Sunday, November 20, 2022

24th and Last Sunday after Pentecost: A Beautiful Gift

Most unexpectedly, Mass this evening for the 24th and Last Sunday after Pentecost was a Missa cantata, expertly sung by a cantor, who chanted the Gregorian Propers and led the congregation in the Asperges, Mass XI (Orbis factor), Credo I and the responses. This was a beautiful gift from God to yet more bless his people!

Monday, November 7, 2022

The Manner of Hearing Mass

For some years, I have found the most convenient way to hear Mass, since there is only a monthly Latin Mass here, is to split the difference between hearing Sunday Mass at my nearby parish church (which is quite orthodox, and even features the use of incense) and having to drive for hours to go to the Mass in the Extraordinary Form. The way I do this is by attending my local parish Mass, and bringing my layfolk’s hand missal with me, from which I read the Mass propers of the day, while joining in the responses made by all, and sitting, standing or kneeling in conformity with the usual congregational postures.

Before Mass

A few minutes or more before Mass begins, I recite to myself the prayers at the foot of the altar: In nomine Patris... Introibo ad altare Dei... Judica me Deus... Introibo... Adjutorium... Confiteor... Misereatur... Indulgentiam... (changing the last three to their forms for use at Compline when no priest is present) Deus tu conversus... Ostende nobis Domine... Domine exaudi orationem... (omitting the Dominus vobiscum...) Oremus... Aufer a nobis... Oramus te Domine... (changing the last prayer to the first person plural and adding Per Christum Dominum nostrum). 

To these prayers, I adjoin the following statement of intention (from a brief formula of preparation for Mass, adding the phrase per manus sacerdotis tui – “by the hands of thy priest”): Domine Jesu Christe, in unione illius divinæ intentionis, qua ipse in ultima cœna, et in ara crucis, sacrificium corporis et sanguinis tui Deo Patri obtulisti, hoc idem sacrificium ei offerre intendo, per manus sacerdotis tui. Complaceat sibi, o Jesu, in te; et per te propitius nobis sit in vitam æternam. Amen.

Then, I read the Introit of the day from my old missal – my preference is to “triple” the Introit, by reading the Introit antiphon between its psalm verse and the doxology, as well as before and after as usual. 

The Outset of Mass

All that done, I can then, if I choose, join in singing the processional hymn, before making the sign of the Cross, replying to the priest’s salutation, participating in the penitential act, and singing along with the Kyrie (and Gloria in excelsis). But while the priest reads the Collect (to which I respond Amen), I read the traditional Collect from my missal – to which I often add, for reasons of devotion, other Collects also (which fills up the time taken for the Old Testament reading to be read). 

Typically, after the Collect of the Day (say, that of the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost), I will add the Collect of the Saint of the Day, if any, followed by the Votive Collect in honour of Our Lady and All the Saints, the Votive Collect for the Living and the Dead, the Collect from the Mass in Time of War, the Collect from the Mass in Time of Pestilence, and the Collect from the Mass for the Sick – all of these extra collects being read together with only one concluding formula at the very end. While I do not follow the exact rules about the particular collects to be read at Mass, I try to employ an odd number of Collects, not exceeding seven; I do likewise for the Secret and Postcommunion.

To prevent appearing too singular, I still make the correct response after the first reading, and join in the response to the Responsorial Psalm (which is a good way to check my short-term memory). Then I read the Epistle and following chants from my missal (repeating the respond of the Gradual after its verse), join in singing the Alleluia if the tune is one I know, respond to the priest as he introduces the Gospel – and read the traditional pericope while he reads the one prescribed in the modern Lectionary. (Often at the end of the reading I will pray inwardly, Per Evangelica dicta, deleantur nostra delicta.) All that done, I can settle back and relax while the sermon is preached.

