Monday, February 1, 2010

First Vespers of Candlemas

In the 1962 Breviaries (incl. the Dominican), Candlemas only has first Vespers if it fall on a Sunday - but, pro pia devotione, it seems good to read Vespers of St Ignatius of Antioch, and then Vespers of Candlemas as well.  

In the Dominican Office, Candlemas Eve Vespers is decorated with a beautiful Responsory and even a Prose – a unique survival of the mediæval practice of not just troping Kyries, or adding a Sequence after the Alleluia at Mass, but of taking up the last part of the melody of a Responsory, and adding a new poetic text to it: in this case, the Responsory is Gaude Maria Virgo, and the Prose is the Inviolata.

The words of the respond should seem familiar – the Tract used at Masses of Our Lady after Septuagesima uses the same text.  However, the versicle following is only used in the Office.

R/.  Gaude, Maria Virgo, cunctas hæreses sola interemisti, quæ Gabrielis Archangeli dictis credidisti: * Dum Virgo Deum et hominem genuisti, et post partum, Virgo, inviolata permansisti.  V/.  Gabrielem Archangelum scimus divinitus te esse affatum: uterum tuum de Spiritu Sancto credimus imprægnatum: erubescat Judæus infelix, qui dicit Christum ex Joseph semine esse natum. * Dum Virgo Deum et hominem genuisti, et post partum, Virgo, inviolata permansisti. Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui  Sancto.

(And immediately, without resuming the respond from the asterisk:)

Inviolata, intacta, et casta es Maria,
quae es effecta fulgida caeli porta.
O Mater alma Christi carissima,
suscipe pia laudum praeconia.
Nostra ut pura pectora sint et corpora,
te nunc flagitant devota corda et ora.
Tua per precata dulcisona,
nobis concedas veniam per saecula.
O benigna!
quae sola inviolata permansisti.

The Prose takes up inviolata, the second-last word of the Responsory, expands upon it, and concludes by repeating it and then at last singing the last word, permansisti.

This recension of the Inviolata is proper to the Order; the Roman version reads integra not intacta, reverses lines 5 and 6, and adds O Regina! O Maria! after benigna.

Candlemas, the Purification of Our Lady, the Presentation of Our Lord, the Meeting (Hypapante) of Our Lord in the Temple – a great feast, which some have argued to mystically represent the End of the Year of Grace: our entry, in Christ, into the Heavenly Temple, there to be hid forever with Christ in God.  We carry candles at the procession before Mass, calling to mind the Five Wise Virgins who husbanded their resources, equipped to go out and meet the Bridegroom with lamps burning bright when He came, and so worthy to enter into the Nuptial Feast before the doors were shut.


CG said...

In the Sarum breviary, both Vespers have extended responsories following the chapter: Videte miraculum at First Vespers and Gaude, gaude, gaude at Second Vespers. At Second Vespers the sequence Laetabundus is sung in place of the hymn (Quod chorus vatum) but only if the feast falls outside Septuagesima (which of course it didn't this year). Is there any similar restriction on the Dominican Prose?

Joshua said...

Dear CG,

In the Dominican Rite, that beaut Sequence Lætabundus is sung at the Mass of the Candles (if it fall before Septuagesima - for the Sequence as its very name suggests follows the Alleluia, and after Septuagesima there is no Alleluia, but a Tract instead), a last re-echo of Christmastide, whenas it is sung at the Day Mass of Christmas, and at Mass on the Feast of the Epiphany.

The Dominican Rite only ever has a long responsory (taken from Matins) at first Vespers, so far as I am aware.

Furthermore, at both Vespers (if both occur) of Candlemas, the hymn is the standard for Marian feasts, Ave maris stella.