Monday, March 30, 2009


With first Vespers of Sunday two days ago began Passiontide, the last stretch of Lent.  In the Traditional Rite, it lasts for two weeks, segueing into Holy Week and the Sacred Triduum: thus, the fifth Sunday of Lent is Passion Sunday, and the sixth, Palm Sunday.  (The modern Office still makes this distinction - supplying different readings and responsories than those used for the earlier part of Lent - but the Mass does not.)  Most notably, in churches all crosses and sacred images are to be veiled before first Vespers of Passion Sunday; Psalm 42 is omitted at the start of Mass; and the Gloria Patri is left unsaid both at Mass and in the Venite (Ps 94) and responsories in the Office, both at Matins and throughout the Day Hours.

The figure of suffering innocence displayed in the Prophet Jeremias is held before us by Holy Church, the suffering Bride of Christ, throughout this season.  Jeremias, who submitted his will to the Lord and unflinchingly preached doom and disaster to the heedless people, is a fit type of Our Lord, Who likewise fulfilled the Father's will, even unto death upon the Cross, when the Chosen rejected Him and spurned their Messias.  For this reason, all but one of the readings specially appointed for the Day Hours during Passiontide are taken from the book of this prophet (the exception being from the famous prophetic description of Our Saviour as the Suffering Servant found in Isaias), illustrating how the Lord's enemies plotted to compass his ruin (short chapter at Lauds), but how in so doing they but merited damnation whiles He put all his confident trust in His Father (Terce, Sext, Vespers), and moreover interceded for them that hated Him without a cause (None).  Likewise, the psalms and other texts are used to illuminate the anguished pleas of the Suffering Saviour (cf. Hebrews v, 7), as evinced in the antiphons, short responsories and versicles appointed.

Here, then, is the Ordinary of Passiontide.  (I omit the hymns, as worthy of consideration all on their own.)


Inv. Ant. Hódie, si vocem Dómini audiéritis, * Nolíte obduráre corda vestra. (Ps 94:8)

(Today if ye will hear the voice of the Lord, * Harden not your hearts.)


Capitulum  (Jer. 11:19)
Veníte, mittámus lignum in panem ejus, et eradámus eum de terra vivéntium, et nomen ejus non memorétur ámplius.

(Come, let us put wood on his bread, and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his Name may be remembered no more.)

Eripe me de inimícis meis, Deus meus.
R. Et ab insurgéntibus in me líbera me
. (Ps 58:2)

(Deliver me from mine enemies, O God.
(Defend me, O Lord, from them that rise up against me.)


Ant. Líbera me, Dómine, et pone me juxta te: et cujúsvis manus pugnet contra me. (Job 17:3)

(O Lord, deliver me, and set me up beside thee: and let any man's hand fight against me.)

Lectio Brevis (Is. 50:6)
Fáciem meam non avérti ab increpántibus, et conspuéntibus in me. Dóminus Deus auxiliátor meus, et ídeo non sum confúsus. 

(I hid not my face from shame and spitting: for the Lord God will help me: therefore shall I not be confounded.)


Ant. Judicásti, Dómine, causam ánimæ meæ, defénsor vitæ meæ, Dómine, Deus meus. (Lam. 3:58 + Dne Ds ms)

(O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life, O Lord, my God.)

Capitulum (Jer. 17:13)
Dómine, omnes qui te derelínquunt, confundéntur: recedéntes a te, in terra scribéntur: quóniam dereliquérunt venam aquárum vivéntium Dóminum.

(O Lord, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from thee shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters.)

Responsórium (Ps 21:21)
Erue a frámea, * Deus, ánimam meam.

R. Erue a frámea, * Deus, ánimam meam.

V. Et de manu canis únicam meam.
* Deus, ánimam meam.

R. Erue a frámea, * Deus, ánimam meam.

(Deliver my soul, O God, from the sword. My darling from the power of the dog.)

V. De ore leónis líbera me, Dómine.

R. Et a córnibus unicórnium humilitátem meam. (Ps 21:22)

(From the lion's mouth save me, O Lord.

(And my humility from the horns of the unicorns.)


Ant. Pópule meus, quid feci tibi? aut quid moléstus fui? Respónde mihi. (Michæas [Micah] 6:3)

(O my people, what have I done unto thee, or wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me.)

Capitulum (Jer. 17:18)
Confundántur qui me persequúntur, et non confúndar ego: páveant illi, et non páveam ego: induc super eos diem afflictiónis, et dúplici contritióne cóntere eos, Dómine, Deus noster.

(Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed; bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction, O Lord our God.)

(Ps 21:22)
V. De ore leónis * Líbera me, Dómine.

R. De ore leónis * Líbera me, Dómine.

V. Et a córnibus unicórnium humilitátem meam.
* Líbera me, Dómine.

R. De ore leónis * Líbera me, Dómine.

(From the lion's mouth, Save me, O Lord. And my humility from the horns of the unicorns.)

V. Ne perdas cum ímpiis, Deus, ánimam meam.

R. Et cum viris sánguinum vitam meam
. (Ps 25:9)

(O shut not up my soul with the sinners, O God.

(Nor my life with the blood-thirsty.)


Ant. Numquid rédditur pro bono malum, quia fodérunt fóveam ánimæ meæ? (Jeremias 18:20a)

(Shall evil be recompensed for good? for they have digged a pit for my soul.)

Capitulum (Jer. 18:20)

Recordáre quod stéterim in conspéctu tuo, ut lóquerer pro eis bonum, et avérterem indignatiónem tuam ab eis.

(Remember that I stood before thee to speak good for them, and to turn away thy wrath from them.)

(Ps 25:9)
V. Ne perdas cum ímpiis, * Deus ánimam meam.

R. Ne perdas cum ímpiis, * Deus ánimam meam.

V. Et cum viris sánguinum vitam meam.
* Deus ánimam meam.

R. Ne perdas cum ímpiis, * Deus ánimam meam.

(O shut not up my soul, With the sinners, O God.
Nor my life with the blood-thirsty.)

Eripe me, Dómine, ab hómine malo.

R. A viro iníquo éripe me.
(Ps 139:2)

(Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man.

(And preserve me from the wicked man.)


