Friday, May 29, 2015

Minor Litanies Celebrated in the Ambrosian Liturgy

In the Ambrosian liturgy, the Minor Litanies are celebrated on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday after the Ascension, not before, and with a more austere tone than in the Roman Rite. The vestments are black, also their standard color for the ferias of Lent. In the Divine Office, all the proper features of the Paschal season, such as the antiphons consisting of only the word Hallelujah (spelled thus) are suspended; the three Masses of the triduum, which cannot be impeded by the feasts of the Saints, are stripped of almost all their antiphons. The Minor Litanies are also the proper Ambrosian occasion for the blessing and imposition of ashes, since the rite does not have Ash Wednesday. Last week, the first day of the Ambrosian Minor Litanies was celebrated at the church of Santa Maria della Consolazione; these photographs by Luca Geronutti are reproduced from the facebook page of the Messa Tradizionale Ambrosiana a Milano.

At the blessing of the ashes, the following prayer is said:
Omnipotens et misericors Deus, qui peccantibus Ninivitis triduano jejunio mortis jacturam evadere tribuisti, adesto supplicationibus nostris: et huic cineri, quem pro peccatis nostris suscipere contrito corde decrevimus, tuae benedictionis virtutem + infunde de coelis; ut sicut in veteri populo vitulae cinis cum aqua respersus lustrationem peccantibus, te jubente, praestabat; ita et hinc, in tuo nomine sancti+ficatus, cinis iste ad abluendas peccatorum nostrorum sordes proficiat, et animarum nostrarum salutem operetur. Per Dominum...
Almighty and merciful God, who granted to the sinful Ninivites to evade destruction and death by a fast of three days, be present to our supplications, and upon these ashes, which we with contrite heart have decreed to receive for our sins, pour forth from heaven the power of Thy blessing; so that, just as the ash of the heifer sprinkled with water on the people of the old covenant granted, at Thy command, the purgation of sins; so also here, sancti+fied in Thy name, this ash may profit to the washing away the filth of our sins, and work the salvation of the our souls. Through our Lord...

The imposition of ashes.
Our own Nicola de’ Grandi 
A prayer is said before the penitential procession begins.

A station during the procession, at which is sing the antiphon “Be converted to me with all your heart, sayeth the Lord, in fasting, weeping and mourning, because I wish not the death of the sinner, but rather, that he be converted and live!” 
The Litany of the Saints sung at the altar of the Virgin; the processional cross is laid flat on the altar.  

At the second station is sung the antiphon, “Do thou, o man of God, pray for us to the Lord, for our sins are against us; that the Lord may deal with us according to His great mercy, and our sins depart from us.”
The procession concludes with the singing of six Kyrie eleisons and various Psallendae (processional chants.)

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