and Sapientia (from Lauds) at second Vespers - and furthermore, the psalmody at first Vespers is taken from the Laudate psalms: Pss 112, 116, 145, 146 and 147 (at second Vespers, the same psalms as those in the Roman Office are used).

At first Vespers, furthermore, after the Capitulum is sung a long responsory (again, a common mediæval custom): Homo quidam fecit cenam magnam.

The Little Chapter at both Vespers, Lauds and Terce is Dominus Jesus in qua nocte tradebatur (I Cor. xi, 23b-24a), which is an abbreviation of the Roman Fratres: Ego enim accepi a Domino (I Cor. xi, 23-24).

Compline of the eve and of the feast itself features a proper Nunc dimittis antiphon: Alleluia, panis quem ego dabo (for in the Dominican Rite, Compline has seasonal and festal variants, and there exists a common tune for this antiphon, festooned with alleluias, with its text changed to match several different solemnities.)

At Matins, the lessons of the first Nocturn are entirely different from the Roman (which are taken from I Cor. xi, 20-32), being instead from Exodus xii, 1-8 (the Passover, so tying into the first Responsory Immolabit hædum), Exodus xvi, 10-15 (the coming of the manna, and hence connecting with the second Responsory Comedetis carnes) and III (I) Kings xix, 3b-8 (Elias being fed by the angel with such food as to walk to the Mount of God, which segues into the third Responsory Respexit Elias).  The lessons of the second Nocturn - from Aquinas - are about the same as those of the Roman Rite, but constitute a shorter extract, amounting to little more than two equivalent lessons.  The lessons of the third Nocturn - from Augustine - are the same as the Roman, but differently cut up into three passages.

The Responsories of Matins are very similar, but the fourth and ninth Responsories (Panis quem ego and Unus panis) are proper to the Dominican Rite, omitting the sixth Roman Responsory, and so renumbering two of the remaining Responsories.

Before Lauds, after the Te Deum of Matins, there is the sacerdotal verse Comedi favum (again, it was common in the Middle Ages to have such a versicle).

One thing that surprises me in both the Roman and Dominican Offices for Corpus Christi is that the short Responsory at Prime does not have a special versicle appointed for it, whereas it does for the feasts of the Sacred Heart, the Precious Blood, the Transfiguration, Christus Rex, etc. - I had expected something like "Who givest us Thy Body to eat."

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