Capitulum (Jer. 11:20)
Tu autem, Dómine Sábaoth, qui júdicas juste, et probas renes et corda, vídeam ultiónem tuam ex eis : tibi enim revelávi causam meam, Dómine, Deus meus.

(But thou, O Lord of Hosts, that judgest righteously, that triest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them; for unto thee have I revealed my cause, O Lord my God.)

Eripe me, Dómine, ab hómine malo.
R. A viro iníquo éripe me
. (Ps 139:2)

(Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man.
(And preserve me from the wicked man.)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Vocation of Jeremias

Holy Mother Church bids us read at Matins on this Passion Sunday the opening chapter of the book of Jeremias the Prophet: he is to be taken, therefore, as a type and foreshadowing of Christ, Who supremely prophesied to the Jews both God's promised blessings, and also His threatened disasters conditional upon whether or not they heeded His Voice - whether or not they hearkened unto His Word, the very Word Incarnate pleading with them.  It is the same for us: If today ye hear His voice, harden not your hearts (the Invitatory antiphon of Passiontide).

The beginning of the book of Jeremias the Prophet.

The words of Jeremias the son of Helcias, of the priests that were in Anathoth, in the land of Benjamin. The word of the Lord which came to him in the days of Josias the son of Amon king of Juda, in the thirteenth year of his reign. And which came to him in the days of Joakim the son of Josias king of Juda, unto the end of the eleventh year of Sedecias the son of Josias king of Juda, even unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive, in the fifth month. And the word of the Lord came to me, saying: Before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother, I knew thee: and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and made thee a prophet unto the nations. And I said: Ah, ah, ah, Lord God: behold, I cannot speak, for I am a child. And the Lord said to me: Say not: I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee: and whatsoever I shall command thee, thou shalt speak. Be not afraid at their presence: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord. And the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth: and the Lord said to me: Behold I have given my words in thy mouth: Lo, I have set thee this day over the nations, and over kingdoms, to root up, and to pull down, and to waste, and to destroy, and to build, and to plant. And the word of the Lord came to me, saying: What seest thou, Jeremias? And I said: I see a rod watching. And the Lord said to me: Thou hast seen well: for I will watch over my word to perform it. And the word of the Lord came to me a second time saying: What seest thou? And I said: I see a boiling caldron, and the face thereof from the face of the north. And the Lord said to me: From the north shall an evil break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land. For behold I will call together all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith the Lord: and they shall come, and shall set every one his throne in the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, and upon all the walls thereof round about, and upon all the cities of Juda. And I will pronounce my judgments against them, touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have sacrificed to strange gods, and have adored the work of their own hands. Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak to them all that I command thee. Be not afraid at their presence: for I will make thee not to fear their countenance. For behold I have made thee this day a fortified city, and a pillar of iron, and a wall of brass, over all the land, to the kings of Juda, to the princes thereof, and to the priests, and to the people of the land. And they shall fight against them, and shall not prevail: for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee.

But thou, Lord, have mercy upon us.  R/.  Thanks be to God.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Prayers of Penitence

At Great Compline in the Byzantine Rite, the Prayer of Manasses (another item outside the Canon of Scripture, but still in the appendix to old Vulgate bibles) is prayed; somehow, it found its way into the U.S. Episcopalian 1979 Book of Common Prayer, as a slightly shortened canticle for use at Morning or Evening Prayer especially in Lent and on penitential occasions, and from thence has passed in its abbreviated form (verses 1-2, 4, 6-7, 11-15 only) into the Book of Divine Worship, the nascent Anglican use of the Catholic Church; it is a good penitential prayer, and I used it to-day after confession; here it is, in the Vulgate Latin (from the Perseus Collection) and the 1610 Douay version therefrom, usefully available online:

Prex Manasses

Domine Deus omnipotens patrum nostrorum, Abraham, Isaac et Iacob et semini eorum iusto, [2] qui fecisti caelum et terram cum omni ornatu eorum, [3] qui signasti mare verbo praecepti tui, qui conclusisti abyssum et signasti terribili et laudabili nomini tuo, [4] quod omnes pavent et tremunt a vultu virtutis tuae. [5] et insustentabilis ira super peccatores comminationis tuae, [6] inmensa vero et investigabilis misericordia promissionis tuae, [7] quoniam tu es Dominus altissimus super omnem terram, longanimis et multum misericors et paenitens super malitias hominum. tu autem Domine, secundum bonitatem tuam promisisti paenitentiam remissionis peccatorum, [8] et tu Deus iustorum, non posuisti paenitentiam iustis Abraham, Isaac et Iacob, his qui tibi non peccaverunt. [9] quoniam peccavi super numerum harenae maris, multiplicatae sunt iniquitates meae. [10] incurvatus sum multo vinculo ferri et non est respiratio mihi, quia excitavi iracundiam tuam et malum coram te feci, statuens abominationes et multiplicans offensiones. [11] et nunc flecto genua cordis mei, precans ad te bonitatem, Domine. [12] peccavi Domine, peccavi et iniquitatem meam agnosco. [13] peto rogans te Domine remitte mihi, remitte mihi, ne simul perdas me cum iniquitatibus meis neque in aeternum reserves mala mihi, [14] quia indignum salvabis me secundum magnam misericordiam tuam. [15] et laudabo te semper omnibus diebus vitae meae quoniam te laudat omnis virtus caelorum et tibi est gloria in saecula saeculorum, amen.


