Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Minor, Trivial Biblical Stuff, Part 8: The Birth of the Messiah, Part 2: Giving Birth

In my humble opinion, one of the miracles of Jesus' birth that many people often overlook nowadays is a rather 'mundane' one: the fact that both Jesus and Mary survived.

The Minor, Trivial Biblical Stuff, Part 8: The Birth of the Messiah, Part 1: Katalyma, Pandocheia, House and Cave

(Admittedly, part of this would be a rehash of something I wrote a while ago)

And it came to pass, that in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that the whole world should be enrolled. This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child.

And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

-Luke 2:1-7 (Douay-Rheims Challoner)
I'm sure many of our readers know of the manifold inspirational stories, poems, songs and sermons that have been made through the ages on the innkeeper who either gave Mary and Joseph room or shooed them away. This rude man has been pretty much a mainstay of our Christmas pageants and Nativity scene and is usually made as a prime example of the cruel world that would not accept its Creator. However, did Luke really refer to an 'inn' (in the sense we often understand the word) in Luke 2:7?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

December 12 - Our Lady of Guadalupe

And on Tuesday, while it was still night, Juan Diego left his house to come to Tlatilolco to get the priest. And when he finally reached the little hill which ended the mountain range (tepetzintli Tepeyacac), at its foot, where the road comes out, on the side that the sun sets on, where he always passed before, he said: "If I go ahead on the road, I don’t want this Lady to see me, because for sure, just like before, she’ll stop me so I can take the sign to the church governor for her, as she ordered me to; because first our tribulation must leave us; first I must quickly call the [Franciscan] priest (teopixqui motolinia); my uncle is anxiously waiting for him."

He immediately turned toward the hill, climbed up across it where there is a pass, and emerged on the eastern side, so that he could go quickly to Mexico so that the Queen of Heaven would not detain him. He thinks that where he made the turn, the one who is looking everywhere perfectly won’t be able to see him.

He saw how she was coming down from up on the hill, and that from there she had been looking at him, from where she saw him before. She came to meet him beside the hill, she came to block his way; she said to him: "Where are you going, my youngest-and-dearest son? Where are you headed for?"

And he, perhaps he grieved a little, or perhaps he became ashamed? Or perhaps he became afraid of the situation, be became fearful? He prostrated himself before her, he greeted her, he said to her: "My little Maiden, my smallest Daughter, my Virgin, I hope you are happy; how are you this morning? Does your beloved little body feel well, my Lady, my Girl?
"Although it grieves me, I will cause your face and your heart anguish: I must tell you, my little Girl, that one of your servants, my uncle, is very ill. A terrible sickness has taken hold of him; he will surely die from it soon. And now I shall go quickly to your little house in Mexico, to call one of our priests, the beloved ones of Our Lord, so that he will go to hear his confession and prepare him, because we really were born for that we who came to wait for the painful effort of our death.
"But, if I am going to carry it out, I will return here after that to go carry your breath, your word, Lady, my little Young one. I beg you to forgive me, be patient with me a little longer, because I am not deceiving you with this, my youngest Daughter, my little Girl. Tomorrow without fail I will come as fast as possible."

As soon as she heard the explanations of Juan Diego, the Merciful Perfect Virgin answered him: "Listen, put it into your heart, my youngest-and-dearest son, that the thing that frightened you, the thing that afflicted you is nothing. Do not let it disturb you. Do not fear this sickness nor any other sickness, nor any sharp and hurtful thing.
"Am I not here, I, who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not int he hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need something more? Let nothing else worry you, disturb you. Do not let your uncle's illness pressure you with grief, because he will not die of it now. You may be certain that he is already well." And at that very moment his uncle became well, as they later found out.

- Nican Mopohua

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dignum Et Justum Est

The Inlatio for the feast of St. James the Great followed by the Sanctus, sung by Ensemble Organum from from Chant Mozarabe: Cathédrale de Tolède (XVe siècle). (Video by yours truly)

The Mozarabic Inlatio, or Illatio, corresponds to the Roman Preface; as Dom Fernand Cabrol says of them (in his The Mass of the Western Rites): "hardly a Mass but has its own; some of them comprise many columns of text, and if they were sung, these must have lasted at least half an hour. We will attempt presently to discover their authors. But we may say at once that they form a dogmatic collection which is priceless for the study of theological history in Spain during the Middle Ages, and a collection which, it must be confessed, has as yet been but little studied. It contains pages which do honor to the learning, the depth, and the culture of Spanish theologians from the fifth-ninth centuries." Here is an excerpt from the Catholic Encyclopedia's article on the Mozarabic Rite:

"The Illatio or Inlatio. This is called Praefatio in the Roman and Contestatio or Immolatio in the Gallican. With the Post-Sanctus it forms St. Isidore's fifth prayer. There are proper Illationes to every Mass. The form is similar to the Roman Preface, but generally longer and more diffuse, as in the Gallican. It is preceded by a longer dialogue than the usual one [...] The Illatio ends in all manner of ways, but always leading by way of the angels to the Sanctus."
This particular Inlatio (from the Omnium Offerentium) curiously has a reference to a medieval tradition, recorded in the Golden Legend, that St. James cured a paralytic on his way to execution, which caused one of the executioners, a scribe named Josiah, to convert at the spot and be martyred along with him: 'per Jesum Christum Filium tuum, Dominum nostrum: in cujus nomine electus Jacobus, cum ad passionem traheretur, paraliticum ad se clamentem curavit, atque hoc miraculo cor illudentis sibi ita compulsit, ut cum sacramentis instinctum fidei faceret ad gloriam pervenire martyrii' ("through Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord, in whose name the elect James, when he was being dragged to his passion, cured a paralytic who called out to him, and by this miracle so softened the heart of him who mocked him, as to cause him now imbued with the sacraments of faith to arrive at the glory of martyrdom.")

