Thursday, November 13, 2008

Birthday Mass

My birthday approaches, and as a special favour I've tentatively arranged for Fr Rowe to offer an additional, special Mass at the Pro. on Wednesday the 19th at 5.30 pm (I'll serve, as is fitting).

Initially I'd thought that the Mass for any necessity would be a good choice, but having reviewed the texts I find such hilariously inappropriate sentiments as "deliver us from those punishments our sins have deserved" (Collect) and "Forgive us our sins... lest the heathen say, Where is their God?" (Alleluia verse!).  While I do need forgiveness, as do all men at all times, I think to have a penitential Mass would be a strange way to celebrate the anniversary of my birth.

Instead, I now consider the best and most obvious option is a Mass of Thanksgiving.  This in turn raises a further issue, in that such a Mass is marked by the use of the appropriate collect, secret and postcommunion, but these being added (under one conclusion) to the equivalent prayers of a Mass of the Trinity, the Holy Ghost, Our Lady or any saint.  What to choose?

After some consideration, while initially favouring a Votive of the Holy Ghost with prayers of Thanksgiving, I think it best to ask Fr Rowe to celebrate a Votive Mass in honour of St Joshua, my patron saint, adding the Thanksgiving orations as per the rubrics.

Now, St Joshua (while being a bona fide saint, appearing in all martyrologies, old and new, East and West) has no proper Mass, so the texts must be taken from the Common of Confessors not Pontiffs, and there are two Mass formulæ from which to choose, viz. Os justi and Justus ut palma.  While both have admirable contents, I think that in particular the Epistle for the latter (I Cor. iv, 9-14), and also to a lesser extent the Gospel (St Luke xii, 32-34) don't quite suit the life and career of St Joshua, while the lessons appointed for the Mass Os justi fit better, being Ecclus xxxi, 8-11 and St Luke xii, 35-40.  Therefore, I'll suggest to Fr that he use Os justi.

As per the long rubric at the head of the Masses of the Sanctoral Cycle, the text of the Collect must be altered since it will, God willing, be used on the 19th of November, and not on St Joshua's actual feast day of the 1st of September: so annua must be omitted, solemnitate changed to commemoratione, and natalitia replaced by memoriam (note that natalitia is a neuter plural, and so in form could be either nominative or accusative; as I perceive it to be an accusative, it must be changed to memoriam, not memoria):

Deus, qui nos beati Josue Confessoris tui commemoratione lætificas: concede propitius; ut, cujus memoriam colimus, etiam actiones imitemur.
[Deinde, sub una conclusione:]
Deus, cujus misericordiæ...  Per...

(God, Who dost rejoice us by the commemoration of blessed Joshua Thy Confessor: graciously concede, that we may moreover imitate his actions, whose memory we celebrate.  
[And then, under one conclusion:]  
(God, Whose mercy...  Through...)

All this reminds me: please pray also for my sister, whose birthday is to-morrow.

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