Thursday, July 30, 2009

Officia Propria

Google Books gives access to all manner of curiosities - indulging myself, I did a search for Officia Propria, and found an 1824 edition of the special Breviary Offices proper to the Servite Order. They certainly went to town on things Marian, dolorous and otherwise: it seemed as if every feast of Our Lady had an Octave. Furthermore, each and every month, on the first unimpeded day, the Office of the Conception of the Virgin was to be used; on the second, that of her Most Holy Name; on the third, that of the Seven Holy Founders of the Servites; on the fourth, that of St Philip Benizi; on all free Fridays, that of the Seven Sorrows; and of course on all Saturdays, that of Our Lady. In addition to various Servite saints and blessed, several with Octaves, one other feature was noteworthy: St John the Evangelist, being Mary's adopted child, and thus a most appropriate model for Servites, had his Office said on the first free day after each Ember Week. One wonders if the Servites in the nineteenth century ever saw a ferial day at all!

Here is the Collect for the Servite Office of St John Evangelist, used four times a year:

Excita, Domine, spiritum, quo Virginis filius Joannes illam dilexit, ut eo repleti studeamus amare, quam amavit, eidemque condolere, ut condoluit. Per.

(Stir up, Lord, the spirit, with which the Virgin's son John loved her, that filled with it we may study to love what he loved, and to feel the same griefs that he grieved. Through…)

I must admit, I have always rather liked picturing St John as Our Lady's chaplain, reading Mass for her as she knelt on a prie-dieu, saying her own Hours! Fr Faber repeats the pious notion that, by a miracle, from one Communion to the next the Host remained undigested within her breast, as once her Son did abide in her womb... Hmmm. The fifth Lesson at Matins alludes to God, Who maketh men of one mind to dwell together in a house (Deus qui inhabitare facit unius moris in domo - Ps 67:7a; quoted in the Rule of St Augustine), when speaking of St John receiving the Sorrowful Virgin into his home, following that heart-wrenching commendation from the Cross: they dwelt together, being of one mind and heart in God.

1 comment:

Mark said...

I'm still waiting for you to 'find' the Dormitionists' Breviary ...or at least their Kalendar.