A Random Nit to Pick: Novus 'Ordo Missae' or 'Novus Ordo' Missae?

Just a short one for today, folks.
As many readers may know, the Mass of Pope Paul VI (aka the Ordinary Form/Forma Ordinaria, et al.) is known in some circles as the 'Novus Ordo Mass'. A stroll through the awl-mightee internetz reveals that this bilingual term is actually quite well-known and used. Some folks even use the term in a pejorative manner, even drawing connections between it and Novus Ordo Seclorum of the US' Great Seal, and from there, the Freemasons or the Illuminati or Jewish bankers or whatnot (take your pick) or even Hitler and his Neuordnung - as good conspiracy theories often tend to do.

There is, however, something wrong about the usage of this term that I find hard NOT to nitpick. Many of the people who use the phrase parse it incorrectly. The original Latin term from which 'Novus Ordo Mass' comes from is novus Ordo Missae. Pope Paul VI himself used the phrase once in a speech for the Consistory for the creation of twenty new Cardinals in May of 1976:

Peculiari autem modo id eo gravius censendum est, quod illuc divisio inducitur, ubi congregavit nos in unum Christi amor, scilicet in Liturgiam atque in Eucharisticum Sacrificium, cum denegetur obsequium normis de re liturgica statutis. At vero, nomine ipsius Traditionis Nos ab omnibus filiis Nostris atque ab omnibus catholicis communitatibus postulamus, ut cum dignitate pietatisque fervore renovatae Liturgiae ritus celebrentur. Usus novi Ordinis Missae minime quidem sacerdotum vel christifidelium arbitrio permittitur. Instructione autem edita die quarto decimo mensis Iunii anno millesimo nongentesimo septuagesimo primo provisum est, ut Missae celebratio antiquo ritu sineretur, facultate data ab Ordinario, tantummodo sacerdotibus aetate provectis vel infirmis, qui Divinum Sacrificium sine populo offerrent. Novus Ordo promulgatus est, ut in locum veteris substitueretur post maturam deliberationem, atque ad exsequendas normas quae a Concilio Vaticano II impertitae sunt. Haud dissimili ratione, Decessor Noster S. Pius V post Concilium Tridentinum Missale auctoritate sua recognitum adhiberi iusserat.
That being said, because of Pope Paul's use of wording here in the Latin, many thus have the misconception that 'Novus Ordo' is somehow the actual title of the OF Mass, sometimes even ascribing spookily vague and threatening qualities to it. Newsflash; It isn't. Folks often parse novus Ordo Missae as Novus Ordo / Missae (which gives us 'Novus Ordo Mass', but the correct way to do it is novus / Ordo Missae, the "new Order of Mass". As everyone may know, the form of the Ordinary (i.e. the regular, unvarying parts) of the Mass, be it the 1570 or the 1970 Missal, has no official title: it is simply called the Ordo Missae, "Order of Mass". Names like 'Tridentine' or 'Pian' or 'Extra/Ordinary Form' or 'Pauline' or 'Latin Mass' are simply unofficial titles. In context Novus Ordo is thus not meant to be a title in the sense of the 'Mass of the New Order': it's just a (rather bland if you ask me) designator - the 'new Ordo Missae'.
Hence, I'm not too fond of calling the 'Ordinary Form' Novus Ordo Mass: it's a misuse of the Latin and gives off the wrong connotations in the wrong hands, in my humble opinion (seriously, 'New Order' (of the Ages?) Mass??). I'd rather people have it called in full English as "the new Mass Order" or suchlike. Or why not use Latin - novus Ordo Missae? ;)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

"Our Lord God the Pope"...not: A Tiny Acknowledgement

Just a tiny announcement:
A Youtube user under the name of BeingBob has just referenced my two articles! (Yes, the video's less than a year old now, but you gotta give credit...)

Thanks once again, BeingBob!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Mass in Gaul, Part 3 (from The Mass of the Western Rites)

Christ in Majesty (c. AD 1100),
Chapelle des Moines, Berzé-la-Ville
The "Commixtion," or "Immixtion," has, like the "Fraction," a dogmatic bearing. The celebrant soaks one or several of the consecrated particles in the chalice, allowing one of them to fall into it. Under this form, with
the words accompanying it in many liturgies, the sole meaning of this rite is to show to the faithful, before Communion, that it is the very Body and Blood of Christ which they are about to receive; and that their separation under the different species of bread and wine is only apparent. Although at this epoch Communion under both kinds was almost universal, the doctrine that Christ was present, whole and entire, under both species, was none the less of equally universal acceptance. The rites of "Commixtion" or "Immixtion," which are attached to this part of the Mass, seem, in our opinion, to favor this interpretation (see "Immixtion" in DACL).

The Minor, Trivial Biblical Stuff, Part 7: The Nails of the Crucifixion

Most of us western Christians grew up looking at images of the crucifixion that show Jesus being pierced with one nail over both feet, as in the picture at right. Sometimes we see images which have both feet nailed separately (making a total of four nails), but the three nails version is, for most of the time, definitive. There are people who would even say that this portrayal is "traditional", sometimes almost giving the impression that the four-nails version were somehow a novel variation. We must note, however, that depicting only three nails is purely a medieval (this iconographic convention only started around the end of the 1st millenium), Western thing; Eastern icons, with a few Western-influenced exceptions, uniformly portray four nails being used to pin Jesus down to His cross. And here they are following a more ancient iconographic tradition which could have some basis in historical reality.

