Saturday, April 14, 2012

Saturday after Low Sunday

Not last Saturday, it being Holy Saturday, nor this Saturday, being Saturday in the Octave of Easter, but next Saturday, the first free Saturday of Eastertide, the Dormitionists keep the feast of the Most Holy Sepulchre of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  (In Poland, it was kept of old on the second Sunday after Easter, but, as with other such pious Polish devotions, that is flagrantly unliturgical and much to be deprecated!  Whatever next, a change to Low Sunday? Or a novena of the Passion for Easter Week?)

Their brothers in holy religion, the Dominicans and Franciscans, also observed this feast in Poland of old; and the forefathers of the Dormitionists, the Canons of the Holy Sepulchre, ere they died out, did too – but of course it is most probably the case that it was they who brought that devotion to Poland, rather than some obscure Polish mystic to them (how inappropriate would that be, really! whereas the Poles are a godly Catholic people always glad to accept strange, I mean, new, devotions, legitimately proposed).

This feast is very dear to Dormitionists, since daily and nightly ever resting in the Lord, looking forward to eternal rest by striving now to imitate Christ buried in the tomb, the Dormitionists seek to repose heart and soul in His Holy Sepulchre, dead to the world, obeying the Apostle's injunction "for you are dead: and your life is hid with Christ in God" (Col. iii, 3) - just as the Secret and Postcommunion of this Mass pray God to grant.

Each day in their Office the Dormitionists repeat those prayers at Lauds and Vespers, and at Mass, they ever keep the Holy Sepulchre before the eyes of their hearts – for in their oratories, the altar is particularly reverenced and regarded as the throne and sepulchre of the Lord, Who after all is as it were the "Prisoner of the Tabernacle", as His Most Sacred Body reposes therein, as once It did in death, but now gloriously alive for evermore. Just so, in imitation of Him, the holy martyrs sleep on and take their rest, in the form of their sacred relics, beneath the altars of Christians (cf. Apoc. vi), where the very recess in which their remains are solemnly entombed is called a sepulchre, and in course of the rite of dedication of an altar this “tomb is sealed”.  Thus the altar-sepulchre helps engender a devout focus on eternal rest.

I do not recall if I have previously given the texts for the Mass of the Holy Sepulchre, but seek to-day to remedy this lacuna; for convenience, I supply the texts alongside my own English version, but quoting from the Dominican version, as being in fact identical to that in the Dormitionist Missal (but for certain spelling differences in the latter, such as the use of the long ess):

[(Mass) of the Most Holy Sepulchre of our Lord Jesus Christ]

Officium. Isaiæ 11, 10.
In illa die erit radix Jesse, qui stat in signum populorum, ipsum gentes deprecabuntur. Alleluia, et erit Sepulchrum ejus gloriosum. Alleluia. Ps. 45, 5. Fluminis impetus lætificat civitatem Dei: sanctificavit tabernaculum suum Altissimus. Gloria Patri. In illa die.

[In that day the root of Jesse, who standeth for an ensign of the people, him the Gentiles shall beseech, alleluia, and his Sepulchre shall be glorious. Alleluia. Ps. The stream of the river maketh the city of God joyful: the most High hath sanctified his own tabernacle. Glory be… As it was… In that day…]

Domine Jesu Christe, qui pro nobis mortem subire, et in Sepulchro depositus tertia die resurgere voluisti, concede famulis tuis, ut qui sepulchri tui memoriam recolimus, Resurrectionis quoque gloriæ participes esse mereamur: Qui vivis.

[Lord Jesus Christ, Who for us didst deign to endure death, and, deposited in the sepulchre, to rise again the third day, grant unto Thy servants, that we who recall the memory of Thy Sepulchre, may also deserve to be sharers of the glory of the resurrection.  Who livest…]

Lectio Actuum Apostolorum.
Act. 13, 16a. 26-31.
In diebus illis:
Surgens Paulus et manu silentium indicens ait: Viri fratres, filii generis Abraham, et qui in vobis timent Deum, vobis verbum salutis hujus missum est. Qui enim habitabant Jerusalem et principes ejus ignorantes Jesum et voces Prophetarum quæ per omne Sabbatum leguntur, judicantes impleverunt: et nullam causam mortis invenientes in eo, petierunt a Pilato, ut interficerent eum. Cumque consummassent omnia, quæ de eo scripta erant, deponentes eum de ligno, posuerunt eum in monumento. Deus vero suscitavit eum a mortuis tertia die: qui visus est per multos dies his, qui simul ascenderant cum eo de Galilæa in Jerusalem: qui usque nunc sunt testes ejus ad plebem.

