Saturday, August 31, 2013

In the Centre of Immensities

How good it is to have books with long titles; at my right sits The Missal Compiled by lawful authority from the Missale Romanum A New Edition agreeable with the Vatican Typical Edition With a supplement containing the Additional Masses used in English-speaking countries and those for the greater feasts of the Principal Religious Orders (London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1928). This handsome little hardback volume (151 by 86 by 35 mm – that's a shade under 6 by 3⅜ by 1⅜ inches) contains a very large collection of Masses, some of them rare and notable (such as the old Mass Egredimini of the Sacred Heart, and another equivalent proper, Gaudeamus, but celebrating the "Most Divine" Heart), spread across nearly twelve hundred pages.

The prefatory material (an introduction by Adrian Fortescue, usage guide, contents pages, Table of Moveable Feasts, Kalendar, prayers before and after both Mass and Holy Communion, the Litanies of the Saints, &c.) amounts to only sixty pages or so – but then comes the Ordinary of the Mass, and after that all the usual Temporal and Sanctoral, Commons and Votives, a few pages of blessings, twenty-four pages of diocesan calendars, then Commons pro aliquibus locis (including the amusingly-titled Commons "of Many Virgins Martyrs", "of Many Virgins not Martyrs", "of Many Martyrs not Virgins" and "of Many Holy Women neither Martyrs nor Virgins"), a great number of Masses said in the different dioceses of England & Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, then Benedictine and Jesuit calendars and yet many more Masses for those and other religious orders.

This handy collection, dating as it does from 1928, piqued my interest because it contains proper Prefaces (most of them conceded for use fairly recently, I understand) for the following feasts of Our Lord, Our Lady, and important Saints celebrated by the respective Orders named below: 
  • Preface of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus (Redemptorist);
  • Preface of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Carmelite) ;
  • Preface of St Augustine (Augustinian);
  • Preface of St Benedict (Benedictine);
  • Preface of St Dominic (Dominican);
  • Preface of St Elias (Carmelite) ;
  • Preface of St Francis (Franciscan);
  • Preface of St Francis de Sales (Visitandine);
  • Preface of St John of the Cross (Carmelite);
  • Preface of the Seven Holy Founders of the Servites (Servite);
  • Preface of St Teresa of Avila (Carmelite);
  • "Parisian" Preface of All Saints & Patrons, used for St Vincent de Paul (Vincentian);
  • Preface of Reparation for Insults Offered to the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist (related to but distinct from the Neo-Gallican Parisian Preface, and indeed Mass, thereof).
I posted the Preface of St Augustine – which, to be honest, strikes me as a bit long-winded and pedestrian – the other day; to-day I have been thinking on the Preface of St Benedict, and the light it shines on the littleness of all things here below:

Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere, Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus. Qui beatissimum confessorem tuum Benedictum, ducem et magistrum cælitus edoctum, innumerabili multitudini filiorum statuisti. Quem et omnium justorum spiritu repletum, et extra se raptum, luminis tui splendore collustrasti. Ut in ipsa luce visionis intimæ mentis laxato sinu, quam angusta essent omnia inferiora deprehenderet. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Quapropter profusis gaudiis totus in orbe terrarum monachorum cœtus exsultat. Sed et supernæ virtutes atque angelicæ potestates hymnum gloriæ tuæ concinunt sine fine dicentes: 
It is truly meet and just, right and wholesome, for us ever and everywhere to give thanks unto thee, O Lord holy, Father almighty, God eternal. Who didst appoint Benedict thy most blessed Confessor, taught from heaven, to be leader and master to a numberless multitude of sons. Whom also, filled with the spirit of all the just, and rapt out of himself, thou didst illumine with the splendour of thy light. That in the very light of that close vision, his mind being unfettered, he might see how truly little are all things below: through Christ our Lord. Wherefore with freest joys doth the whole choir of monks throughout the world exult. But the hosts above, and the angelic powers also join in singing the hymn of thy glory, saying without ceasing: 

The protocol of the Preface is the usual Vere dignum; the eschatocol is that of Pentecost, with the charming difference that instead of declaring that mundus, the world, exults, instead the priest sings that monachorum cœtibus, the company of monks, corporately rejoices.

St Benedict, by a natural play on words, is called a "most blessed" confessor – that is, turning to the original signification of the term, one who, while not a martyr, endured obloquy and confessed the Faith even when persecuted (for not all were happy to have him as their abbot). He is justly named as leader and master or teacher, himself taught by Heaven, having first learned to be wisely unwise in earthly matters (scienter nescius et sapienter indoctus – S. Greg. Magn., Dial., II, Pro.) and instead to seek the one thing necessary by betaking himself to the eremitic life, ere he founded monasteries and composed his Rule, enlightened from above: and thus the Almighty has established him and set him up as the father in God of a numberless multitude of sons (as once he promised Abraham), the monks Benedictine who have been as lights in the world ever since.

Several quotations from Book II of the Dialogues of Pope St Gregory the Great complete the body of the Preface. Peter the Deacon, Gregory's interlocutor as portrayed in the Dialogues, says of St Benedict that he was filled with the spirit of all the just (Book II, Chapter 8); but, more notably, the Preface briefly summarizes and quotes from the famous vision St Benedict beheld one night before Matins, as told in Chapter 35 of Book II of those Dialogues.

For St Benedict, praying at the window of his chamber, suddenly beheld a glittering light brighter than that of day shining forth with splendour in the darkness: and "During this vision a marvellously strange thing followed, for, as he himself afterward reported, the whole world, gathered together, as it were, under one beam of the sun, was presented before his eyes". 

When Peter the Deacon interrupts, as it were, the account of this vision to query how anyone could behold the whole world, Pope Gregory wisely answers that:

All creatures are, as it were, nothing [angusta est omnis creatura] to that soul that beholds the Creator. For though it sees but a glimpse of that light which is in the Creator, yet all things that are created seem very small [breve ei sit omne quod creatum est].
By means of that supernatural light, the capacity of the inward soul is enlarged [quia ipsa luce visionis intimæ mentis laxatur sinus], and is so extended in God, that it is far above the world. The soul of one who sees in this manner, is also above itself [super semetipsam]; for being rapt up in the light of God, it is inwardly in itself enlarged above itself [cumque in Dei lumine rapitur super se conspicit]. When it is so exalted and looks downward, it comprehends how little all creation is [exaltata comprehendit quam breve sit]. ...
The man of God, therefore, who saw the fiery globe... could, no doubt, not see those things but in the light of God [in Dei lumine]. What marvel is it, then, that he who saw the world gathered together before him – rapt up in the light of his soul [qui sublevatus in mentis lumine] – was at that time out of the world [extra mundum fuit]? ...
The soul of the beholder was more enlarged, rapt in God [qui in Deo raptus], so that it might see without difficulty that which is under God.  Therefore, in that light which appeared to his outward eyes, the inward light which was in his soul ravished the mind of the beholder to supernatural things [lux interior in mente fuit, quæ videntis animum, quia ad superiora rapuit] and showed him how small all earthly things are [ei quam angusta essent omnia inferiora monstravit].

Thus it is clear that, when the Preface sings in praise to God that, when St Benedict was "rapt out of himself, thou didst illumine [him] with the splendour of thy light. That in the very light of that close vision, his mind being unfettered, he might see how truly little are all things below" (extra se raptum, luminis tui splendore collustrasti. Ut in ipsa luce visionis intimæ mentis laxato sinu, quam angusta essent omnia inferiora deprehenderet) – this refers to and indeed quotes directly from the account of that vision of the splendour of divine light enlightening the Holy Patriarch of Monks, rapt out of himself in ecstasy, in Dialogues, II, 35: "in the very light of that intimate vision, the capacity of the mind enlarged" [(quia) ipsa luce visionis intimæ mentis laxat(ur) sinu(s)], he was shown "how small all earthly things are" [quam angusta essent omnia inferiora (monstravit)].

