Liturgical Texts: November 2006 Archives

30 November, Saint Andrew, Apostle

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ENTRANCE ANTIPHON

The Lord saw two brothers along the sea of Galilee,
Peter and Andrew, and he called to them:
Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men (Mt 4:18-19).

COLLECT

We humbly entreat your majesty, O Lord,
that the blessed apostle Andrew
may be as constant an intercessor for us in your presence
as he was outstanding in preaching and in ruling over your Church.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God forever and ever.

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Pope Benedict XVI will be celebrating Holy Mass today in a open place adjacent to the shrine of the Holy House of Mother Mary near Ephesus. Archbishop Marini's presentation suggests that the Mass will be that of the Commendatio Beatae Mariae Virginis, # 13 in the Collectio Missarum de Beata Maria Virgine. Here follows my own translation of the texts:

ENTRANCE ANTIPHON

MR
The Lord is high above all nations;
and his glory above the heavens.
Who makes the Blessed Virgin to dwell in the Church,
the joyful mother of children (cf. Ps 112:4, 9).

COLLECT

Lord, Holy Father,
who decreed the salvation of the human race
in the Paschal Mystery,
grant that we whom Jesus Christ dying upon the cross
entrusted to his Virgin Mother
may be numbered among your adopted sons.
Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.

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Introit

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain
to receive power and divinity
and wisdom and strength and honour;
to Him be glory and empire
forever and ever (Ap 5:12, 1:6).
V. O God, give your justice to the King,
and to the King's Son your justice (Ps 71:1).

Collect

Almighty and everlasting God,
whose will it is to restore all things
in your beloved Son, the King of the universe,
mercifully grant that all creation
liberated from servitude for the service of your majesty,
may together praise you unceasingly.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.

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The 2002 edition of the Missale Romanum presents a Proper Mass for the memorial of the Holy Martyrs of Vietnam. Whereas on the feasts of other groups of martyrs, the Mass is ordinarily taken from the Common of Several Martyrs, today's saints are honoured with a Mass specially composed for them.

The Entrance Antiphon is a remarkable new composition juxtaposing two Pauline texts:

Far be it from us to glory
save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
To us who are being saved
the word of the Cross is, in fact,
the power of God (cf. Gal 6:14; cf. 1 Cor 1:18).

The Collect uses a unique form of address, Deus, omnis paternitatis fons et origo. The motif of the Cross, already present in the Entrance Antiphon, recurs in the Collect. Saint Théophane Vénard and others were condemned to death after refusing to trample the Cross.

O God, wellspring and origin of all fatherhood,
who made the blessed martyrs Andrew and his companions
faithful to the cross of your Son
even to the shedding of their blood;
by their intercession, grant that,
while spreading your love among our brethren,
we may be able both to be called your children
and to be what we are called.


The Prayer Over the Offerings asks for the grace of fidelity to God inter adversa vitae nostrae. It further asks that we may present our very selves to God as a sacrificial offering (hostia), an acceptable victim.

Receive, holy Father, the gifts we offer
as we venerate the memory of the holy martyrs,
so that in the midst of the adversities of this life
we may be worthy of being found faithful to you
and present our very selves as a victim acceptable to you.

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ENTRANCE ANTIPHON

GR
I spoke of your testimonies before kings,
and I was not ashamed:
I meditated also on your commandments,
which I loved (Ps 118:46-47).

COLLECT

O God, who gladden us
with the yearly festival of blessed Cecilia,
grant, we beseech you,
that the things devoutly passed on concerning your handmaid,
may give us an example to imitate,
and that the wonders of Christ your Son in his servants
may be recounted.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.

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ENTRANCE ANTIPHON

GR
The Lord saith: I think thoughts of peace, and not of affliction:
you shall call upon me, and I will hear you;
and I will bring back your captivity
from all places (Jer 29:11–12, 14).
V. Lord, Thou hast blessed thy land:
Thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob (Ps 84:2).

COLLECT

Grant us, we beseech you, Lord, our God,
abiding joy in devotion to you
for perfect and lasting happiness
is found in serving you, the author of all good.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.

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The days between the solemnity of All Saints and the First Sunday of Advent are rich in images of the heavenly Jerusalem. The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica on November 9th opened our eyes to the glorious mystery of the Body of Christ, our true and abiding Temple. Today, we celebrate the Dedication festival of two other Roman churches: the Vatican basilica of Saint Peter, and the Basilica of Saint Paul-Outside-the-Walls, entrusted to the sons of Saint Benedict. The dedication of a fourth Roman basilica, that of Saint Mary Major, is celebrated on August 5th. Every feast of Dedication is an invitation to cross the threshold of “the house of God and the gate of heaven” (Gen 28:17), an opportunity to say again with Jacob, “Indeed, the Lord is in this place” (Gen 28:16)

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Exceptionally, on the occasion of the anniversary of his ordination, the Church allows a priest to pray at Holy Mass a set of orations in the first person singular. Whereas on all other days the priest says, we, us, and our, on this one day of the year he says, I, me, and my.

