Wednesday, December 31, 2008

In Initio Anni

Since to-night is New Year's Eve, I thought to post this prayer relative to the coming year of Our Lord two thousand and nine, a so-called Alia Oratio, or prayer before the Diptychs, taken from the New Year's Mass according to the Mozarabic Rite:

Deus, qui idem ipse es cuiúsque anni non defícient; præbe nobis ita hunc annum cum plácita tibi servitútis devotióne transígere, quáliter et substántiis non privémur, et divínis obséquiis devotióne optábili obsequámur.
R/. Amen.  
Per misericórdiam tuam, Deus noster, in cuius conspéctu sanctórum apostolórum et mártyrum, confessórum atque vírginum nómina recitántur.
R/. Amen.

(God, Who art always the same and Whose years never fail [Ps 101:28]; grant unto us so to pass through this year with that devotion of a service pleasing to Thee, that we may both be not deprived of due support, and be able to pay best devotion to the divine service.
(R/.  Amen.
(Through Thy mercy, Our God, in Whose sight the names of the holy apostles and martyrs, confessors and also virgins are recited.
(R/.  Amen.)

Splitting the Difference

When Luther infamously rejected the Roman Canon as "reeking of oblation", retaining alone the Verba Testamenti (the words of Our Lord instituting this Sacrament) found "[captive] like the Ark in the Temple of Dagon", he little kenned that the Canon is among the oldest surviving Eucharistic Prayers, being attested to in substantially the same form by St Ambrose in his authenticated late fourth century De Sacramentis, and most probably being of earlier origin, as for example the phrase quod tibi obtulit summus sacerdos tuus Melchisedech is objected to in the Quæstiones Veteris et Novæ Testamenti (circa 370) on the grounds that Melchisedech is not called "high priest" in Scripture, but rather "priest of God most High" - and this implies that the offending phrase is a mistranslation of the Greek τὴν προσφορὰν Μελχισεδὲκ τοῦ ἱερέυς σοῦ τοῦ ὑψίστου.

The mediævals of course expressed the highest praise for the most sacred mysteries of the Canon of the Mass, without, however, always understanding much of it - for instance, Paul the Deacon wrote of the Supplices te rogamus that it was not so much as to be comprehended as to be feared!  In the meanwhile, they supplied from Gallican and other sources many proleptic prayers to be used during the Offertory, to the extent that these almost formed a doublet of the Canon, and indeed were known collectively as the Little Canon or Canon minor.

To return to Luther, in his Formula missæ he made the radical but surprisingly 'traditional' suggestion that the consecratory words of the Lord ought be transferred from their silent recitation in the midst of the Canon to a public chanting in the midst of the Preface - I say this is 'traditional', for it actually well corresponds, surprisingly enough, to the consecratory Prefaces of the Roman Rite, such as those for ordinations.  I say this is in a manner 'traditional', further, because there is good evidence from early sources, including in Italy, that the Sanctus is a later addition to the Eucharistic Prayer, being perhaps Syrian in origin, and so the no longer extant original of the Canon may well have passed from praise of God in what is now the opening of the Preface straight into the consecratory and oblatory passages of the Canon, thus constituting what's called a two-step prayer, rather than the somewhat later three-step Eucharistic Prayers (such as those of the Byzantine Rite), with their successive thanksgiving series, Verba and epiclesis, each tidily attributed to Each of the Divine Persons in due order.  

(En passant, the fact that the epiclesis occurs in different places in different rites, sometimes explicitly calling upon the Spirit to consecrate the elements, sometimes doing so inchoately or not mentioning the Holy Ghost, as famously in the Roman Canon itself, shews that this is a later explicitation of the liturgical and sacramental action, and not an original and absolutely necessary element thereof - Our Lord certainly blessed the bread and wine He transsubstantiated, but didn't invoke the Holy Ghost by name to do so: the words He spoke as the Word Incarnate effected what they signified.)

By emplacing the Verba in the midst of the Preface, the Sanctus could then follow, and the elevation of the Sacrament - which Luther considered a happy and salutary custom - would be carried out directly before the Benedictus, thus as much as he felt possible conserving the accepted shape of the liturgy.  Now, it goes without saying that I hardly approve of such highhanded mucking about with the liturgical order laid down by Holy Church, inspired by the Holy Ghost, but I feel called to speculate a little about this...

Some few Lutheran Agendæ kept a modified and invariable Secret as an epicletic prayer, but in general, as I understand it because it to them smacked of Calvinist practice whereby the Reformed sectaries pretended that prayer to the Holy Spirit obtained that the elements be set aside as mere instruments and tokens, Lutherans dropped any prayer asking for the Sacrament to be effected, considering that the Verba alone sufficed (as indeed they do, after all).  However, Luther in his Deutsche messe introduced what became very popular and almost standard: to sing the Preface and Sanctus, then (in inverted order) the Lord's Prayer before the Verba, so rendering, in popular acceptation at least, the Our Father an epicletic, even consecratory prayer begging God to "Give us this day our daily bread" - in a sense reducing the Eucharist to Holy Communion only.  