Of course, this marvellous vision, and all other graces gracing St Benedict, we confess to come "Through Christ our Lord".

This Preface of St Benedict points out the "one thing necessary", upon which contemplatives of all people ought ever fix their gaze: the Godward glance in comparison to which all terrestrial matters are revealed as transient, "for the world as we know it is passing away". This Preface, I would argue, is profoundly apposite, since monks ought ever be reminded not to love the world, nor the things of the world: theirs of all vocations should be the most eschatologically oriented: they should ever be intent on things above, where Christ is, at the right hand of God, and live lives hidden in Him; they ought "behold the Man, the Orient is His Name" and look East to Christ and the coming of His Kingdom, not turn back to the West, that is, to the paltry affairs of mortal, sinful man.

While ever extending hospitality to all, receiving those who visit as if they were Christ Himself, and like Moses when Israel battled Amalek ever lifting up holy hearts and hands to God in heaven, invoking Divine aid for all enduring the spiritual warfare of this miserable and naughty world, they should as it were have but the left eye on mundane things, and the right eye, the eye of the heart and soul and mind, on the things that are eternal.

The wonderful vision of St Benedict – the whole world seen in the coruscating light of God – makes me think of the title of an old book on astronomy: In the Centre of Immensities; which may be understood in a spiritual manner. It may be going a bit too far, however, given the somewhat offensive quality of the phrase, to think of the science fiction novel The Mote in God's Eye

But whatever of that, there are several very famous images of the Earth from space that are somewhat analogous to this supernatural insight, insofar as anything natural can be analogous to things above.

I think of the image of Earthrise, snapped by the Apollo 8 crew on Christmas Eve 1968 as they rounded the Moon, which is considered one of the most notable photographs ever taken, and whose import for those here below ought be profitably linked to the near-contemporaneous reading of Genesis 1:1-10 by the three astronauts of Apollo 8 when they broadcast to the world from lunar orbit.

What a sight on Christmas Eve – when the Word by Whom all was made was born for us in true human nature and dwelt among us, sanctifying all things, the Uncreated having taken to Himself creaturehood as the Firstborn of all creation, He Who made the Sun, the Earth, the Moon, the stars...

Likewise, I recall that other famous image called "The Blue Marble" – Earth photographed from Apollo 17 on its journey out to the Moon on the Vigil of the Immaculate Conception in 1972. How significant that date! For that feast celebrates the greatest and humblest of all creatures at the moment of her coming to be: not Gaia, but the Blessed Virgin, in due season alone accounted worthy to be the true Mother of God Incarnate of her flesh.

However, far from (as in popular usage) merely helping to engender "global consciousness" (no doubt laudable insofar as it goes) or environmental concern (also praiseworthy in due measure), with all their attendant temptations to so magnify tree and flower, sea and air, as to be entrapped in their beauty and drawn away from the Divine, this image and the other ought instead make us comprehend how our created world is as but a tiny thing the size as it were of a hazelnut, as was revealed to Dame Julian of Norwich long ago: indeed, her vision was not merely of the Earth, but of the whole Universe, "all that is made" – she "marvelled how it might last, for it seemed it might suddenly have sunk into nothing because of its littleness", but was reassured "It lasts and ever shall, because God loves it." 

The vision of St Benedict doubtless was of all that is, not merely of the Earth – for by the world is oft meant the cosmos in older works; but nonetheless its sphericity and tininess may be compared to yet a far more distant image of our world, that referred to as "The Pale Blue Dot", showing the Earth as the merest mote caught in a sunbeam, imaged from six billion kilometres away by the space probe Voyager 1 in 1990 as it departed our solar system forever. 

That image reminds me of something Tolkein wrote – he perceived as it were his soul as a speck of dust illuminated by a ray, and that ray seemed as it were to be his guardian angel, and the Light shining forth that ray and lighting up that speck to be the Origin and End of both and their Creator.

All these three images of Earth have become modern "icons", to use a significant term: but icons too often of merely mundane concerns – for, while obviously it is important to apprehend the true value and beauty and rareness of our planet, and prudently to care for it (as man was put in the garden so to do in the beginning), the message that modern man misses in his obsession with even the best of created things is precisely what ought be most obvious – that Earth is but a speak of dust compared to boundless space, and that is an apt illustration of how truly little all things are here below, while above lies infinity, and the Infinite God.

May I dedicate this reflection to a good and devout priest, Fr Mark Withoos, late of the Roman Curia, whom I understand to have decided to enter the Benedictine foundation at Norcia in Italy, seeking the pearl of great price, God alone – may the Lord bless and ratify his calling in heaven, at the prayers of Our Lady, St Benedict and all the saints.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Preface of St Augustine

Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere, Domine, sancte Pater, omnipotens æterne Deus.
Quia vas electionis tuæ, et lux doctorum, mellifluus Augustinus, toto terrarum orbe radio miræ claritatis infulsit; et Ecclesiam sanctam Fidei orthodoxæ, vere Augustinus illustravit: destruxit hæreses, errores repulit: hæreticosque prostravit: ac status fidelium universæ christianæ vitæ Augustinus moribus decoravit: clericos docuit: laicos monuit, devios in viam veritatis reduxit: cunctorumque conditionibus salubriter providendo, tuam in hoc mari naviculam Augustinus provide gubernavit.
Et ideo cum angelis et archangelis, cum thronis et dominationibus, cumque omni militia cœlestis exercitus, hymnum gloriæ tuæ canimus, sine fine dicentes:



It is truly meet and just, right and wholesome, for us at all times and in all places to give thanks unto thee, Lord, holy Father, almighty everlasting God.
For the vessel of thy election, and the light of doctors, the honey-tongued Augustine, shone upon the whole world by reason of the ray of his wonderful glory: and truly did Augustine enlighten the holy Church of the orthodox Faith: destroy heresies, drive away errors: put heretics to flight: and the manner of the whole Christian life of the faithful did Augustine adorn by his example: he taught clerks: he admonished laymen: he brought back wanderers to the way of truth: and by providing in wholesome wise for the necessities of all men, did Augustine carefully pilot thy ship in this [life's] sea.
And therefore with angels and archangels, with thrones and dominations, and with every company of the heavenly host, we sing the hymn of thy glory, saying without ceasing:


(Appointed for use in Augustinian churches.)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Sacrifice of Reparation

While I was talking with a fellow blogger the other day, he told me of a colleague of his, a committed Catholic, but who had nonetheless been surprised and caught unawares when mention was made of a Mass being offered in reparation for the sin of abortion – that colleague knew of course that abortion is a tragic evil and a vile sin, but was unaware that the Sacrifice of the Mass could be offered up in reparation therefor: indeed, he seemed unaware of either the concept of reparation for sin, or that the Mass was a Sacrifice – the making present in our midst of the Sacrifice of Christ Himself, the Lamb who taketh away the sins of the world – let alone one that could rightly be offered in atonement for sin.

Given that the concept of sin itself is not believed in by many (yet our age has been and still is afflicted by every form of sinful violence and even warfare, as every man knows), and that too many even confession-going Catholics would regard the three Hail Mary's or the like that they receive in penance as quite sufficient a quantity of reparation, I can perceive why the idea of making reparation for sins could seem strange.

Yet how odd it is, really, that, if Christ willingly suffered for our sake, on our behalf, and if we as Christians are called to follow Christ and take up our cross in union with him, then the obvious conclusion – that we ought make vicarious atonement for sin, in union with Christ, "filling up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ" as St Paul dared to say – is not drawn.