LORD omnipotent God of our fathers, Abraham, & Isaac, and Iacob, and of their iust sede, (2 Par 33:12) [2] which didst make heauen and earth: with al the ornamentes of them, [3] which hast bound the sea with the word of thy precept, which hast shut vp the depth, and sealed it with thy terrible and laudable name: [4] whom al thinges dread, & tremble at the countinance of thy powre, [5] because the magnificence of thy glorie is importable*, & the wrath of thy threatning vpon sinners is intollerable: [6] but the mercie of thy promise is infinite and vnsearchable: [7] because thou art our Lord, most high, benigne, long suffering, and very merciful, and penitent vpon the wickednes of men. Thou Lord according to the multitude of thy goodnes hast promised penance, and remission to them that haue sinned to thee, and by the multitude of thy mercies thou hast decreed penance to sinners, vnto saluation. [8] Thou therfore Lord God of the iust, hast not appointed penance to the iust, Abraham, & Isaac and Iacob, them that haue not sinned to thee, but hast appointed penance for me a sinner: [9] because I haue sinned aboue the number of the sand of the sea. Myne iniquities Lord be multiplied, mine iniquities be multiplied, and I am not worthie to behold, & looke vpon the height of heauen, for the multitude of mine iniquities. [10] I am made crooked with manie a band of yron, that I can not lift vp my head, and I haue not respiration: because I haue stirred vp thy wrath, and haue done euil before thee: I haue not done thy wil, and thy commandmentes I haue not kept: I haue set vp abominations, and multiplied offenses. [11] And now I bowe the knee of my hart, beseeching goodnes of thee. [12] I haue sinned Lord, I haue sinned, & I acknowlege myne iniquities. [13] Wherefore I beseech disiring thee, forgeue me Lord, forgeue me: and destroy me not together with myne iniquities, neither reserue thou for euer, being angrie, euils for me, neither damme me into the lowest places of the earth: because thou art Lord, God, I say, of the penitent: [14] in me thou shalt shew al thy goodnes because thou shalt saue me vnworthie according to thy great mercie, [15] and I wil prayse thee alwayes al the dayes of my life: because al the power of the heauens prayseth thee, and to thee is glorie for euer and euer. Amen.
[* importable means unsupportable - literally, unable to be borne.]

[Note that "which" is used for "who", as was common; and that, reflecting the Latin usage, sinners are spoken of as sinning "to" God, rather than "against" Him; similarly, the Lord is referred to in verse 7 as being "penitent", that is, forgiving, of the wickedness of men.]

There is also a similar text, a canticle drawn from the fourth book of Esdras (itself notable as supplying the source for the prayer for the dead Requiem æternam - cf. IV Esdras ii, 34f), which may be styled the Prayer of Esdras (IV Esdras viii, 20b-36); I seem to recall it is used somewhere in the Gothic Breviary of the Mozarabic Rite:

Domine, qui habitas in saeculum, cuius oculi elati et superna in aerem, [21] et cuius thronus inaestimabilis et gloria inconprehensibilis, cui adstat exercitus angelorum cum tremore, [22] quorum servatio in vento et igni convertitur, cuius verbum verum et dicta perseverantia, [23] cuius iussio fortis et dispositio terribilis, cuius aspectus arefecit abyssos et indignatio tabescere facit montes et veritas testificatur. [24] exaudi, Domine, orationem servi tui et auribus percipe precationem figmenti tui, intende verba mea. [25] dum enim vivo loquar et dum sapio respondeam. [26] ne aspicias populi tui delicta, sed qui tibi in veritate serviunt. [27] nec adtendas impie agentium studia, sed qui tua testimonia cum doloribus custodierunt. [28] neque cogites qui in conspectu tuo false conversati sunt, sed memorare qui ex voluntate tuum timorem cognoverunt. [29] neque volueris perdere qui pecorum mores habuerunt, sed respicias eos qui legem tuam splendide docuerunt. [30] neque indigneris eis qui bestiis peius sunt iudicati, sed diligas eos qui semper in tua gloria confiderunt. [31] quoniam nos et patres nostri mortalibus moribus egimus, tu autem propter nos peccatores misericors vocaberis. [32] si enim desideraveris ut nostri miserearis, tunc misericors vocaberis, nobis enim non habentibus opera iustitiae. [33] iusti enim, quibus sunt operae multae repositae apud te, ex propriis operibus recipient mercedem. [34] quid est enim homo, ut ei indigneris, aut genus corruptibile, ut ita amariceris de ipso. [35] in veritate enim nemo de genitis est qui non impie gessit, et de confitentibus qui non deliquit. [36] in hoc enim adnuntiabitur iustitia tua, et bonitas tua Domine, cum misertus fueris eis qui non habent substantiam operum bonorum.

20b Lord which inhabitest the world, whose eyes are eleuated vnto thinges on high and in the ayre: 21 and whose throne is inestimable, and glorie incomprehensible: by whom standeth an host of Angels with trembling, 22 whose keping* is turned in wynde and fire, thou whose word is true, and sayings premanent†: 23 whose commandment is strong, and disposition terrible: whose looke dryeth vp the depthes, and indignation maketh the mountaynes to melt, and truth doth testifie. 24 Heare the prayer of thy seruant, & with thine eares receiue the petition of thy creature. 25 For whiles I liue, I wil speake: and whiles I vnderstand, I wil answere: 26 Neither doe thou respect the sinnes of thy people, but them that serue thee in truth. 27 Neither doe thou attend the impious endeuours of the nations, but them that with sorowes haue kept thy testimonies. 28 Neither thinke thou of them that in thy sight haue conuerst falsly, but remember them that according to thy wil haue knowen thy feare. 29 Neither be thou willing to destroy them that haue had the maners of beastes: but respect them that haue taught thy law gloriously. 30 Neither haue indignation towards them, which are iudged worse then beastes: but loue them that alwayes haue confidence in thy iustice, and glorie. 31 Because we and our fatheres languish with such diseases: but thou for sinners shalt be called merciful. 32 For if thou shalt be desirous to haue mercie on vs, then thou shalt be called merciful, to vs hauing no workes of iustice. 33 For the iust which haue manie workes layd vp, of their owne workes shal receiue reward. 34 For what is man, that thou art angrie with him: or the corruptible kinde, that thou art so bitter touching it? 35 For in truth there is no man of them that be borne, which hath not done impiously, and of them that confesse, which haue not sinned. (3 Kings 8:46 / 2 Par 6:36) 36 For in this shal thy iustice be declared, and thy goodnes, o Lord, when thou shalt haue mercie on them, that haue no substance of good workes. 

[* ke(e)ping - i.e. service: their service takes the form of wind and fire (cf. Heb. i, 7).]
[† premanent- utterly fixed and abiding (from præ + manere), that is, certain.]

I have regard for both these prayers, since they give utterance to the power and majesty of the Lord, and speak accurately of the confusion and penitent prostration of the sinner before God (coram Deo).