He did I recall recommend the Pax Domini be kept, recognizing it quite shrewdly for what liturgiologists have established it originally was, a pre-communion blessing, and likewise kept the Agnus Dei: Lutherans have maintained both of these.  He also allowed for what has fallen out of use among them irregardlessly, the precommunion private prayer Domine Jesu Christe, Fili Dei vivi.

So, why this great long curious winding detailing of orthodox and heterodox liturgy?  (For even more of the same, consult my posting about Swedish Lutheran liturgical history.)  Well, seeing as there is the Anglican Use Book of Divine Worship, what would be proposed for, so to speak, Uniate Lutherans?  I make bold to suggest that recovery of the Suscipe sancta Trinitas as a sort but complete formula of anamnesis and oblation for the living and the dead would supply the missing element to Lutheran formulas!  Here is the suggested schema:
  • Epicletic Secret Prayer (Oratio super oblata), fixed - as for example derived, oddly enough, from the Secret of the orations pro rege:
Munera, Domine, quæsumus, [hæc tua] sanctifica: ut [...] nobis Unigeniti tui corpus et sanguis fiant [...].  Qui tecum vivit...

(Hallow, Lord, we beg, these Thy gifts: that they may become for us the Body and Blood of Thine Onlybegotten.  Who with Thee liveth...)
  • Sursum corda and Preface, with the Verba inserted (Qui pridie or somesuch), but then continuing on with the usual conclusion describing the angels' worship;
  • Sanctus and Benedictus, with the Elevation between, and...
  • Prayer Suscipe sancta Trinitas - I am thinking of the very short but complete Dominican Rite variant (the Roman or another would do as well*), which oddly enough is identical to that of the Use of Hereford, and expands upon the Pauline statement that the use of the Sacrament makes manifest the saving death of the Lord until He come (I Cor. xi, 26):
Suscipe sancta Trinitas hanc oblationem, quam tibi offero in memoriam Passionis Domini nostri Jesu Christi: et præsta ut in conspectu tuo tibi placens ascendat; et meam et omnium fidelium salutem operetur æternam.
(Receive, holy Trinity, this offering, which I offer thee in memory of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ: and grant that it may arise pleasingly in Thy sight unto Thee; and may it work my eternal salvation and that of all the faithful.)
  • Doxology Per ipsum, sung aloud;
  • The Lord's Prayer, concluding, as the Lutherans like, with its Doxology;
  • Pax Domini and Agnus Dei;
  • Preparatory prayer(s) (Domine Jesu Christe, qui dixisti and) Domine Jesu Christe, Fili Dei vivi.
Given the addition in particular of the Suscipe sancta Trinitas*, the previous intercessions offered earlier in the service would be linked to the supreme oblation of the Holy Sacrifice made present in the Consecration.


* If one wishes to continue to play the happy if dangerous game of liturgical recomposition beloved of various Vatican II types, to which yours truly is obviously not entirely immune if only as a parlour game, perhaps instead the Byzantine formula would suit:
Μεμνημένοι τοίνυν τῆς σωτηρίου ταύτης ἐντολῆς καὶ πάντων τῶν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν γεγενημένων, τοῦ Σταυροῦ, τοῦ Τάφου, τῆς τριημέρου Ἀναστάσεως, τῆς εἰς οὐρανοὺς Ἀναβάσεως, τῆς ἐκ δεξιῶν Καθέδρας, τῆς δευτέρας καὶ ἐνδόξου πάλιν Παρουσίας, Τὰ Σὰ ἐκ τῶν Σῶν Σοὶ προσφέρομεν κατὰ πάντα καὶ διὰ πάντα.

(Therefore, remembering this command of our Saviour, and all that He had endured for us: the Cross, the Grave, the Resurrection on the third day, the Ascension into Heaven, the Session at the Right Hand [of the Father], and the Second and glorious Coming again, Thine own of Thine own we offer unto Thee, on account of all and through all [that Thou hast done for us].)

Controversial, but hopefully interesting? - at least to readers of Sentire cum Ecclesia, I hope!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ken's Morning Hymn

Bishop Thomas Ken (1637-1711) was Anglican Bishop of Bath & Wells, but, as a Non-juror, was dismissed from this office to a quiet retirement.  He was known for his saintliness, and wrote this and some other hymns.  

I learnt this off some years back, and am glad to propose it here as a good prayer upon arising; the hymn is divisible into three parts, addressing successively one's soul, the angels, and God, and closing with a well-known doxology; parenthetically it may be noted that he was buried at dawn to the strains of this hymn:


Awake, my soul, and with the sun
Thy daily stage of duty run;
Shake off dull sloth and joyful rise
To pay thy morning sacrifice.