A generation or two ago, what was then widespread devotion to the Sacred Heart would have made all Catholics familiar with the idea of reparation; indeed, both a collect and a prayer over the offerings to that effect still occur in the Missal on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart:
O God, who in the Heart of your Son, wounded by our sins, bestow on us in mercy the boundless treasures of your love, grant, we pray, that in paying him the homage of our devotion, we may also offer worthy reparation. Through... 
Look, O Lord, we pray, on the surpassing charity in the Heart of your beloved Son, that what we offer may be a gift acceptable to you and an expiation of our offences. Through Christ our Lord.
Alas, the Sacred Heart is not known nor loved as once it was.

But as to not knowing the Mass to be offered up as a Sacrifice in reparation for sin, I hazard a guess that the man in question has heard the Eucharistic Prayers again and again, at all the Masses he attends; but perhaps has not perceived their significance, especially if (as is usually the case) Eucharistic Prayer II (the short one) has been the main one he has heard used. 

For, to begin with, E.P. II contains only one mention of oblation: "we offer you, Lord, the Bread of life and the Chalice of salvation" – without any further explanation as to what this offering of the Bread which has become Christ's live-giving Body, and the Chalice which now contains His saving Blood, might effect. Certainly none of the very brief intercessions contained in E.P. II refer to reparation or atonement for sin.

I have heard from a correspondent that, while Catholics have a good idea of Christ's Presence in the Sacrament (as, say, compared to Anglicans, given their manifold views on that subject, even if their Eucharistic services were valid), sad to say ordinary Catholics of the modern Roman Rite have to a large extent lost the idea of Sacrifice. The same writer made the reasonable claim that E.P. II is quite deficient as regards the sacrificial merit of the Mass, which, given its status as the most commonly used Eucharistic Prayer, has led to Catholics being insufficiently reminded of this point. 

Similarly, I would go on to add, the abandonment of due reverence and of Eastward celebration has served to make Mass seem more a happy little Communion service rather than something awesome, solemn and sacrificial, a truly religious and priestly act of cultic worship and sacrifice – which is what it truly is and thus should be worthily celebrated in piety, fear and love.

But the other Eucharistic Prayers do speak more of sacrifice. That is why I remain surprised that a man could be a Mass-goer and not know these things, assuming he actually attends to the words spoken, since not vainly (one presumes) does the priest pray aloud at Mass.

To begin with, the Roman Canon makes reference to the liturgical action as "this sacrifice of praise... this oblation of our service", and to the consecrated species as "this pure victim, this holy victim, this spotless victim," that is, Jesus Christ present in His Body and Blood, which are named, under their sacramental veils, as "the holy Bread of eternal life and the Chalice of everlasting salvation... these offerings" which are offered up for the Church, for the Pope, for the local Bishop, for all passers-on of the Catholic Faith, for all present, for those dear to us, for the redemption of our souls, for deliverance from damnation and enumeration among the elect, for repose of the faithful departed.

Of course, these days in the Ordinary Form of the Mass, the Roman Canon or E.P. I is not so commonly used... but others are, above all, E.P. III, whose expressive language more than compensates for the minimalistic nature of E.P. II, that short, mean little prayer whose main advantage, if such is an advantage rather than a scandal, is its brevity. Even the very Missal itself, in its Introduction (GIRM, n. 365), states that E.P. II is for use on weekdays, not Sundays nor feasts.

Eucharistic Prayer III is to my mind the prayer that, being in reasonably common use, best teaches the doctrine of the Mass as a sacrifice of reparation. It may be asserted that this E.P. is if anything even more explicit about the Sacrifice of the Mass and its atoning power than the Roman Canon! For it states that God has gathered a people to Himself "so that from the rising of the sun to its setting a pure sacrifice may be offered to your name", and in fulfilment thereof, at Mass "we offer [Him] in thanksgiving this holy and living sacrifice" and we address God, asking him to "Look, we pray, upon the oblation of your Church and [recognize] the sacrificial Victim by whose death you willed to reconcile us to yourself" – indeed, "May this Sacrifice of our reconciliation, we pray, O Lord, advance the peace and salvation of all the world".

Surely this teaches the doctrine of the Mass-Sacrifice as one of reparation? For in the Church's One Oblation, we recognize, and beg God to receive on our behalf, "the sacrificial Victim" – Jesus Christ crucified – "by whose death you willed to reconcile us to yourself". This is the doctrine of vicarious atonement expressed in prayer. And furthermore, this doctrine of reparation, of reconciliation, of atonement, is repeated again, when at Mass the priest prays on our behalf "May this Sacrifice of our reconciliation... advance the peace and salvation of all the world".

While perhaps the terms reconciliation and reparation are not entirely synonymous, it seems to me that the underlying message is one and the same. So it appears odd to me that, given E.P. III is used reasonably often, a person who goes to Mass could have never put two and two together and realized that the Mass is a Sacrifice, since it makes present Christ Himself, our High Priest and Sacrifice, crucified and risen, in His own true Flesh and Blood, rent and spilt for us; and that, just as Christ's oblation of himself on Calvary was a perfect atonement for the sins of the world, so too its making present in the Mass is itself the plenitude of reparation.

Too much teaching and catechesis, it must be acknowledged, however, has puerilely emphasised the gladsome presence of Christ in the Eucharist, while never alluding to His presence as precisely the same sacrificial Victim as died for us on Calvary's Tree. The way some Masses are conducted would not seem consonant with such a sobering truth... it remains a grave temptation to try to have Christ without His Cross; yet One was nailed to the other, and ever lifts up pierced Hands in intercession on our behalf; as is said to priests at their ordination, we should recognize that which we imitate, and live as befits those who bear in their bodies the Passion of Christ.

The fourth Eucharistic Prayer is more explicit still about the identity of our Offering with that of Christ, and its saving power: "we offer you his Body and Blood, the sacrifice acceptable to you which brings salvation to the whole world". It states that it is "the Sacrifice which you yourself have provided for your Church"; and in its intercession it bids God "remember now all for whom we offer this sacrifice". That said, it seems to me that E.P. III is the prayer most direct in its expression of the doctrine of the Eucharist as a reparative sacrifice.

The two Eucharistic Prayers for Reconciliation also teach this doctrine. E.P.R. I states "we offer you, who are our faithful and merciful God, this sacrificial Victim who reconciles to you the human race. Look kindly, most compassionate Father, on those you unite to yourself by the Sacrifice of your Son... who heals every division". E.P.R. II similarly reads "we offer you what you have bestowed on us, the Sacrifice of perfect reconciliation. Holy Father, we humbly beseech you to accept us also, together with your Son".

Finally, the Eucharistic Prayer for Various Needs (in its first incarnation, the so-called Swiss Eucharistic Prayer, later rendered more orthodox by Roman redrafting), in each of its four variants (which are identical but for a different Preface and a different intercessory insert), also teaches this consoling doctrine. It prays "we offer you the Bread of life and the Chalice of blessing. Look with favour on the oblation of your Church, in which we show forth the Paschal Sacrifice of Christ that has been handed on to us". For Christ is in truth our Passover and our lasting peace, who has reconciled all in Himself; and to the Church has been handed on this Mystery, this saving Sacrament of the altar, which makes present, in the life-giving Bread and blessed Chalice, the true Body and Blood of Christ.