After the Sermon

I join in the Creed – if unfortunately the Apostles’ Creed is read, during the Prayers of the Faithful I read the Nicene Creed in Latin sotto voce, but making the correct response to each petition and the final prayer thereof. As I am used to the gracious English custom of inserting a “Hail Mary...” before the concluding prayer of the general intercessions, if one isn't said, I’ll inwardly say one anyway. Once all those prayers are over, I read the Offertory from my missal (to which I would ideally add the Offertory verses as well), and follow it with Domine exaudi... (as substitute for the priestly Dominus vobiscum...), Oremus and the Secret (plus other Secrets corresponding to whichever additional Collects I may have read earlier). 

That done, I can join in the Offertory hymn if I choose; I make the usual replies to the priest’s prayers, up to and including the Sursum corda dialogue, but I read the appropriate traditional Preface in Latin while the celebrant reads the modern Preface, then join in singing the Sanctus. Note that I do not read to myself any of the traditional Offertory prayers, as they are proper to the priest alone, apart from saying to myself when censed, “The Lord enkindle in us the fire of his love, and the flame of everlasting charity” – in Latin, Accendat in nobis Dominus ignem sui amoris, et flammam æternæ caritatis. Amen.

During the Canon

It is too difficult to attempt to read the Roman Canon in Latin to yourself during the Eucharistic Prayer (especially if it is E.P. II), so simply attend to the actual words being prayed. Sometimes my parish priest uses the Roman Canon, which is the best; but I don’t mind his use of E.P. III or IV either.

As the Canon is recited silently by the priest in the Traditional Mass, ne impediatur populus orare (lest the people be impeded from praying), as Lyndwood, a noted mediæval English canonist stated, in other words, each layman ought pray as he can during the Eucharistic Prayer – while for years I used to read silently the Roman Canon, initially in English, and latterly in Latin, while the priest prayed it, for a long time now I have instead quietly recited the five decades of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy (in Latin) and its concluding triple Trinitarian petition; but when perforce at the Novus Ordo, this is not possible, so instead I listen to what the priest prays aloud, and add my own short silent invocations throughout.

At the consecratory Epiclesis, addressing the Three Divine Persons, I pray, Jube, Domine, benedicere, and Veni, Sancte Spiritus, and Veni, Domine Jesu, and, at the end thereof Amen, Amen, Amen.

At the Words of Consecration, I inwardly pray an Amen after every phrase, adding the Mozarabic formula Sic credimus, Domine Jesu, after the last Amen, the ancient Irish or Gallican phrase pro sæcula vita after the words of the Consecration of the Host, and the traditional Roman phrase mysterium fidei in its position amongst the words of the Consecration of the Chalice.

At each Elevation, I adore Our Lord, truly, really and substantially present in his Body and Blood, saying inwardly Omnis gloria tibi, Domine Altissime, then Dominus meus et Deus meus and Salva nos, plus In te, Domine, speravi, non confundar in æternum, followed by Tu nobis, victor Rex, miserere, and a final Amen, Alleluja (or a triple Amen when Alleluja is not said).

After the Memorial Acclamation (or in place of it), I recite the stanza O salutaris Hostia..., as was the old French practice.

At the communion Epiclesis, I make the sign of the Cross at the mention of the coming reception of Christ’s Body and Blood, and the consequent infusion of the Holy Spirit; at the memorial of the faithful departed, I say Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem thrice, adding sempiternam and Amen after the last invocation.

During the Canon’s magnificent concluding doxology Per ipsum, marked as it is by the Little Elevation of Host and Chalice, I bow my head (as was the Dominican custom) at omnis honor et gloria.

From the Lord’s Prayer until Communion Time

Ideally I should silently say Oremus before the priest exhorts all to join in the Lord’s Prayer, and then I join with all in singing or saying it. But while he then reads the modern version of the Embolism, I instead recite the traditional Libera nos quæsumus, pausing to give the reply – how crazy, though, to make a doxology into the people’s response! – to its modern form, then complete the Libera and its proper doxology while the priest says the prayer for peace, so I am in time to reply to the Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.

Thankfully, the pandemic has reduced the exchange of the sign of peace from an irreverent melee heedless of the worship due to the divine Lamb upon the altar (but instead more reminiscent of the wanton rioting of the children of Israel in honour of the Golden Calf) into a more restrained and dignified silent nod of the head to those nearby.

