Thursday, November 26, 2015
As sacred musicians with a healthy appetite for tradition, high-quality music, and glorious liturgies, it is easy to see the situation in many parishes and fall into despair. As Dante wrote in the Inferno, canto 1, “I found myself obscured in a great forest, bewildered, and I knew [we] had lost the way.” How do we get back on track? How do we build great choirs again and bring back beauty into our liturgies?
It would be foolish to discount the support of a good pastor, the investment of a few key families and musicians, and even the beautiful buildings and legacies left by past generations. Hard work, too, has its place. Perhaps, however, we can take a lesson from Dr. Patrick’s method; the appetite does indeed matter. I do not mean to discourage you from singing complex chant or difficult sacred polyphony, however prudence may call for intermediate steps, for some education and guidance, before your parish has an appetite to take on the more musically difficult aspects of our tradition. Numerous resources are available through CMAA for all different levels of capability; we don't have to make stuff up on our own. The point is to do everything well, to follow the most authentic expression of the liturgy possible in our parishes, and meanwhile to enjoy doing it. Simplicity, elegance, confidence, and consistency are the best path forward, and engagement from the entire parish is key.
Even when a parish has achieved a high level of liturgy, musicians can burn out, relationships come unglued, and people get tired and age out. And so we must keep setting the hook, casting our nets, and setting out into the deep, using the richness of our tradition to reach into the depths of the human experience. The sacred liturgy makes present the Gospel, that good news which makes our souls new again. “I shall go in to the altar of God; to God, the joy of my youth.” Personal renewal, forgiveness, cleansing of the crud of the week, a renewed sense of purpose and Christian joy, and the real presence of Christ himself: these gifts of grace all provide a personal connection that keeps us coming back. Where there is perennial need due to the very terms of the human experience, there also is perennial appetite for God’s grace and renewal. This is a healthy appetite that we can foster and restore through beautiful liturgy and sacred music. Then the music is elevated and becomes a means to prayer, not an end in itself.
So I encourage you: keep your tools sharpened, keep teaching and encouraging, and always turn to the richest sources if you want renewal. Set high goals and achieve them together with as many people in your parish community as possible. And meanwhile, while you’re preparing the “feast,” don’t forget to pause for a few moments and eat!
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
This article about the tomb of Nicholas Cardinal Wiseman, a work of Edward Pugin, was first published in the November 2015 issue of the magazine of Westminster Cathedral Oremus. The author, Mr Roderick O’Donnell, very kindly submitted it to NLM for republication; it is here reproduced by permission of Oremus, and the editor, Mr Dylan Parry, with our thanks.
This is a so-called ‘altar tomb’, set on a plinth and supporting a ‘table’ or mensa, with its recumbent effigy, with narrative panels round the sides. It was clearly meant to be free-standing, and its inscription and sculpture are meant to be read. It can be attributed to the sculptor was RL Boulton, a craftsman much employed by EW Pugin in the 1860s. Pugin would have provided the drawings for the figurative and the architectural sculpture, the sculptor and his workshop being the executors of Pugin’s scheme. As such the work not signed. Wiseman’s figure and other relief sculptures are worked in statuary marble. But the moulding with the inscription and the base plinth are in a red-orange marble, probably Cork Red, with black marble colonettes at the angles, perhaps a Kilkenny black. The framing of the sculpted panels, the projecting niches and the deeply-cut frieze and capitals are in alabaster. Colour contrasts were therefore intended, although the colouring of the carving, such as would have occurred in the Middle Ages, is not attempted.
Around the Mensa top of the tomb is the inscription: ‘Hic in pace Christi requiescit Nicolaus titulo S[anc]tae Pudentianae S.[acrae] R.[omanae] Ecc.[lesiae] presbyter Cardinalis Wiseman/Primus Eccles[iae] Westmonasterius archie[piscopus] Natus die 3 Augusti/1802 Defunctus die 15 Februarii 1865 E[pisoco]patus sui anno Vigesimo quinto omnia pro Xto in vita agens omnia per Xtum/in morte sperans cujus animae propitietur Deus’ which translated is ‘Here in the peace of Christ lies Nicholas, under the title of [the church of] St Pudentiana, Cardinal-priest of the Holy Roman Church, Wiseman/ First archbishop of Westminster. Born 3 August 1802, died 15 February 1865 in the twenty-eighth year of his episcopacy in life doing all things for Christ [and] in death hoping all things through Christ, on whose soul may God be merciful.’