It never ceases to amaze me, given that "the law of prayer is the law of belief", how men can go to Mass, which is generally said in the vernacular, and has been for decades, and yet not know what the prayers themselves teach. Mass is not merely a Communion service (for which a well-stocked tabernacle would suffice) – it is the Sacrifice of Calvary made present. Why else do we sing "Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us... grant us peace"?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Support the Brisbane Oratory in Formation

Earlier this year, the great and good project of establishing an Oratory in Brisbane – first mooted for Australia, we learn, in 2011 – was made public with the blessing of Archbishop Mark Coleridge. Fr Paul Chandler, a priest of that archdiocese, together with two other priests (who wish to remain anonymous for the time being, at the request of their respective bishops), and a seminarian, Shawn Murphy, who has just begun his studies for the priesthood with the Oratorians in Toronto, are working toward establishing this new Oratorian community in 2015 or 2016. God bless their endeavours!

Now these nascent Oratorians have a website for the Brisbane Oratory in Formation: on their behalf, I ask you to above all pray for them, but also please consider donating funds for their many needs, particularly the education of their seminarian (further details may be accessed via the relevant section of their website).

As readers may realize, I am (all unworthy) a devotee of St Philip Neri, Founder of the Congregation of the Oratory, and third Apostle of Rome. Indeed, a reproduction painting of him looks down on me as I type... would that I would heed his advice to the same extent as I beseech his prayers. It was a special pleasure to me to visit his glorious relics at the Chiesa Nuova on my various visits to the Eternal City; may he intercede by his merits and suffrages for the Brisbane Oratory in Formation: "Look down from heaven and see, and visit this new vineyard: and perfect the same, which thy right hand hath planted" (Ps 79:15b-16a).

I am minded to repeat one of Newman's hymns in his honour:
St. Philip in his School (A Song.) 
This is the Saint of gentleness and kindness, 
Cheerful in penance, and in precept winning; 
Patiently healing of their pride and blindness, 
Souls that are sinning.  
This is the Saint, who, when the world allures us, 
Cries her false wares, and opes her magic coffers, 
Points to a better city, and secures us 
With richer offers.  
Love is his bond, he knows no other fetter, 
Asks not our all, but takes whate’er we spare him, 
Willing to draw us on from good to better, 
As we can bear him.  
When he comes near to teach us and to bless us, 
Prayer is so sweet, that hours are but a minute; 
Mirth is so pure, though freely it possess us, 
Sin is not in it. 
Thus he conducts by holy paths and pleasant, 
Innocent souls, and sinful souls forgiven, 
Towards the bright palace where our God is present, 
Throned in high heaven. 

These future Oratorians of course seek the patronage of Our Lady Help of Christians above all under God. And may Bl John Henry Newman and Bl Pier Giorgio Frassati, the other well-chosen patrons of the future Brisbane Oratory, add their prayers to those of St Philip, that in God's time things now hoped for may come to be.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Holy Days of Obligation - What Obligation? What Holy Days?

As I understand it, the Vatican told the various Bishops’ Conferences that, while various Holy Days of Obligation could be moved to the nearest Sunday, or have the obligation to attend Mass on them suppressed “for pastoral reasons” (to be cynical, does that mean the “faithful” couldn’t be trusted to go to Mass on weekdays, since the bishops feared that even Sunday Mass-goers wouldn’t bother?), for some sort of largely symbolic reason – lest no Holy Days of Obligation remain, in which case it seems bizarre to have them mentioned in Canon Law at all – at least one solemnity of the Lord (i.e. Christmas) and one of Our Lady had to be retained as Holy Days of Obligation.

This thinking seems confused: if, out of fear for souls lest the lazy be damned for not going to a Mass on a weekday, all but two Holy Days of Obligation are either transferred or have the obligation suppressed, why then retain two? Even more confusingly, while the obligation to attend church on Good Friday was suppressed in the seventeenth century, it still remains far more well-attended than many a Sunday! Wouldn’t it be more rational to make Christmas and Good Friday the two remaining Holy Days of Obligation, since that is how what remains of popular piety regards them? After all, despite the importance of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, it is nowhere near as popular as those two days in terms of attendance at the Liturgy.

For the record, according to Canon Law (Can. 1246 §1) the following ten solemnities are the Holy Days of Obligation for the whole Roman Rite:
  1. Christmas
  2. Epiphany
  3. Ascension
  4. Corpus Christi
  5. Mary Mother of God (the Octave Day of Christmas)
  6. Immaculate Conception
  7. Assumption
  8. St Joseph
  9. SS Peter and Paul
  10. All Saints
In Australia, these three Holy Days, all solemnities of the Lord, have been transferred to the nearest Sunday, as provided for in Canon 1246 §2:
  • Epiphany
  • Ascension
  • Corpus Christi
And the obligation to attend Mass has been suppressed for these five solemnities of Our Lady and the Saints, here in Australia (as also allowed for in Can. 1246 §2):
  • Mary Mother of God (the Octave Day of Christmas)
  • Immaculate Conception
  • St Joseph
  • SS Peter and Paul
  • All Saints
Does not this send the dangerous message that devotion to the Saints is of little importance?

Here in Australia, therefore, Christmas and the Assumption as the only two Holy Days of Obligation remaining; just as, by a similar process of minimalization, not to say failure of nerve and dumbing-down, the days of fasting and abstinence also have been reduced to two: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (the minimum mandated by Canon Law – Can. 1251).

The bishops of England and Wales – not, as a body, known for their burning zeal in recent decades; so there is hope for us all – have restored the precept of abstaining from fleshmeat on all Fridays (excluding those falling on solemnities), which still is the norm throughout the Roman Church (Can. 1251), despite the perception in Australia, by those old enough to remember the former rule, that all that was abandoned as one of the “fruits” of Vatican II (the young, of course, have in many cases never even heard of it). It is wonderful to hear of bishops actually doing something for a change.

In recognizing the importance of reviving a custom that was once one of the universally known hallmarks of Catholic practice, the good bishops have imitated dear Fr Wells, a long-retired priest I remember from my university days, who told us at Mass one Sunday long ago that he had gone back to the discipline of meatless Fridays “Because I realized I was doing nothing instead”. It may be candidly admitted that few know, or care, that we are still meant to do some form of penance on Fridays – as usual, Paul VI’s efforts in that regard were singularly fruitless. Did he achieve anything?

If we are to start to rebuild, we need to restore disciplines – since the current drift into slackness and indifference simply indicates that Catholics have little commitment to anything, since they value the Faith so little. If we cared, if we actually believed, we would be willing to endure much. In the days of persecution, Catholics in England and Ireland stood firm in the face of adversity; these days, what firmness would be manifest? But I suppose if so few nominal Catholics even go to Sunday Mass, let alone bother with the occasional confession, let alone bother to get married before undertaking the marital act, let alone follow dear Paul VI's advice regarding that holy intimacy, well, no wonder even the bishops decided ditching a few more disciplines wouldn't matter.

In everything, we see the abandonment of the Catholic worldview, and a sort of play-acting in its place. We play children's games in the ruins.

Forgetting the Tradition, or, Why so Few at Mass of the Assumption?

If only I had retired to a Dormitionist cloister... instead of such, after an unpleasant day at work, I had the consolation of singing with the choir (directed from the organ) at the evening Mass for the Assumption. Singing the Ordinary of the Mass, the Psalm and Alleluia, together with sundry Marian hymns ("Immaculate Mary", "O Sanctissima", a setting of the Magnificat, "Jesus, my Lord, my God, my all", and "Hail Queen of heaven") certainly revived my drooping spirits, as did the combined devotion and good cheer of the choir and organist. But what a pity there were so few at Mass, on this, a Holy Day of Obligation – and in Australia, the only remaining such, apart from Christmas. Janet, the organist, remarked afterward that time was when the church would have been packed...