Truth in the Apocrypha

The official editions of the Vulgate published after Trent continued to include three apocryphal or rather pseudepigraphal books that had not been adjudged inspired (unlike the deuterocanonicals): III and IV Esdras (called I and II Esdras by Protestants; in Catholic enumeration, Ezra and Nehemiah were called I and II Esdras) as well as the Prayer of Manasses; these works were still included ne prorsus interirent - lest they perish utterly.

III Esdras is basically a rehash of parts of I and II Esdras (Ezra and Nehemiah) - but for its chapters iii and iv, being the debate of the three bodyguards about which is greatest: wine, the king, women, or truth.  It is the last portion thereof, a favourite passage and the source of at least one proverbial expression, that I will now quote from the Vulgate and from the 1610 Douay (later editions no longer included these apocryphal parts):

iii, 12b Super omnia vincit veritas. 

iv, 13. 33b Zorobabel inchoavit loqui de veritate: 
35b Veritas magna et fortior præ omnibus. 36 Omnis terra veritatem invocat, cælum etiam ipsam benedicit, et omnia opera moventur, et tremunt eam, et non est cum ea quidquam iniquum. 37 Vinum iniquum, iniquus rex, iniquæ mulieres, iniqui omnes filii hominum, et iniqua illorum omnium opera, et non est in ipsis veritas, et in sua iniquitate peribunt; 38 et veritas manet et invalescit in æternum, et vivit, et obtinet in sæcula sæculorum. 39 Nec est apud eam accipere personas, neque differentias; sed quæ justa sunt facit omnibus, injustis ac malignis, et omnes benignantur in operibus ejus. 40 Et non est in judicio ejus iniquum, sed fortitudo, et regnum, et potestas, et majestas omnium ævorum. Benedictus Deus veritatis. 41 Et desiit loquendo. Et omnes populi clamaverunt, et dixerunt: Magna est veritas, et prævalet. 

iii, 12b ...aboue al thinges truth ouercometh.

iv, 13b.33b Zorobabel... began to speake of truth. 
35b Is not... the truth great, and stronger aboue al thinges? 36 Al the earth calleth vpon the truth, heauen also blesseth it, and al workes are moued, and tremble at it, and there is not any thing with it vniust. 37 Wine is vniust, the king is vniust, wemen are vniust, al the sonnes of men are vniust, and al their workes are vniust, and in them is not truth, and they shal perish in their iniquitie: 38 and truth abydeth, and groweth strong for euer, and liueth, and preuayleth for euer and euer. 39 Neither is there with it acception of persons, nor differences: but the thinges that are iust it doth to al men, to the vniust and malignant, and al men are wel pleased in the workes thereof. 40 And there is no vniust thing in the iudgement therof, but strength, and reigne, and power, and maiestie of [all] worldes. Blessed be the God of truth. 41 And he left speaking. And al the people cryed, and sayd: Great is truth and it preuaileth.

From this last verse - III Esdras iv, 41b - comes the slight misquotation (changing the tense of the verb) Magna est veritas, et prævalebit: Great is truth, and it shall prevail.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Lazarus as Everyman

Lazarus is Everyman; every man is Lazarus.  (Significantly, in Hebrew, Lazarus is אלעזר, that is, Elʿāzār or Eleazar, meaning "God [has] helped".)  So Augustine thinks: "Someone saith: How by Lazarus is signified the sinner, and why by the Lord is he so loved?   Let him hear Him saying: I came not to call the just, but sinners.  For if God had not loved sinners, He had not come down to earth from heaven."  (Lesson iii at Matins, from his Tract 49 on St John's Gospel.)  Amazing and astounding should it ever appear to us, that "God so loved the world that He gave His Only Son, that all who believe in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (St John iii, 16) - this truth should be grasped in astonishment ever new.  

Moreover, why was all mankind fallen and sitting in the darkness and shadow of death?  St Augustine goes on: "And hearing Jesus, He said unto them: This infirmity is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God be glorified."  What awesome mystery, stupefyingly so: that the Fall and the languishing of man in sin is not intended to issue in man perishing everlastingly (every Lenten feria at Prime we repeat the Lord's asseveration, Nolo mortem peccatoris, sed ut magis convertatur, et vivat: "I do not will the death of the sinner, but more that he be converted, and live"), but rather original sin and all ensuing actual sin is to be turned, not into misery here and punishment hereafter, but into the means for giving God the glory, and precisely through the exaltation of Christ - on His Cross.

The Lord takes worse than dross, and makes of it better than gold.  What hope, then, for everyman: even when dead in sin as Lazarus, there is hope that (though "he stinketh") he shall be called forth from the massa damnata, and by the Lord raised up - "Lazarus, come forth!"

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thursday of the 4th Week of Lent

To-day's collect caught my attention; it is unusual in that it has not one but two parallel ut-clauses, the references to fasting and mitigating earthly desires matching up with each other, just as do the hopes for rejoicing in holy devotion and more readily coming at things celestial:

Præsta, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus: ut, quos jejunia votiva castigant, ipsa quoque devotio sancta lætificet: ut, terrenis affectibus mitigatis, facilius cælestia capiamus.  Per...

Grant, we beg, almighty God: that those who are castigating [themselves] by votive fasts, may also by reason of this same holy devotion be rejoiced: that, earthly affections mitigated, we may with more facility lay hold of the heavenly.  Through...

Whatever poor efforts to mortify ourselves we undertake, we pray - begging God all-powerful, Who alone can work such wonders - that in Christ (our One Redeemer and Mediator) these attempts, salted with grace, may redound to our supernatural good, by divorcing us from worldly beguilements, and permitting us with clearer eyes and steadier wills to long for what alone is imperishable.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Realm of Sauron is Ended Forever

It was on the 25th of March, Tolkien tells us, that the One Ring, that evil machination of Sauron and distillation of his fell power, was destroyed, delivering Middle Earth from the spectre of unending, unbreakable demonic thrall: "'The realm of Sauron is ended!'"

Quite evident is the allusion that J.R.R. wished to impart.