[A Lesson from the Acts of the Apostles.

[In those days:
[Then Paul rising up, and with his hand bespeaking silence, said: Men, brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you fear God, to you the word of this salvation is sent. For they that inhabited Jerusalem, and the rulers thereof, not knowing him, nor the voices of the prophets, which are read every sabbath, judging him have fulfilled them. And finding no cause of death in him, they desired of Pilate, that they might kill him. And when they had fulfilled all things that were written of him, taking him down from the tree, they laid him in a sepulchre. But God raised him up from the dead the third day: Who was seen for many days, by them who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who to this present are his witnesses to the people.]

Job 3, 21-22.
Alleluia, alleluia. V/. Qui expectant mortem et non venit, quasi effodient thesaurum, gaudentque vehementer cum invenerint Sepulchrum.
Joan. 20, 4.
Alleluia. V/. Currebant duo simul, et ille alius Discipulus præcucurrit citius Petro, et venit prior ad monumentum. Alleluia.

[Alleluia, alleluia. V/. They that look for death, and it cometh not, are as they that dig for a treasure: And they rejoice exceedingly when they have found the Grave.
[Alleluia. V/. They both ran together, and that other Disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. Alleluia.]

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam.
Lucæ 24, 1-12.
Una Sabbati valde diluculo venerunt mulieres ad monumentum, portantes, quae paraverant, aromata, et invenerunt lapidem revolutum a monumento, et ingressæ non invenerunt Corpus Domini Jesu. Et factum est, dum mente consternatæ essent de isto, ecce duo viri steterunt secus illas in veste fulgenti. Cum timerent autem et declinarent vultum in terram, dixerunt ad illas: Quid quæritis viventem cum mortuis? Non est hic, sed surrexit. Recordamini qualiter locutus est vobis, cum adhuc in Galilæa esset, dicens: Quia oportet Filium hominis tradi in manus hominum peccatorum, et crucifigi et die tertia resurgere. Et recordatæ sunt verborum ejus. Et regressæ a monumento nuntiaverunt hæc omnia illis undecim et cæteris omnibus. Erat autem Maria Magdalene, et Joanna, et Maria Jacobi. et cæteræ, quæ cum eis erant, quæ dicebant ad Apostolos hæc: et visa sunt ante illos sicut deliramentum verba ista, et non crediderunt illis. Petrus autem surgens, cucurrit ad monumentum, et procumbens vidit linteamina sola posita et abiit secum mirans, quod factum fuerat.

[The continuation of the holy Gospel according to Luke.

[On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled back from the sepulchre. And going in, they found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were astonished in their mind at this, behold, two men stood by them, in shining apparel. And as they were afraid, and bowed down their countenance towards the ground, they said unto them: Why seek you the living with the dead? He is not here, but is risen. Remember how he spoke unto you, when he was in Galilee, saying: The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words. And going back from the sepulchre, they told all these things to the eleven, and to all the rest. And it was Mary Magdalen, and Joanna, and Mary of James, and the other women that were with them, who told these things to the apostles. And these words seemed to them as idle tales; and they did not believe them. But Peter rising up, ran to the sepulchre, and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths laid by themselves; and went away wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.]
[I believe...]

Offertorium. Ps. 41, 5.
Transibo in locum Tabernaculi admirabilis usque ad domum Dei. Alleluja.

[I shall go over into the place of the wonderful Tabernacle, even to the house of God. Alleluia.]

Deus, qui per depositionem sanctissimi Corporis Filii tui in Sepulchro, idem Sepulchrum sanctificasti, concede quæsumus, ut in hoc Sepulchro anima et corde habitemus. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum.

[O God, Who by the deposition of the most holy Body of Thy Son in the Sepulchre, didst sanctify that same Tomb, grant we beg, that in this Sepulchre we may dwell in heart and soul. Through the same our Lord…]

Communio. Sap. [Prov.] 8, 34.
Beatus qui audit me et qui vigilat ad fores meas quotidie, et observat ad postes ostii mei. Alleluja.

[Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates, and waiteth at the posts of my doors. Alleluia.]

Deus, qui nos sancti Sepulchri Filii tui laetari facis honore, præsta quæsumus, ut in eodem sepulti, mundo moriamur, et tibi soli vivamus. Per eumdem Dominum.

[O God, Who dost make us to rejoice in honouring the holy Sepulchre of Thy Son, grant we beg, that buried in the same, we may be dead to the world, and live to Thee alone.  Through the same our Lord…]

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