Here in Launceston, there are only three parishes. The north-western parish (my own) had Mass at 10 am (not practical for workers), and a second Mass at Beaconsfield, a country town to the north, at noon (garnering an excellent, albeit older, congregation of sixty – this Mass was also the occasion for celebrating the golden jubilee of the inestimable Sr Frances, stalwart of the locality). The default option for Launcestonians, however, is to attend Mass at the city church, that of the Apostles – hence my surprise there were so few present. Certainly the Carmelites (served by a roster of the three parishes' priests) would have had their daily Mass at 7:30 am, and given past experience they would have had a reasonable number present, but their chapel is small, and the hour early... As for the southern parish, I have no information to hand, but I seem to recall they (may) have an evening Mass (I haven't been there for decades, to be honest), at least for this solemnity. But again, I cannot imagine that that church was packed – having heard from a few, ahem, ex-parishioners thereof that they now go elsewhere.

The true vocations crisis in the Church is not a lack of candidates for the priesthood: it is a lack of committed Catholics (from whose ranks a small but sufficient percentage of men would naturally be drawn to Holy Orders). There is a reason why the number of church weddings, not to mention baptisms, declines yearly: it is called erosion of the faith, decline in commitment to living out the Faith, and general forgetfulness of what previous generations, often at great cost, nevertheless succeeded in passing on – until the last half-century or so. The tradition has failed: discontinuity and rupture has broken the links formerly passing down the Apostolic tradition in continuity from one generation to the next.

In this Year of Faith, what is too evident is a crisis and a lack of faith. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" – Hosea iv, 6. I recall what St Thérèse of Lisieux noted: that if there were no love in the heart of the Church (and she felt her vocation to be to live as that loving heart), the apostles would forget to preach, the martyrs would not bother to die for Christ, the missionaries would not labour to spread the Gospel. Terrible to say, what she spoke of per impossibilem has in many places throughout the West – certainly in Australia – come to pass.

What is believed by too many nominal Catholics is rather a comfortable falsehood, according to which Scripture and Tradition have little value, nor does commitment to the harder moral precepts or duties such as Mass-going (which ought in any case actually be a joy if one realize what Mass is, but I digress); rather, a fairy-floss version of eviscerated Christianity is given lip-service, according to which bourgeois niceness and thinly disguised versions of the current secular virtues (the fashions of the moment) are all that is required, to which the more pious may add lounging about on bean-bags and playing at prayer, since sometime hopefully far distant in the future we all go to "some heaven light-years away" anyway (though one should not be too serious about such fables, unappealing as they are to the worldly), and in the meanwhile "celebrating the life" and dabbling in trendy forms of do-goodery is really all that is necessary. Indifferentism replaces Christianity, in point of fact.

Despite being personally buoyed up by Mass and Holy Communion – "My soul He doth restore again" – and in a special way by helping out with the choir – "Make a joyful noise to the Lord" – I felt nonetheless saddened that the blessings freely available were offered, in vain it may seem, to an all but empty church. Granted, I didn't leer over the choirloft to enumerate the worshippers, but from what I saw the pews at least in the front of the Church of the Apostles were largely vacant.

Our priest and deacon celebrated Mass with reverence and dignity, of course; but I could not help but compare the lack of any servers to what I know would have been the case at my own parish in Perth, W.A.: Fr Rowe would have had a Missa cantata at least, quite possibly with choir singing polyphony, and certainly with acolytes, candlebearers, a thurifer and M.C. for this, one of the most important feasts of the year, the consummation of Our Lady's life in triumph, the entrance of the Mother of our God into celestial bliss. Again, there was lacking the support of, not the clergy, but the men of the parish, those who serve at the altar (I ought note that most of Fr Rowe's servers are adults). I know, also, that Fr Rowe would have carefully exhorted his flock to attend Mass on this day, and there would have been a good compliance with his reminder – as it is, many travel across Perth to attend weekday Mass, let alone Sunday or festal services there.

Personally, I was uplifted; corporately, so to say, the commitment, even the understanding of the needfulness of attendance at Mass of the Assumption, was manifestly lacking, even compared to the numbers who still more or less regularly attend Sunday Mass (as a friend of mine put it, the Devotion of the Fifty-Two Sundays is rather neglected these days). We hold great hopes that our new Archbishop, committed as he is to re-evangelizing, will direct the Church here in Tasmania to rebuild, rather than manage an ineluctable decline – God grant it.

I feel sad and embarrassed to think that the several priests from overseas who serve in Tasmania at the moment must be shocked at the lukewarmness and apathy of the Catholics here – they must wonder why a small remnant of cossetted rich people need to summon priests from countries where the needs are greater, and where the faithful are actually faithful, so that churches are packed, not all but deserted.

Dare I suppose that readers had similarly dispiriting impressions of the attendance levels at Masses of the Assumption?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Dormitionist Breviary: Common of Saints

In response to requests, I am glad to proffer a further extract from the Dormitionist Breviary, illustrative of the devotion (not to say the peculiarly single-minded focus) of those most retiring of Canons Regular – for, just as their Missal, considering both their Mass rite and Mass propers, is a definite simplification to help concentrate upon "the one thing necessary", so too the Breviarium O.Dorm. is quite archaic in some ways, and yet also was at the outset deliberately simplified in other respects, the better to confirm, establish and strengthen the charism of the Order.

As the famous "four friars" revised and rendered uniform the liturgical books of the Friars Preachers, and as the Cistercians adapted the plainchant to their specific needs as an austere and reformed band of monastics, so the three Soporific Fathers, founders of the Dormitionists, were evidently zealous liturgists (with all that entails...).

I have previously given in full the Common Mass for feasts of Saints from the Missale O.Dorm. of 1785 (the current edition); now, from their Breviary, I (all unworthy) upload to the internet the Common of Saints according to the Divine Office pertaining to their Rite; because of their intrinsic interest, and their centrality to the Dormitionist Canons and their veneration of the Saints according to the custom of their Order, I first give the Matins lessons in translation, then append the Latin of the whole Common.

It will be noted that, for more expedition, I simply refer the interested reader to more easily-available Breviaries, rather than list the psalms appointed for the Hours (for the same reason, having noted some of them in an earlier post, I do not give the blessings for each lesson here); observe also that there is only one antiphon super psalmos at all Hours, similar to the Dominican custom of chanting all the Vesper psalms at feasts with only one antiphon appended, rather than one per psalm; and note the absence of a hymn at Matins – in common with the pre-Neo-Gallican Lyons Breviary, hymns are not used at all the Hours, but only at some (typically, Lauds, Vespers and Compline, and sometimes Matins).

But first, the Matins Lessons for Saints, in English – the first three from St Paul to the Hebrews, the middle three from the great St Augustine on the City of God, and the last three from Bl Macarius, a devout Greek author doubtless well-known to the first Dormitionists from their close study of ancient manuscripts brought back from the Holy Land:


