Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Pray for us, O holy Martyr of Christ

Fr Jacques Hamel, aged 85, was this morning murdered out of hatred of the Faith by two vile assassins (themselves sent to their eternal Judge shortly thereafter), in his church near Rouen, France, where he had been celebrating Mass. 

Without prejudging the verdict of the Church, we can but acclaim him as a martyr and ask his prayers, not least to deliver us from the twin scourges of Satanic barbarism and false religion. 

Those evildoers who seek to destroy Catholicism by terror and bloodshed only add lustre to the crown of Christ's martyrs in heaven, while condemning themselves to the darkest pit of hell forever: "Fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28)

Monday, July 25, 2016

Santiago Matamoros, ruega por nosotros

The Dominican Breviary contains the following anthems at 1st Vespers of St James the Greater, Patron of Spain - the lesser for the psalms, and the greater for the Magnificat:

(O blessed James, deserving of praise by the heart and lips of all, O singular and amiable patron, intercede for us with the Lord.)

(O light and beauty of Spain, most holy James, who holdest the first place among the Apostles, first-crowned with martyrdom of them! O singular guard, who didst deserve to behold our Redeemer, while still a mortal, transformed into the Deity! Graciously hear the prayers of thy servants, and intercede for our salvation and that of all peoples.)

Spanish editions of the Roman Breviary also contain the following responsory; I am still hunting for the music thereof:

R. viii. Iste est, qui ante alios Apostolos primus plantavit Ecclesiam sanguine suo: * Cujus corpus in Gallæciam delatum, per totum orbem gloria illustratur. V. O sidus, o decus Hispaniæ, sancte Jacobe Apostole, intercede pro nobis ad Deum, qui te elegit. * Cujus corpus in Gallæciam delatum, per totum orbem gloria illustratur. Gloria Patri. * Cujus corpus in Gallæciam delatum, per totum orbem gloria illustratur. 
(This is him, who before the other Apostles first planted the Church with his blood: * Whose body carried to Galicia, through the whole world was made famous in glory. V. O star, O beauty of Spain, Saint James the Apostle, intercede for us with God, who chose thee. * Whose body carried to Galicia, through the whole world was made famous in glory. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. * Whose body carried to Galicia, through the whole world was made famous in glory.)

As I hope in a few years to walk the Camino to Santiago de Compostela, for the moment I pray to this great Saint for strength and aid, not least invoking him under his more militant and apposite title: Santiago Matamoros, ruega por nosotros.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sung Mass

Owing to various reasons, I ended up having to sing at sung Mass in Hobart this Sunday by myself (there weren't even the usual copies of the Ordinary chants available for the congregation, so they could only join in from memory), which was extremely stressful! 

The Propers being beyond me in their full Gregorian splendour, instead I sang all of them to the psalm tone for mode one introit psalm-verses (plus an adaptation of the opening Kyrie of the Messe Royale for the Alleluia itself). 

I had naturally assumed that there would be other singers, so I had decided for their sake and that of the congregation to use the usual Sunday setting of Mass XI (Orbis factor), together with Credo I – despite not actually having sung them for quite some time (since usually I am serving at Missa cantata rather than singing)… 

I somehow got through the Kyrie and Gloria (with some falterings and false notes all too obvious to myself), and then in due course Father intoned Credo III – so I had to make a very quick page turn to find it. The Sanctus was alright, sort of, but when it came time for the Agnus Dei, I looked at the music and faced an absolute blank in my memory for the opening notes, so I again hastily turned the pages of my old Liber Usualis, this time to Mass XVIII, and sang its rather simpler setting of the same text. 

As for the Offertory and Communion, I sang the hymn Jesu dulcis memoria during the former and Adoro te devote during the latter, which filled up most of the time (as well as being appropriate to those moments, I trust). At Father's suggestion, rather than the simple Salve Regina, I sang "Hail Queen of heaven" as the recessional hymn, which proved acceptable.

I realised very quickly that I had taken on a task that was too hard for me by myself, but short of running away during the sermon (which I seriously considered doing, as I'd already been to a vigil Mass), I had no choice but to persevere. It was very stressful and I don't ever want to have to do it again, at least not without knowing in advance that I will be alone – one attempt at "Missa Unicus et pauper sum ego, for one voice" is quite enough.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Dominican Sequence for St Mary Magdalen

The Dominican Missal of 1603 is online, and it contains (on pages 308 to 309) the following delightful Sequence for the feast of St Mary Magdalen (herself referred to as Apostolorum Apostola in the Benedictus Antiphon of the feast according to the Dominican Breviary):

1. Monti Sion dat virorem, 
Ros Hermon, et viror florem,
Fecundum in gratia.
2. Ad honorem Magdalenæ,
Roris hujus imbre plenæ,
Cuncta spirent gaudia.

3. Rigans montes gratiarum,
Ad convallem lacrymarum,
Ros cælestis effluit.
4. Ibi jacens Magdalena,
Lacrymarum imbre plena,
Christi pedes abluit.

5. Abluentis cor fecundat,
Et tergentis corpus mundat,
A culparum sordibus.
6. Mandat pacem osculanti,
Et unguentis abundanti,
Largus est muneribus.

7. Auster fugans aquilonem,
Lux illustrans rationem,
In amorem perfecit.
8. Grande signum pietatis,
Mox purgatam a peccatis,
Sibi sponsam efficit.

9. Dulcis luctus, dulcis clamor,
Dulcis magis ardens amor,
In tali connubio.
10. A dilecti nulla forte, 
Nec in vita, nec in morte,
Lassatur obsequio.

11. Lugens astat morienti,
Sed congaudet resurgenti,
Ejus narrans gloriam.
12. Et regnantem confitetur,
Dum in rupe profitetur,
Vitam solitariam.

13. Novis modis ibi rapta,
Novis demum donis aucta,
Sponsi gaudet præmiis.
14. Ad hanc partem quam elegit,
Ducat nos qui mundum regit,
Ejus patrociniis. Amen.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Domine, salvam fac Galliam

Please join in praying for France, that wounded nation, eldest daughter of the Church and mother of revolutions, regicide and penitent, Catholic and atheist, which has been so wickedly attacked with hellish malice by infidel enemies of both true religion and true liberty:

Domine, salvam fac Galliam, 
et exaudi nos in die 
qua invocaverimus te. (iii)

Lord, save France,
and hear us in the day
that we shall call upon thee. (iii)

This modified verse from Psalm 19:9 is traditionally sung at EF Mass in France, originally used after Mass as a prayer for the Most Christian King (salvum fac Regem), and in more recent times sung after Communion as a prayer for that nation:

Of your charity, please pray for those who have been killed in Nice, those medical professionals treating the injured, and the gendarmerie and armed forces who are striving to fight the just fight against her foes.

Pray for Cardinal Sarah

A priest whom I am honoured to count as a friend told me a year ago or more that he prays an Ave daily that Cardinal Sarah be elected as the next Pope (and I believe he received this advice from a good bishop). I humbly commend the same excellent prayer intention to all readers.

Transtulit austrum de cælo et induxit in virtute sua africum.
(Ps. 77, 26) 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Unxerunt Salomonem

Yesterday evening, the antiphon at the Magnificat for first Vespers of the 7th Sunday after Pentecost was Unxerunt Salomonem, which irresistibly brings to mind Handel's magnificent coronation anthem Zadok the priest

Sadoc the priest and Nathan the prophet anointed Solomon king in Gihon: and going up glad, they said: May the king live for ever. (3 Kings 1:45; cf. 1:39,34,31)