The oldest depiction of a crucifixion we have, the Alexamenos Graffito (dating from the late 1st-3rd century AD), clearly shows the crucified figure's feet as being separate. Other early images, such as a late 2nd-3rd century carved jasper either from Syria or Gaza (part of the Pereire Collection), a graffito found in Puzzuoli, another gem, and a relief from Santa Sabina in Rome (ca. 430-435 AD), follow suit in not showing the feet as being placed above the other. This convention has passed on to later Christian iconography, and for a time people, both in the East and the West, portrayed Jesus Christ being crucified with His feet separate.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Mass in Gaul, Part 2 (from The Mass of the Western Rites)


The paten from Gourdon.
The "Prayer of the Faithful" is a prayer recited after the departure of the catechumens by the faithful alone; thus it forms part of the Mass of the Faithful. Sometimes it is called the Prayer of the Church, or the Common Prayer. In the West, especially at Rome, it was recited in the following way: the Pontiff invited the faithful to prayer; the Deacon gave the order to bend the knee; the Bishop pronounced the prayer, and the people responded "Amen." Ed. Bishop remarks acutely, in this connection, that this prayer bears the seal of the Roman Church, in which ecclesiastical authority always maintains its rights, the part of the faithful being reduced to a minimum; while in the East the initiative of Christian people is allowed a much wider scope. To such a degree is this the case that at Rome this prayer might more correctly be called the Prayer "for" the Faithful. We have a very well-preserved type of the prayer in the "Orationes solemnes" of Good Friday. But all other trace of it has disappeared from the Roman liturgy. Under an analogous form it existed in the Gallican liturgies in the sixth century, as is proved by a text of the Council of Lyon under Sigismond (516-523), which alludes to the "Oratio plebis quae post evangelium legitur" (Concilia aevi merovingici," p. 34).
But since then it has disappeared, as it has at Rome, and we find in the Gallican liturgy only diaconal litanies, imitated from those in the Byzantine liturgy.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Mass in Gaul, Part 1 (from The Mass of the Western Rites)


The Mass of the Catechumens. -The Mass of the Faithful.

 In the volume on "Books of the Latin Liturgy" (Sands & Co., London), pp. 96-103, we have mentioned the different documents by the aid of which the Gallican Mass may be reconstituted and the origins of this liturgy established. On this subject we have also stated that for the description of the Gallican Mass no reliance can be placed on the pretended letters of St. Germain of Paris, though this has been done too often. These letters are not a document of the middle of the sixth century, but an anonymous treatise written a century later (ibid., p. 99). We must therefore, like Mabillon and, more recently, Dom Wilmart (DACL, "Germain, Lettres de St."), keep solely to the other documents which we possess on this subject, and to the texts of contemporary authors, the most valuable of which is that of Gregory of Tours. A very complete bibliography of all these documents will be found in the article ("Gallicanes Liturgies)" of Dom Leclercq, DACL.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

From the Gallican Rites...

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia:
The Reichenau Fragments (Carlsruhe, 253) are described (no. 8) in Delisle's "Memoire sur d'anciens Sacramentaires." -- These were discovered by Mone in 1850 in a palimpsest manuscript from the Abbey of Reichenau, in the library of Carlsruhe. The manuscript, which is late seventh century, had belonged to John II, Bishop of Constance (760-81). It contains eleven Masses of purely Gallican type, one of which is in honour of St. Germanus of Auxerre, but the others do not specify any festival. One Mass, except the post Post-Pridie which is in prose, is entirely in hexameter verse. Mone published them with a facsimile in his "Lateinische und Griechische Menssen aus dem zweiten bis sechsten Jahrhundert" (Frankfort 1850). They were reprinted in Migne's "Patrologia Latina" (Vol. CXXXVIII), and by Neale and Forbes in "The Ancient Liturgy of the Gallican Church" (Burntisland, 1855–67).
(collectio.) Deum fidelium saluatorem, conseruatoremque credentium. deum aeterne. inmortalitatis auctorem. fratres dilectissimi. unianimiter dominum depraecemur. ut nobis pietatis suae dono spiritali misericordiam indeficienter inperciat p. d.

(collectio ante nomina.) Deus qui pro magnitudinem tuam per uniuersa deffunderis et ubi tamen totus adsistis. discriteus omnium uoluntatis qualitatebus locis temporibus adque personis. uotorum omnium capax. propiciatus exaudi. dum ad cunctus adspices foues omnebus misereris. p. d.

(post nomina.) Recitata nomina dominus benedieat et accepta sit domino uti huius oblatio. nostrisque praecebus intercessio suffragetur. spiritibus quoque karorum nostrorum laetis sedibus conquiiscant. et primi resurrectionis gaudia consequantur. p. d. nm.

(ad pacem.) Exaudi nos deus salutares noster. et in consortio nos diuinorum sacrificiorum dignanter admitte. hac pacem tuam benignus largire. p. d.

(contestatio.) Dignum et iustum est equum et iustum est ut te sancte pater omnipotens aeterne deus. omnibus locis. omnibusque temporibus. per omnia momenta ueneremur. tibi supplices simus. tibi deferamus praecis, te totis stodiis et effectibus adoremus. deus qui ultra omnibus uirtutis. ultra omnis es potestatis. deux uniuersorum arbiter. judex secretorum. quem caeli et terra. quem angeli et archangeli. quem throni et dominationis. quem cherubin. et serafin. incessabili uoce proclamant dicentes. SS. SCS. SS.