From the Epistle to the Hebrews.
Heb. 11:33-38
(The Saints) by faith conquered kingdoms, wrought justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, recovered strength from weakness, became valiant in battle, put to flight the armies of foreigners: women received their dead raised to life again. But others were racked, not accepting deliverance, that they might find a better resurrection. And others had trial of mockeries and stripes, moreover also of bands and prisons. They were stoned, they were cut asunder, they were tempted, they were put to death by the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being in want, distressed, afflicted: of whom the world was not worthy; wandering in deserts, in mountains, and in dens, and in caves of the earth. — But Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us. R/. Thanks be to God.
Apoc. 14, 13; II Mach. 12:45
R/. i. Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, * That they may rest. V/. They who had fallen asleep with godliness had great grace laid up for them, * That they may rest.
 Heb. 12:1-2, 22-24
And therefore we also having so great a cloud of witnesses over our head, laying aside every weight and sin which surrounds us, let us run by patience to the fight proposed to us: looking on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who having joy set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and now sitteth on the right hand of the throne of God. But you are come to mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to the company of many thousands of angels, and to the church of the firstborn, who are written in the heavens, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the just made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new testament, and to the sprinkling of blood which speaketh better than that of Abel. — But Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us. R/. Thanks be to God.
Wis. 3:1, 3; I Th. 4:12a
R/. ii. The souls of the just are in the hand of God. * They are in peace. V/. We will not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them that are asleep. * They are in peace.
 Heb 12:26b-28; 13:20-21
Now he promiseth, saying: Yet once more, and I will move not only the earth, but heaven also. And in that he saith, Yet once more, he signifieth the translation of the moveable things as made, that those things may remain which are immoveable. Therefore receiving an immoveable kingdom, we have grace; whereby let us serve, pleasing God, with fear and reverence. And may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great pastor of the sheep, our Lord Jesus Christ, in the blood of the everlasting testament, fit you in all goodness, that you may do his will; doing in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom is glory for ever and ever. Amen. — But Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us. R/. Thanks be to God.
Rom. 6:3, 4a; Col. 3:3
R/. iii. Know you not that all we, who are baptized in Christ Jesus, are baptized in his death? * For you are dead; and your life is hid with Christ in God. V/. For we are buried together with him by baptism into death; * For you are dead; and your life is hid with Christ in God.

A Lesson of St Augustine the bishop.

There shall be accomplished the words of the psalm, “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Ps 45:11) There shall be the great Sabbath which has no evening, which God celebrated among His first works, as it is written, “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it He had rested from all His work which God began to make.” (Genesis 2:2-3) For we shall ourselves be the seventh day, when we shall be filled and replenished with God's blessing and sanctification. There shall we be still, and know that He is God. — But Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us. R/. Thanks be to God.

R/. iv. We shall have eternal leisure to see that He is God, for we shall be full of Him when He * Shall be all in all. V/. How great shall be that felicity, which shall afford leisure for the praises of God, who * Shall be all in all.

For even our good works, when they are understood to be rather His than ours, are imputed to us that we may enjoy this Sabbath rest. For if we attribute them to ourselves, they shall be servile; for it is said of the Sabbath, “You shall do no servile work in it.” (Deuteronomy 5:14) Wherefore also it is said by Ezekiel the prophet, “And I gave them my Sabbaths to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctify them.” (Ezekiel 20:12) This knowledge shall be perfected when we shall be perfectly at rest, and shall perfectly know that He is God. — But Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us. R/. Thanks be to God.
Ezechiel 20:20; Ps 45:11a
R/. v. Sanctify my sabbaths, that they may be a sign between me and you: and that you may know that I am * The Lord your God. V/. Be still and see that I am God. * The Lord your God.

After this period God shall rest as on the seventh day, when He shall give us (who shall be the seventh day) rest in Himself. Suffice it to say that the seventh shall be our Sabbath, which shall be brought to a close, not by an evening, but by the Lord's day, as an eighth and eternal day, consecrated by the resurrection of Christ, and prefiguring the eternal repose not only of the spirit, but also of the body. There we shall rest and see, see and love, love and praise. This is what shall be in the end without end. For what other end do we propose to ourselves than to attain to the kingdom of which there is no end? — But Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us. R/. Thanks be to God.
Luke 1:32b-33; Heb 12:22-24a
R/. vi. Jesus shall reign for ever * And of his kingdom there shall be no end. V/. You are come to mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to the company of many thousands of angels, and to the church of the firstborn, who are written in the heavens, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the just made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new testament, * And of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Continuation of the holy Gospel according to Matthew.
Matthew 11, 25-30
At that time Jesus answered and said: I confess to thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to the little ones. — And so on.

A homily of blessed Macarius.

In the shadow of the law given by Moses, God decreed that everyone should rest on the Sabbath and do nothing. This was a figure and shadow of the true Sabbath given to the soul by the Lord. For the soul, that has been deemed worthy to have been set free from shameful and sordid thoughts, both observes the true Sabbath and enjoys true rest, being at leisure and freed from the works of darkness. For there in the typical Sabbath, even though they rested physically, their souls, however, were enslaved to evils and wickednesses. However, this, the true Sabbath, is genuine rest, since the soul is at leisure and is purified from the temptations of Satan and rests in the eternal rest and joy of the Lord. — But Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us. R/. Thanks be to God.
II Par. 14, 7; Jos. 22, 4a
R/. vii. We have sought the Lord the God of our fathers, * And He hath given us peace round about. V/. The Lord your God hath given your brethren rest and peace. * And He hath given us peace round about.

Just as then God decreed that also the irrational animals should rest on the Sabbath, that the ox should not be forced under the yoke of necessity, they should not burden the ass (for even the animals themselves were to rest from their heavy works), so, when the Lord came and gave the true and eternal Sabbath, He gave rest to the soul heavily burdened and loaded down with the burdens of iniquity, of unclean thoughts and labouring under restraint in doing works of injustice as though it were under slavery to bitter masters. And He lightened the soul from its burdens, so difficult to bear, of vain and obscene thoughts. And He took away the yoke, so bitter, of the works of injustice and gave rest to the soul, that had been worn out by the temptations of impurity. — But Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us. R/. Thanks be to God.
Lev. 16, 31; 23, 32b
R/. viii. It shall be a Sabbath of rest: * And you shall afflict your souls by a perpetual religion. V/. From evening until evening you shall celebrate your Sabbaths. * And you shall afflict your souls by a perpetual religion.

For the Lord calls man to his rest, saying: “Come, all you who labour and are heavily burdened and I will refresh you” (Mt 11:28). And as many persons as obey and draw near, He refreshes them from all these heavy and burdensome and unclean thoughts. And they are at leisure from every iniquity, observing the true, pleasing, holy Sabbath. And they celebrate a feast of the Spirit, of joy and ineffable exultation. And they celebrate a pure service, pleasing to God from a pure heart. This is the true and holy Sabbath. Let us, therefore, entreat God that we may enter into this rest (Heb 4:11) and we may be freed from shameful and evil and vain thoughts so that thus we may be able to serve God out of a pure heart and celebrate the feast of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, blessed is he who enters into that rest. Glory to the Father Who is so well pleased and the Son and the Holy Spirit, forever. Amen. — But Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us. R/. Thanks be to God.
Isaias 58, 13b. 12b. 11a
R/. ix. If thou call the Sabbath delightful, * Thou shalt be called the repairer of the fences, † Turning the paths into rest. V/. The Lord will give thee rest continually. * Thou shalt be called the repairer of the fences, † Turning the paths into rest. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. † Turning the paths into rest.



The Psalms appointed at Matins are the same as those in the Monastic Breviary for the various classes at Saints; those at first Vespers and Lauds are the festal five and nine respectively, as in the Office of the Dormition; those at second Vespers are as in the Roman Breviary prior to the reforms of St Pius X.

1st & 2nd VESPERS

Aña. Pretioſa in conſpectu Domini: mors Sanctorum ejus.

Cap. In paſcuis uberrimis paſcam eas, et in montibus excelſis Iſraël erunt paſcua earum: ibi requieſcent in herbis virentibus, et in paſcuis pinguibus paſcentur ſuper montes Iſraël.

R/. Iſte homo perfecit omnia, quæ locutus eſt ei Deus, et dixit ad eum: Ingredere in requiem meam: * Quia te vidi juſtum coram me ex omnibus gentibus. V/. Iſte est, qui contempſit vitam mundi, et pervenit ad cæleſtia regna. * Quia te vidi juſtum coram me ex omnibus gentibus. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. * Quia te vidi juſtum coram me ex omnibus gentibus.