While some would sniff at the orations for the anniversary of ordination as being late medieval compositions, the Church has seen fit to retain them in the latest edition of the Roman Missal, the editio typica tertia of 2002. I, for one, find them humbling and comforting. I used them today. Here they are:

Collect

Holy Father, who through no merits of my own,
chose me for communion in the eternal priesthood of your Christ,
and for the service of your Church,
grant that, living as an energetic and gentle preacher of the Gospel,
I may be found a faithful dispenser of your mysteries.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.

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It is a cherished monastic tradition to pray for the dead. Cistercians, in particular, have the custom of praying an entire Psalter (all 150 Psalms) for the dead, concluding each psalm with the verse, "Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them."

Today's Mass will be offered for all the departed who soldiered under the Rule of Saint Benedict. The Christian life is marked by spiritual combat. "For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiitual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Eph 6:12). The monk, the nun, or the oblate living in the world engages in spiritual combat by making use of the seventy–four tools of good works enumerated in Chapter Four of the Rule of Saint Benedict.

After death, the veterans of spiritual combat are not abandoned by their monastic family. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, psalmody, and the prayer of the Rosary hasten their purification and obtain a speedy deliverance into "the land of the living" where the light of glory shines from the Face of Christ.

13 November, All Benedictine Saints

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Today we celebrated the feast of All Saints Who Militated Under the Rule of Saint Benedict. One might also translate the name of the feast as "All Saints Who Soldiered Under the Rule of Saint Benedict." It's enough to make a Jesuit envious!

I thought that Spinello Aretino's depiction of Saint Benedict exorcising a demon might be appropriate for today's feast. Saint Gregory the Great recounts the whole story in his life of Saint Benedict. The painting, however, tells more than the story. The monks are engaged in a building project. The undertaking comes to a halt when a "heavy devil" decides to sit on a stone. No one can lift the stone. This happens not infrequently in community life.

Saint Peter reminds us that we are all "living stones" destined by God to be "built into a spiritual house" (1 P 2:5). Sometimes one "living stone" becomes heavy to the point of being immovable. Then the upbuilding of the community stops and the "immovable stone" becomes the focus of much frustration and unhappiness.

What can be done when a "heavy devil" fastened itself to a brother or sister in order to impede the building of the community? Prayer and fasting, and recourse to the power of the Cross and the intercession of Saint Benedict are efficacious means by which the devil can be detached from the poor soul on whom he crouches. Once rid of the "heavy devil," the building up of community can resume.

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The painting by Bernardo Strozzi (1581–1644), a fugitive from the Capuchin Order, depicts the Prophet Elijah with the Widow of Sarepta and her son.

ENTRANCE ANTIPHON

GR
Let my prayer enter into your presence; incline your ear to my supplication, O Lord.
V. O Lord, God of my salvation,
day and night have I cried before you (Ps 87:3, 2).

COLLECT

Almighty and merciful God,
graciously keep us, we pray,
from all things that may hurt us,
that we, being unimpeded both in mind and body,
may accomplish with free minds
those things which belong to your purpose.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.

11 November, Martinmas

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ENTRANCE ANTIPHON

MR
I will raise up for myself a faithful priest,
who shall do according to my heart and my soul,
says the Lord (1 Sam 2:35).

GR 445
The Lord made to him a covenant of peace
to be the prince of his people
that the dignity of priesthood should be to him forever (Sir 45:30).
V. O Lord, remember David,
and all his meekness (Ps 131:1).


COLLECT

O God,
who were magnified in the life of Saint Martin as in his death,
renew the wonders of your grace in our hearts,
so that neither death nor life may separate us from your love.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.

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ENTRANCE ANTIPHON

MR
The Lord made to him a covenant of peace
to be the prince of his people
that the dignity of priesthood should be to him forever (Sir 45:30).

COLLECT

O God,
who never permit the gates of hell to prevail against your Church,
founded on the rock of the Apostles,
grant, we beseech you,
through the intercession of Pope Saint Leo,
that, standing upright in your truth,
she may be strengthened by a lasting peace.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.

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ENTRANCE ANTIPHON

MR
I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (Rev 21:2).