(contestatio.) Dignum et iustum est. nos tibi gratias agere domine deus per Xpm Jhm filium tuum. qui cum deus esset aeternus. homo fieri pro nostra salute dignatus est. unice singulare. et multiplex saluatoris nostri mysterium. nam unus idemque et deus summus et homo perfectus, et pontifex maximus. et sacrificii sacratissimum. secundum diuinam potentiam creauit omnia. secundum humanam conditionem liberabit hominem. secundum uim sacrificii expiauit conmaculatus. secundum jus sacerdocii reconciliauit offensus. O unice redemptionis. mysterium singulare. in quo uetusta ilia uulnera. noua domino medicina sanauit. et primi hominis praeiudicia. salutares nostri praeuiligia resciderunt. ille concupiscientiae exagitatus stimolis. hic oboedientiae, confixus est clauis. ille ad arborem manus incontinenter extendit. iste ad crucem pacienter abtauit. ille uoluptate inlecitus gustus explebit. iste cruciatu indebite dolores afflictus est. ideo merito poena innocentiae facta est absolutio debetores jure. etenim obnoxii demittuntur debita quae pro eis ille qui nihil
habebat absoluit. quod singulare mystirium. non solum homines in terris. uerum etiam. angeli uenerantur in caelis. cui me[rito].

(post sanctus.) Uere sanctus. uere benedictus dominus noster Jhs Xps filius tuus. Qui pridie.

(post mysterium.) Domini ac dei nostri sempeterni gloriam depraecemur. orantis uti hoc sacrificium tua benedictione. benedicas et sancti spiritus tui rore perfundas. ut accipientibus uniuersis. legitima sit eucharestia per Jhm Xpm filium tuum deum ac dominum conseruatoremque nostrum, cui est aput te domine cum spiritum sanctum regnum sempiternum perpettia diuinitas in secula seculorum amen.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

August 15 - The Assumption

FURTHERMORE Ozias the prince of the people of Israel, said to her, "Blessed are you, O daughter, by the Lord God the most high above all women upon the earth. Blessed be the Lord who made heaven and earth, who has guided you for a wound to the head of the prince of our enemies. For on this day He has so magnified your name that your praise shall not retire from the mouth of men, who shall be mindful of the power of the Lord for eternity, for that you have not spared your life for the sake of the distress and tribulation of your people, but have prevented our ruin before the sight of our God."

(Vulgate, Judith 13:22-25)

And said Ozias to her, "Blessed are you, O daughter, to God the Most High above all the women upon the earth; and blessed is the Lord God, who created the heavens and the earth, who has guided you for a wound to the head of the leader of our enemies. For this your confidence shall not depart from the heart of men, who remember the strength of God to the age; and God turn these things to you for an exaltation to the age, to visit you in blessings, since you did not spare your life for the affliction of our nation, but went against our ruin, walking a straight way before our God."

(Septuagint, Judith 13:18-20)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Minor, Trivial Biblical Stuff, Part 6: The Horns of the Altar

In 1 Kings 1:50-52 and 2:28-34, we read that (NKJV):

Now Adonijah was afraid of Solomon; so he arose, and went and took hold of the horns of the altar. And it was told Solomon, saying, "Indeed Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon; for look, he has taken hold of the horns of the altar, saying, ‘Let King Solomon swear to me today that he will not put his servant to death with the sword.’" Then Solomon said, "If he proves himself a worthy man, not one hair of him shall fall to the earth; but if wickedness is found in him, he shall die." So King Solomon sent them to bring him down from the altar. And he came and fell down before King Solomon; and Solomon said to him, "Go to your house."

Exhibition in Dresden reunites Dürer painting with altarpiece following a 21-year restoration

A tip of my (symbolic) hat to the folks at The New Liturgical Movement for this headline: Durer Altarpiece Unveiled 21 Years After Acid Attack.
LONDON. A panel from Dürer’s first major altarpiece has been restored after a 21-year treatment following a devastating acid attack in Munich. The Virgin of Sorrows has been unveiled in Dresden, where it was reunited with the rest of the altarpiece of the Seven Sorrows for the first time in nearly five centuries.

Dürer painted the Seven Sorrows and the Seven Joys of the Virgin in 1496, at the age of 25. It may have been commissioned by Frederick the Wise for his palace church at Wittenberg. The altarpiece was probably dismem­bered during the Refor­mation, and the seven panels of the Sorrows (of the life of Christ) passed to the artist Lucas Cranach the Younger, whose father had been a court painter. In 1588 Cranach’s estate sold them to the Saxon art collection in Dresden, and they later went to the city’s Gemäldegalerie [...]

The Roman Mass of the Late 15th Century now (partly) up!

It may not be much of a news, I know, but I've finished typing half of the ordo of the 15th century Roman Mass, derived from Henry Bradshaw & Son's Missale Romanum Mediolani, 1474. It's only half-complete, so stay tuned for updates.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Minor, Trivial Biblical Stuff, Part 5: The High Places and the Standing-Stones

10 monumental megaliths possibly comprising a Canaanite
"high place" found in Gezer
In the Bible, we often encounter Canaanite sanctuaries (and Israelite establishments which were imitations of these) known under the name "high places", the normal translation of the Hebrew word bamot (sing. bamah). We do not know the verbal root from which the word is derived, and the noun itself may be pre-Semitic. The cognates of bamah in both Akkadian and Ugaritic mean the 'back' or 'trunk' of an animal, though it can also denote any elevated ground, such as a crest of a hill or height. In the Bible too, apart from the cultic references and some obscure texts, bamah can mean the 'back' of one's enemies (Deuteronomy 33:29), 'heights' (Deuteronomy 32:13; Psalm 18:34; Isaiah 58:14; Micah 1:3; Amos 4:13; Habbakkuk 3:19), the 'back' of clouds (Isaiah 14:14), or the 'waves' of the sea (Job 9:8). The idea which the word expresses therefore is something which stands out in relief from its background, but the idea of a mountain or hill is not contained in the word itself (note how in 2 Kings 16:4; 2 Chronicles 28:4 the "high places" are distinguished from the "hills").

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Taking Advantage of the Pages...

