Liturgical Texts: January 2009 Archives

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Happy Onomastico to novice Brother Stephen of the Abbey of Our Lady of Spring Bank! Be sure to visit him at Sub Tuum today!

Collect

Almighty and ever-living God,
who are Yourself the reward exceeding great
of those who leave all things for the sake of Christ Your Son,
grant, we beseech You,
that by the example and prayers
of the holy abbots Robert, Alberic, and Stephen,
we too may hasten with all fervour and zeal
to the fullness of eternal life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.

Preface

Truly it is right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Christ our Lord.

Knit together in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
the blessed abbots Robert, Alberic, and Stephen
chose to be poor with the poor Christ,
and so went forth to a desert wilderness
to abide in the place you had prepared for them.

Schooled in all things by the Rule of Saint Benedict, their father,
they sought only to live in peace
according to the truth of the Gospel.

Setting nothing before the love of Christ,
and zealous for the praise of your Majesty,
their example drew many
to take up the strong and glorious weapons of obedience.

And so, on their feast day, we join with them to adore you
and with heart and mind in harmony with our voices,
in the sight of the angels
we sing the ageless hymn of your praise:

Conversion of Saint Paul

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General Intercessions

That the Church in East and West
may persevere in seeking the unity willed for her by Christ
from whom the whole Body is joined and knit together
to be built up in charity (cf. Eph 4:16),
to the Lord we pray, Christ, hear us. R. Christ, graciously hear us.

That missionary zeal will conquer the world for Christ.,
to the Lord we pray, Christ, hear us. R. Christ, graciously hear us.

That the thoughts of the powerful of the earth may be turned from war
and opened to the making of peace,
to the Lord we pray, Christ, hear us. R. Christ, graciously hear us.

That those who journey in darkness
may be given friends and companions to lead them by the hand;
and that those whose hearts are hardened against Christ and the Church
may be touched by an inbreaking of grace,
to the Lord we pray, Christ, hear us. R. Christ, graciously hear us.

That we who partake of these Holy Mysteries
may be illumined by the same light
that blazed before the eyes of Saint Paul on the road to Damascus,
and, like him, live by faith in the Son of God
who loved us and gave himself up for us (Gal 2:20),
to the Lord we pray, Christ, hear us. R. Christ, graciously hear us.

Collect at the General Intercessions

Almighty and ever-living God,
who, by a wonderful inbreaking of your grace,
opened the heart of the blessed Apostle Paul
to the knowledge of your will,
to the bright vision of the Just One,
and to the sound of his voice (cf. Ac 22: 14);
mercifully grant that we,
having received in Baptism the sight that comes from faith,
may walk as children of the light and of the day (1 Th 5:5),
eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph 4:3).
Through Christ our Lord.


Saint Francis de Sales

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General Intercessions

That the Church may never be without gentle shepherds
according to the meek and humble Heart of Christ:
servants of unity and of peace,
to the Lord we pray, Christ, hear us. R. Christ, graciously hear us.

That the leaders of nations may turn from every project of war and destruction
and search for the means to a just and lasting peace,
to the Lord we pray, Christ, hear us. R. Christ, graciously hear us.

That the discouraged may be granted
the blessed assurance of peace of heart;
that those sorely tempted against hope
may be delivered from their trial;
and that those who mourn the death of a loved one
may be comforted in their grief,
to the Lord we pray, Christ, hear us. R. Christ, graciously hear us.

That the Sisters of the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary
may persevere sweetly in their vocation to be gentle "daughters of prayer,"
witnessing to all the peace of the devout life,
to the Lord we pray, Christ, hear us. R. Christ, graciously hear us.

That we, by the intercession of Saint Francis de Sales,
may respond to the voice of Christ
who calls to Himself those whom He desires,
to the Lord we pray, Christ, hear us. R. Christ, graciously hear us.

Collect at the General Intercessions

Holy God, who called your bishop Francis de Sales
from the torment of a restless heart
to the blessed assurance of your abiding love,
and by his ministry renewed your Church in patience and kindness:
grant us something of the unfailing gentleness
by which he touched even the most hardened hearts,
that we may serve you with serenity
and praise you with a humble gladness.
Through Christ our Lord.