Or:

Behold the tabernacle of God among men!
He will dwell with them,
and they shall be his people,
and God himself with them shall be their God (Rev 21:3).

COLLECT

O God, who out of chosen and living stones
prepare an eternal dwelling for your majesty;
increase within your Church
the spirit of grace which you have given,
so that your faithful people may assemble in ever greater numbers
for the building up of the heavenly Jerusalem.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.

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At the end of the homily today I prayed Blessed Elizabeth's prayer; her text has a way of establishing the soul in silence. After Mass the faithful came forward to venerate the relic of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity. I am always moved by the tenderness and faith that people bring to the veneration of holy relics. One senses the nearness of the saint in the most remarkable way.

ENTRANCE ANTIPHON

MR
This is a wise virgin, and one of the number of the prudent
who went out with lighted lamp
to meet Christ on the way.

COLLECT

God of bountiful mercy,
who revealed to Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity
the mystery of your secret presence
in the hearts of those who love you,
and chose her to adore you in spirit and in truth;
grant through her intercession,
that we also may abide in the love of Christ,
and merit to be transformed
into temples of your life-giving Spirit,
to the praise of your glory.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.

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I remember today Sister Marie–Willibrorda, O.S.B. of the Monastère Saint–Joseph in France and my friends, the Poor Clare nuns of Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

ENTRANCE ANTIPHON

GR
Let your priests, O Lord, be clothed with justice,
and let your saints rejoice:
for your servant David’s sake,
turn not away the face of your Christ (Ps 131:9-10).
Ps. O Lord, remember David, and all his meekness (Ps 131:1).

COLLECT

O God, the Saviour of all,
who sent your bishop Willibrord as a pilgrim for Christ
to proclaim the good news to many peoples
and confirm them in their faith,
help us also, we beseech you,
to witness to your steadfast love by word and deed
so that your Church may increase and grow strong in holiness.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.

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Today's Introit is the same one sung on Ash Wednesday, making it very suitable for this November Sunday after All Souls Day. Its first mode melody is tender and full of confidence. The verse from Psalm 56 is the cry of every soul in purgatory.

The Collect intensifies the eschatological impetus of today's Mass by asking that we may run without stumbling toward the promises of God.

ENTRANCE ANTIPHON

You have mercy upon all, O Lord,
and hate none of the things which you have made,
you overlook the sins of men for the sake of repentance,
and spare them because you are the Lord our God (Wis 11: 24-25, 27).
V. Have mercy on me, God, have mercy,
for in you my soul has taken refuge (Ps 55:1).

COLLECT

Almighty and merciful God,
by whose gift your faithful offer you
due and laudable service,
grant, we beseech you,
that we may run without stumbling
towards the good things you have promised.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.

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The Collect for today's memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo contains an extraordinary phrase. We ask that the Church, being ceaselessly renewed, and thus conformed to the image of Christ, may show forth His Face to the world: Christi se imagini conformans, ipsius vultum mundo valeat ostendere.

ENTRANCE ANTIPHON

MR
I will visit my sheep,
and I will set up one shepherd over them
and he shall feed them,
and I the Lord will be their God (cf. Ez 34:11, 23-24).

COLLECT

Preserve in your people, we beseech you, Lord,
the spirit with which you filled the bishop Saint Charles;
that the Church may be ceaselessly renewed,
and in conforming herself to the image of Christ,
be able to show his face to the world.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.

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The medallion of Saint Martin de Porres is the work of the Dominican priest and sculptor, Father Thomas McGlynn (1906–1977). Father McGlynn's strong images of Saint Martin contributed in no small measure to the rise of devotion to him which led to his canonization in 1962.

ENTRANCE ANTIPHON

MR
Lavishly he gives to the poor,
his justice stands firm forever.
His head will be raised in glory (Ps 111:9).

COLLECT

O God who, by the path of humility,
led Saint Martin de Porres
to the glory of heaven,
grant that we may so follow his splendid example now
as to be found worthy of a place with him on high in heaven.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.

2 November, All Souls Day

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ENTRANCE ANTIPHON

GR
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
and let the radiance of your light shine forever upon them (cf. 2 Es 2:35).
V. To you our praise is due in Zion, O God.
To you we pay our vows, you who hear our prayer;
to you all flesh will come (Ps 64:2-3).

COLLECT

O God, glory of the faithful and life of the just,
by whose Son’s death and resurrection we are redeemed,
show forgiving mercy to your departed servants,
that, as they came to know the mystery of our resurrection,
they may be found worthy of receiving
the joys of eternal blessedness.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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