Let us therefore call to mind the exultant song of the Eagle bearing this imagined foreshadowing of Good News to Minas Tirith (The Lord of the Rings, Book VI, Chapter V):

And before the Sun had fallen far from the noon out of the East there came a great Eagle flying, and he bore tidings beyond hope from the Lords of the West, crying:

Sing now, ye people of the Tower of Anor,
for the realm of Sauron is ended for ever,
and the Dark Tower is thrown down.

Sing and rejoice, ye people of the Tower of Guard,
for your watch hath not been in vain,
and the Black Gate is broken,
and your King hath passed through,
and he is victorious.

Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

And the Tree that was withered shall be renewed,
and he shall plant it in the high places,
and the City shall be blessed.

Sing all ye people!

And the people sang in all the ways of the City.

Is not the mastercraftsmanship of Tolkien evident in this passage, which to a Catholic Christian is so redolent of our holy religion?  Is not every word evidently pregnant with Christian and Catholic truth?  Our Champion, Christ, taking upon Himself our human nature, was seen on earth and appeared among men, and by the whole economy of His Incarnation, smashed the gates and broken the bars of hell, crushing Satan and winning for us victory beyond hope, He the Victor, for us, who pray we be numbered among the faithful, the true Israel of God and the New Jerusalem, here on earth in hope of what one day shall be consummated in heaven evermore, since Christ shall reign until He put all His enemies beneath His feet.  Sing all ye people!

The Angel of the Lord Declared unto Mary

This great solemnity of the Annunciation commemorates the supreme moment in the history of the world, when, at the Angel's invitation, the Blessed Virgin gladly assented and conceived the Incarnate Word.

May I suggest that the Angelus is the obvious prayer and topic for meditation to-day?

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Burning Bush

Yesterday, being Sunday, I was at the early Mass at Carmel (it was still quite dark when I got up; autumn is here, winter is coming...), and, partly beforehand, partly during and after, I prayed Matins and Lauds.  (A good day, Sunday: plenty of time for Office, and for having a nap later in the day, and a good walk around the Gorge.)

Now, Matins struck me for its Scripture readings - for these (taken from Exodus iii, 1-15) concerned Moses happening upon the Burning Bush, that mysterious theophany, the Lord speaking to him therefrom, and receiving God's commission to go set His people free from the yoke of Pharaoh; God even revealed His Divine Name, Ego sum qui sum - I Am Who Am.  God the terrible and great, the All-Holy, the Apart, the One Necessary Being, suffers Himself to concern Himself with the concerns of mortal men, to choose to Himself a people, and by great and mighty acts to bring them forth out of Egypt, the house of slavery, into a land where milk and honey flow.  

It ought go without saying that what He once did for Israel, to free them from Pharaoh, is an image and foreshadowing of the greater liberation and redemption wrought in later time by Christ the Incarnate Word, delivering us from our slavery, from our spiritual Egypt, from sin, Satan, death and hell, by His Cross, that, set free for freedom in Christ, in grace, we may in due time pass to our eternal homeland of heaven; and that it is for us, inspired by and faithful to grace, to appropriate to ourselves this salvation - and how better to so do than to join in the sublime mysteries of the Mass.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I confess

It makes me feel lazy and therefore ashamed, but I must admit that this week I've left aside Matins, and only used the Day Hours of the Breviary.

Unfortunately, I have found reading the nine psalms of Matins and its lessons - while ideally excellent - to be too much of a burthen, and a source of anxiety and restlessness.

I do hope in this (as in much else) that I have not entirely succumbed to acedia - that is, to that form of sloth which is the vice of finding religious devotion repulsive.  (Aquinas warns that this vice, often linked to the effects of pride, lust and gluttony, is closely related to despair - quod Deus avertat.)

On the positive side, I haven't been assailed with a foolish mania to read the Office as if it were some duty binding upon me, construed in a pharisaical manner (like tithing mint and dill, yet not practising charity), but rather, I hope, I have looked forward as my daily nourishment to delighting in the psalms given us by the Holy Ghost through the sacred writers, and the prayers of the Church composed under the guidance and governance of the same Spirit.

St Benedict defined the hoped-for effect of the Prayer of the Church as mens concordet voci: "may the mind accord with the voice" - that is, the desired result is that the heart may be lifted up to the Lord by striving to be of one mind and soul with Him through participating in the very words of Divine Revelation and right doctrine.  To this I say, Amen.

Audite cæli

"Hear, O ye heavens, the things I speak..."

The imprecatory canticle of Moses from Deuteronomy xxxii, which was his prophetic warning, at the close of his life, to the people of Israel whom he foresaw would stray from the commandments and do wickedly (cf. Deut. xxxi, 28-30), is used on Saturdays at Lauds II - that is, during Lent and on vigils.  (Prior to the psalter reform of St Pius X in 1912, it was appointed for all Saturday ferias - which were of uncommon occurrence then.)  

Its immemorial usage consisted of the chanting or recitation of all 52 verses of Deut. xxxii, redivided into no less than 65 verses for liturgical use - making it so long that St Benedict had it divided into two portions for use in his monasteries, thus resulting in Monastic Lauds on Saturdays having one less psalm than normal.  (The Byzantine Office also counts this as its Second Ode at Matins, but - owing to its severe character - it is never actually chanted save on the Tuesdays in Great Lent.) In 1960, during one of the last preconciliar reforms of the Breviary, it was reduced in length to Deut. xxxii, 1-18, or to 27 liturgical verses.  (As for the modern Divine Office, it restricts the canticle to Deut. xxxii, 1-12, thus leaving off nearly all of the imprecatory parts, save only verses 5-6, which speak clearly of Israel as sinning, as a generation wicked and perverse, as heedless of God their Father.)

