Saturday, July 31, 2010

10th after Pentecost - Hobart Missa Cantata

This afternoon I'm off to Hobart; and will sing at Mass there to-morrow, for the 10th Sunday after Pentecost, Cum clamarem.

(Some may wonder why I've not been blogging much of late: well, Dad is still in hospital, waiting for a place in a nursing home, and we all visit him most days.  This has been very tiring and upsetting, as he is very weak and often confused.)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Happy Feast Day, Fr Mannes

"O blessed Mannes, exorcised by novices..." – that was the comic chant some of Fr Mannes' friends made up in his "honour" when he was still a young Dominican student himself: such is the Australian sense of humour that delights in deprecation of others.

His Mum had the best line, though: "You give your son a nice name like Paul, and he changes it to Mayonnaise."

Now, he's a young priest (I recall with gladness that I served his first EF Mass), and doubtless offered up the Holy Sacrifice to-day in honour of his namesake, Bl Mannes, O.P., the half-brother of St Dominic: ad multos annos, Pater reverende!

Deus qui beatum Mannem Confessorem tuum dispositione mirabili in viam perfectionis traduxisti; eadem misericordiæ gratia dirige actus nostros: ut possimus quærere quod jubes, et assequi quod promittis.  Per...
(O God, Who didst lead blessed Mannes Thy Confessor by wondrous disposition along the way of perfection; by the same grace of Thy mercy direct our actions: that we may be able to seek what Thou commandest, and to attain what Thou promisest.  Through...)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Compline & Benediction

What a good idea, what a blessing, and a spiritual consolation: singing Compline and then singing at Benediction.  Our fortnightly Gregorian chant session at St Francis was, as always, most beneficial to weary body and soul.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Confiteor, Misereatur and Indulgentiam

"I confess to Almighty God..." – comforting words indeed, because He Who hears them, having Himself turned the speaker's heart to true penitence, is merciful and gracious.

Since I attend the Traditional Mass when I can, as well as the modern Mass when I must, and moreover use the Day Hours according to the Dominican Breviary as my private devotion, I know and use three different forms of the Confiteor.  This has occasioned strange mix-ups when I've been serving Mass!

I wish to focus here, in the spirit of Anglicanorum cœtibus, on some Anglican versions of the Confiteor and its appended prayers the Misereatur and Indulgentiam (or as the Dominican version begins, the Absolutionem).

The most telling difference between the Roman and the Anglican versions of the Confiteor is that the latter, for the usual reasons, shy away from direct invocation of the saints.  That said, the earliest versions of the Confiteor, while all beginning with the one praying confessing before or rather to Almighty God and to (or, one may say, in "the sight of" or rather "before") His saints that he has sinned, do not go on invoke those saints: the Dominican Confiteor only does so when recited by one alone –

Confiteor Deo omnipotenti, et beatæ Mariæ semper Virgini, et beato Dominico Patri nostro, et omnibus Sanctis: quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, locutione, opere et omissione, mea culpa: precor beatam Mariam semper Virginem, et beatum Dominicum Patrem nostrum, et omnes Sanctos orare pro me.
(I confess to God almighty, and to blessed Mary ever Virgin, and to blessed Dominic our Father, and to all the Saints: for I have sinned exceedingly by thought, speech, deed and omission, through my fault: I pray blessed Mary ever Virgin, and blessed Dominic our Father, and all the Saints to pray for me.)

In order to rather subtly put this, some Anglican versions of the Confiteor say "I confess to Almighty God, before the whole company of heaven..." – just as St Paul adjured Timothy: "I charge thee before God, and Christ Jesus, and the elect angels..." (I, v, 21).  As the Apostle reminded us, the saints shall judge the world (as Our Lord Himself told us – St Matthew xix, 28), and indeed it were better we be judged before the saints (I Cor. vi, 1-2): those already living and reigning with God are witnesses of His mighty acts, most particularly His loving grant of forgiveness to the repentant.

There are mediæval versions of the Confiteor that instead have a Trinitarian cast: Confiteor tibi, Domine, Pater cœli et terræ, tibique benignissime Jesu una cum Spiritu Sancto, coram sanctis angelis... and Confiteor Deo omnipotenti Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto et omnibus angelis... – by a parallel or like develpment, some other Anglican versions of the Confiteor preferred to address the confession direct to the Three Persons.

What to do about the second half of the Confiteor, praying saints to intercede for us?  This being a later development, not found in full in earlier versions such as the Dominican or the Sarum, it were easy to regress and omit it: instead, the Misereatur could be made, not a response, but a continuation of the prayer.  The Indulgentiam would then be for the priest presiding to pronounce as a fitting conclusion – not a sacramental absolution, of course, but a fervent prayer for mercy made by one of Christ's own ministers.

I am very familiar with the longer Dominican form of the Misereatur, which one reads in the first person singular when praying Prime and Compline alone:

Misereatur mei omnipotens Deus, et dimittat mihi omnia peccata mea: liberet me ab omni malo, salvet et confirmet in omni opere bono, et perducat me ad vitam æternam.  Amen.
(May Almighty God have mercy upon me, and remit unto me all my sins: may he deliver me from all evil, save and confirm me in every good work, and lead me unto life eternal.  Amen.)

The Roman Misereatur is shorter than this, in almost inverse proportion to its longer Confiteor.  There is likewise evidence that the Indulgentiam in some mediæval forms is longer, and indeed contains much of what is now present in the conclusion of the set prayer that is the Formula of Intention before Mass, in the words:

Gaudium cum pace, emendationem vitæ, spatium veræ pænitentiæ, gratiam et consolationem Sancti Spiritus, perseverantiam in bonis operibus, tribuat nobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus.  Amen.

(May the almighty and merciful Lord God grant unto us all joy and peace, amendment of our lives, time for true penance, the grace and the comfort of the Holy Ghost, and perseverance in every good work. Amen.)

So, what are these Anglican forms of these three prayers, the Confiteor, Misereatur and Indulgentiam?  Here they are, as found in the forms of Compline appointed in the 1928 Proposed B.C.P., the 1929 Scottish B.C.P., the 1962 Canadian B.C.P., and a representative work of Anglo-Catholic piety, The Priest's Book of Private Devotion:

WE confess to God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, that we have sinned in thought, word, and deed, through our own grievous fault. Wherefore we pray God to have mercy upon us.

ALMIGHTY God, have mercy upon us, forgive us all our sins and deliver us from all {Scot. omits} evil, confirm and strengthen us in all goodness, and bring us to life everlasting {PBPD & Canad. add: through Jesus Christ our Lord}. Amen.

MAY {PBPD omits} the almighty and merciful Lord grant unto {PBPD omits} you pardon and remission of all your sins, time for {PBPD & Scot. add: true repentance,} {PBPD adds: and} amendment of life, and the grace and comfort of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

It is at once apparent that these prayers have been put into the plural throughout; the congregation are together to recite the first two prayers, and a priest, if present, should then pray the last prayer.