Redeem thy misspent time that’s past
Live this day as if ’twere thy last;
Improve thy talent with due care;
For the great Day thyself prepare.

Let all thy converse be sincere,
Thy conscience as the noon-day clear;
Think how all-seeing God thy ways
And all thy secret thoughts surveys.

By influence of the light Divine
Let thy own light in good works shine;
Reflect all heaven’s propitious ways
In ardent love and cheerful praise.

Wake, and lift up thyself, my heart,
And with the Angels bear thy part,
Who all night long unwearied sing
High praise to the eternal King.

Awake, awake,* ye heavenly choir,      [* I wake, I wake,]
May your devotion me inspire,
That I like you my age may spend,
Like you may on my God attend.

May I, like you, in God delight,
Have all day long my God in sight,
Perform, like you, my Maker’s will –
O, may I never more do ill!

Had I your wings, to heaven I’d fly.
But God shall this defect supply;
And my soul, wing’d with warm desire,
Shall all day long to heaven aspire.

Glory to thee, who safe hast kept
And hast refreshed me whilst I slept;
Grant, Lord, when I from death shall wake,
I may of endless life partake.

Heaven is, dear Lord, where’er thou art,
O never then from me depart;
For to my soul ’tis hell to be
But for one moment void of thee.

Lord, I my vows to thee renew;
Scatter my sins as morning dew;
Guard my first springs of thought and will,
And with thyself my spirit fill.

Direct, control, suggest, this day
All I design, or do, or say;
That all my powers, with all their might,
In thy sole glory may unite.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow,
Praise him, all creatures here below,
Praise him above, ye heavenly host,
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Monday, December 29, 2008


An ageless music of beauty from the Dominican Liturgy: the Christmas, Epiphany and Presentation Sequence Lætabundus:

Attentive listeners will note that the Dominican chant melody as sung above doesn't quite match the chant extract below! Note that each full verse ends with the letter -a, since the Sequence is historically a development of the long melisma, the jubilus, on the last syllable of Alleluia, founded upon setting a syllable to each note; and note further that in the modern Dominican books (but not on the recording!) some words supposedly overly critical of the Jews have been modified, such as electa for misera in the last verse.

Faithful people,
Sweeten all your song with gladness.
Matchless maiden
Bringeth forth the Prince of princes:
O! the marvel.

Virgin compasseth a man,
Yea, the angel of the plan:
Star the Dayspring.
Day that sunset shall not close,
Star that light on all bestows,
Ever cloudless.

As the star, light crystalline,
Mary hath a Son divine
In her likeness.
Star that shining grows not dim,
Nor his Mother, bearing him,
Less a maiden.

The great tree of Lebanon
Hyssop's lowliness puts on
In our valley;
And the Word of God Most High
Self-imprisoned doth lie
In our body.

So Isaias sang of old,
So the Synagogue doth hold,
But the sunrise finds her cold
Hard and blinded.

Of her own she will not mark,
Let her to the gentiles hark;
For the Sybil's verses dark
Tell of these things.

Make haste, O luckless one,
Give ear to the saints bygone:
Why perish utterly,
O race undone?

He whom thy seers foretell
Born is in Israel:
Mary's little Son,
O mark him well.

The Lengthy Matins of Christmas

On average, the psalmody at Matins extends for 115 verses (and only 87 on Sundays).  Unfortunately, however, the very devout and well-chosen selection of psalms for Christmas Matins extends for 170 verses, including the notoriously long Ps 88 (Misericordias Domini in æternum cantabo), and these psalms are repeated each day of the Octave, except for the three feasts!  (St Stephen's Matins are of One Martyr, and are particularly short, having only 90 verses; those of St John Evangelist and of the Holy Innocents, again from their matching Commons, have a more or less normal 119 and 111 verses respectively.)

I daresay after I've served Mass I'll be on my knees in the chapel for a while, getting through Matins and Lauds, and probably Prime as well.  No rest for the wicked!


I had to rush to get to Carmel in time to tog up and serve Mass...  Fr preached a very devout sermon on the text Simeon took the Child Jesus into his arms (cf. St Luke ii, 28), pointing out what a joy it must have been for this aged priest to hold in his arms the Promised Messiah, and with what tender rapture Our Lady and St Joseph must have cradled the Divine Infant: parents know this inexpressible joy of cradling their own children, their own gifts from God; but how surpassing wonderful to hold the very Word made flesh, made a helpless infant for us - Nobis natus, nobis datus.  Now, Holy Mass is the Divine Sacrifice of Calvary made present, but every Mass is also Christmas, our Jesus coming to us in the Sacrament of the Altar: so the privilege of holy Simeon is extended to us!  We ought pray for suffering families and for children who have not the love of parents, who lack the embrace of love that all human beings truly need, and beg the Lord at Communion time for the grace of a tender devoted love issuing in selfless service.