As per the title, I decided to take advantage of the page function and assign separate pages for the liturgies I've once tackled on this blog (yeah, I know I can only add up to 10, but I've not crossed the limit...yet ;))
Here's the page for the St. Amand Ordo (typed straight from E.G. Atchley's Ordo Romanus Primus, this time without major alterations of any kind - just the pure text). Hope you enjoy. :)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

June 29: The Feasts of Saints Peter and Paul

DIGNUM et justum est: omnipotens Pater nos tibi ingentes agere gratias: pro multiplici Apostolorum Petri et Pauli gloria: quam eis per diversas munerum distributiones larga satis pietate donasti. Quos et unigeniti tui discipulos: et fecisti esse magistros. Qui ob Evangelii predicationem cum celorum preficiantur in regnis: carcerum clauduntur angustiis. Potestatem accipiunt solvendi: et ferri vinculis alligantur. Sanitatem donant: et egritudines portant. Demonibus imperant: et ab hominibus flagellantur. Mortes fugant: et fugiunt persequentes. Super mare ambulant: et labore desudant. Montes verbo transferrant: et propriis victum manibus querunt. Judicaturi Angelos: in questionem mittuntur. Cum Deo vivunt: in mundo periclitantur. Postremo Christus eis serviens pedes lavat: el facies eorum blasfemantium manus alapis collapbizat. Nihil sustinentibus pene defuit ad tolerantiam: nihil superantibus victorie non adfuit ad coronam. Si recurramus: quot ad testificandam fidei veritatem erumnarum pertulerint in tormentis frequenter suis: superfuere Martyribus. Si in mirabilibus: hoc per Christum fecere: quod Christus. Si in passionibus: hoc sustinuerunt illi necessitate mortali: quod ille voluntate moriendi. Isti ejus viribus: ille suis. Probantes doctrine auctoritatem similitudine: non equalitate doctoris. Implevit Petrus suo tempore: quod promiserat ante tempus. Posuit animam suam pro illo: quem se non crediderat negaturum. Quia ad ardue sponsionis celeritatem nimia charitate preventus non intellexit servum pro Domino dare non posse: quod pro servo ante Dominus non dedisset. Similiter non renuit crucifigi: sed equaliter non presumpsit appendi. Obiit ille rectus: iste subjectus. Ille ut majestatem ascendentis sublimitate proferret: iste ut fragilitatem descendentis humilitate monstraret.
Nec Paulus affectu minor meminit: quemsibi arrogaverat dicens: Mihi vivere Christus est: et mori lucrum. Gaudet insanientis ictibus percussoris: domitas jugo Christo offerre cervices: et pro corporis sui capite: dare corporis sui caput. Diviserunt sibi passionis Dominice vestimentum duo milites Dei: unus in patibulo: alter in gladio. Petrus in transfixione: Paulus in sanguine. His igitur dispari mortis genere: non dispari moriendi amore perfunctis. Exultet in eorum doctrinis Ecclesia Catholica: in exis religiositas universa: in memoriis Urbs Romana: in patrociniis omnis anima christiana. Неc autem omnia tu Domine operaris: qui a Prophetis demonstraris: ab Angelis adoraris: et in omni seculo Apostolorum lumine declararis. Cui merito omnes Angeli et Archangeli non cessant clamare quotidie ita dicentes:

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus
Dominus Deus Sabaoth:
Pleni sunt celi et terra gloria majestatis tue:
Osanna filio David.
Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini:
Osanna in excelsis.
Agyos, Agyos, Agyos, Kyrie o Theos.
- The Inlatio of the Feast, from the Missale Mixtum (Mozarabic Rite)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Minor, Trivial Biblical Stuff, Part 4: The Upper-Room

And He said to them, "Behold, when you have entered into the city, there shall meet you a man, carrying a jar of water. Follow him to the house that he enters, and you shall say to the householder of the house, 'The Teacher says to you, "Where is the guest-room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?"' And he shall show you a large upper-room, furnished; there make ready."

-Luke 22:10-12
The Last Supper, one of the most important events in the life of Christ wherein He instituted the Eucharist, was held in an anagaion (anything that is above ground; traditionally rendered and understood as "upper-'room'"). Now we wonder: what could this upper-room be? First, let's check how houses looked like in the 1st century.

First and foremost, we must remember that one traditional candidate for the site, known as the Cenacle, as it stands today, only reached its present form around the medieval period (there is still some debate as to exactly when), after experiencing numerous cycles of destruction and reconstruction. So, it's rather unlikely that Jesus and His disciples held their last meal in a wide, spacious Gothic room such as this - supposing that this is the actual site. The area would have looked totally different in the 1st century AD.

From Youtube: Coptic Liturgy

From Youtube: a Coptic Orthodox liturgy celebrated in English by Fr. Mauritius Anba Bishoy at the El-Samaeyeen Cathedral, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. The thick accents (as well as the microphones!) might be a distraction to some, but these give a fairly good impression of the divine liturgy of the Coptic Church.

Trivia: the beginning of part 1 (below) shows the priest choosing the Lamb that would be used in the Liturgy among the loaves of bread offered and inspecting the wine as the choir repeatedly sings Kyrie Eleison (it is actually sung 41 times: the reason usually given for this is because Christ was scourged with 39 lashes, and then crowned with thorns and pierced with a spear - yielding 41).

Here are the other videos: Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, and Part 11.

Crédimus in unum Deum...

Fidem, quam corde crédimus, ore autem dicámus:Crédimus in unum Deum Patrem omnipoténtem, factórem caeli et terrae, visibílium ómnium et invisibílium Conditórem.