The slightly over life–size recumbent figure of the archbishop is vested for Mass with a chasuble worn over a dalmatic and both over an alb ‘apparelled’ with fleurs-de-lys. The vestments are strikingly of the full Gothic form championed by Augustus Welby Pugin and already under the ban of those like Manning who wished to re-introduce the so-called Roman chasuble. He is mitred, gloved and slippered, the tip of his metropolitan cross clasped by a dragon at his feet, with angels at his pillowed head. (EW Pugin particularly complimented Boulton on his angels.) Wiseman also wears the pallium.
Narrative panels on either side of seated saints or patrons are found on the long sides. These have a particular point to make, both about Wiseman and about the role of a metropolitan bishop and its relationship to the Holy See. A late source describes them as scenes from lives of the two saints, but the iconography should perhaps be read with a double meaning, with the life of the saint prefiguring or anticipating that of Wiseman.
Chronologically they begin with young cleric in academic dress or religious habit kneeling before a seated and ceremonially hatted cardinal, or perhaps a pope on an X-framed chair; or it might be the student Wiseman. Then, under a projecting niche is seated the Cardinal in alabaster, with the same features of the bishop or pope in the previous panel. It may be St Edmund of Canterbury, to whom Wiseman had a devotion; in 1853 he procured some of his relics from his burial place at Pontigny in France. The next quatrefoil has a kneeling and vested bishop, now evidently a portrait of Wiseman, being receiving a pallium from the pope, as Wiseman did from Pope Pius IX did on 3 October 1850.
The answering long side has the seated bishop as Metropolitan presiding over the bishops seated around, all vested in copes and mitres; or it might be Wiseman presiding at the Synod of Oscott (1852). The niched panel shows the enthroned St Thomas-à-Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, vested for Mass, grasping the sword of his martyrdom, and wearing the so called ‘Becket mitre’ from the Cathedral Treasury, now on loan to the Victoria & Albert Museum.The next quatrefoil has the death of a bishop, clearly not Becket’s death, but Wiseman’s. He lies on a bed with book of the Gospels on his knees. He is dressed with pectoral cross and chain fully looped over his shoulders, attended by his canons and by an acolyte holding his metropolitan cross. The details follow the record of his death made by Canon Morris, his secretary.
The tomb was conceived to stand inside a cathedral to be built in Wiseman’s memory. The Dublin Builder said the architect was to be Edward Pugin. £16000 was subscribed to this end at the first public meeting. However the new archbishop, Manning, had pastoral priorities quite other than cathedral-building, and he allowed the project to stall. Wiseman’s burial took place at St Mary’s Cemetery Kensal Green, where this monument was housed in what the decorous language of the day called ‘a chamber of glass.’
Edward Welby Pugin (1834-1875) was a brilliant designer in the small scale, such as altars and tombs, beginning with his father’s at Ramsgate (1853). He would have been aware of his father’s difficult relationship with Wiseman as President of Oscott College and as Vicar Apostolic in the Midlands, and then in London, where Wiseman triumphantly opened Pugin’s St George’s Cathedral Southwark in 1848. In 1852 AW Pugin died, leaving his eighteen-year old son to continue the practice. The young architect might have thought his star ascendant when in 1858 Wiseman invested him with his regalia as Knight of St Sylvester, after winning the competition to build the Junior Seminary at Ushaw. He attended the Cardinal’s soiree receptions and even entertained him at his house St Augustine’s Grange, Ramsgate in 1863. But he wrote candidly to Wiseman in 1862 to complain of lack of work in the new Westminster archdiocese, which he ascribed to ‘the unjust animosity of Dr Manning and the Bayswater clique.’ As Manning was by that time more than Wiseman’s right-hand-man, this was unfortunate. Indeed as Manning’s biographer was to put it, ‘Gothic architecture, together with the Pugins and their traditions, was exiled from the diocese of Westminster.’