Why this sudden interest?  Well, directly before going to the confessional this morning, I had just reached Deut. xxxii, 14 - and recalled the very next line (Deut. xxxii, 15a) as I went into the box to appear before the tribunal of justice: that, after all God had done for Israel, rescuing him and guiding him to a land of milk and honey, Incrassatus est dilectus et recalcitravit, incrassatus, impinguatus, dilatatus (which I construed somewhat as "The beloved grew crass and recalcitrant [lit. kicked back], crassened, fattened, puffed up" - this I applied to sinful me, base and full of ingratitude and pride).  Having made my admission of guilt, heard the comforting words of the priest - never despair, always be ready to get up again - and been absolved, I returned to my place at the back pew and read on, first praying with more attention the following last part of the canticle:
Incrassátus est diléctus, et recalcitrávit: * incrassátus, impinguátus, dilatátus,
Derelíquit Deum, factórem suum, * et recéssit a Deo, salutári suo.
Provocavérunt eum in diis aliénis, * et in abominatiónibus ad iracúndiam concitavérunt.
Immolavérunt dæmóniis, et non Deo, * diis, quos ignorábant:
Novi recentésque venérunt, * quos non coluérunt patres eórum.
Deum qui te génuit dereliquísti, * et oblítus es Dómini, creatóris tui.

(The beloved did wax fat and kick; * yea, he waxed fat, and thick, and gross.
(He forsook the God that made him, * and departed from the God of his salvation.
(They provoked him with strange gods, * and with abominations stirred they him up to anger.
(They sacrificed to devils, and not to God, * to gods whom they knew not.
(That came newly up, * whom their fathers worshipped not.
(Thou hast forsaken the God that begat thee, * and hast forgotten the God that created thee.)
So much truth! Sin is to wallow in self-indulgence, heedless of God yet running after strange gods, which are idols and demons to whom unholy worship is paid. The Scripture is quite correct in portraying all sin as idolatry and fornication, a spurning of the Lord and a whoring after all else.

I trust it can therefore be imagined with what relief I gave thanks to Christ and God when I prayed the last psalm of Lauds, Psalm 150, that pæan of praise and final doxology of the Psalter:
Laudáte Dóminum in sanctis ejus: * laudáte eum in firmaménto virtútis ejus.
Laudáte eum in virtútibus ejus: * laudáte eum secúndum multitúdinem magnitúdinis ejus.
Laudáte eum in sono tubæ: * laudáte eum in psaltério, et cíthara.
Laudáte eum in tympano, et choro: * laudáte eum in chordis, et órgano.
Laudáte eum in cymbalis benesonántibus: laudáte eum in cymbalis jubilatiónis: * omnis spíritus laudet Dóminum.
Glória Patri, et Fílio, * et Spirítui Sancto. 
Sicut erat in princípio, et nunc, et semper, * et in sæcula sæculórum. Amen.

(O praise the Lord in his sanctuary : * praise him in the firmament of his power.
(Praise him in his mighty acts: * praise him according to the multitude of his greatness.
(Praise him in the sound of the trumpet : * praise him upon the lute and harp.
(Praise him in the timbrels and choir : * praise him upon the strings and organs.
(Praise him upon the high-sounding cymbals: praise him upon the cymbals of joy : * let every spirit praise the Lord.
(Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
(As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, * world without end. Amen.)
After Lauds, I said the Our Father and Hail Mary I'd been assigned for penance, and as always went forth at peace.

What a consoling doctrine purgatory is.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Prophylactic Problems

The Pope has quite rightly said that condoms are not the answer to the scourge of AIDS, and in fact exacerbate the problem.

The sinful world of course stands astonished and aggrieved - missing the point entirely.

AIDS is, is it not, a sexually transmitted disease (for the moment restricting one's view to Africa, where unnatural vice and contaminated blood are not the main forms of transmission)?  Is not faithfulness to one's likewise faithful spouse, or else holy continence - as ought be the aim of all Christians - the only sure defence against it therefore?  Do not condoms, under the pretext of cutting down on transmission (and yet, they do break - potentially leading to infection and death), help perpetuate the risk-taking and more importantly sinful promiscuity that is precisely the reason for the spread of any sexually transmitted disease?  And is not the Church meant to focus not solely nor mainly on this-worldly concerns, but with the right eye to look toward heaven, with the left upon affairs of earth?  Do not the Ten Commandments and sundry other precepts of the Old and New Testaments, not to mention the unbroken witness of tradition, point to the grave sinfulness of every sort of sexual vice?  And to wink at vice by encouraging rather than condemning the use of prophylactics - directly defeating the very aim of intercourse, the propagation of the species (to which good the other benefits of bonding and joy are united) - would that not be to entirely apostatize from the true mission of the Church, which is to guide souls to heaven and save them from falling into hell?

The world advocates only the limited and natural good of allegedly cutting down on the transmission of disease, by whatever method however base, since it has no eyes for heaven nor for supernatural virtue - the sort of virtue that wins by changing the way of life for the better (conversio morum, as St Benedict termed it).  By the same argument it would turn aside the very eyes of justice and establish places where needles are doled out to the addicted that they may fill themselves full of illegal substances under supervision... there is no thought to curb vice and liberate folk from their slavery, no; only to the better keep them mired in it.  It is the same with abuses of sexual capacity.  (It ought go without saying that a faithful spouse whose partner has been unfaithful and is infected has every right to refuse the polluted intercourse that would be a grave and proximate risk of serious, potentially lethal infection.)

The Church cares for more sufferers of AIDS than any other organization; she also stands firm in her prohibition of any and all sinful means of supposedly stemming it and any other afflictions of humanity - because all sin is poison.  Newman, I think, pointed out that in religious eyes it were better the whole world perish in utmost misery than a single sin be allowed to stand.  To the world, this is stark raving lunacy.  To those who have faith, it reminds one at once of the Good News, that rather than let the world perish in its sin and misery, God sent His Son to redeem man, teach him the precepts that save, lead him away from vice and crime, and by the Cross above all teach what charity is, and offer the sacrifice that delivers man - but to which man must cling, and not return to the mire, lest his last state be worse than his first.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Happy Feasts of St Cyril - and of St Joseph

I almost forgot St Cyril of Jerusalem's commemoration at Lauds yesterday (perhaps the preces distracted me)... and got as far as the fifth psalm at Vespers before I recalled it should have been first Vespers of St Joseph (which I switched to a capitulo).

The Collect of St Cyril:
Da nobis, quæsumus, omnípotens Deus, beáto Cyríllo Pontífice intercedénte: te solum verum Deum, et quem misísti Jesum Christum ita cognóscere; ut inter oves, quæ vocem ejus áudiunt, perpétuo connumerári mereámur. Per eúmdem Dóminum...