Hymnus. O quanta qualia…

V/. Domine, quis habitabit in tabernaculo tuo?
R/. Aut quis requieſcet in monte ſancto tuo?

Pro Sancto
Magn. Aña. Domine, iſte Sanctus habitabit in tabernaculo tuo, operatus eſt juſtitiam, requieſcet in monte ſancto tuo.

Pro Sancta
Magn. Aña. Nigra ſum, ſed formoſa, filiæ Jeruſalem; ideo dilexit me Rex, et introduxit me in cubiculum ſuum.

Pro pluribus
Bened. Aña. Exſultabunt Sancti in gloria, lætabuntur in cubilibus ſuis: exaltationes Dei in faucibus eorum.


Invit. Introivit/Introierint in * Requiem meam. (Ps 94:11c)
[S/he has/They have entered into * My rest.]

Non dicitur Hymnus.

Aña. Vacate, et videte quoniam ego ſum Deus.

V/. Beati qui habitant.
R/. In domo tua, Domine.

Lectio i.
De Epistola ad Hebræos.
c. 11, 33-38
Sancti per fidem vicerunt regna, operati sunt juſtitiam, adepti ſunt repromiſſiones, obturaverunt ora leonum, extinxerunt impetum ignis, effugerunt aciem gladii, convaluerunt de infirmitate, fortes facti ſunt in bello, caſtra verterunt exterorum: acceperunt mulieres de reſurrectione mortuos ſuos: alii autem diſtenti ſunt non ſuſcipientes redemptionem ut meliorem invenirent reſurrectionem. Alii vero ludibria, et verbera experti, inſuper et vincula, et carceres: lapidati ſunt, ſecti ſunt, tentati ſunt, in occiſione gladii mortui ſunt, circuierunt in melotis, in pellibus caprinis, egentes, anguſtiati, afflicti: quibus dignus non erat mundus: in ſolitudinibus errantes, in montibus, in ſpeluncis, et in cavernis terræ. Tu autem, Domine, miſerere noſtri. R/. Deo gratias.
Apoc. 14, 13; II Mach. 12, 45
R/. i. Beati mortui qui in Domino moriuntur, * Ut requieſcant. V/. Hi qui cum pietate dormitionem acceperant, optimam haberent repoſitam gratiam, * Ut requieſcant.

Lectio ii.
c. 12, 1-2 & 22-24
Ideoque et nos tantam habentes impoſitam nubem teſtium, deponentes omne pondus, et circumſtans nos peccatum, per patientiam curramus ad propoſitum nobis certamen: aſpicientes in auctorem fidei, et conſummatorem Jeſum, qui propoſito ſibi gaudio ſuſtinuit crucem, confuſione contempta, atque in dextera ſedis Dei ſedet. Sed acceſſiſtis ad Sion montem, et civitatem Dei viventis, Jeruſalem cæleſtem, et multorum millium angelorum frequentiam, et eccleſiam primitivorum, qui conſcripti ſunt in cælis, et judicem omnium Deum, et ſpiritus juſtorum perfectorum, et teſtamenti novi mediatorem Jeſum, et ſanguinis aſperſionem melius loquentem quam Abel. Tu autem, Domine, miſerere noſtri. R/. Deo gratias.
Wis. 3, 1 & 3; I Th. 4, 13a
R/. ii. Juſtorum animæ in manu Dei ſunt, * Illi ſunt in pace. V/. Nolumus autem vos ignorare fratres de dormientibus, * Illi ſunt in pace.

Lectio iii.
cc. 12, 26b-28 & 13, 20-21
Nunc autem repromittit, dicens: Adhuc ſemel, et ego movebo non ſolum terram, ſed et cælum. Quod autem, Adhuc ſemel, dicit: declarat mobilium tranſlationem tamquam factorum, ut maneant ea quæ ſunt immobilia. Itaque regnum immobile ſuſcipientes, habemus gratiam: per quam ſerviamus placentes Deo, cum metu et reverentia. Deus autem pacis, qui eduxit de mortuis paſtorem magnum ovium, in ſanguine teſtamenti æterni, Dominum noſtrum Jeſum Chriſtum, aptet vos in omni bono, ut faciatis ejus voluntatem: faciens in vobis quod placeat coram ſe per Jeſum Chriſtum: cui eſt gloria in ſæcula ſæculorum. Amen. Tu autem, Domine, miſerere noſtri. R/. Deo gratias.
Rom. 6, 3 & 4a; Col. 3, 3
R/. iii. An ignoratis quia quicumque baptizati ſumus in Chriſto Jeſu, in morte ipſius baptizati ſumus? * Mortui enim eſtis, et vita veſtra eſt abſcondita cum Chriſto in Deo. V/. Conſepulti enim ſumus cum illo per baptiſmum in mortem: * Mortui enim eſtis, et vita veſtra eſt abſcondita cum Chriſto in Deo.

Lectio iv.
Lectio beati Auguſtini Epiſcopi.
De Civitate Dei, XXII, 30
Ibi perficietur: Vacate et videte quoniam ego ſum Deus; quod erit vere maximum ſabbatum non habens veſperam, quod commendavit Dominus in primis operibus mundi, ubi legitur: Et requievit Deus die ſeptimo ab omnibus operibus ſuis, quæ fecit, et benedixit Deus diem ſeptimum et ſanctificavit eum, quia in eo requievit ab omnibus operibus ſuis, quæ inchoavit Deus facere. Dies enim ſeptimus etiam nos ipsi erimus, quando ejus fuerimus benedictione et ſanctificatione pleni atque refecti. Ibi vacantes videbimus quoniam ipſe eſt Deus. Tu autem, Domine, miſerere noſtri. R/. Deo gratias.

R/. iv. Vacabimus in æternum, videntes quia ipſe eſt Deus, quo pleni erimus quando ipſe * erit omnia in omnibus. V/. Quanta erit illa felicitas, vacabitur Dei laudibus, qui * erit omnia in omnibus.

Lectio v.
Nam et ipsa opera bona noſtra, quando ipſius potius intelleguntur eſſe, non noſtra, tunc nobis ad hoc ſabbatum adipiſcendum imputantur; quia ſi nobis ea tribuerimus, ſervilia erunt, cum de ſabbato dicatur: Omne opus ſervile non facietis; propter quod et per Hiezechielem prophetam dicitur: Et ſabbata mea dedi eis in ſignum inter me et inter eos, ut ſcirent quia ego Dominus, quo ſanctifico eos. Hoc perfecte tunc ſciemus, quando perfecte vacabimus, et perfecte videbimus quia ipſe eſt Deus. Tu autem, Domine, miſerere noſtri. R/. Deo gratias.
Ezechiel 20, 20; Ps. 45, 11a
R/. v. Sabbata mea ſanctificate, ut ſint ſignum inter me et vos, et ſciatis quia ego ſum * Dominus Deus veſter. V/. Vacate, et videte quoniam ego ſum Deus. * Dominus Deus vester.

Lectio vi.
Poſt hanc tamquam in die ſeptimo requieſcet Deus, cum eundem diem ſeptimum, quod nos erimus, in ſe ipſo Deo faciet requieſcere. Hæc tamen ſeptima erit ſabbatum noſtrum, cujus finis non erit veſpera, ſed dominicus dies velut octavus æternus, qui Chriſti reſurrectione ſacratus eſt, æternam non ſolum ſpiritus, verum etiam corporis requiem præfigurans. Ibi vacabimus et videbimus, videbimus et amabimus, amabimus et laudabimus. Ecce quod erit in fine ſine fine. Nam quis alius noſter eſt finis niſi pervenire ad regnum, cujus nullus eſt finis? Tu autem, Domine, miſerere noſtri. R/. Deo gratias.
Luc. 1, 32b. 33; Heb. 12, 22-24a
R/. vi. Jeſus regnabit in æternum, * Et regni ejus non erit finis. V/. Acceſſiſtis ad Sion montem, et civitatem Dei viventis, Jeruſalem cæleſtem, et multorum millium angelorum frequentiam, et eccleſiam primitivorum, qui conſcripti ſunt in cælis, et judicem omnium Deum, et ſpiritus juſtorum perfectorum, * Et regni ejus non erit finis.