Et in unum Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum, Fílium Dei Unigénitum, et ex Patre natum ante ómnia sæcula; Deum ex Deo, Lumen ex Lúmine. Deum verum ex Deo vero; natum non factum, Omoúsion Patri, hoc est, ejúsdem cum Patre substántiae; per quem ómnia facta sunt, quae in caelo, et quae in terra.
Qui propter nos hómines, et propter nostram salútem, descendit de caelis, et incarnátus est de Spíritu Sancto ex María Vírgine, et homo factus est. Passus sub Póntio Piláto, sepúltus, tértia die resurréxit, ascéndit ad caelos, sedet ad déxteram Dei Patris omnipoténtis. Inde ventúrus est judicáre vivos et mórtuos, cujus regni non erit finis.

Et in Spíritum Sanctum, Dóminum vivificatórem, et ex Patre et Fílio procedéntem. Cum Patre et Fílio adorándum et conglorificándum; qui locútus est per prophétas.
Et unam, sanctam, Cathólicam et Apostólicam Ecclésiam.
Confitémur unum baptísma in remissiónem peccatórum.
Expectámus resurrectiónem mortuórum, et vitam ventúri saeculi.
Thus is the Creed in the Mozarabic Rite of Spain. One interesting thing that you'll notice first here is that the Mozarabic Creed was, and is recited in the first-person plural (Crédimus...confitémur...expectamus, 'We believe...we confess...we await') as was the case with the Coptic, Ethiopian, Chaldean, and Armenian liturgies. This is in contrast to other Eastern and Western rites where the pronoun is changed to the singular (Credo...confiteor...expecto). In this respect this version preserves the form adopted by the First Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople, which was in the plural.

Now this, of course predated ICEL's changing of the Roman version from the singular to the plural during translation of the text. ;)

The Minor, Trivial Biblical Stuff, Part 3: 'Mount' Calvary

We read the following from John's Gospel:

And they took Jesus and led Him away, and carrying the cross by Himself, He went out to the place called Place of a Skull (which is called in Hebrew 'Golgotha'), where they crucified Him, and with Him two others: on this side and on that side, but in the middle Jesus.

- John 19:16b-18
Nowadays, it is common to assume that the Golgotha of the Gospels was a sort of hill located a good distance from the hustle-and-bustle of Jerusalem (hence the common appellation: ‘Mount Calvary’). Many artists and filmmakers have followed suit: sometimes to the extent of showing it as a very high and steep ridge, as Mel Gibson does in his famous film The Passion of the Christ. There are even hymns entitled There is a Green Hill Far Away or On Golgotha's Hill Christ the Son.

Close reading of the Gospel accounts themselves however do not say anything about the location, whether it was a hill – or for that matter, that the ‘Skull Place’ was an elevated area at all; they all just say something to the effect that it was a “place (Greek topos) called ‘Skull’.” This may be one of the cases where popular conception can color our reading of the Scriptures.

The Triduum as it was in the Church of Rome: Holy Thursday from the Gelasian Sacramentary, Part 2

(Part 1 here)


Deus misericors, Deus clemens, qui secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum peccata poenitentium deles, et praeteritorum criminum culpas venia remissionis evacuas, respice super hunc famulum tuum et remissionem sibi omnium peccatorum tota cordis confessione poscentem deprecatus exaudi. Renova in eo, piissime Pater, quicquid terrena fragilitate corruptum est vel quicquid diabolica fraude violatum est: in unitatem corporis ecclesiae tuae membrum, perfecta remissione restitue: miserere, Domine gemituum, miserere lacrimarum, et non habentem fiduciam, nisi in tua misericordia, ad sacramentum reconciliationis admitte: Per.
Maiestatem tuam, Domine, supplices deprecamur, ut huic famulo tuo, longo squalore poenitentiae macerato, miserationis tuae veniam largire digneris, ut nuptiale veste recepta, ad regalem mensam unde eiectus fuerat mereatur intrare. Per.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Triduum as it was in the Church of Rome: Holy Thursday from the Gelasian Sacramentary, Part 1

At Rome during the 4th to 6th century, Holy Thursday was a day for the reconciliation of the penitents. In the 7th century, there were two Masses in churches celebrated by priests: one in the morning to close out Lent, and the other in the evening to commemorate the institution of the Eucharist. But during noon, a Mass was celebrated by the Pope (=Bishop of Rome) and consecrated the chrism and blessing the oils. The ministers were also instructed to reserve a portion of the "sacrifice" consecrated in this Mass for the next day: reservant de ipso sacrificio in crastinum unde communicent, as the Gelasian notes in its rubrics.

The Sacramentary contains the propers for three Masses: one for the closing of Lent, another for the chrism, and yet another for the Last Supper.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

And Now...

Two random articles from E.G. Atchley's Ordo Romanus Primus that might be of some interest:
ii. Lights.

The basilicas and churches were illuminated when need was with lamps and candles, of which we have very frequent mention in the Liber Pontificalis and elsewhere. The numerous gifts, for example, recorded in the Life of St. Silvester, which although probably of later date than the time of Constantine yet belong to an early period, include large lamps in which scented oils burned, heavy silver candelabra for the nave of the Lateran Basilica, and seven bronze candlesticks before the altar in the same; and in the time of Innocent I there was said to be twenty brazen candelabra in the nave of the church of SS. Gervase and Protase, each weighing forty pounds. Later on, Pope Leo III ordained that on Sundays and festivals lights should be set on either side of the lectern during the reading of the lessons.
Prudentius makes the Prefect of the City inquire of St. Laurence for the silver scyphi in which the sacred blood was held, and for the golden candlesticks in which the tapers were set at their nocturnal meetings. Paulinus of Nola (θ 431) describes the lights in his basilica of St. Felix at the festival in the following lines:

'Now the golden doors are adorned with curtains all snow-white,
Thickly crowned with lamps the altars are brilliantly shining:
Lights are burning, and give forth the scent of the waxen papyrus,
Night and day they shine: thus night with the splendour of daylight
Blazes, and day itself, made bright with heavenly beauty,
Shines yet brighter, its light by lamps innumerable doubled.'
So, in another poem on the same subject, he mentions tapers fixed to the pillars of the church, giving forth scented odours, and lamps hanging by brazen chains in the spaces between them. These he compares to a tree full of branches, bearing little glass vessels at the end like fruit in which the lights burn: the whole candelabrum, when lit, rivalling the crowd of stars with its numerous flames.
We have got beyond mere lighting for necessity here, for the lamps were lit by day as well as by night at the festival of St. Felix: the lights are become signs of rejoicing, a common practice amongst most nations of antiquity. The well-known lines of Juvenal will suffice to recall the custom of pagan Rome:

'All things are gay: my doorway now is decked with tall branches,
And is keeping the feast with lanterns lit in the morning.'