In our time, grant us your peace

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Rainbow Over Gaza

This AP photo shows a rainbow over Gaza today, 18 January 2009. In the context of what is happening in the Mideast, today's Collect (2nd Sunday Per Annum) could not be more suitable. I have learned by experience that the liturgy of the Church provides us with the very prayer we need at the moment we most need it. The liturgy is, in fact, the great means by which the Holy Ghost "helpeth our infirmity, for we know not how to pray as we ought" (Rom 8:26). This, of course, is why it is so important to have accurate translations of the received liturgical texts.

Peace: the Tranquility of Order

The Latin text uses the verb moderor. It is perhaps best translated here by the English verb to order, meaning to set aright. Peace is, according to Saint Augustine, "the tranquility of order."

Collect

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus,
qui caelestia simul et terrena moderaris,
supplicationes populi tui clementer exaudi,
et pacem tuam nostris concede temporibus.

Almighty and everlasting God,
Who order all things both in heaven and on earth,
mercifully hear the supplications of your people,
and in our time, grant us your 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.

Saint Aelred of Rievaulx

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For study and meditation: proper texts for the Mass of Saint Aelred, Abbot.

January 12
Saint Aelred, Abbot


Entrance Antiphon

MR
The Lord is my inheritance and my cup; he alone will give me my reward.
The measuring line has marked a lovely place for me;
my inheritance is my great delight (Ps 15:5-6).

or GR, Caritas Dei, 248.

The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts
by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.
V. My soul, give thanks to the Lord,
all my being, bless his holy name (Rom 5:5; Ps 102:1).

Collect

O God,
who gave the blessed Abbot Aelred
the grace of being all things to all men,
grant that, following his example,
we may so spend ourselves in the service of one another,
as to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of 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.

Prayer Over the Oblations

Most merciful God,
who, in the Blessed Abbot Aelred,
deigned to make an end of the old self
and to create a new self according to your own desire,
mercifully grant
that we also, renewed in like manner,
may offer this, the acceptable sacrifice of our atonement.
Through Christ our Lord.

Preface

Truly it is right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Christ our Lord.

Tenderly you drew Saint Aelred
to the school of your service
where, having tasted of the sweetness of your love,
he became the gentle father of many sons,
a merciful shepherd to the weak,
and a model of spiritual friendship.

Inflamed by the love of Christ,
he embraced the Cross
as the pattern of monastic conversion,
and so attained the repose of those who love you,
the true and eternal Sabbath of the blessed.

And so, on his feast day, we join with him to adore you,
and with all the company of Angels and Saints,
sing the ageless hymn of your praise:

Communion Antiphon

MR
What we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord,
with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake (2 Cor 4:5).

Postcommunion

Almighty God,
we beseech you
that, fortified by the strength of this sacrament,
we may learn, from the example of the Blessed Abbot Aelred,
to seek you above all things,
and to bear, while we are yet in this world,
the imprint of the new self.
Through Christ our Lord.

Numquam sine aqua Christus

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El Greco's painting of the Baptism of the Lord has, at least to my eyes, a Chagall-like quality. Whereas one would expect a predominance of blues and greens, suggestive of water and vegetation, El Greco uses a palette in various tones of gold, yellow, and brown. Is it dawn or is it dusk? Is it the beginning of the new dispensation, or the end of the old?

Saint John the Baptist seems to be gazing into the heavens. He sees the heavens opening and the Holy Spirit descending. The light from the Holy Spirit seems to be falling directly into the shell he is using to pour the water of baptism over Jesus' head. Instead of dipping the shell into the river, El Greco shows the Baptist lifting up the shell to receive in its hollow, the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Anointing from above.

The Invitatory

This morning's Office of Vigils began with a glorious Invitatory Antiphon in the soaring seventh mode. The summit of the melody stretches with a glorious quilisma over the word, Pater. The presence of the Father is all-pervasive in today's Office.

Christum, Filium dilectum, in quo Pater sibi complacuit,
venite, adoremus.

Christ, the beloved Son, in whom the Father takes delight,
come, let us adore.

The Great Responsory

The First Nocturn's responsory after the First Lesson is grandiose. It is the same Great Responsory in the third mode given for First Vespers in the Antiphonale Monasticum (p. 112) to open the celebration of the whole feast:

Hodie in Jordane baptizato Domino,
aperti sunt caeli
et sicut columba super eum Spiritus mansit,
et vox Patris intonuit:
* Hic est Filius meus dilectus, in quo mihi complacui.
V. Caeli aperti sunt super eum,
et vox Patris audita est.
* Hic est Filius meus dilectus, in quo mihi complacui.