To back-translate this into Latin is quite straightforward, and yields the following results:

Confitemur Deo omnipotenti, Patri, (et) Filio, et Spiritui Sancto: quia peccavimus cogitatione, verbo, et opere, nostra maxima culpa.  Ideo precor Deum omnipotentem misereri nostri.

Misereatur nostri omnipotens Deus, dimittat nobis omnia peccata nostra, et liberet nos a (ab omni) malo, confirmet et roboret nos in omni bono, et perducat nos ad vitam æternam (per Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum).  Amen.

Absolutionem et remissionem omnium peccatorum vestrorum, spatium (veræ pænitentiæ, et) emendationis vitæ, gratiam et consolationem Sancti Spiritus, tribuat vobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus.  Amen.

Here is a second form, in the singular, again from The Priest's Book of Private Devotion:

I confess to God Almighty, before all the company of heaven, and thee, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed, of my own grievous fault; wherefore I pray God to have mercy upon me.
ALMIGHTY God, have mercy upon you, and forgive you all your sins, deliver you from all evil, confirm and strengthen you in all goodness, and bring you to everlasting life. Amen.
THE almighty and merciful Lord grant you pardon and remission of all your sins, time for true repentance and amendment of life, and the grace and comfort of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

This is even closer to the older, simpler, mediæval Catholic versions.

Already, in the Anglican Use Book of Divine Worship, we have such prayers as the following – the longer Anglican version of the Indulgentiam – in regular use:

May the Almighty and merciful Lord grant us absolution and remission of all our sins, true repentance, amendment of life, and the grace and consolation of his Holy Spirit. Amen. 

Why focus on all this?  Because these are good prayers, containing much of substance deserving careful consideration and attention.

For instance, the longer, "Dominican" Misereatur well sums up the succession of stages of the spiritual life that we and all Christians need Divine grace to attain:

  1. We beg Almighty God to have mercy upon us;
  2. May He remit all our sins;
  3. May He deliver us from all evil;
  4. May He save and confirm us in every good work;
  5. And may He bring us to life everlasting.
God grant it: Amen.

Ave Stella Matutina

To-day being a free Saturday (but for memorial of St Christina, Virgin & Martyr, at Lauds), the Office is of Our Lady; and that means that the Benedictus antiphon is the beautiful Ave stella matutina:

Ave stella matutina,                      Hail, morning star,
peccatorum medicina,                  remedy of sinners,
mundi princeps et regina,             ruler and queen of the world,
sola virgo digna dici,                    alone worthy to be called a virgin,
contra tela inimici                         against the spears of the enemy
clipeum pone salutis,                    interpose the shield of salvation,
tuae titulum virtutis.                      the sign of thy virtue.
O sponsa Dei electa,                    O chosen bride of God,
esto nobis via recta                       be for us a straight road
ad aeterna gaudia                         to eternal joys.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Dirigere et sanctificare

Curiously, the Book of Common Prayer includes the following Collect, sometimes styled the "Collect for Grace and Mercy to Keep the Commandments"; the 1764 Scottish Episcopalian liturgy, and its daughter the American Episcopalian from the 1789 down through the 1928 B.C.P., inserted it (in place of the dreadfully Erastian Collect for the King or Queen) as a fitting prayer to follow the Commandments or Summary of the Law – I say curiously, for it is none other than the Dominican version (used at Pretiosa) of the Roman prayer at the end of Prime.  Herewith, the Anglican prayer:

O ALMIGHTY Lord, and everlasting God, vouchsafe, we beseech thee, to direct, sanctify, and govern, both our hearts and bodies, in the ways of thy laws, and in the works of thy commandments; that through thy most mighty protection, both here and ever, we may be preserved in body and soul; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

This is a right noble prayer, a true piece of valuable Anglican patrimony fit for enriching the Church, as Anglicanorum cœtibus states.

Next, the exact Latin equivalent, as found in various sources I have consulted:

DIRIGERE et sanctificare et regere dignare, Domine Deus omnipotens et æterne, quæsumus, corda et corpora nostra in lege tua, et in operibus mandatorum tuorum; ut hic et in æternum, te auxiliante, et corpore et anima sani et salvi mereamur; per Dominum et Salvatorem nostrum Jesum Christum.  Amen.

(This is at least partly a back-translation into Latin of Cranmer's free rendering and amendment of the Sarum prayer behind it.)

The Dominican recension, doubtless a twin of the Sarum original behind Cranmer's:

Dirigere et sanctificare digneris, Domine, sancte Pater, omnipotens æterne Deus, hodie corda et corpora nostra in lege tua et in operibus mandatorum tuorum; ut hic et in æternum, te auxiliante, semper salvi esse mereamur.  Per Christum Dominum nostrum.  Amen.

The Roman, which is longer (redoubling the opening phrase with the infinitives regere et gubernare, adding in the threefold sensus sermones et actus nostros, and doubling salvi with liberi), and addressed, in the Gallican manner, to Christ rather than to God the Father (hence the address Domine Deus, Rex cæli et terræ... Salvator mundi):

Dirigere et sanctificare, regere et gubernare dignare, Domine Deus, Rex cæli et terræ, hodie corda et corpora nostra, sensus, sermones et actus nostros in lege tua et in operibus mandatorum tuorum, ut hic et in æternum, te auxiliante salvi et liberi esse mereamur, Salvator mundi, qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum.  Amen.

And, lastly, the even more elaborate Ambrosian version, from the long preces used at Prime:

Dirígere, custodire, sanctificáre, régere et gubernáre digneris, omnipotens æterne Deus, Rex et Creator cæli et terræ, hódie et semper corda et córpora nostra, sensus et sermónes nostros, actus et cogitationes nostras, in via et in lege tua et in opéribus mandatórum tuórum: ut possimus placere in conspectu tuo: et Angelus tuus bonus semper comitetur nobiscum ad dirigendos pedes nostros in viam pacis et salutis, ut hic et in ætérnum per te, Domine, et per tuam gratiam semper salvi et líberi esse mereámur, Jesu Christe, mundi Salvátor: Qui vivis et regnas in sæcula sæculórum.  Amen.

This prayer is overblown: not just four but five opening infinitives, a whole extra phrase, almost a prayer within a prayer really, imploring angel guardianship (evidently derived from the Benedictus antiphon in the Itinerarium), and much, much else, nearly every phrase being elaborated.

Significant Psalm Verses

I particularly like the psalms read on Monday in the Breviary.

(Yes, there are those who would refer with disdain to this arrangement of the psalmody as a sad excess of St Pius X's glorious reign, and regard as truly holy and Roman the pre-1912, immemorial arrangement alone...  There are also those who prefer the post-Conciliar four-week arrangement of the psalter; and of course the Anglican 30-day cycle is already, via the Anglican Use Book of Divine Worship, part of the Patrimony that Anglicanorum cœtibus recognizes as valuable for the wider Church.)