St. Paulinus also mentions lamps (lychni) hanging by brazen chains in the basilica of St. Felix. And in the Life of Pope Hilarus we read of four golden lamps burning before the Confession in the Oratory of the Holy Cross, and ten silver candelabra hanging before the altar of the Lateran Basilica. Belisarius is recorded, in the Life of Pope Vigilius, to have offered of the spoils of the Vandals two large silver-gilt candlesticks, which stood (at the time when the biographer wrote) before the body of blessed Peter in the Vatican Basilica. There was also a branched candelabrum hanging by golden chains in the covered space (pergula) before the same Confession, given in the time of Leo III; this pope also ordained that two lamps should burn every night before the altar in the same Basilica. Pope Paschal caused them to burn by day as well as by night.

iii. Incense.

From lights to incense is but a step. The list of gifts recorded in the Liber Pontificalis under St. Silvester mentions Donum aromaticum ante altaria, after the censers. As the latter weighed thirty pounds, the passage may mean that the aromatics were burned in censers hung before the altar of the Lateran Basilica. Boniface I (418-422) is said to have ordained that no woman or man, save only a minister, should burn incense (incensum poneret). We do not meet with censers in the Liber Pontificalis before the time of Sixtus III (432-440), except in the Life of Silvester; and these latter, as was mentioned before, seem to belong rather to the time of Hilarus.
In the church of SS. Marcellinus and Peter aromatics were burned before the relics of the patron saints who were buried therein, according to the compiler of the Life of St. Silvester. Later on, Pope Sergius (687-701) hung a golden censer, with columns and a cover, before the images of St. Peter in the Vatican Basilica, 'in which incense and the odour of sweetness were put while mass was being celebrated, on festivals.' We find a similar practice at Cremona in 666, and in England under Theodore (668-690). Leo III (795-816) set up a golden censer before the vestibule of the altar in the same basilica, which weighed seventeen pounds. In the Life of Leo IV (847-855) we are told of a censer with a hanging cup (canthara) at the basilica of the Four Crowned Martyrs.
We have already dealt with the ceremonial use of incense in the pope's procession to the altar, and the deacon's procession to the ambo to read the gospel. Ordo I also mentions that the sexton and the assistant presbyter of the
stational church welcomed the pope with incense on his arrival there.
Incense was only used in the Roman rite at these two liturgical moments, save the occasional use in some basilicas of a hanging censer, burning all through the service, before some altar or image. When Amalar of Metz went to Rome for the furtherance of his liturgical studies, he found that the Ordo Romanus, by which he had set such store, had misled him in several particulars, which he recorded in the second preface to his book on the Ecclesiastical Offices. There he tells us that the Romans did not offer incense at the altar after the gospel; and there is no reference to any such practice in Ordo I, although the Gallicanized Ordo II directs it to be done.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Minor, Trivial Biblical Stuff, Part 2: the Kapporet (aka Mercyseat)

Out of all the items described within the Bible, one of the most popular is the Ark of the Covenant. Indiana Jones famously summed it all up; it is "the chest the Hebrews used to carry the Ten Commandments around in." In the Bible, God gives Moses specific instructions on how to construct this box:

And they shall make a chest of shittim (acacia) wood: two cubits and a half its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height; and you shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out shall you overlay it, and shall make on it a zer (traditionally 'crown'; most modern translations 'molding') of gold all around. And you shall cast four rings of gold for it and put them on its four feet, even two rings on one side of it and two rings on the second side. And you shall make poles of shittim wood and overlay them with gold, and you shall put these poles into the rings on the sides of the chest, to carry the ark with them. In the rings of the chest shall be the poles; they shall not be removed from it. And you shall put in the chest the testimony which I will give you.
The text then goes on to describe an item usually thought of as the Ark's lid, called in Hebrew kapporet, traditionally called the mercy-seat (Exodus 25:17-20):

And you shall make a kapporet of pure gold: two cubits and a half its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth; and you shall make two kheruvim of gold, of beaten work you shall make them at the two ends of the kapporet; and make one kheruv at the end on this side, and one kheruv at the end on that; from the kapporet you shall make the keruvim on its two ends. And the kheruvim shall stretch out their wings upward, overshadowing (sokhekhim; other possible renderings are 'covering', 'screening', 'hedging') the kapporet with their wings, and their faces a man to his brother - towards the kapporet the faces of the kheruvim shall be.

Friday, January 1, 2010

January 1 - The Circumcision of Christ and Mary, Mother of God (the Octave of Christmas)

The propers of the feast (without the readings), from the Vatican Gelasian Sacramentary, aka Old Gelasian (Vatican, Bibliotheca Apostolica, Reg. lat. 316/Paris, B.N., 7193, 41-56):
(Liber I.VIIII)

Deus qui bonis nati saluatoris diem celebrare concedis octauum, fac, quaesumus, nos esse perpetua diuinitate munere, cuius sumus carnali conmercio reparati: per.