(Grant unto us, we beg, almighty God, the blessed Pontiff Cyril interceding: that we may deserve so to "know Thee, the only true God, and He Whom Thou hast sent, Jesus Christ" [St John xvii, 3], that amongst the sheep, who hear His voice [cf. St John x, 3], we may forever be numbered.  Through the same...)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St Patrick's Day

I have a confession to make: I haven't kept to my resolution of arising so very early as to catch Mass before work - hence, St Patrick's day has seemed strange to me, for I don't think I've missed his Mass these many years.  At least I've said the Day Hours so far; Vespers isn't far off; and it's been nice to have a full festal Office of the 1st class to keep.

I was careful to feast the day with meat at meals, and at the moment (having forgotten to buy some Guinness or Kilkenny), I'm drinking a Leffe blonde out of a Leffe glass, all to celebrate the great patriarchal saint of Ireland.  May he pray for us!

(Last year, I posted a copy of his proper Mass, as conceded to some dioceses; and I have also a fuller version of my prayer to St Patrick for the obtaining the Traditional Mass in Tasmania on all Sundays and Feasts.)

This is the proper Collect according to the Breviary and Missal:
Deus, qui ad prædicandam gentibus gloriam tuam beatum Patricium Confessorem atque Pontificem mittere dignatus es: ejus meritis et intercessione concede; ut, quæ nobis agenda præcipis, te miserante adimplere possimus.  Per...

(God, Who didst deign to send blessed Patrick the Confessor and Bishop to preach to the nations Thy glory: by his merits and intercession concede, that, what Thou dost teach us is to be done, Thee being merciful, we may be able to fulfil.  Through...)
I like this prayer: for what was St Patrick sent by God? to preach to the nations His glory.  What ought we aspire to at this saint's deserving prayer? to have the power to do by God's mercy what God teaches us we ought carry out.  By what great agency was Patrick sent by God, and can we fulfil the commandments? Through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Recent Arrivals

It's always nice to have some literature at hand; over the weekend I dipped into popular culture by reading the graphic novel Watchmen (thinking it wise to see the original before perhaps steeling myself for the reputedly gory and graphic film version now showing); and to-day, having bought a travel guide to New Zealand (waiting for me, together with a large map, on the dining room table), I returned home to find my mail had turned up trumps: László Dobszay's The Bugnini Liturgy and the Reform of the Reform, plus two publications of the F.Ss.R.: an English translation of the traditional Roman Martyrology (excellent!) and the latest edition of their newspaper The Catholic

I'm also hoping for some items to turn up eventually:  Remote People, by Evelyn Waugh (famous for his hilarious account of the barbaric pomp and cryptic rites accompanying Haile Selassie's coronation as Emperor of Ethiopia); and after years of consulting it, my own copy at last of Jungmann's magisterial Missarum Solemnia in two volumes.

New Zealand Readers?

Calling all Kiwis - Maori or Pakeha!  In the spirit of ANZAC, please lend me your aid...

If you have any advice to tender regarding my planned trip to the Land of the Long White Cloud, of your charity post a comment; I hope to cross the Tasman to Christchurch in late May, and depart again in early June.  Unfortunately, it seems best given my limited time and other considerations to tour the South Island only this time, but any from the North Island are free to make helpful suggestions also.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Epistle for the Third Sunday in Lent

I don't know why, but on feasts the short chapters read at Lauds, the Little Hours and Vespers are snippets from the Epistle; and this is the case also on the Sundays of Lent. To-day's Epistle is from Ephesians v, 1-9: its start (v, 1-2) is read as the capitulum at both Vespers, at Lauds and at Terce - which would be ideally before Mass; its middle (v, 5) is read at Sext - which ought naturally follow Mass; and its end (v, 8-9) is appointed for use at None.

Herewith, the Epistle (in translation of course), with these parts highlighted:
Be ye therefore followers of God, as most dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath delivered himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odour of sweetness. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not so much as be named among you, as becometh saints: or obscenity, or foolish talking, or scurrility, which is to no purpose; but rather giving of thanks. For know you this and understand, that no fornicator, or unclean, or covetous person (which is a serving of idols), hath inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the anger of God upon the children of unbelief. Be ye not therefore partakers with them. For you were heretofore darkness, but now light in the Lord. Walk then as children of the light: for the fruit of the light is in all goodness, and justice, and truth.
Now, even the just falls seven times a day (Proverbs xxiv, 16), but that is not to say that we should wallow in sin - no, for such have no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.  Rather, we ought ever repent, ever be converted and turned again to the Lord, responding to His grace and not by a hard impenitent heart grieving the Spirit, sinning against Him, and becoming entirely captive to evil.  In this regard, the Gospel of this Sunday (St Luke xi, 14-28) contains a most awful warning: if an evil spirit be driven out of one by Christ's power, it roams in desert wastes, joins with seven other worse devils, then returns to inhabit its former abode - one's very soul (cf. St Luke xi, 24-26a)!  "And the last state of that man becomes worse than the first." (St Luke xi, 26b)  Hence our bounden duty to both hear and keep the word of God, lest we be not blessed, but cursed (cf. St Luke xi, 28).

Political Views?

Kiran over at Quotidian Glosses alerted me to a political spectrum survey one can take.  I must say, it seems very slanted toward American concerns, and the questions seem rather biassed!  Furthermore, as an Australian, I naturally take a much more benign view of, say, universally available healthcare (why do Americans have a phobia of this?), and this and other perfectly sensible views I hold had me turn out as left-wing! - whereas in Australian terms I'm sure I'm more to the right: a social conservative, certainly, but not ridiculously, madly laissez-faire economically either.  I would certainly use the term conservative of myself to describe my political views.  FWIW, here are the curious results the quiz I took accorded me:

My Political Views
I am a left social authoritarian
Left: 3.53, Authoritarian: 6.55

My Foreign Policy Views
Score: 2.2

Score: 4.57

My own idea of how government should operate rather oddly reflect these lines in the old Anglican Prayer for the Church Militant:
... We beseech thee also to save and defend all Christian Kings, Princes, and Governors; and specially thy Servant ELIZABETH our Queen; that under her we may be godly and quietly governed: And grant unto her whole Council, and to all that are put in authority under her, that they may truly and indifferently minister justice, to the punishment of wickedness and vice, and to the maintenance of thy true religion, and virtue.
Take the quiz yourself and see what curious results it turns up...