Monday features the following psalmody during the Day Hours: Pss 46 (including the famous words Psallite sapienter), 5, 28 and 116 at Lauds, pleasingly short; Pss 23 and 18 at Prime (both most suitable); Pss 26 and 27 at Terce; Ps 30 at Sext; Pss 31 and 32 at None; Pss 114, 115, 119, 120 and 121 at Vespers; and Pss 6 and 7 at Compline.

(I must say, though, I don't at all like having variable psalms at Compline: it was a bad mistake not to retain Pss 4, 30:1-6, 90 and 133 for Compline every day, and to that extent at least I agree with the many scholars and learned men who criticised the weekly redistribution of the psalms in the Divine Office made by order of Pope St Pius X.)

Here are some of the particular verses that struck me to-day...
  • mentita est iniquitas sibi - "inquity hath lied to herself" (Ps 26:12b)
How true it is: "O what a tangled web we weave / When first we study to deceive" – everyone likes to rationalize away one's sins, and indeed all who fall a prey to sin are to that extent deceived and deceiving.  Only God the Lord, all-pure, all-holy, can neither deceive nor be deceived: "Truth Himself speaks truly / Or there's nothing true" as wise Aquinas wrote.
  • Et refloruit caro mea... And my flesh flourished again... (Ps 27:7b)
What a wonderful thought: as it says somewhere, Their bones shall flourish as the grass...  God is good to His people.

These two verses following are always highlights of the Little Hours for me: they match up very well with the little chapter read at Compline in the Ambrosian Rite (see below), which I adopted – do any devotees remember? – for the Fratres Oratorii, that little essay at attempting something along the lines of the Oratorian spirit of prayer and meditation, while I was in Perth.
Expecta Dominum, viriliter age: et confortetur cor tuum, et sustine Dominum.  (Ps 26:14)
Expect the Lord, do manfully: and let thy heart be strengthened, and wait for the Lord.
(Last verse of the second portion of the psalmody at Terce on Mondays.)
Viriliter agite, et confortetur cor vestrum, omnes, qui speratis in Domino.  (Ps 30:25)
Do manfully, and let your heart be strengthened, all who hope in the Lord.
(Last verse of the psalmody at Sext on Mondays.)

Compare this with the "Epistolella" at Compline in the Ambrosian Rite:
Fratres: Vigilate, orate, state in fide: viriliter agite et confortamini in Domino: et omnia vestra in caritate faciant.  (Cf. I Cor. xvi, 13. 14.)
Brothers: Keep watch, pray, stand firm in the faith: act manfully and be strengthened in the Lord: and let all your works be done in charity.  
A programme indeed for Christian living...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Vespers at St Mary's Cathedral

Solemn Vespers with Benediction at St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, was most grand, sung by a male choir of about fourteen singers, with several servers assisting a priest in cope - and biretta!

The Vespers were those of Sunday in the 4th week of the Psalter, being according to the modern Divine Office, but were expertly and movingly sung in Latin, but for the Short Reading, and the concluding Intercessions, Lord's Prayer and Collect, being done in English as was quite reasonable.  The choir sang all parts in plainchant, but for a glorious polyphonic Magnificat.

After Vespers, the choir sang Palestrina's exquisite O sacrum convivium; then choir – who had relocated to kneel at the altar rails – and people sang the O salutaris Hostia, the Sacrament was exposed in the monstrance, and the usual Prayer for Christian Unity, then Tantum ergo, versicle and prayer followed, all still in Latin; Benediction having been given, the choir sang the Divine Praises in English, before, at Reposition, the Adoremus in æternum with Psalm 116, Laudate Dominum.  The simple Salve concluded a devout period of prayer.

The whole service took just over 40 minutes, what with beautiful organ music before and after, ending with a Bach toccata.  As Dylan Thomas had a character say in Welsh, Ahh, Bach vach!

Don't be Too Odd

Next to me at Mass was a most pious young man, who seemed to have brought not one but three or four books of devotion with him.  He spent the whole of the time before, during and after Mass going rapidly from book to book (I noticed during the chanting of Terce he was busy at orisons in veneration of the Five Wounds), not merely reading but mouthing the words in what became a rather noticeable whisper.  I had to lean over to him after the Sanctus and very quietly, kindly but firmly, say, "Excuse me, but could you read silently?  It's very distracting.  Thank you."  At that time of the Mass, the priest alone recites the Canon at the altar – we don't need a second celebrant of the liturgy in the pews!

Now, I have been guilty of exactly the same unwitting displays of overzealous piety when in the throes of devotion, but I did finally realize what was meant in an old handbook for novice masters, when it stated that one of their duties was to teach their underlings to pray silently.  No less a man than St Augustine stood in amaze when he beheld St Ambrose reading silently, since in antiquity one always read aloud; but we have moved on from this.  In piety, less can be more: I have been there, done that, what with chugging through an enormous self-imposed round of prayers gathered from divers sources, and, by being melodramatic, appearing most singular and odd; indeed, I probably often still fall in that category – but at least I have some self-awareness about curbing this.

That said, long years ago I was warned in a friendly manner by a priest about indulging in dotty displays of devotion: one shouldn't draw attention to oneself, let alone inflict one's own discipline and penance on others.  To that good Catholic I sat next to, I would say now what I would in all kindness have hoped to say then: Your zeal and love of God is commendable, and please do not be offended, but in prudence moderate your outward manifestations of piety, lest some mock and others be exasperated.  God bless.

Missa Cantata at Lewisham

Just south of the town of Campbelltown, about a third of the way down the Midlands Highway from Launceston to Hobart, there is a grassy hill on one side of the road, and flat fields on the other; a farmhouse may be seen; a sign names the locality "Lewisham".  I always smile when I pass it, especially if going to or from Tasmania's monthly Latin Mass.

Being in Sydney this week-end, I of course betook myself to Lewisham here, or rather to the Chapel of the Maternal Heart of Mary.  I arrived very early, and so was ready in plenty of time for Terce (according to the Monastic Breviary), at 10:15am, which is sung in choir before the main Mass.

Mass was only a Missa cantata to-day, with the schola singing; the organ was played also.  Fr Gresser was the celebrant, and to my delight dear Fr Rizzo, who's over here in Australia on a break from his assignment in New Zealand, was the preacher.  (He exhorted us to think well on the words, Render an account of your stewardship – for thus Christ will require of us, and so we ought diligently examine our souls daily, that we may escape hell, and be admitted to heaven.  An excellent sermon about the one thing necessary, reminding me much of Fr Rowe's repetition of what ought be our core concern, namely, to save our souls.  As an aside, he warned us against joining the Freemasons; I twitted him afterwards about this, observing it were somewhat unlikely the good Traddies in the congregation are sore tempted to partake of satanic Masonic rites...)  Both priests administered Communion.