Next, I join in singing the Agnus Dei, and once the priest has led the congregation in the Ecce Agnus Dei, I recite the Domine non sum dignus once aloud in the vernacular in union with all, then twice more in Latin. As there probably would not have been sufficient time to recite the third Confiteor before that point, instead I pray quietly the Confiteor, Misereatur and Indulgentiam in the time remaining before receiving Communion.

During and after Holy Communion

Not always, but sometimes, I say some short prayers to myself as I go forward to communicate, such as the three following chants:

(a) a version of the Mozarabic communion chant Gustate, et videte quam suavis est Dominus, * Alleluja, alleluja, alleluja. Benedicam Dominum in omni tempore; semper laus ejus in ore meo. * Alleluja... In Domino laudabitur anima mea: audiant mansueti, et lætentur. * Alleluja... Magnificate Dominum mecum, et exaltemus nomen ejus in idipsum. * Alleluja... Accedite ad eum, et illuminamini; et facies vestræ non confundentur. * Alleluja... Beatus vir qui sperat in eo. * Alleluja... (Ps. 33, 9. 2-4. 6. 9)

(b) a Latin translation of the Cherubic Hymn at the Great Entrance of the Presanctified Liturgy of the Byzantine Rite: Nunc virtutes cælorum cum nobis invisibiliter adorant: ecce Rex gloriæ introit. Ecce mysticum et perfectum sacrificium hic deduxant: appropinquemus cum fidelitate et desiderio, ut facti simus participes vitæ æternæ, alleluja.

(c) the Gallican communion chant Venite, populi, ad sacrum et immortale mysterium, et libamen agendum: cum timore et fide accedamus, manibus mundis: pœnitentiæ munus communicemus: quoniam Agnus Dei propter nos Patri sacrificium propositum est. Ipsum solum adoremus: ipsum glorificemus cum Angelis clamantes: Alleluja.

Ideally, if circumstances permit, I receive Communion “kneeling on the tongue – not standing on the hand” (and as there is an altar rail at which to kneel in my parish church, doing so is my usual practice there), but I always remember that there is no sin in either approved method, and wish to avoid giving scandal to others, whether clergy or layfolk, who are so fixed in their ways as to be ignorant of this.

Having returned to my pew, I say to myself Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat me in vitam æternam. Amen. – note I do not use the Roman phrase animam meam, but the more direct Dominican me – while making the sign of the Cross. Then I pray the Sarum Ave in æternum sanctissima Caro Christi, mihi ante omnia et super omnia summa dulcedo, which I follow with the Ave verum... and the modified Mozarabic chant Refecti Christi Corpore, te laudamus, Domine, alleluja, alleluja, alleluja. Gloria et honor Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto in sæcula sæculorum. Amen. Alleluja, alleluja, alleluja. Refecti Christi Corpore, te laudamus, Domine, alleluja, alleluja, alleluja. Sometimes I may add the antiphon O sacrum convivium... and the Gospel canticle Nunc dimittis... Of course, sometimes the Communion hymn is quite decent, and I will join in singing some or all of it.

In the time remaining before the priest says the Prayer after Communion (to which I of course respond Amen), I read the Communion antiphon of the day from my old missal, and follow that with Domine exaudi... (again substituting for the priestly Dominus vobiscum...), Oremus and the relevant Postcommunion(s). Then I make the usual replies to the priest’s final words, receive his blessing, and may sing the recessional hymn, or not, while also reciting the Marian Anthem of the season – though I don’t tend to read the Last Gospel to myself, though I could and indeed sometimes do so.

When kneeling down after Mass has ended, I often say the following prayer, taken from of all places the 1954 South African Book of Common Prayer, which is evidently an English version of the Placeat tibi, rendered suitable for lay use: 

LOOK with favour, most Holy Trinity, on this our act of worship and service; and may this sacrifice set forth before thine eyes be acceptable to thy Divine Majesty, and avail for us and all for whom we have offered it; who livest and reignest, [ever] one God, [blessed for ever,] world without end. Amen.