Thursday, June 3, 2010

BB Sadoc and Companions, Martyrs

Mass yester-day was of the feria; the celebrant had decided against keeping the memory of SS Marcellinus and Peter.  But as I told him, it was – in the Dominican Breviary at least – also the memorial of Blessed Sadoc and Companions, who were Dominicans martyred in Poland by the Tartars.  

The day before their martyrdom in the year 1260, when (as is the liturgical rule) the Martyrology for the succeeding day was read before the assembled brethren in choir, at the end of the entry the reader found – in letters of gold – an added entry for the 2nd of June: "In Poland, SS Sadoc and companions, martyrs of the Order of Friars Preachers, slain by the Tartars" or words to that effect.  God had deigned to reveal their predestined crown, that they might fitly prepare by godly works, prayer and confession.

On the morrow, as the brethren sang the Salve Regina, the Tartars irrupted into their priory and slew them, hewing them and shooting them with arrows.  Thus many holy martyrs went to heaven.

The Collect is singularly beautiful, lovingly reëchoing the words of the Salve:

Ostendat te nobis, Domine Jesu, post hoc exsilium clemens et pia Virgo Maria Mater tua: quam beati Sadocus et socii inter hostiles infidelium impetus incessanti voce salutantes, præoptatam martyrii palmam a te recipere meruerunt: Qui vivis et regnas...
(May the clement and sweet Virgin Mary Thy Mother, show Thee unto us, Lord Jesus, after this exile: who with unceasing voice blessed Sadoc and companions hailing amidst the onrush of infidel enemies, merited from Thee to receive the most desired palm of martyrdom: Who livest and reignest...)

The modern Dominican books still contain this prayer; here is the suggested translation for liturgical use, slightly paraphrasing rather than producing a stilted crib like my own; oddly, it inverts te nobis to become "show us to you", and seems to oversimplify "deserved to receive from thee" into just "received":

Lord Jesus, in the midst of fierce attacks of the foe Blessed Sadoc and his companions greeted the Virgin Mary in song and received the longed-for palm of martyrdom.  After this exile may your merciful and loving Mother show us to you, who live and reign in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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