At our Tasmanian Mass, we never have the Asperges beforehand, so it was a real delight to join in singing it and to be blessed with holy water.  My old mate Christopher was thurifer; he and the other four servers were in apparelled albs and amices, as was worn by the celebrant; the M.C. and the five singers in choir were in cassock and those rather silly, forgive me! Anglican-style super-wide-armed faux mediæval surplices that are de rigueur for Trad. Masses in Sydney and Melbourne apparently.  Thank God Fr Rizzo wore a biretta...

The singing was really magnificent, and the congregation lustily joined in Mass XI and Credo V (the latter new to me).  At the Offertory, the schola sang a rather curly hymn (Adesto sancta Trinitas) and at Communion, Our Lady's Magnificat, set in faux-bourdon or rather in parts by the estimable Ronan.  All sang Sub tuum at the end of divine service.

I tarried in church to join in Monastic Sext; that executed, we all processed to the altar of the Blessed Virgin singing the solemn Monastic Salve, which I rather massacred since I know the Dominican variant!

Afterwards, we all gathered in the courtyard for a lot of happy catching-up and conversation, which a large party of us continued over lunch at the White Cockatoo in Petersham, just up the road.

Eucharist then Agape: very traditional.


The Lutherans still name Sundays by their Introits – so Catholics definitely should!

According to my 1956 Dominican Diurnal, this Sunday is the 6th after the Octave of the Trinity; or, according to my Roman Missal, the 8th after Pentecost.

Suscepimus, Deus, misericordiam tuam...: a marvellous Introit (Ps 47:10-11,2), also used at Candlemas: "We have received, O God, Thy mercy, in the midst of Thy temple..." – how apposite especially for the feast of the Presentation, the Hypapante, the Coming of the Lord into His Temple.  But how true that we should sing in joyful thanks of this truth, that, gathering in the Christian temple that is Holy Church instantiated, we therein receive God's plenteous and rich mercy, even Mercy in Person, Jesus Christ.

The psalm-verse of the Introit, the first verse of Psalm 47, corroborates and reinforces this point: "Great is the Lord, and exceedingly to be praised, in the city of our God, on His holy mountain."  God's city is His Church, militant here on earth, but moreso it is the true Jerusalem that is above, the Church of the firstborn that is in heaven, the Church triumphant, of which we are members in potency – God grant that we attain to our full stature in Christ, and prove worthy to inherit eternal life as true members of His Son's Body made perfect in Him by grace.

The full Introit is a magnificent outburst of thankful confession and praise:

(We have received, O God, Thy mercy in the midst of Thy temple: according to Thy name, O God, so also is Thy praise unto the ends of the earth: Thy right hand is full of justice.
(Ps.  Great is the Lord, and exceedingly to be praised: in the city of our God, on His holy mountain.
(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.
(We have received...)

God's right hand, or rather, the Father's Right Hand Incarnate, Jesus Christ, indeed is full of justice, righteousness overflowing to justify sinners, for whom He deigned to die and rise again "for our justification".  God's Name is Holy – and the Name of God the Son, Jesus, means indeed "God is salvation".  Right well the praise of the Lord extends to all the utmost ends of the earth!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Maternal Heart

As I walked rapidly through the carpark on the way into Mass - late - this morning, a bloke looked at me and said, "I think I know you..."; he then said to his friends, "I think he's that organ builder!"

"No, I'm Joshua, not Justin", said I, shouting back over my shoulder as I hurried into the church.

Glorious Day in Sydney

Breakfast in my hotel... catching the train to Lewisham for Mass (changing at Central station, and just missing the right one)... arriving during the sermon (about the Brown Scapular and the other approved scapulars)... assisting at the second half of Fr Wong's devout Low Mass at Our Lady's altar... chatting with Francesca and Fr Gresser afterward... meeting up with John and Sidney for morning tea... learning that the Federal Election has been called for the 21st of August (the P.M. having advised the G.G. to do so)... going secondhand bookshopping... yum cha for lunch in Chinatown à la Fr Z (the fried beancurd with garlic and chilli was lipsmackingly good)... afternoon tea, grading into supper, with wines and good port, back at John's place... meeting Sidney's friends, Fr Patrick and Tony... catching up with John's sister and his fiancee, Laura... hearing that their wedding date is at last confirmed (must book flights!)... and finally returning to my hotel, 13 hours after I left it.

A glorious day.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Commemoration of Our Lady of Mt Carmel

Flos Carmeli, vitis florigera, splendor cæli, Virgo puerpera, singularis.
Mater mitis, sed viri nescia, Carmelitis da privilegia, stella maris.
(Flower of Carmel, blossoming vine, splendor of heaven, childbearing Virgin, unique.
(Meek Mother, though unknowing man, to Carmelites give privileges, star of the sea.)

While unfortunately, because of work commitments, I couldn't make it to Mass this morning at Carmel, I ask my Guardian Angel to attend in my place, worshipping God, honouring Our Lady, interceding for all, and procuring graces for me and all mine.  May he visit the dear nuns there, and as an agent of the Deity, in concert with their angelic wardens, bestow upon them especial blessings on this sacred feast.  God grant it!

What a joy for all Carmelites to rejoice in their Patroness, and to direct their gladness to their hope of salvation: for where Mary now is, there we all hope to follow.  Wearing the habit of their Order, they are specially devoted to her service, having taken the yoke upon themselves that is at once that of service to Our Lord in the first place and secondarily to Our Lady, for the large scapular worn over their habits signifies this; for their lay associates, wearing the small brown scapular has a like meaning.

As any good Catholic should, I wear the Brown Scapular, to which I was long ago admitted; as the prayer says, thereby one is admitted to a share in the merits and prayers of all Carmelites - thanks be to God! - and, yet more, one trusts in the Blessed Virgin through this sign of filial consecration to obtain of the Lord the fulfilment of the well-known promises associated with pious use of this sacramental.

He who dies clothed in the Scapular shall not die eternally - this promise made, 'tis said, to St Simon Stock, the Church recognizes, clarifying it by repeating a like phrase in the proper Carmelite Preface of this feast, but inserting the adverb pie, "piously": for one who impiously wears the Scapular, thinking it a cloke for sin, and presuming on a free ticket to heaven, will be no beneficiary of the special intercession of the Holy Virgin.

How to understand this?  We pray that by her all-prevailing prayer with her Son, Who fulfils the Commandment perfectly to honour His Father and His Mother, all who wear the Scapular, as a sign of their commitment to Christ through His Mother, may be converted by God's grace and brought to salvation.  Is this not but an instance of God's own revealed will being fulfilled, since He would that all men be saved?  Our Lady can in no wise pray save in conformity with the will of God: it were very madness to think otherwise.