Dr Roderick O’Donnell is an Architectural Historian and a member of Westminster Cathedral’s Art and Architecture Committee.
The following images were not included in the original article; they are here reproduced from Oremus’ flickr account, again, with their kind permission and our gratitude.
|Card. Wiseman receiving his pallium from Bl. Pope Pius IX|
|Card. Wiseman’s arms|
Here is the full track listing:
1) Veni Veni Emmanuel (Traditional Chant)
2) Alma Redemptoris Mater (Palestrina)
3) Rorate Coeli (Introit: 4th Sun of Advent)
4) Creator Alme Siderum (Anonymous; 9th century)
5) Veni O Sapientia (J. Singenberger)
6) O Magnum Mysterium (Victoria)
7) Sancta et Immaculata (Guerrero)
8) Flos de Radice (Harm. by Praetorius)
9) Dominus Dixit (Introit - Christmas midnight mass)
10) - 14) Missa O Magnum Mysterium (Victoria)
15) Puer Natus est (Introit: Christmas Day mass)
16) Gaudete (traditional, anonymous)
17) Jesu Redemptor Omnium (Ravanello & 6th cent. chant)
18) Hodie Christus Natus est (Nanino)
19) Lumen ad Revelationem (Gregorian chant)
20) Omnes de Saba (Gradual of Epiphany; gregorian chant)
21) Omnes de Saba Venient (Asula)
22) Senex Puerum Portabat (Victoria)
23) Exultate Deo (Scarlatti)
Imminente passione Virgo haec interserit: Assequatur, Jesu bone, quod a te petierit suo quisque in agone memor mei fuerit.
In hoc caput amputatur, fluit lac pro sanguine: Angelorum sublevatur corpus multitudine, et Sinai collocatur in supremo culmine.
Gloria et honor Deo usquequaque altissimo, una Patri Filioque, inclyto Paraclito, cui laus est et potestas per aeterna sæcula. Amen. (The hymn for Lauds of the Office of St Catherine of Alexandria.)
|The Martyrdom of St Catherine of Alexandria, by Guercino (Francesco Barbieri), 1653; now in the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.|
With her passion imminent, the virgin adds this words: “Good Jesus, let each man who remembers me in his own suffering obtain whatever he may ask of Thee.”
At this, her head was cut off, milk floweth instead of blood; her body was taken by a multitude of Angels, and placed at the height of Sinai.
Glory and honor in everyplace to God most high, and with Him to the Son, and the glorious Paraclete, to Whom are praise and might for eternal ages. Amen.
This is intended to create a network of parish based men’s groups that meet monthly in a structured Holy Hour. The Holy League was first formed as part of the call to holiness and fortitude that occurred when Europe was under threat from Islamic forces and prior to the battle of Lepanto in 1571. The aim is to reestablish this in every Catholic parish.
The website tells us that the Holy League:
- Provides a Holy Hour format which incorporates Eucharistic Adoration, prayer, short spiritual reflections, the availability of the Sacrament of Confession, Benediction and fraternity.
- Encourages consecration to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the Purest Heart of Joseph.
- Promotes the Precepts and Sacraments of the Church, especially through devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament and the praying of the Most Holy Rosary.
- Creates a unified front, made up of members of the Church Militant, for spiritual combat.
Posted Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
But why get so excited about this book? Quite simply, it’s the loveliest, most charming, and in many ways most clever introduction to the liturgical calendar I've ever come across. It is informed by such a deep Catholic love for the seasons of the year, the feasting and fasting, the great holy days, the pageantry of the saints and their stories, the underlying rhythm that connects nature, culture, and sanctity. If you take a few minutes to explore the pages (some examples are found below; the Amazon product page offers access to more), you will see what I’m talking about.