Lectio vii.
Sequentia ſancti Evangelii ſecundum Joannem.

In illo tempore reſpondens Jeſus dixit: Confiteor tibi, Pater, Domine cæli et terræ, quia abſcondiſti hæc a ſapientibus, et prudentibus, et revelaſti ea parvulis. Et reliqua.

Homilia beati Macarii.

In umbra legis per Moyſen datæ mandavit Deus, unumquemque requieſcere in ſabbatho, et nihil agere. Hoc autem figura erat et umbra veri ſabbathi, quod animæ donatur a Domino. Anima enim, quæ digna cenſetur ab obſcœnis et turpibus cogitationibus liberari, tum verum ſabbathum celebrat, tum veram requiem requieſcit, otium agens et liberata ab omnibus operibus tenebroſis. Illic enim in typici ſabbathi celebratione, etſi corpora quieſcebant, verumtamen animæ nequitiis ac vitiis erant illigatæ. Hoc vero, verum ſabbathum vera eſt requies animæ, quæ vacat, et expurgata eſt a cogitationibus ſatanæ, et requieſcit in perpetua quiete et lætitia Domini. Tu autem, Domine, miſerere noſtri. R/. Deo gratias.
II Par. 14, 7; Jos. 22, 4a
R/. vii. Quæſierimus Dominum Deum patrum noſtrorum, * Et dederit nobis pacem per gyrum. V/. Dedit Dominus Deus veſter fratribus veſtris quietem et pacem. * Et dederit nobis pacem per gyrum.

Lectio viii.
Quemadmodum enim tunc mandavit, vt ipſa quoque bruta animalia ſabbatho quieſcerent, ne bos ſub jugum neceſſarium traheretur; ne aſino onera imponerentur; (quieſcebant enim ipſa quoque animalia a duris operibus;) ſic quoque cum veniſſet Dominus, et verum æternumque ſabbathum contuliſſet, refocillavit animam oneribus iniquitatis, immundarumque cogitationum gravatam et onuſtam, et operantem iniquitatis opera neceſſario, quippe quæ ſub acerborum dominorum ſervitutem erat redacta; et levavit eam ob oneribus intolerabilibus, variis atque obſcœnis cogitationibus, ſublatoque graui lugo operum iniquorum recreauit eam, cogitationibus impuris laborantem. Tu autem, Domine, miserere nostri. R/. Deo gratias.
Lev. 16, 31; 23, 32b
R/. viii. Sabbatum requietionis eſt, * Et affligetis animas veſtras religione perpetua. V/. A veſpera uſque ad veſperam celebrabitis ſabbata veſtra. * Et affligetis animas veſtras religione perpetua.

Lectio ix.
Dominus enim vocat hominem ad recreationem, inquiens: Venite ad me omnes, qui laboratis et onerati eſtis, et ego refocillabo vos. Itaque quæcumque animæ crediderint et acceſſerint, reficiet eas ab his gravibus, moleſtis, et immundis cogitationibus, quæ vacantes ab omni iniquitate, celebrant ſabbathum verum, deliciarum plenum et ſanctum: peragunt feſtum Spiritus, gaudii et exultationis inerrabilis, et ſerviunt ſervitium purum et Deo gratum ex puro corde, hoc eſt, verum et ſanctum ſabbathum. Obſecremus ergo nos quoque Deum, ut ingrediamur in hanc requiem, ut ſeriemur a turpibus, malitioſis atque vanis cogitationibus, quo hoc pacto poſſimus ſervitium exhibere Deo ex puro corde, ac celebrare feſtum Spiritus ſancti. Beatus ergo, qui ingreſſus eſt illam requiem. Gloria Patri, cui ſic placuit, et Filio, et Spiritui ſancto in ſecula. Amen. Tu autem, Domine, miſerere noſtri. R/. Deo gratias.
Isaias 58, 13b. 12b. 11a
R/. ix. Si vocaveris ſabbatum delicatum, * Vocaberis ædificator ſepium, † Avertens ſemitas in quietem. V/. Requiem tibi dabit Dominus ſemper. * Vocaberis ædificator ſepium, † Avertens ſemitas in quietem. Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto. † Avertens ſemitas in quietem.

Te Deum.

V/. Congregati ſunt.
R/. Et in cubilibus ſuis collocabuntur.

Aña. Exſultabunt Sancti in gloria: lætabuntur in cubilibus ſuis.

Cap. In paſcuis uberrimis paſcam eas, et in montibus excelſis Iſraël erunt paſcua earum: ibi requieſcent in herbis virentibus, et in paſcuis pinguibus paſcentur ſuper montes Iſraël.

Hymnus. O quanta qualia…

V/. Corpora Sanctorum in pace ſepulta ſunt.
R/. Et vivent nomina eorum in æternum.

Pro Sancto
Bened. Aña. Obdormivit in Domino.

Pro Sancta
Bened. Aña. Elegit eam Deus, et præelegit eam: in tabernaculo ſuo habitare facit eam.

Pro pluribus
Bened. Aña. Beati mortui qui in Domino moriuntur, ut requieſcant.


Aña. Exſultabunt Sancti in gloria: lætabuntur in cubilibus ſuis.


Aña. Corpora Sanctorum in pace ſepulta ſunt: et vivent nomina eorum in æternum.

Cap. In paſcuis uberrimis paſcam eas, et in montibus excelſis Iſraël erunt paſcua earum: ibi requieſcent in herbis virentibus, et in paſcuis pinguibus paſcentur ſuper montes Iſraël.

R/. In cæleſtibus regnis Sanctorum * Habitatio est.
R/. In cæleſtibus regnis Sanctorum * Habitatio est.
V/. Et in æternum requies eorum. * Habitatio est.
Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.
R/. In cæleſtibus regnis Sanctorum * Habitatio est.

V/. Exſultabunt Sancti in gloria.
R/. Lætabuntur in cubilibus ſuis.


Aña. In cæleſtibus regnis Sanctorum habitatio est, et in æternum requies eorum.

Cap. Audivi vocem de cælo, dicentem mihi: Scribe: Beati mortui qui in Domino moriuntur. Amodo jam dicit Spiritus, ut requieſcant a laboribus ſuis.

R/. Exſultabunt Sancti * In gloria.
R/. Exſultabunt Sancti * In gloria.
V/. Lætabuntur in cubilibus ſuis. * In gloria.
Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.
R/. Exſultabunt Sancti * In gloria.

V/. Pretioſa in conſpectu Domini.
R/. Mors Sanctorum ejus.


Aña. Congregati ſunt, et in cubilibus ſuis collocabuntur.

Cap. Juſtorum animæ in manu Dei ſunt, et non tanget illos tormentum mortis.  Viſi ſunt oculis inſipientium mori: illi autem ſunt in pace.

R/. Pretioſa * In conſpectu Domini.
R/. Pretioſa * In conſpectu Domini.
V/. Mors Sanctorum ejus. * In conſpectu Domini.
Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.
R/. Pretioſa * In conſpectu Domini.

V/. In cæleſtibus regnis Sanctorum habitatio est.
R/. Et in æternum requies eorum.