Today, the Lord is baptized in the Jordan,
the heavens are opened,
the Spirit, in the form of a dove, rests upon Him,
and the Father's voice resounds:
* This is my beloved Son, in whom my love delights.
V. The heavens opened above Him, and the Father's voice was heard:
* This is my beloved Son, in whom my love delights.

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The repetition of the response, "This is my beloved Son, in whom my love delights," makes the whole piece a contemplation of the Trinity. One "hears" the love of the Father for the Son in every note of the melismas that adorn the key words: Hic, dilectus, and complacui.

The Mystery of Water

The Reading of the Second Nocturn was taken from Tertullian's Treatise on Baptism. The fourth lesson is a lyrical tribute to the role of water in the whole economy of salvation. It evokes certain liturgical texts, notably the solemn blessing of water in the night of Pascha. Here is my translation:

What favour water has with God and with His Christ!
Thus is the meaning of baptism confirmed.
Numquam sine aqua Christus!
Never does Christ appear without water!

Christ Himself is immersed in water.
Invited to the wedding feast, it is water that inaugurates the first-fruits of His power.

When He preaches, it is to invite the thirsty to His everlasting water.
When He teaches of sacrificial love (agapé), He recognizes the cup of water offered to one's neighbor as a work of love.

He rests beside a well of water.
He walks upon the waters, freely crossing over its waves.
He serves His disciples with water, by washing their feet.

These signs of baptism extend even to His Passion.
When He is condemned to the death of the cross, water appears:
it is for the hands of Pilate.
When He is pierced by the soldier's lance, water gushes from His side.

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The Feast That Came Back

The feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, established by Pope Innocent XIII in 1721, disappeared (along with a lot of other things) from the Roman Missal of 1970, and was happily restored to the third typical edition of the Roman Missal by the Servant of God Pope John Paul II in 2002.

Ant. ad introitum (Ph 2,10-11)


In nómine Iesu omne genu flectátur, caeléstium, terréstrium et infernórum; et omnis língua confiteátur quia Dóminus Iesus Christus in glória est Dei Patris.

Collecta

Deus, qui salútem humáni géneris in Verbi tui incarnatióne fundásti, da pópulis tuis misericórdiam quam depóscunt, ut sciant omnes non esse, quam Unigéniti tui, nomen áliud invócandum. Qui tecum.

Super oblata

Largitátis tuae múnera deferéntes, quaesumus, Dómine, ut sicut Christo usque ad mortem obodiénti salutíferum nomen dedísti, ita nobis eius virtúte muníri concéde. Per Christum.

Ant. ad communionem (Ps 8,2)

Dómine, Dóminus noster, quam admirábile est nomen tuum in univérsa terra!

Post communionem

Hóstia sumpta, Dómine, quam Christi nomen honorántes tuae obtúlimus maiestáti, grátiam tuam, quaesumus, nobis infúndat ubérrime, ut et nostra in caelis esse scripta nómina gaudeámus. Per Christum.

Here are the Propers of the Mass for the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, for study purposes only, of course.

Entrance Antiphon

At the Name of Jesus every knee should bend
in heaven, on earth, and under the earth
and every tongue confess that the Lord Jesus Christ
is in the glory of God the Father (Phil 2:10-11).

The Introit calls upon the whole universe to reverence and glorify the adorable name of Jesus -- "in heaven, on earth, and under the earth" (Ph 2:10). At Mass and in the Divine Office, we reverence the Name of Jesus with a bow of the head. Not only does the outward gesture express what is inside; it also structures and shapes what is inside in a way consonant with the faith of the Church.

Collect

O God, who in the incarnation of your Word
established the salvation of the human race,
give to your peoples the mercy they earnestly implore,
that all of them may know the Name of your only-begotten Son,
and call upon no other.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God forever and ever.

In the Collect we confess that the salvation of all nations is in Jesus Christ and no other. We beseech the Father to give to all peoples the knowledge of the Holy Name of Jesus, so that everyone on earth may call upon that saving Name.

General Intercessions

That, from the rising of the sun to its setting,
the Church may proclaim the Most Holy Name of Jesus
with reverence and awe,
to the Lord we pray: Christ, hear us. R. Christ, Graciously hear us.