Omnipotens sempiterne deus, qui unigenito tuo nouam creaturam nos tibi esse fecisti, custodi opera misericordiae tuae et ab omnibus nos maculis uetustatis emunda, ut per auxilium gratiae tuae in illius inueniamur forma, in quo tecum est nostra substantia: per.

(secreta) Praesta, quaesumus, domine, ut per hanc munera, qui domini Iesu Christi arcanae natiuitatis mysterio gerimus, purificate mentes intellegentiam consequamur: per dominum.

Uere dignum: per Christum dominum nostrum. Cuius hodie octauas nati celebrantes tua, domine, mirabilia ueneramur, quia qui peperit, et mater et uirgo est; qui natus est, et infans et deus est. Merito caeli locuti Sunt, angeli gratulati, pastores laetati, magi mutati, regis turbati, paruoli gloriosa passione coronati. Lacta, mater, cybum nostrum, lacta panem de caelo uenientem, in praesepio positum uelut piorum cybaria iumentorum. Illic namque agnouit bos possessorem suum et asinus praesepium domini sui, circumcisio scilicet et praeputium. Quod etiam saluator et dominus noster a Symione susceptus in templo plenissimae dignatus est adimplere. Et ideo cum angelis et archangelis.

(post communionem) Praesta, quaesumus, domine, ut guod saluatoris nostri iterata solempnitate percipimus, perpetuae nobis redemptionis conferat medicinam: per.

(ad populum) Omnipotens sempiterne deus, qui tuae mensae participes a diabolico iubes abstinere conuiuio, da, quaesumus, plebi tuae, ut gustum mortiferae profanitatis abiecto puris mentibus ad aepulas aeternae salutis accedat: per.
From the Angoulême Sacramentary (B.N. Lat. 816):
(Liber I. VIIII)

Deus qui bonis nati saluatoris diem celebrare concedis octauum, fac, quaesumus, nos esse perpetua diuinitate munere, cuius sumus carnali conmercio reparati: per.

Omnipotens sempiterne deus, qui unigenito tuo nouam creaturam nos tibi esse fecisti, custodi opera misericordiae tuae et ab omnibus nos maculis uetustatis emunda, ut per auxilium gratiae tuae in illius inueniamur forma, in quo tecum est nostra substantia: per.

(secreta) Praesta, quaesumus, domine, ut per hanc munera, qui domini Iesu Christi arcanae natiuitatis mysterio gerimus, purificate mentes intellegentiam consequamur: per dominum.

Uere dignum: per Christum dominum nostrum. Cuius hodie octauas nati celebrantes tua, domine, mirabilia ueneramur, quia qui peperit, et mater et uirgo est; qui natus est, et infans et deus est. Merito caeli locuti Sunt, angeli gratulati, pastores laetati, magi mutati, regis turbati, paruoli gloriosa passione coronati. Lacta, mater, cybum nostrum, lacta panem de caelo uenientem, in praesepio positum uelut piorum cybaria iumentorum. Illic namque agnouit bos possessorem suum et asinus praesepium domini sui, circumcisio scilicet et praeputium. Quod etiam saluator et dominus noster a Symione susceptus in templo plenissimae dignatus est adimplere. Et ideo cum angelis et archangelis.

(post communionem) Praesta, quaesumus, domine, ut guod saluatoris nostri iterata solempnitate percipimus, perpetuae nobis redemptionis conferat medicinam: per.

(ad populum) Omnipotens sempiterne deus, qui tuae mensae participes a diabolico iubes abstinere conuiuio, da, quaesumus, plebi tuae, ut gustum mortiferae profanitatis abiecto puris mentibus ad aepulas aeternae salutis accedat: per.
From the Cambrai Hadrianum (Bibl. Municipale MS 164):

Deus, qui salutis aeternae beatae mariae virginitate fecunda humano generi praemia praestitisti, tribue quaesumus, ut ipsam pro nobis intercedere sentiamus, per quam meruimus auctorem vitae suscipere. Per dominum.

Super oblata. Muneribus nostris quaesumus, domine, precibusque susceptis, et caelestibus nos munda mysteriis et clementer exaudi. Per dominum.

Ad completa. Haec nos communio domine purget a crimine, et caelestibus remediis faciat esse consortes. Per.
From the 1962 Missale Romanum:
I classis
Statio ad S. Mariam trans Tiberim

Oratio: Deus, qui salutis aeternae, beatae Mariae virginitate fecunda, humano generi praemia praestitisti: tribue, quaesumus; ut ipsam pro nobis intercedere sentiamus, per quam meruimus auctorem vitae suscipere, Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, Filium tuum: Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate.

Secreta: Muneribus nostris, qusesumus, Domine, precibusque susceptis: et caelestibus nos munda mysteriis, et clementer exaudi. Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum.

(Praefatio et Communicantes de Nativitate)

Postcommunio: Haec nos communio, Domine, purget a crimine: et, intercedente beata Virgine Dei Genetrice Maria, caelestis remedii faciat esse consortes. Per eundem Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, Filium tuum: Qui tecum vivitet regnat in unitate.
From the 2002 Missale Romanum:

Deus, qui salutis aeternae, beatae Mariae virginitate fecunda, humano generi praemia praestitisti, tribue, quaesumus, ut ipsam pro nobis intercedere sentiamus, per quam meruimus Filium tuum auctorem vitae suscipere...

Super Oblata: Deus, qui bona cuncta inchoas benignus et perficis, da nobis, de sollemnitate sanctae Dei Genetricis laetantibus, sicut de initiis tuae gratiae gloriamur, ita de perfectione gaudere.

Postcommunio: Sumpsimus, Domine, laeti sacramenta caelestia: praesta, quaesumus, ut ad vitam nobis proficient sempiternam, qui beatam semper Virginem Mariam Filii tui Genetricem et Ecclesiae Matrem profiteri gloriamur...