Why do we commemorate the Blessed Virgin under this title?  The simplest and original reason is that St Albert of Avogadro, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem (d. 1214), who composed the Rule for the hermits on Mt Carmel to follow, counselled them therein to build a chapel in the midst of their lowly dwellings – and as is universally done out of Catholic piety, this was naturally dedicated to Our Lady, adding the name of the place: Mt Carmel.

Later ages saw the deeper significance of this: from Carmel's heights, having prayed and prayed again, St Elias saw a little cloud arising out the sea, bringing a prodigal rain to break the cruel drought tormenting Israel - and this is an apt symbol, image and type of Our Lady's coming forth as star of the sea, fulfilling all Israel's hopes and prayers down the ages, for she brought forth the Messias, Christ our God, thus bringing forth the very Incarnate Source of divine grace to a thirsty earth bereft of saving blessings.  Our Lady thus shines forth on Carmel as Mother and Mediatrix.

The Collect in my Dominican Diurnal:

Deus, qui beatissimæ semper Virginis et Genetricis tuæ Mariæ singulari titulo Carmeli Ordinem decorasti: concede propitius ut, cujus hodie Commemorationem solemni celebramus officio, ejus muniti præsidiis ad gaudia sempiterna pervenire mereamur.  Qui vivis...
O God, Who didst adorn the Order of Carmel with the unique title of the most blessed ever-Virgin Mary Thy Mother: propitiously concede that we, who with solemn office celebrate her commemoration to-day, may merit to attain to everlasting joys, strengthened by her protection.  Who livest...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Off to Sydney

I'm escaping Tasmania in winter for the long weekend: after work to-morrow, I'll fly up to Sydney, and return come Monday afternoon.  A chance to visit friends...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Illumina oculos meos, ne unquam obdormiam in morte

הָאִירָה עֵינַי, פֶּן-אִישַׁן הַמָּוֶת.

Φώτισον τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς μου μήποτε ὑπνώσω εἰς θάνατον.

Illumina oculos meos, ne umquam obdormiam in morte.

(Give light to mine eyes, lest I ever sleep in death.)
—Psalm 12:4b

Lord, "give light to mine eyes, lest I ever" (ne umquam) - or rather, "that I never" (ut numquam), never ever "sleep in death".  Umquam...  What does this mean?  It cannot be taken in the direct literal sense - for mortal man can hardly expect never to suffer death, let alone presume to remain alive for ever by sole reason of having light to see by!  Aquinas does, however, give a note about the literal meaning:
This literally corresponds to David fleeing from the presence of Saul, of whom he often had to beware, lest at some time he might fall into his hands and be killed. Similarly, as long as a man is conscientious in resisting sin he does not fall into death, but when he sleeps he is killed. Thus in 2 Kings (II Sam. iv,5), When Isboseth hath fallen asleep, and the handmaid was cleansing the wheat, he was killed; and Eph. 5 (v, 14), Rise thou that sleepest.
Based upon this, but questing to understand how being enlightened may preserve one from death forever, one must seek for a deeper level of signification.

Evidently one must interpret the light as not material but spiritual illumination; and "to sleep in death" must mean "to be deprived of spiritual life by reason of sin", cut off from true awareness, deprived of the state of grace by mortal sin.  Horror of horrors, it may mean to sleep in death forever, "to fall into the second death of eternal hell".

Contrariwise, if we are ever enlightened and never lost in darkness, we need not fear the second death: fear not him who slays the body, but him who slays the soul; thus, after the death which to the Christian is but to fall asleep, we will enter not into endless death but into eternal life and light.

Only if one is enlightened by God's beneficient light, with one's intellect illuminated and one's will inspired, can one avoid falling into the disastrous nightmare that is to sleep in sin.  For sleep is a time when one is unaware, unconscious, when one's reason is not in control; one's mind drifts in dreams; therefore, sleep is an apt image of sin, when one is not in charge, but enthralled to phantoms; and to sleep in death is not merely to slumber, but to be trapped in deadly sin – perhaps for ever.

Neale notes what Thomas says of Psalm 12 relative to this verse: "Christ always lightens our eyes that we should not sleep in death".

The full verse, in the Prayer Book Version (approved since the Anglican Use Book of Divine Worship was approved), reads as follows:

Consider, and hear me, O Lord my God: lighten mine eyes, that I sleep not in death. 

—Ps 13:3 (Hebrew numbering)

God indeed considers us with His all-pitying Eye of compassion, and therefore in saying "Consider", we remind ourselves of this and comfort ourselves that God will indeed hear us, He, the Lord our God.

How are eyes enlightened by God through Christ?  To ask is to answer: by Christ's Incarnation, as the Light to enlighten the Gentiles, according to Simeon's prophecy.  It is the eyes of the inner man that Christ enlightens, He, the true Light that enlighteneth every man born into this world: He illuminates the understanding and the affections, turning them from darkness to His wonderful light.

As Cassiodorus says of this, "Eyes we must here interpret as those of the heart, which sleep in death when the light of faith is buried, and they are closed through pleasure of the flesh".  By our faith, that infused supernatural intellectual virtue, we may apprehend the things of God, and come nigh unto Him, all by His grace; as is notorious, immorality destroys faith: heresy arises from moral turpitude.

If by Divine illumination we are kept awake, we may keep watch with Christ and rest with him in peace, as the Church sings at Compline-time.  We may avoid the shameful sleep of sin, and instead sleep with wakeful hearts turned Godward.  Sleep is an image of death; dying we shall die, but how we die, in what state we die, makes all the difference: to enter into eternal death, or into eternal life?  That is the question!

By God's grace we are saved, through faith.

Long ago, a prayer was composed as a thanksgiving after Mass; here is one paragraph:
O lux vera! quæ illuminas omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundum, illumina oculos meos, ne umquam obdormiam in morte.
O true Light! Who enlightenest every man coming into this world, enlighten mine eyes, lest I ever sleep in death.
The Greek Liturgy turns this verse into poetry that Neale englished thus: "Lighten mine eyes, O Saviour, or sleep in death shall I".  As a metrical psalm paraphrases it, "Lest sleep of death enfold me, / Enlighten Thou mine eyes."

Illumina oculos meos, ne umquam obdormiam in morte.

Spiritual Recharge: Compline and Benediction

We few, we happy few: just the nucleus of our Gregorian chant choir, our priest and a faithful parishioner, coming together to practise, to learn and then to offer our sacrifice of praise to God, singing Compline and then Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

We sang a chant new to us, one in honour of the Immaculate Conception, and customarily sung by Franciscans on Saturdays: Tota pulchra es.

V/. Tota pulchra es, Maria.
R/. Tota pulchra es, Maria.
V/. Et macula originalis non est in te.
R/. Et macula originalis non est in te.
V/. Tu gloria Jerusalem.
R/. Tu laetitia Israel.
V/. Tu honorificentia populi nostri.
R/. Tu advocata peccatorum.
V/. O Maria.
R/. O Maria.
V/. Virgo prudentissima.
R/. Mater clementissima.
V/. Ora pro nobis.
R/. Intercede pro nobis ad Dominum Jesum Christum.