After Mass (about 40 minutes with sermon), another 40 minutes for Matins, Lauds and Prime!  I sat rather than knelt, I must admit.  (And St Thomas of Canterbury gets but a commemoration at Lauds.)

After Mass and Office - a coffee and the paper at the local café.  

God's in His heaven, all's right with the world.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Breviary Offices versus OF Masses

As I'm now in Tasmania, and have been serving the Christmas Masses at Carmel, it's been back to a (quite acceptable) Novus Ordo; and one benefit of serving has been that I've been able to receive communion, kneeling, from our visiting priest, under both species.  (Some traddies have weird reservations about touching the chalice, but that's mad.)

In the Ordinary Form, to-day is the feast of the Holy Family, while according to the Breviary it's the Sunday in the Christmas Octave, and the Holy Family won't be feasted until Sunday the 11th of January.  (Ever since Benedict XV extended this feast to the whole world, it's been difficult to find an older Sunday to push aside so as to fit it in: and I must say it seems to me better to have the Holy Family celebrated in the Octave than after Epiphany.)

Indeed, there's plenty of confusion coming up; while the Octave of Christmas is really just about equivalent to the Solemnity of Mary Mater Dei, as a glance at the respective Offices demonstrates, here in Australia the bishops in their wisdom have transferred the Epiphany to the nearest Sunday, meaning that this year on Sunday the 4th in the Breviary I'll be celebrating the Most Holy Name of Jesus, while perforce I'll hear Mass of the Epiphany, whose Office will occur on the Tuesday; and the same thing will occur with the Baptism of the Lord...

And last but not least, to-day is Childermas, the Feast of the Holy Innocents (read more here), which took precedence over the Sunday until the last preconciliar simplification of the rubrics; Fr alluded in his homily to the truth that Our Lord sanctified the whole course of human life from conception onwards, and one might think that in this dark age of widespread fœtal murder, to have the child-victims of raging Herod commemorated even on a Sunday would be no bad thing.  

(Don't forget, BTW, that to-day is Proclamation Day in South Australia, marking the 172nd anniversary of that Province.)

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Two more suggestions from my overactive imagination:

1.  I really think we should return Tasmania to its former name of Van Dieman's Land (V.D.L.) - how much more fun to be a Vandemonian!  (As all men know, Abel Tasman discovered this isle in 1642, on the 24th of November, and he named it in honour of Anthony van Diemen, then Governor of the Dutch East Indies: please, let no one point out the obvious, that there were indigenous inhabitants already - unfortunately, I've never seen that there is any surviving idea of what they called it.  To expunge the shame of this land being treated as a place of exile for convicts in its first half-century of colonization, at the time of it attaining responsible government elected by free settlers, its name was changed to Tasmania on the 1st of January 1856, so that the sesquicentenary of that date has recently been marked.)

2.  Prescinding from the practical impossibilities, it would be nice for Launceston (as seat of the whole north of the State) to be raised to the status of suffragan diocese of Hobart.  Originally, there were two lieutenant-governors of the nascent British settlements in V.D.L., one at Launceston, the other at Hobart, though this division ceased in 1812; however, to institute a like division ecclesiastically would make Hobart a metropolitan see.  Archbishop Murphy had attempted this back in the late 19th C., but seeing as his candidate suffragan was one of his many nephews in Holy Orders, and as a delegation of laymen went to Rome to lobby against it ("We do not want this man to be king over us"), the Holy See squelched the proposal.

Apparently "Launceston" derives from Lannstefan, Cornish for "church of (St) Stephen"; until the 1990's, there was a chapel of St Stephen in the city centre, but unfortunately the St Vincent de Paul Society decided it was surplus to requirements and dismantled it so as to use the space for another purpose - I only entered it once, and was sad to learn of its demise, especially as St Stephen is the saint I chose as my patron at confirmation.  Again, the first of the seminary priests to be martyred was St Cuthbert Mayne, done to death by judicial murder in odium fidei at Launceston in Cornwall on the 29th of November 1577: a relic of him, having been at the Church of the Apostles here in Launceston, Tasmania, for many years, was emplaced in a reliquary beneath the new permanent freestanding altar, but was stolen; so there goes another connexion to the Cornish namesake of this city.  The Tudor church in that Cornish town is St Mary Magdalene's, but so far as I'm aware this dedication has not been used anywhere around here.  So if Launceston ever is made a bishopric, I would suggest St Stephen as principal patron, and St Mary Magdalene and St Cuthbert Mayne as secondary patrons.

Iconographic Theme

St John Evangelist had many great and unique privileges: he alone of the Apostles was a virgin, was for this grace as for his other aspects of saintliness especially beloved of the Lord, and was commended by Christ to His Mother the Virgin as a pure soul worthy to substitute in a manner even for her Onlybegotten Child, standing on our behalf as representative of the whole of redeemed mankind.  

