Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Feast of Ss Peter and Paul 2017

Truly it is fitting and just, right and profitable to salvation to give Thee thanks always, here and everywhere, in honor of the Apostles Peter and Paul. Whom Thy election did so deign to consecrate, that it might change blessed Peter’s worldly trade as a fisherman into divine teaching; so that he might deliver the human race from the depths of hell with the nets of Thy precepts. And then Thou didst change the mind of his fellow Apostle Paul, along with his name; and whom the Church at first feared as a persecutor, She now rejoices to hold as the teacher of divine commandments. Paul was blinded that he might see; Peter denied, that he might believe. To the one Thou gave the keys of the kingdom of heaven, to the other, knowledge of the divine law, that he might call the nations; for the latter brought them in, as the other opened (the door of heaven). Therefore both received the rewards of eternal virtue. Thy right hand did raise up the one, lest he sink as he walked upon the water, and rescued the other from the dangers of the deep when he was shipwrecked for the third time.

The Stefaneschi Triptych, painted by Giotto and assistants for the high altar of St Peter’s Basilica, ca. 1330. On the left, the Crucifixion of St Peter; in the middle, Card. Giacomo Stefaneschi kneels before Christ in majesty; on the right, the beheading of St Paul. In the upper part of the right panel, Angels bring St Paul’s blindfold to one of the women of the Roman church after his death, as Paul promised her would happen. (Public domain image from Wikipedia; click to enlarge.)
The one did conquer the gates of the hell, and the other the sting of death; and Paul was beheaded, for he was shown to be the head of the Gentiles’ faith, while Peter, followed in the footsteps of Christ, the head of us all. Whom together with Thee, almighty Father, and the Holy Spirit, the Angels praise, the Archangels venerate, the Thrones, Dominations, Virtues, Principalities and Powers adore; whom the Cherubim and Seraphim with shared rejoicing praise. And we pray that Thou may command our voices to be brought in among them, saying with humble confession: Holy, Holy, Holy… (The Preface of Ss Peter and Paul in the Ambrosian Missal.)

Vere quia dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper hic et ubique in honore Apostolorum Petri et Pauli gratias agere. Quos ita electio tua consecrare dignata est, ut beati Petri secularem piscandi artem in divinum dogma converteret; quatenus humanum genus de profundo inferni praeceptorum tuorum retibus liberaret. Nam Coapostoli ejus Pauli mentem cum nomine mutasti, et quem prius persecutorem metuebat Ecclesia, nunc caelestium mandatorum laetatur se habere doctorem. Paulus caecatus est, ut videret; Petrus negavit, ut crederet. Huic claves caelestis imperii, illi ad evocandas gentes divinae legis scientiam contulisti. Nam ille introducit, hic aperit. Ambo igitur virtutis aeternae praemia sunt adepti. Hunc dextera tua gradientem in elemento liquido, dum mergeretur, erexit; illum autem tertio naufragantem, profunda pelagi fecit vitare discrimina. Hic portas inferni, ille mortis vicit aculeum: et Paulus capite plectitur, quia gentium caput fidei probatur: Petrus autem praemissis vestigiis caput omnium secutus est Christum. Quem una tecum, omnipotens Pater, et cum Spiritu Sancto laudant Angeli, venerantur Archangeli; Throni, Dominationes, Virtutes, Principatus et Potestates adorant. Quem Cherubim et Seraphim socia exsultatione concelebrant. Cum quibus et nostra voces, ut admitti jubeas, deprecamur, supplici confessione dicentes: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus…

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