As one who believes that the Catholic imagination has utterly withered and is in desperate need of revitalization, and that we must begin in earnest with our children, what I especially appreciate is Chadwick’s compelling sense of beauty, order, and mystery. She is captivated by the fullness of the Church’s year and conveys a sense of it to the viewer in bright images without the need for excess verbiage. She sees that the calendar follows a comforting logic, traces out a pattern of its own, into which we are privileged to insert ourselves. Her careful planning of the illustrations and her equally intelligent choice of texts reveal a profound grasp of the fundamental dogmas of the Faith.
Let me give just a few examples of the accessible richness of doctrine we find in these pages. In her Advent bifold, Chadwick introduces the Patristic and medieval doctrine of the threefold coming of Christ: in the flesh at Christmas, in the sacrament at Mass, and on the last day at the Judgment. In her pages on December, she provides the classic perspective on the three feasts following Christmas: St. Stephen is a martyr in will and deed; St. John is a martyr in will but not in deed; the Holy Innocents are martyrs in deed but not in will. Her page for Pentecost shows the Spirit pouring forth the seven sacraments of the Church. One of the pages for Lent speaks of prayer as our weapon against the devil, fasting as our weapon against the flesh, and almsgiving as our weapon against the world. It’s so well done! Why are books like this so rare?
Well... I can make a confession, too. I'm not a wee lad anymore, but I find My Book of the Church’s Year comforting and inspiring. It reminds me that our Faith, however it may strain to the fullest the greatest intellectual gifts of the most towering intellectuals like St. Thomas Aquinas, is, at root, a gathering of earthly and heavenly friends, a colorful tapestry of their stories, and a fragrant garden of mysteries in which we are free to play. Enid Chadwick captured this universally childlike freshness in My Book of the Church's Year, and I hope you will take advantage of it for yourself, your children, or your parishioners.
Some notes: As mentioned above, the book corresponds to the traditional Western calendar, as indicated in such features as the page on Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima Sundays. Chadwick was a High Church Anglican (frankly, this book is more obviously Catholic than most Roman Catholic publications nowadays), so there are a few features in the book that need to be adapted for the Roman Catholic calendar — e.g., she speaks of “Sundays after Trinity” when we would speak of “Sundays after Pentecost,” and gives March 8th as the date of St. Thomas Aquinas's feast, when it is March 7th on our traditional calendar. And “Charles the White King,” listed as a martyr on January 30th, the day he was executed under Cromwell, is going to take a little explaining, although it would make an interesting subject of conversation. Also, Chadwick was writing for a British audience, so a few of her saints are chosen with a view to the British Isles. She calls Pentecost “Whit Sunday,” which will require an explanation for Americans who have never heard this expression before.
This one is about the church building. As Fr Martis describes, the Catholic Church is a sacramental Church, using the word sacramental as an adjective here, not as a noun. Invisible and deeper realities are revealed through perceptible signs, and the church building itself, not just what is contained within it, has a sacramental role. This is an echo of themes explored in greater depth by Denis McNamara, also of the Liturgical Institute, in his videos on church architecture.
You can find the previous two and the accompanying study guides for each video at: elementsofthecatholicmass.com.
Monday, November 23, 2015
|Ordinary Form Mass in Salt Lake City (Sacred Music Colloquium 2013)|
What is still not known nearly as well as it should be is the simple fact that the very rubrics of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite demonstrate the normativity of the traditional orientation of prayer at Mass. Every edition of the Novus Ordo Missae, from the earliest down to the latest revised translation, contains rubrics that clearly presuppose that the priest is facing the altar or “liturgical east” and that he will need to turn around to address the people at various points.
For some readers this will be familiar territory, but for others, it may be one of those obvious points that has nevertheless managed to escape notice until now. Below, I will simply reproduce the texts that contain instructions pertinent to the priest’s position vis-à-vis the people.
From “The Order of Mass” (MR 2002/2008 in the current English translation)
(Numbers below refer to the internal numbers in the Missal. The quoted texts are taken verbatim from the current Missal.)