He was miraculously delivered from martyrdom, endured exile on the isle of Patmos, and slept at last in the Lord in extreme old age at Ephesus, having established and ruled the churches of Asia Minor in perfect charity and love.  Mediævals even speculated that the Beloved Disciple, like the Mother of God, was assumed bodily into heaven.

Whatever rationalists and critics may assert, the tradition is still respected by the Church that he composed the Fourth Gospel, three epistles, and the Apocalypse, shewing him to be an evangelist without par of the Word made flesh: hence he is both John the Evangelist and John the Theologian, or John the Divine, given his piercing insight into the secrets of heaven and of Christ's Divinity: his symbol therefore is a soaring eagle.

I have always liked the image of St John as Our Lady's chaplain - for did he not take her unto his home (St John xix, 27), and thereafter would he not have, as a priest of the New Testament, celebrated for her the Divine Mysteries of her Son?  It is piously held that Our Lady had this privilege from the Lord, that as He took flesh from her flesh, so after the Resurrection she daily received Him in sacramental Communion, and - miracle! - His Real Presence within her ceased not from Communion to Communion.  Again, sceptics may scoff, but potuit, docuit, ergo fecit...

Therefore, I'm thinking of commissioning from Christopher, an artist of my acquaintance whom I saw at the Adelaide ordinations, a painting according to a design that's been for years on my mind: in mediæval style, a portrayal of Our Lady attending at the Mass of St John, as the Evangelist offers up the tremendous Sacrifice - she would be shewn at a prie-dieu, no doubt with a prayerbook, he at the altar in the usual pose as seen in the well-known Mass of St Gregory.  The image would be not anachronistic, but a symbolic depiction of the truth that the Blessed Virgin would have been houselled by St John.

Valde Honorandus

This morning I served Mass at Carmel again, and afterward went to confession at Church of the Apostles.  Having prayed St Stephen's Office, to-day I've now begun St John's; and, remembering that his feast is the Feast of Priests - for was not St John his chosen apostle in a special way beloved of Christ, and the priest and chaplain of Our Lady, making him par excellence priest of Jesus and Mary? - I again congratulate and pause to pray for Fr Mannes Tellis, O.P., ordained only eight days ago this evening, making this the octave of his priesthood.

O Lord Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest,
Make him a priest after Thine own Heart.
O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ the High Priest,
Make him a priest after the Heart of thy Son.
O Saint John Evangelist, Priest of Jesus and Mary,
Make him a priest after His Most Sacred Heart.
O Holy Trinity, One God, by the intercession of all the Angels and Saints,
Make him a priest after the Heart of Jesus.

Domine Jesu Christe, summe Sacerdos æterne,
fac ut sacerdos fiat secundum Cor tuum.
Beata Maria Virgo, Mater Christi Pontificis,
fac ut sacerdos fiat secundum Cor Filii tui.
Sancte Joannes Evangelista, Sacerdos Jesu atque Mariæ,
fac ut sacerdos fiat secundum sacratissimum Cor ejus.
Sancta Trinitas, unus Deus, per intercessionem omnium Angelorum et Sanctorum,
fac ut sacerdos fiat secundum Cor Jesu.

Fr preached with evident devotion on the theme of the great love of God that St John Evangelist so shews forth in his Gospel, which must be understood in its two senses: above all, God's great love for us, Jesus' great love for us, even unto death - as the Apostle put it, He loved me and gave himself for me (Gal. ii, 20) - and our consequent impulsion to love Jesus Christ our Lord and God, returning love and compassion to Him Who has laid down His life for us, Who calls His disciples in love His Little Children (St John xiii, 33 & cf. xxi, 5)  - what amazing intimacy to speak thus to a bunch of sturdy fishermen! or to wash their feet (St John xiii, 5), or to say thrice unto Peter, Lovest thou me? (St John xxi, 15ff)  True, St John's Gospel teaches us the truth about the Divinity of Christ - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... and the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us (St John i, 1 & 14).  But moreover it reveals the humanity of Christ, even, dare we say, the human face of God, "Humanized Divinity" as Cardinal de Berulle said, for if to see Him is to see the Father (cf. St John xiv, 9), to learn of Him is to learn of the Father's love for all men: I have called you servants no longer, but friends... (cf. St John xv, 15)  Such was the tone of His voice, that the Magdalene knew Him when He called her name (St John xx, 16); the beloved disciple said, It is the Lord (St John xxi, 7), when He called to them from the seashore; doubting Thomas believed and cried, My Lord and my God (St John xx, 28: an aspiration that ought ever be on our lips).  Sic nos amantem quis non redamaret?  (So true a lover / Shall we not requite Him?)

