Thursday, November 25, 2010

1956 and earlier Dominican Office of St Catherine

St Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr, is ranked as the Protectress of the Order of Preachers, doubtless for her famed philosophical and theological prowess, whereby she confuted and converted pagan philosophers ere she was put to death for the Faith – first inventing the catherine wheel when a revolving wheel of fire, to which she was strapped, burst apart at her prayer and slew the impious spectators in its explosion (see the traditional hymn at first Vespers, given below).  Fireworks are dangerous.  After her pious death as a witness to Christ, her body was wonderfully translated to Mount Sinai (as the old hymn at Lauds mentions), where the piety of all succeeding ages has maintained a most notable monastery of monks aspiring to the angelic life, enclosing not only her sacred remains, but the formerly Burning Bush (or rather a scion sprung from its roots).  Mirabile dictu!

I was struck by the difference in the Office between my 1962 Dominican Breviary, and my 1956 Dominican Diurnal.  The '62 has St Catherine's feast to-day as of the 3rd class, with proper 3rd lesson and collect alone.  Yet the '56 gives it as a Totum Duplex, with proper psalm antiphon (only one, as is normal for festal Vespers), long responsory, hymn and Magnificat antiphon at first Vespers, five proper psalm antiphons, plus hymn and Benedictus antiphon at Lauds, and at second Vespers, a proper psalm antiphon (the first used at Lauds), the proper hymn repeated from first Vespers, and a proper Magnificat antiphon.  At first Vespers, as is normal, the Laudate psalms – Pss 112, 116, 145, 146, 147 – were appointed for use, with the Sunday psalms to be used at Lauds and the Vesper psalms to be taken from the Common of a Virgin.

It appears that worries about the entire historicity of St Catherine's life and death had whittled away this liturgical devotion.  The deletion of her proper liturgical texts is particularly savage given that they say nothing that piety and the general idea of her acknowledged martyrdom would contradict.  Matters reached such a pass after the Council that for a time she was even removed from the Missal, until the late John Paul II restored her feast as an optional memorial.  

How sadly prophetic the Magnificat antiphon the Dominicans sang at her first Vespers formerly: Inclita sanctæ Virginis Catharinæ solemnia suscipiat alacriter pia mater Ecclesia – "May our holy mother the Church uphold with alacrity the glorious solemnity of the holy Virgin Catherine."  Bare ruined choirs!

Herewith, the former Dominican Propers for the Office of St Catherine (I haven't translated the hymns, as they are rather lengthy):

Ad I Vesperas


Super Psalmos Aña.  Virginis eximiæ Catharinæ Martyris almæ festa celebrare da nobis, Rex pie, Christe.


(Grant us to celebrate the feast of the kind, wonderful Virgin Martyr Catherine, O merciful King, Christ.)

R/. Virgo flagellatur, crucianda fame religatur, carcere clausa manet, lux cælica fusa refulget: * Fragrat odor dulcis, cantant cæli agmina laudes. V/. Sponsus amat sponsam, Salvator visitat illam. * Fragrat odor dulcis, cantant cæli agmina laudes. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. * Fragrat odor dulcis, cantant cæli agmina laudes.

(R/. The virgin is scourged, loaded with chains, tormented with hunger: but while she remains shut up in prison a heavenly light shines round. * A sweet fragrance fills the air and the hosts of heaven are there singing praises. V/. The Spouse loves his bride and visits her as a Saviour. * A sweet fragrance fills the air and the hosts of heaven are there singing praises. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. * A sweet fragrance fills the air and the hosts of heaven are there singing praises.)


Hymnus


Catharinæ collaudemus
Virtutum insignia,
Cordis ei præsentemus
Et oris obsequia:
Ut ab ipsa reportemus
Æqua laudis præmia.

Fulta fide Catharina
Judicem Maximinum
Non formidat: lex divina
Sic firmat eloquium,
Quod confutat ex doctrina
Errores gentilium.

Victi Christum confitentur,
Relictis erroribus:
Judex jubet et crementur,
Nec pilis aut vestibus
Ignis nocet, sed torrentur
Inustis corporibus.

Gloria et honor Deo
Usquequaque altissimo,
Una Patri, Filioque,
Inclito Paraclito,
Cui laus est et potestas
Per æterna sæcula. Amen.
 