V/. Thou art all fair, O Mary.
R/. Thou art all fair, O Mary.
V/. And the original stain is not in thee.
R/. And the original stain is not in thee.
V/. Thou glory of Jerusalem.
R/. Thou joy of Israel.
V/. Thou honour of our people.
R/. Thou advocate of sinners.
V/. O Mary.
R/. O Mary.
V/. Virgin most prudent.
R/. Mother most tender.
V/. Pray for us.
R/. Intercede for us with the Lord Jesus Christ.

As I worshipped the Lord present in His true Flesh, while Father censed the Host, it struck me how this is a true act of latria, offering the incense of adoration to Jesus Christ our God – it is only short of the perfect act of latria that is the Mass, when we offer not but earthly incense, but the Divine Victim, Christ Himself, to His Father.

Last night, that was our hour's pastime; as I remarked to Father, it was a spiritual recharge; he smiled and said it was that for him, too.

Five Years to Pluto

New Horizons, fastest space probe ever launched from Earth (it passed the Moon eight hours later), as of to-day, 14th July 2010, is only five years away from its close encounter with Pluto and its moons Charon, Nix and Hydra.  1636 days gone; 1826 days to go.  Fly well.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Blessed James of Voragine

The Golden Legend – we have Bl James of Voragine, Archbishop of Genoa, to thank for it.  This good Dominican was indefatigable in compiling edifying lives of the saints, based on his own sermons, producing an enduring classic that was one of the favourite texts of mediæval times after the very Bible itself.  How good it is that this work, scorned at the Reformation, is now recognized once more for its value as a compendium of lore about the saints, an image of thirteenth century piety.

In the Dominican Breviary, he is celebrated to-day, the 13th of July, as a Memory at Lauds; the Collect is instructive about his evangelical labours as a peacemaker in the strifetorn Italy of his day:

Deus, qui beatum Jacobum, Confessorem atque Pontificem, eximium veritatis præconem et pacis conciliatorem effecisti: ejus nobis intercessione concede ut pacem et veritatem diligamus, et ad te, in quo pax summa est et pura veritas, perveniamus.  Per...
(O God, Who made blessed James, Confessor and Pontiff, an outstanding preacher of truth and a conciliator of peace: by his intercession grant unto us that we may "love peace and truth" [cf. Zach. viii, 19], and come unto thee, in Whom is supreme peace and pure truth.  Through...)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Cultor Dei memento - II

From a northern correspondent, a plainchant setting of the hymn Cultor Dei memento, in this case beginning "Servant of God remember":

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cultor Dei memento

Prudentius wrote a lengthy Hymnus ante somnum, or Hymn before Sleep; the last seven stanzas were used as an Office hymn for Compline in some places at some seasons, at Lent, I seem to recall, which is preëminently the season of ghostly combat, when the soldier of Christ must arm himself with the Cross,  which he took up in Baptism, and with which he was marked with holy chrism in Confirmation:

Christian! the font remember,
The sacramental vow,
The holy water sprinkled,
The oil that marked thy brow!

When at sleep's call thou seekest
To rest in slumber chaste,
Let first the sacred emblem
On breast and brow be traced.

The Cross dispels all darkness,
All sin before it flies,
And by that sign protected
The mind all fear defies.

Avaunt! ye fleeting phantoms
That mock our midnight hours;
Avaunt! thou great Deceiver
With all thy guileful powers.

Thou Serpent, old and crafty,
Who by a thousand arts
And manifold temptations
Dost vex our sleeping hearts,

Vanish! for Christ is with us;
Away! 'tis Christ the Lord:
The sign thou must acknowledge
Condemns thy hellish horde.

And, though the weary body
Relaxed in sleep may be,
Our hearts, Lord, e'en in slumber,
Shall meditate on Thee.

Cultor Dei memento
te fontis et lavacri
rorem subisse sanctum,
te chrismate innotatum.
Fac, cum vocante somno
castum petis cubile,
frontem locumque cordis
crucis figura signet.

Crux pellit omne crimen,
fugiunt crucem tenebrae:
tali dicata signo
mens fluctuare nescit.
Procul, o procul vagantum
portenta somniorum,
procul esto pervicaci
praestigiator astu!

O tortuose serpens,
qui mille per Maeandros
fraudesque flexuosas
agitas quieta corda,
Discede, Christus hic est,
hic Christus est, liquesce:
signum quod ipse nosti
damnat tuam catervam.

Corpus licet fatiscens
iaceat recline paullum,
Christum tamen sub ipso
meditabimur sopore.

Doctor Who and the Novus Ordo

Thank God for Doctor Who: the episode (this year's series final) that I've just watched was as engrossing and enjoyable to this sci-fi nut as the Novus Ordo I unwillingly attended earlier was craptacular, to use the word of a friend of mine...

Doctor Who was worth it if only for one line: in an alternative universe in which there are no stars at all, the concerned mother of a daughter who thinks that stars might exist is heard to say that she is worried her little girl might join a star cult - "I don't trust that Richard Dawkins" (evidently in that world as barking as he is in this).  Professor Bonkers indeed!

As for bonkers, well, I was lazy, having felt off yester-day, and not at all oriented properly this morning; I did visit several people this after-noon, however, including a poor old priest I know who kindly hears my confessions from time to time.  That done, and after an early dinner (nothing fancy, just truffled chicken roast; we gave the leftovers to the cats), I perforce dragged myself to the banalities of Mass at a certain parish.  As Mother Teresa famously said, I met Jesus to-day in a most distressing disguise.

How about this for unpleasant: the Gospel was not read to us, but instead the kiddies acted it out - of course, the man fallen among thieves was turned into a girl, the priest and levite became businesswomen (at least they shewed both sides of femininity), and the Samaritan a homeless man.  The priest made the usual P.C. modifications to the favourite-because-shortest Eucharistic Prayer II.  As a final indignity, I somehow ended up in the communion line that took me to one of the female altar servers handing out Hosts... and after Communion, the 2nd reading (mysteriously omitted earlier) was read in a saccharine voice while musak was played on a keyboard.  Yetch.  You really couldn't dream this stuff up.

(In fairness, I doubt anyone else there realizes how incorrect and indeed vitiating all this sad mucking about is.)

In order to make Mass bearable, I brought alone my Diurnal, and, having found a quiet side pew right down the back, I filled in the time by reading Terce through to Compline.  If Mass is to be vile and alienating, I can't see why I can't be completely eccentric and odd.

To think how much I valued Mass over in Perth, as this blog in its first year records: how I felt such a part of things, how I sang at Mass, and served Mass, and knew the priest, and looked forward to catching up with my friends afterwards, and all that.  Now, if I didn't know it was my duty to go to Mass on Sundays, frankly I'd not darken the door again.  Thank you, Bugnini, son of the Evil One, and thank you, Paul VI, Pope of stuff-ups!