Reading the first Nocturn of the Feast of St John entailed hearing again the words read at the first reading at Mass, and their continuation, so I append I John i, 1 - ii, 5 (being the whole of the three lessons in the Breviary), and especially given my reception of the Sacrament of Penance mark those comfortable words, We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Just: and He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the whole world's (I John ii, 1b-2).

Lesson i - I John i, 1-5

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the word of life: for the life was manifested; and we have seen and do bear witness, and declare unto you the life eternal, which was with the Father, and hath appeared to us: that which we have seen and have heard, we declare unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us, and our fellowship may be with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.  And these things we write to you, that you may rejoice, and your joy may be full.  And this is the declaration which we have heard from him, and declare unto you: That God is light, and in him there is no darkness.

Lesson ii - I John i, 6-10

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he also is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Lesson iii - I John ii, 1-5a*

My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin.  But if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the just: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.  And by this we know that we have known him, if we keep his commandments.  He who saith that he knoweth him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But he that keepeth his word, in him in very deed the charity of God is perfected [and by this we know that we are in him*].

* Verse 5b is not included in the Breviary Lessons.

(Last year I posted concerning the Collects of St John, and the special Dominican antiphons for his Matins, BTW.)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Hobart and Melbourne Trips

For friends - or Melbourne readers curious to see me, I now run into such persons! - it may be useful to note that I'll be visiting that Glorious See in late January, from Thursday the 22nd until Tuesday the 27th to be precise.  (It's amazing how cheap air travel has become: only $100 for the round trip.)

This journey, apart from allowing me to catch up with various acquaintances, will permit me to hear Masses of the following in the Traditional Rite for a few days:  

  • 22nd - SS Vincent the Deacon & Anastasius the monk, Martyrs;
  • 23rd - St Raymund of Peñafort, O.P., Confessor, with commemoration of St Emerentiana, Virgin & Martyr;
  • 24th - St Timothy, Bishop & Martyr;
  • 25th - by special Papal decree, in this Pauline Year the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul may be observed in place of the usual Sunday Mass (which would be that of the 3rd after Epiphany)*;
  • 26th - St Polycarp, Bishop & Martyr;
  • 27th - St John Chrysostom, Bishop, Confessor & Doctor.

(* Would the orations of the Sunday be read as commemorations? - would the Sunday Gospel be read as the Last Gospel?)

And, in reverse order, I ought mention I'll be motoring down to Hobart on Friday the 2nd, my car hopefully having arrived by then, and there I'll stay for a number of days...

On the Feast of Stephen - II

Boxing Day has been a late start for me - not feeling quite at rights, I slept in, extending my uneasy sleep...

Having thus missed serving Mass at Carmel, I went later late and heard half a Mass at Church of the Apostles, arriving late, at the Orate fratres; so I read the readings &c. from my missal.

St Stephen is my confirmation patron, being the first of martyrs; last year I blogged about him; this year I've read the instruction for his feast given in Nelsons' Festivals and Fasts (I have an 1841 reprint of this 1703 manual by a devout High Churchman, married to a Recusant).  If you wish to consult same, look at pages 66-77 here.; I append an extract, to give the feel of the beautiful English in which it is written, let alone to shew its general piety and usefulness:

Text not available

In other business, the Boxing Day Cricket Test continues; hopefully our man Ponting (a fellow Launcestonian) can captain Australia to victory over the South Africans; else it will be our first at-home series defeat in 15 years.  And while lunching on Christmas leftovers we watched the start of the famous Sydney to Hobart yacht race, that perennial fixture of the end of December.  (The local paper is running a series on the tragedy of the 1998 Sydney to Hobart, when a storm struck the fleet in Bass Strait, sinking many yachts, requiring many rescues, and leading to six deaths.)

Perhaps I'll go see The Day the Earth Stood Still this arvo; I'm interested to compare it to the original film.

I suppose I should start on the day's Office, too...

And, last but not least, as to-day is the Feast of Deacons, festal greetings to Rev Br Vincent Magat, O.P.!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Masses at Carmel

Well, all that's done and sorted: serving the Dawn Mass, that is!  I even had to play with the dreaded thurible; Mum charitably said afterward, I noticed you've got better at it (in the past I was hopeless as thurifer, and normally avoid the task whenever possible).

After the predictability of serving the Latin Mass, serving at the Novus Ordo is confusing - so many prudential judgements to be made, so little direction as to what to do...  and the sanctuary at the Carmel, in its chapel of the Immaculate Heart, is rather oddly shaped, since the altar faces the nuns' choir (separated off by the grille), while the people sit to the left of the nuns' choir (or if you prefer, the nuns are to their right) in a separate transept, the whole chapel making a V-shape.  As a result of this, the sanctuary isn't rectangular, but extends out toward the layfolk a triangular wing; and the credence is far over on the Gospel side, so to speak, while the sedilia is against the wall on the Epistle side; and the stand for the thurible (when used) is thoughtfully put next to the tabernacle on the wall behind the altar.  I have over time worked out or tried to work out ways of operating in this space, but I wish for some definite instruction.