Ad Magnif. Aña.  Inclita sanctæ Virginis Catharinæ solemnia suscipiat alacriter pia mater Ecclesia.  Ave, Virgo Deo digna, ave, dulcis e benigna!  Obtine nobis gaudia quæ possides cum gloria.


(May our holy mother the Church uphold with alacrity the glorious solemnity of the holy Virgin Catherine.  Hail, Virgin worthy of God, hail, sweet and benign!  Obtain for us the joys which thou dost possess with glory.)


Ad Laudes


Aña 1.  Passionem gloriosæ Virginis Catharinæ devote plebs celebret fidelis, quæ sui memores Deo commendet meritis et juvet beneficiis.
Aña 2.  Post plurima supplicia Martyr alma ad decollandum est ducta: ad cælum tendens oculos, collum submittit gladio, orans dat gloriam Deo.
Aña 3.  Expecto pro te gladium, Jesu, Rex bone: tu meum colloca in paradiso spiritum, et fac misericordiam meam agentibus memoriam.
Aña 4.  Vox de cælis insonuit: Veni, electa mea, veni intra thalamum Sponsi tui.  Quæ postulas impetrasti: qui te laudant, salvi fient.
Aña 5.  Quia devota laudibus tui memoriam, Virgo, recolimus, o beata Catharina, ora pro nobis, quæsumus.


(May the faithful people devoutly celebrate the passion of the glorious Virgin Catherine, who commends by her merits and aids by her benefits those who remember her to God.


(After many sufferings the sweet Martyr was led to be beheaded: turning her eyes to heaven, bowing her neck to the sword, praying she gave glory to God.
(I await the sword for Thee, Jesus, good King: do Thou emplace my spirit in paradise, and grant mercy to those keeping my memory.
(A voice sounded forth from heaven: Come, my chosen, come within the bridal chamber of thy Spouse.  What thou askest thou hast obtained: they who praise thee, shall be saved.
(Since we devoutly recall thy memory, O Virgin, with praises, O blessed Catherine, pray for us, we beseech thee.)


Hymnus


Præsens dies expandatur
In ejus præconium,
Cujus virtus dilatatur
In ore laudantium,
Si gestorum teneatur
Finis et initium.

Imminente passione
Virgo hæc interserit:
Assequatur, Jesu bone,
Quod a te petierit,
Suo quisquis in agone
Memor mei fuerit.

In hoc caput amputatur,
Fluit lac pro sanguine:
Angelorum sublevatur
Corpus multitudine,
Et Sinai collocatur
In supremo culmine.

Gloria et honor Deo
Usquequaque altissimo,
Una Patri, Filioque,
Inclito Paraclito,
Cui laus est et potestas
Per æterna sæcula. Amen.



Ad Bened. Aña.  Prudens et vigilans Virgo, qualis es cum Sponso illo, qui te elegit de mundo, quam pulchra, quam mirabilis, quanta luce spectabilis inter Sion juvenculas et Jerusalem filias!  Thalamo gaudes regio, conjuncta Dei Filio.


(Prudent and watchful Virgin, of what kind art thou with that Spouse, Who chose thee from the world, how beautiful, how wonderful, with what light remarkable amongst the maidens of Sion and the daughters of Jerusalem!  Thou dost rejoice in the royal wedding chamber, united to the Son of God.)


Ad II Vesperas


Super Psalmos Aña.  Passionem gloriosæ Virginis Catharinæ devote plebs celebret fidelis, quæ sui memores Deo commendet meritis et juvet beneficiis.


(May the faithful people devoutly celebrate the passion of the glorious Virgin Catherine, who commends by her merits and aids by her benefits those who remember her to God.)


(The hymn is the same as that for first Vespers.)


Ad Magnif. Aña.  Ave, virginum gemma, Catherina: ave, sponsa Regis regum gloriosa: ave, viva Christi hostia!  Tua venerantibus patrocinia, impetrata non deneges suffragia.


(Hail, gem of Virgins, Catherine: hail, glorious spouse of the King of kings: hail, living victim for Christ!  Deny not thy impetrated suffrages to those revering thy patronage.)

1 comment:

Terra said...

Indeed! I've noted that the current Holy Father has attacked the whole "search for the historical saint" thing and its rationalist motivations in several of his General Audience series on them.

It continues to amaze me that more than a century after Schliemann's discovery of Troy, historians continue to rejct the validity of oral traditions written when it suits their ideology to do so.