That Christians working in the service of states and nations
may honour the Holy Name of Jesus
and, in the grace of that Name, seek peace and justice for the world
to the Lord we pray: Christ, hear us. R. Christ, Graciously hear us.

That, following the teaching of Saint Bernard,
those tossed on the seas of doubt may find security
in the Name of Jesus;
the discouraged, new hope;
and the sick, a powerful remedy for soul and body,
to the Lord we pray: Christ, hear us. R. Christ, Graciously hear us.

That we who reverence the Name of Jesus
may offer fitting reparation
for the blasphemies committed against that Most Holy Name
and, in the communion of the whole Church,
confess that there is no other Name under heaven
whereby we are saved,
to the Lord we pray: Christ, hear us. R. Christ, Graciously hear us.

Collect at the General Intercessions

O God, who in the holy Name of Jesus
have given us a light in every darkness,
food for every hunger,
and medicine for every affliction;
mercifully grant that we may find
no Name more agreeable in the singing,
more welcome in the hearing,
and more comforting in thought
than the Name of your only-begotten Son
Jesus Christ who is Lord forever and ever.

A tender and burning love for the Name of Jesus found expression in the lyrical preaching of the twelfth century Cistercian Fathers. In the medieval Cistercian pharmacy of souls, the Holy Name of Jesus was the miracle medicine: the antidote for coldness of heart, bitterness, sadness, fear, lust, greed, vengeance, and every manner of spiritual ill.

Offertory Antiphon

I will praise You, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify Your Name forever;
for You, O Lord, are sweet and mild:
and plenteous in mercy to all that call upon You, alleluia (Ps 85:12, 5).

Prayer Over the Oblations

As we set forth, O Lord, the gifts received from your bounty,
we pray that as you bestowed on Christ obedient unto death
the Name that brings salvation,
you would also, in the power of that Name, keep us safe.
Through Christ our Lord.

The Prayer Over the Oblations calls the Name of Jesus, "the Name that brings salvation." The Name of Jesus brings healing, wholeness, health, peace and well-being. The Ambrosian Missal offers a magnificent Preface of the Holy Name.

Preface

(Ambrosian Missal, Votive Mass of the Holy Name of Jesus)

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always, here and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

You sent your only-begotten Son to us,
bearing the wondrous Name that tells of salvation,
so that he might set us free
from the tyranny of our ancient foe,
and by consecrating us as your adoptive sons,
might call us to share the everlasting glory of your kingdom.

This is the Name of our thanksgiving;
before this Name all knees must bend;
this is the Name we invoke
as a refuge amid the perils of this life
and at the hour of death as our comfort and hope.

We join with all creation to praise his Name
as with the choirs of heaven
we sing the ageless hymn of your glory:

Communion Antiphon

O Lord, our Lord,
how wonderful is your Name
through all the earth (Ps 8:2).

The Communion Antiphon echoes the Invitatory that opened Vigils. During Holy Communion the Church would have us sing: "O Lord, our Lord, how admirable is your Name through all the earth (Ps 8:2). To begin the daily round of praise, we sang: "The most admirable Name of Jesus, which is above every name: O come, let us adore."

Or:

All the nations You have made shall come and adore before You, O Lord,
and they shall glorify Your Name:
for You are great, and do wonderful things:
You alone are God, alleluia (Ps 85: 9-10).

Postcommunion

Having received the sacrificial gifts, O Lord,
which we offered to your majesty
in honor of the the Name of Christ,
we pray you to pour forth your grace more lavishly upon us
that we may rejoice in having our names written in heaven.
Through Christ our Lord.

The Postcommunion draws upon to Luke 10:20: "Rejoice that your names are written in heaven." We cherish the Holy Name of Jesus during this life because we know that Jesus, the Divine Friend, our Perfect and Faithful Friend, cherishes our names, and calls each of us by name. When Saint Teresa of Avila in prayer said to Our Lord, "I am Teresa of Jesus," He answered saying, "And I am Jesus of Teresa." Today's feast is, above all, an invitation and an opportunity to enter more deeply into the friendship of Jesus. He would have us call Him by His Name. Nothing so establishes intimacy between the soul and Jesus Christ as the ceaseless repetition of His adorable Name. Enter into the grace of today's feast. Imitate the saints. Let the Name of Jesus be your warmth, your sweetness, and your song.


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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