Saturday, May 21, 2016

Ember Saturday of Pentecost 2016

The medieval liturgical commentator William Durandus, writing at the end of the 13th century, explains some of the richness of one of the year’s most beautiful and complex Masses, that of the Ember Saturday of Pentecost weeks, the last Mass of the Easter season.

“On Saturday, the Introit is ‘The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, (alleluia, through His Spirit that dwelleth among us, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.)’ And this is appropriate for the Holy Spirit, who is charity, and fitting also for Saturday, because it will be poured forth most especially on the Sabbath of the future rest… there follows the Epistle, ‘Justified therefore by faith etc.’ (Rom. 5, 1-5), which speaks of this pouring forth. For, because the charity of God has been poured forth, Paul suffers it not to be restricted within the borders of the Land of Promise; rather he shows that the Holy Spirit was given not only to the Jews, but also the gentiles, saying to the Jews themselves, ‘To you it behoved us first to speak the word of God: but because you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold we turn to the Gentiles.’ (Acts 13, 46)

… therefore, because the Holy Spirit is given to the gentiles, there follows ‘Alleluia, praise the Lord, all nations.’ For on this fast, the songs of joy are not omitted, out of reverence for the feast. Nor do we bend the knee, in accord with the Council of Nicea, (which prohibited kneeling in the Easter season), but standing, we pray for the neophytes, rejoicing that they have risen up from their sins. … afterwards comes the Gospel ‘Jesus arising (from the synagogue, entered the house of Simon. - Luke 4, 38-44),’ about the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law, who signifies the synagogue, which by Peter was healed from infidelity, and by faith will be healed more perfectly in the future …

The Healing of Peter's Mother-in-Law, mosaic in the Chora Monastery in Constantinople, 14th century.
On this day ordinations are done, because the Holy Spirit descends upon those who are to be ordained, and also upon those who fast…. The first reading is from Joel, ‘I will pour forth my Spirit upon all flesh, etc.’ (Joel 2, 28-32), because just as the Holy Spirit descended visibly upon the Apostles, so he descends invisibly upon those who are to be ordained.” (Rationale Divinorum Officiorum, VI, 113)

Diaconal Ordination celebrated on Ember Saturday of Pentecost, May 25, 2013, for the FSSP seminary in Wigratzbad, Germany, by Bishop François Bacqué.

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