Thank God for Doctor Who.  He battles monsters and makes the universe safe for children everywhere.  I do wish he would go back in time and tinker a little so that these forty years and more of liturgical and doctrinal confusion never happened.  Ah, as the wit said, Reality is for those who can't stand science fiction.  What a punishment!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Corbon on the Divine Office

Meanwhile, however, there is one final sign that reveals to us the meaning of time made new: the prayer of the Hours.

Through this prayer the mystery of the liturgy that is celebrated on the Sunday permeates and transfigures the time of daily life.  But whereas everything is given to us in the liturgy of the Lord’s Day, here we give everything back.  There everything is grace; here everything becomes praise of the glory of his grace [Eph 1:6,12,14].  The “office”, the service, of the Bride, is then “divine”: her sole occupation is loving.  In this office our entire being takes part in praising the Father through his Son in his Holy Spirit.  Our “person”—body, soul, spirit, and heart—becomes in its every fiber a prayer, but so does our being “in relation to God”, since it is the community that prays, and, finally, our being “in time”, since this ongoing mortal time of ours is transformed into an offering by the dew of the Spirit [cf. Eucharistic Prayer II, modern Roman Rite].  The office is our incarnate participation in the prayer of Jesus himself.  The prayer that the Word makes to the Father expands and, in the form of praise, takes flesh in us who are in synergy with the Holy Spirit.  The office is a prism allowing the pure light of the Son’s own praise to be channeled through the adopted sons of God.

Understandably, then, the prayer of the Hours consists chiefly of the prayer that Jesus himself used in his mortal condition: the psalms.  In this single book of the Old Testament the entire economy of salvation became prayer, and now this love-inspired plan has been fulfilled in Jesus.  When the Church prays, the liturgy that “fulfills” this love-inspired plan is expressed through these same psalms.  In them the Spirit repeats with the Bride the wonderful deeds of her Lord.  The texts that we call the “hymns” of the prayer of the Hours are the blossoming of the psalms as prayed by Christ; they are, as it were, the psalms of the New Covenant.  In its litanic prayers the Church voices for “today” the intercession that first found expression in the psalms.

[By “hymns” and “litanic prayers”, Corbon, a priest of the Greek-Catholic eparchy of Beirut, may be referring to the poetic compositions and to the litanies used in the Byzantine Office.]

The biblical readings that are at the heart of the office complete the promise of the psalms.  We no longer go to meet the Word solely through the prayer of expectation; rather, when we hear the word of God, we encounter the Word in the silence of pure faith: there is nothing to say; we can only receive him in a spirit of utter poverty.  At this point, the encounter is not mediated by the prayer of those who were our fathers in the faith; our faith clings directly to him who is its source and goal.  When the wind reaches us, it has crossed mountains and valleys, seas and cities; so too the Breath of the Spirit reaches us laden with the redemptive drama of generations past.  But when it finally touches us, it causes us to be born directly into the life of the Son and to “see the kingdom of God”.

[I think that Corbon is speaking of the readings in the Hours and treating them as lectio divina.]

For the office is indeed divine: it is the divine occupation par excellence, the occupation of those who dwell in the kingdom of love.  It is relaxation in the spirit, as contrasted with the tensions and “preoccupations” of the world.  It transfigures us because it makes “this world as we know it… pass away” (1 Cor 7:31) and reveal its true nature as a gift.  It truly re-creates us by reminding us of the life to which we are called and making us live that life here and now: “Eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (Jn 17:3).

Even though the prayer of the heart, which is absolutely indispensable, opens to us all the dimensions of love in human history, the office goes further in one direction: it transcends individuals, taking them out of themselves and making them one in the community.  It is then that the Church prays as the Church, the Bride of the Lord of history, moved by the Spirit and surrendered to the Father: “Look, I and the children whom God has given me” (Heb 2:13).  The office is the office of a people who are priests in the one Priest, the “compassionate and trustworthy high priest” (Heb 2:17).  “He… made us a kingdom of priests to serve his God and Father: to him, then, be glory and power for ever and ever.  Amen” (Rev 1:6).

—Jean Corbon, O.P. (1924-2001) The Wellspring of Worship (trans. Matthew J. O’Connell; 2nd ed., San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2005) 186-188.  [Original title: Liturgie de Source, Paris: Les Editions Du Cerf, 1980.]

Friday, July 9, 2010

Litany of Bl Adrian Fortescue

(For private use only.)

Lord, have mercy.  Christ, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.

Christ, hear us.  Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us.
Saint Dominic our Father, pray for us.

Blessed Adrian Fortescue, pray for us.
Husband and father of resplendent virtue, pray for us.
Brave soldier and courteous gentleman, pray for us.
Lay Dominican and Knight of Malta, pray for us.

Lover of homely wit, pray for us.
Serious and thrifty, pray for us.
Diligent and careful, pray for us.
Prayerful and courageous, pray for us.

Loyal to Holy Church, pray for us.
Scorning the oath of royal supremacy, pray for us.
Suffering loss of liberty and property, pray for us.
Bearing witness unto death, pray for us.

That we may seek fulfilment of the divine good will in everything, pray for us.
That we may always follow the motions of the Holy Spirit in acting, pray for us.
That we may daily renew our good resolutions, pray for us.
That we may diligently accomplish all our duties, pray for us.

That we may remain worthy of our vocations in all circumstances, pray for us.
That we may be faithful witnesses of truth, whatever the cost, pray for us.
That we may never compromise with error nor draw advantage from it, pray for us.
That we may always defend the rights of God and man, pray for us.

That we may avoid scandalizing the weak, pray for us.
That we may imitate your virtues and sacrifices, pray for us.
That we may meditate on your example, pray for us.
That we may beg the grace of perseverance from God, pray for us.

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

V/.  Pray for us, blessed Adrian Fortescue.
R/.  That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

O God, you specially strengthened Blessed Adrian with a wonderful spirit of holiness and courage.  Hear the prayers of your people and from his renowned example may we learn to be obedient to you rather than to human authority.  Through Christ our Lord.  R/.  Amen.


O God, since all things are within your power, grant through the prayers of blessed Adrian, your martyr, that we who keep his memory today may become stronger in the love of your name and hold to your holy Church even at the cost of our lives.  Through Christ our Lord.  R/.  Amen.  


Pour forth upon us, we beseech you, Lord, the spirit of constancy and courage wherewith you strengthened your blessed Martyr Adrian in the defence of the Catholic faith; that, filled therewith, we may deserve to attain a share of his glory in heaven, who rejoice on account of his triumphant contest on earth.  Through Christ our Lord.  R/.  Amen.

Et alibi aliorum plurimorum sanctorum Martyrum

Also on this day, the 9th of July, Holy Church commemorates: the Martyrs of China; three Ursulines put to death during the French Revolution; a Polish Capuccin tortured to death at Dachau by the Nazis; and Blessed Adrian Fortescue, Knight of Malta, who was beheaded under Henry VIII.  