In any case, for the record, regarding the music, the dear sisters sing hymns as always at the start and end of Mass, and also sing together a Gelineau setting of the Responsorial Psalm.  Since Fr has been using the Confiteor, they have had the chance to sing the Kyrie in chant (a simple one), and now of course the Gloria from Mass XV, and the Sanctus and Agnus Dei from Mass IX.  They have their own simple and rather mournful tone for the Alleluia and verse - ditto for the Amen at the end of the Canon (Fr's used the Roman Canon for these two Christmas Masses, including all the saints).  The Memorial Acclamation (unexpectedly bearable) has been "Lord, by your cross and resurrection..." in the chant-like setting from the Missal.  The last item the nuns sang, after they made their communion, was a meditative repetition of Gloria in excelsis Deo (à la Taize).  While not singing the orations or the Preface this morning as he did last night, Fr did lead us in singing the Lord's Prayer and following items as per usual.

Fr of course preached two good sermons; at Midnight, mentioning amongst other things the tenderness of God in becoming a little child, and the significance of night: negatively, it stands for man's sundering from God; positively, for rest, refreshment and repose after the model of God's resting - Our Saviour comes in the night to scatter the darkness of sin and lead us into everlasting rest.  This morn, he spoke on many rich themes, that are fast fading in my tired brain!  But two stand out... First, he quoted to us the second of the Christmas Prefaces, and explained how Our Lord came in human flesh to show us the great love of God for us, to restore the unity of Creation with the Divine, and to teach us true humility, which is primarily founded on the stupefying condescension of the Deity toward us in love, and only secondarily on a realization of our finitude and sinfulness.  Second, he quoted the Byzantine sticheron that follows -

O Christ, what shall we offer You for your coming on earth as a Man for our sake? Every creature that has its being from You gives thanks to You: the angels offer hymns of praise, the heavens give a star; wise man present their gifts and the shepherds, their wonder; the earth provides a cave and the desert a manger. As for us, we offer You a Mother, a Virgin Mother. O God who are from all eternity, have mercy on us!
- and pointed out how Our Lady in her love, care, charity, selfless giving and contemplation stood as exemplar of the ideal response to the human race, and posed the question, What in return will we give God this Christmas?  "Love so amazing, so divine, / Demands my soul, my life, my all" (quoting Isaac Watts rather than our priest, but the sentiment is the same).


Half-asleep after Midnight Mass, I was given friendly greeting - Are you Joshua? said Paul, I read your blog!

Pleased to meet you, Paul, and merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Carols and Benediction from St Patrick's

(The Cathedral sanctuary by day)

I must blog a bit about the very excellent service, broadcast by the ABC here in Australia, of carols and so forth in preparation for Christmas at St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne.  It was far from a pale imitation of Anglican carols and lessons as some naysayers claimed over on Sentire cum Ecclesia some time back - rather, it was very Catholic indeed, culminating in Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament!

What a joy, and one trusts what a splendid impulse to compel conversions to the Faith, to see Catholic belief in and worship of the Real Presence brought into homes and mayhap into hearts: while "O come all ye faithful" (written, BTW, centuries ago precisely to serve as a Christmas Benediction hymn) was sung, the Sacrament was exposed in the monstrance and censed, and while the choir sang a magnificent polyphonic motet (Verbum caro factum est - the eighth responsory of Christmas Matins) It was censed again, paid the latria due our Incarnate God in His Presence on the altar, and then Archbishop Hart gave solemn Benediction.  Wow!

Do-it-yourself Vigil

Of course I prefer to be home with family at Christmas: but this means I cannot do as I would otherwise wish, and attend all the Masses and ceremonies of the sacred liturgy at this time. Well, I can (and soon will) pray Vespers, but in the meanwhile I've read to myself the texts of the traditional Vigil Mass of Christmas, as a missa sicca (Traddie-talk for paraliturgy!); not being a cleric, of course, one prays "O Lord, hear my prayer" in place of "The Lord be with you"!  The Secret and Postcommunion are both quite suitable as private prayers, as they are sufficiently general in meaning.

The Epistle in particular, which I have already read in parts at the Day Hours, is well worthy of note...



INTROIT (Exodus xvi, 6-7; Ps 23:1)

+Hodie sciétis, quia véniet Dóminus, et salvábit nos: et mane vidébitis glóriam ejus. Ps. Dómini est terra, et plenitúdo ejus: orbis terrárum, et univérsi, qui hábitant in eo. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper et in saecula saeculorum. Amen. Hodie sciétis...


Kyrie, eleison.  (iij)
Christe, eleison.  (iij)
Kyrie, eleison.  (iij)


V/. Domine, exaudi orationem meam. 
R/. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.