New Prioress at Carmel

This week's parish newsletter contained the following announcement:
On March 3rd the Carmelite Sisters held their triennial elections.  Mother Elizabeth of the Trinity has been elected as the prioress for the next 3 years.  As she takes up this office for the first time the Sisters ask your prayers for her and for the whole community, very united in this step, which is a major one for the Carmel after having the same prioress for the last 15 years.  Mother Elizabeth and the Sisters assure everyone of their continuing prayers and support for the whole parish community.
The immediately past prioress, Mother Stephanie, despite now being well into her eighties, has been prioress of the Carmel for as long as I've known the sisters, and had been prioress even before that in an earlier term of office; apparently, though she had previously been reëlected continually - and had had to obtain the necessary dispensation from Rome to continue on past the term limit specified in the Carmelite Constitutions - she has recently made it clear to her sister nuns that she felt herself unwilling to continue to bear the burthen of office, and hoped very much that they would elect a new superior.  The Carmel has half a dozen or so younger sisters, all of whom have joined in the last ten years, of whom Sister - now Mother - Elizabeth is the longest-professed; the older sisters are now very old (in their seventies and eighties), so it is a great blessing for the whole Carmel that they are of one mind and heart in the Lord and now have a new generation of religious coming along, united and strong in the Faith.


From the sublime to the less so... at Mass at Carmel this morning we had the rather uninspiring presence of Archbishop Doyle as celebrant.  Coincidentally, I had thought of him, who is rapidly approaching the age of resignation for bishops, while praying None last night (I read the end of Matins and all the Day Hours by aggregation, in bed): Fiant dies ejus pauci: et episcopatum ejus accipiat alter.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Quæritur: Words of Absolution

"... I absolve you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." - these were the concluding words of the absolution I heard pronounced over me in the confessional this morning.  Now, I know that they should have been preceded by the phrase "in the name of the"; my question is, was the actual form used sufficient for validity?  

(I should add that there was a short but distinct pause between the Name of Each Person of the Trinity; while I was kneeling behind the screen, I had moral certainty that the priest was making the sign of the cross as he said these words: hence the slight pauses I heard.)

It seemed to me that the words "in the name of" are to be understood as implied - it would be ridiculous to suppose that the priest was using the vocative and attempting to absolve the Trinity!


I left the confessional, knelt down at the back of the church and said five Pater's and five Ave's as was my penance, then prayed the O sacrum convivium with versicle and collect (as a spiritual communion), and went out into the city restored.

Oh, and I'm planning a trip to New Zealand in late May and early June: I went and saw the travel agent later on in the morning.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Psalm 70: A Prayer for the Pope

From over a decade using the modern Divine Office, I'm familiar with the following Grail Version of Psalm 70(71), which bears repeating as a prayer for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, beset as he is by so many enemies, even among those who should be accounted his friends:

Psalm 70(71)

In you, O Lord, I take refuge; *
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, free me: *
pay heed to me and save me.

Be a rock where I can take refuge, †
a mighty stronghold to save me; *
for you are my rock, my stronghold.
Free me from the hand of the wicked, *
from the grip of the unjust, of the oppressor.

It is you, O Lord, who are my hope, *
my trust, O Lord, since my youth.
On you I have leaned from my birth, †
from my mother’s womb you have been my help. *
My hope has always been in you.

My fate has filled many with awe *
but you are my strong refuge.
My lips are filled with your praise, *
with your glory all the day long.
Do not reject me now that I am old; *
when my strength fails do not forsake me.

For my enemies are speaking about me; *
those who watch me take counsel together
saying: “God has forsaken him; follow him, *
seize him; there is no one to save him.”
O God, do not stay far off: *
my God, make haste to help me!

Let them be put to shame and destroyed, *
all those who seek my life.
Let them be covered with shame and confusion, *
All those who seek to harm me.

But as for me, I will always hope *
and praise you more and more.
My lips will tell of your justice †
and day by day of your help *
(though I can never tell it all).

I will declare the Lord’s mighty deeds *
proclaiming your justice, yours alone.
O God, you have taught me from my youth *
and I proclaim your wonders still.

Now that I am old and grey-headed, *
do not forsake me, God.
Let me tell of your power to all ages, *
praise your strength and justice to the skies,
tell of you who have worked such wonders. *
O God, who is like you?

You have burdened me with bitter troubles *
but you will give me back my life.
You will raise me from the depths of the earth; *
you will exalt me and console me again.

So I will give you thanks on the lyre *
for your faithful love, my God.
To you will I sing with the harp, *
to you, the Holy One of Israel.
When I sing to you my lips shall rejoice *
and my soul, which you have redeemed.

And all the day long my tongue *
shall tell the tale of your justice:
for they are put to shame and disgraced, *
all those who seek to harm me.

Glory be…

To this may be added with profit the following preces and orationes:

Ant. You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; and to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven.  (Mt 16:18a)

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Our Father…
V/. Let us pray for our most blessed Pope Benedict, (that our God and Lord, who chose him for the order of the episcopacy, may preserve him in health and safety for the good of his holy Church, to govern the holy people of God).
R/. The Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies. (Ps 40(41):3)
V/. May your hand be on the man you have chosen.
R/. The man you have given your strength. (Ps 79(80):18)

Let us pray.

O God, the shepherd and ruler of all the faithful, look down favourably upon your servant Benedict, whom you have been pleased to appoint pastor of your Church; grant, we beseech you, that he may benefit by word and example those over whom he is set, and thus, together with the flock committed to his care, attain unto life eternal. 
Almighty everlasting God, who alone work great wonders, send down upon your servant Benedict our Pope, and upon all the congregations committed to his charge, the spirit of your saving grace; and that they may truly please you, pour upon them the continual dew of your blessing. 
Almighty, everlasting God, have mercy on your servant, our Pope Benedict, and guide him according to your clemency along the path of eternal salvation, so that by your gift he may desire those things that are pleasing to you and with all his strength accomplish them. Through Christ our Lord. R/. Amen.