I know somewhat more about that very model of a perfect gentle-knight; he is patron of one of the Melbourne chapters of the Dominican Tertiaries.  From the 1982 Dominican Proper, which places his feast on the 8th of July on account of the Martyrs of Gorkum having the 9th already:

Born about 1476 of noble family in the county of Devon in England, he was a husband and father of shining virtue.  A justice of the peace and knight of the Order of Malta, professing the rule of the lay Fraternity of St Dominic at Oxford, he imposed upon himself these norms of living ascetically, among others: to seek fulfilment of the divine good will in everything, always to follow the motions of the Holy Spirit in acting, daily to renew his good resolutions and diligently to accomplish all things, and to beg perseverance from God.  By reason of his unconquered virtue, twice detained in prison, at length he was beheaded on the 8th or 9th day of July in the year 1539 because of  his scorn of the oath that had to be taken of fidelity to the king in matters of faith.  His cult was confirmed on the 13th day of May 1895 by Leo XIII.
Deus, qui admirábili spíritu pietátis ac fortitúdinis Beátum Hadriánum singuláriter roborásti, exáudi preces pópuli tui et præsta ut, glorióso ejus edócti exémplo, tibi magis quam homínibus obœdíre discámus.  Per Dóminum…
(O God, you specially strengthened Blessed Adrian with a wonderful spirit of holiness and courage. Hear the prayers of your people and from his renowned example may we learn to be obedient to you rather than to human authority.  Through...)  [O.P. draft translation]

The Order of Malta appoints this prayer (1997):

O God, since all things are within your power, grant through the prayers of blessed Adrian, your martyr, that we who keep his feast today may become stronger in the love of your name and hold to your holy Church even at the cost of our lives.  Through...

Orations from the old Proper Mass granted to the Diocese of Birmingham (11th July):

Effunde super nos, quæsumus, Domine, spiritum constantiæ et fortitudinis, quo beatum Martyrem tuum Hadrianum pro tuenda catholica fide roborasti: ut eodem repleti, ad ejus gloriæ consortium pervenire mereamur in cælis; de cujus triumphali agone lætamur in terris.  Per Dominum…
(Pour forth upon us, we beseech you, Lord, the spirit of constancy and courage wherewith you stengthened your blessed Martyr Adrian in the defence of the Catholic faith; that, filled therewith, we may deserve to attain a share of his glory in heaven, who rejoice on account of his triumphant contest on earth.  Through…)
Munera nostra, Domine, benedictione sua perfundat Spiritus Sanctus; et nos in eadem fide constantes perficiat, quem beatus Martyr Hadrianus et vocis præconio et sanguinis effusione testatus est.  Per Dominum... in unitate ejusdem Spiritus Sancti…
(May the Holy Spirit pour down his blessing on our gifts, Lord, and make us steadfast in that faith to which the blessed Martyr Adrian bore witness both by the excellence of his voice and the shedding of his blood.  Through…)
Tribue nobis, Domine, per hæc sancta quæ sumpsimus: beati Hadriani zelum et constantiam imitari; qui nos ad æterna desideria, et virtutis exemplo accendit, et martyrio roboravit.  Per Dominum…
(Grant us, Lord, through these holy gifts which we have received, to imitate the zeal and constancy of blessed Adrian, who both by the example of his virtue incites us, and by his martyrdom strengthens us to desire eternal gifts.  Through…)

Sir Adrian's Book of Hours is still extant, a holy relic conserved now by the Order of Malta's Grand Priory of England.

As the Martyrology traditionally concludes, "And elsewhere many other holy Martyrs and Confessors, and also holy Virgins.  Thanks be to God."

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Martyrs of Gorkum

Deus, qui beatorum martyrum tuorum Joannis et sociorum ejus, gloriosum pro fide tua certamen æternitatis laurea decorasti: concede propitius, ut eorum meritis et imitatione certantes in terris, cum ipsis coronari mereamur in cælis.  Per eumdem...
O God, Who adorned with the laurel of immortality the glorious battle of Thy blessed martyrs John and his companions for the Faith: graciously grant, that by their merits and exampledoing battle on earth, with them we may deserve to be crowned in heaven.  Through the same...
— Collect, St John of Cologne and Companions, MM (Dominican Rite)

It is only and ever through the Prince of Martyrs, the Faithful Witness, the Firstborn from the dead, by Whose Blood we are washed from our sins, Christ Jesus our Lord, that we may fight the good fight of the Faith.  By His grace we are compassed about by a great cloud of witnesses, who have now run the race before us, and by faith conquered; as they triumphed over pain and death in Him, so we may hope to finish the course.

To-morrow, Friday the 9th of July, marks the 438th anniversary of the martyrdom of St John of Cologne and eighteen companions, captured in and around Gorkum, most cruelly tortured, abused and finally hanged by Dutch Calvinists in the town of Brielle, which has been ever since a place of pilgrimage in honour of their witness unto death to our most holy Faith: for they refused to renounce their belief in the Blessed Sacrament and the Papal supremacy, and for this they were hanged out of devilish fanatical hatred.

Hæresum surgunt nova monstra, "New monstrosities of heresies arose", begins the hymn at Matins of this feast.  What good ever came of the blasphemies of Calvin, his hellish perversion of Christianity into a religion of fear, not of love?  Only the white-robed army of martyrs sent to heaven by the bloodstained hands of its sectaries!  Whose was the "total depravity"?  His and theirs who refused belief in sacramental regeneration, and made God into a monster worse than sinful men, a deceiving distortion of the Lord into what the ancient heretic, Marcion, misrepresented as the vengeful deity of the Old Testament.

Of the witnesses for Jesus who stood against such wicked folly, the larger part of this saintly company were Franciscans, nine priests and two lay brothers, but also four secular priests, two Norbertines, an Augustinian, and the Dominican, John, mentioned above - who, having heard of the incarceration of the first fifteen, hastened to bring them the sacraments and was himself captured, tormented and slain with the rest.  Greater love hath no man...

"Behold how they are numbered among the children of God, and their lot is among the saints."
– Wisdom v, 5 (Communion)

The Postcommunion for this feast in the Dominican Missal addresses Our Lord thus:

Deus, virtutis auctor ac largitor, per sanctorum martyrum tuorum fidem et constantiam concede, ut nos ad sacrum convivium accedentes, eodem accendamur ardore, quo ipsi pro veritate corporis et sanguinis tui, vitam tibi in holocaustum obtulere.  Qui vivis et regnas...
O God, the author and giver of strength, for the sake of Thy holy martyrs' faith and steadfastness, bestow on us who draw near this hallowed banquet the same enkindling flame wherewith they gave their life as a holocaust to Thee, for the truth of Thy Body and Blood: Who livest and reignest...