Deus, qui nos redemptiónis nostræ annua exspectatióne lætíficas: præsta; ut Unigénitum tuum, quem Redemptórem læti suscípimus, veniéntem quoque júdicem secúri videámus, Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. R/. Amen.

EPISTLE (Romans i, 1-6)

Léctio Epístolæ beáti Pauli Apóstoli ad Romanos. Paulus, servus Jesu Christi, vocátus Apóstolus, segregátus in Evangélium Dei, quod ante promíserat per prophétas suos in Scriptúris sanctis de Fílio suo, qui factus est ei ex sémine David secúndum carnem: qui prædestinátus est Fílius Dei in virtúte secúndum spíritum sanctificatiónis ex resurrectiónegmortuórum Jesu Christi Dómini nostri: per quem accépimus grátiam et apostolátum ad obediéndum fídei in ómnibus géntibus pro nómine ejus, in quibus estis et vos vocáti Jesu Christi Dómini nostri. 
R/. Deo Gratias.

GRADUAL (Exodus xvi, 6-7; Ps 79:2-3)

Hódie sciétis, quia véniet Dóminus, et salvábit nos: et mane vidébitis, glóriam ejus. V/. Qui regis Israël, inténde: qui dedúcis, velut ovem, Joseph: qui sedes super Chérubim, appáre coram Ephraim, Benjamin, et Manásse.

GOSPEL (St Matthew i, 18-21)

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthaeum. 
R/. Gloria tibi, Domine.

Cum esset desponsáta mater Jesu María Joseph, ántequam convenírent, invénta est in útero habens de Spíritu Sancto. Joseph autem vir ejus, cum esset justus, et nollet eam tradúcere, vóluit occúlte dimíttere éam. Hæc autem eo cogitánte, ecce Angelus Dómini appáruit in somnis ei, dicens:Joseph, fili David, noli timére accípere Maríam cónjugem tuam; quod enim in ea natum est, de Spíritu Sancto est. Páriet autem fílium: et vocábis nomen ejus Jesum: ipse enim salvum fáciet pópulum suum a peccátis eórum. 
R/. Laus tibi Christi.

OFFERTORY (Psalm 23:7)

V/. Domine, exaudi orationem meam. 
R/. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.

Tollite portas, príncipes, vestras, et elevámini porte æternáles: et introíbit Rex glóriæ.


Da nobis, quæsumus, omnípotens Deus: ut, sicut adoránda Fílii tui natalítia prævenímus, sic ejus múnera capiámus sempitérna gaudéntes: Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. R/. Amen.


V/. Domine, exaudi orationem meam. 
R/. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.
V/. Sursum corda. 
R/. Habemus ad Dominum.
V/. Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.
R/. Dignum et justum est.


Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi simper, et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus: per Christum Dominum nostrum. Per quem majestatem tuam laudant Angeli, adorant Dominationes, tremunt Potestates, Cæli, Cælorumque Virtutes, ac beata Seraphim socia exultatione concelebrant. Cum quibus et nostras voces, ut admitti, jubeas, supplici confessione dicentes: 


Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth. Pleni sunt cæli et terra gloria tua. Hosanna in excelsis. + Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini. Hosanna in excelsis.


Per ipsum, et cum ipso, et in ipso, est tibi Deo Patri omnipotenti, in unitate Spiritus Sancti, omnis honor et gloria, per omnia saecula saeculorum. R/. Amen.


Praeceptis salutaribus moniti, et divina institutione formati, audimus dicere:

Pater noster, qui es in cælis: sanctificetur nomen tuum: adveniat regnum tuum: fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cælo, et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie: et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem. R/. Sed libera nos a malo.



Libera nos, quæsumus, Domine, ab omnibus malis, præteritis, præsentibus, et futuris: et intercendente beata, et gloriosa semper Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beatis Apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo, atque Andrea, et omnibus Sanctis, da propitius pacem in diebus nostris: ut ope misericordiæ tuæ adjuti, et a peccato simus semper liberi, et ab onmi perturbatione securi. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. R/. Amen.

THE PAX [modified]

V/. Pax Domini sit semper nobiscum
R/. Amen.


Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi: miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi: dona nobis pacem.

COMMUNION (Isaias xl, 5)

Revelábitur glória Dómini: et vidébit omnis caro salutáre Dei nostri.


V/.   Domine, exaudi orationem meam. 
R/.   Et clamor meus ad te veniat.

Da nobis, quæsumus, Domine: unigéniti Fílii tui recensita nativitáte respiráre; cujus cælésti mystério páscimur et potamúr. Per eúmdem Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum.   R/.   Amen.


V/.  Domine, exaudi orationem meam. 
R/.  Et clamor meus ad te veniat.
V/.  Benedicamus Domino.
R/.  Deo gratias.