1. When the people are gathered, the Priest approaches the altar with the ministers while the Entrance Chant is sung. When he has arrived at the altar, after making a profound bow with the ministers, the Priest venerates the altar with a kiss and, if appropriate, incenses the cross and the altar. Then, with the ministers, he goes to the chair. When the Entrance Chant is concluded, the Priest and the faithful, standing, sign themselves with the Sign of the Cross, while the Priest, facing the people, says: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” The people reply: “Amen.”
23. The Priest, standing at the altar, takes the paten with the bread and holds it slightly raised above the altar with both hands, saying in a low voice: “Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands, it will become for us the bread of life.” Then he places the paten with the bread on the corporal. If, however, the Offertory Chant is not sung, the Priest may speak these words aloud; at the end, the people may acclaim: “Blessed be God for ever.”If the priest were assumed to be always or normatively facing the people throughout the offertory, there would be no need for the rubric to specify that at the “Pray, brethren” he should now be “facing the people.” This phrase is to be taken in contraposition to “standing at the altar,” i.e., in the ad orientem position.
(24. Water and wine. 25. The prayer over the chalice. 26. “With humble spirit…” 27. Incensations.)
28. Then the Priest, standing at the side of the altar, washes his hands, saying quietly: “Wash me, O Lord, from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”
29. Standing at the middle of the altar, facing the people, extending and then joining his hands, he says: “Pray, brethren…”
After the Preface, the Eucharistic Prayer, and the Lord’s Prayer, we come to the giving of peace:
127. The Priest, turned towards the people, extending and then joining his hands, adds: “The peace of the Lord be with you always.” The people reply: “And with your spirit.”Again, if during the Eucharistic Prayer and ensuing Communion Rite the priest had already been facing the people throughout, the boldfaced rubric would be superfluous. There is no reason to specify that the peace should be given “turned towards the people” unless he has been turned away from them until this point.
Summarizing the next few paragraphs: 128. If appropriate, the sign of peace. 129. Fracture. (Note that if the priest is celebrating ad orientem, he will be turning towards the Lord again at this point — which will make sense out of the upcoming n. 132, as we shall see below.) 130. Agnus Dei. 131. Prayer before communion.
132. The Priest genuflects, takes the host and, holding it slightly raised above the paten or above the chalice, while facing the people, says aloud: “Behold the Lamb of God…”Here and in the following number, the rubrical presupposition of eastward celebration is particularly obvious. If we imagine that the priest is celebrating versus populum, it would be strangely inconsequential for the rubrics to say that he should be turned towards the people at the giving of peace (n. 127) and then to note again, a mere matter of moments later, that he should be “facing the people” for the “Behold the Lamb of God” (n. 132). The obvious implication is that between these two moments, he must have turned eastwards to face the Lord present upon the altar of sacrifice. Once he picks up the host and paten or host and chalice, he then needs to turn around again to address the people. This reading is confirmed by n. 133.
133. The Priest, facing the altar, says quietly: “May the Body of Christ keep me safe for eternal life. And he reverently consumes the Body of Christ.”…Again, if “facing the altar” and “facing the people” mean one and the same thing, as they do in a versus populum scenario, this phrase is meaningless. But once we re-envision the rubrics in the context of an ad orientem celebration, it all clicks into place. The pattern goes like this:
- From the Prayer over the Gifts to the giving of peace, the priest has been facing ad orientem.
- At the giving of peace, he turns around to address the congregation (n. 127).
- He turns again to the altar for the fraction, Agnus Dei, and prayer before communion.
- He turns to the people to say “Behold the Lamb of God…” (n. 132).
- He faces the altar again to consume the precious Body and Blood of Christ (n. 133).
139. Then, standing at the altar or at the chair and facing the people, with hands joined, the Priest says: “Let us pray.” All pray in silence with the Priest for a while, unless silence has just been observed. Then the Priest, with hands extended, says the Prayer after Communion, at the end of which the people acclaim: “Amen.”It should not be necessary by now to point out that if there exists a need to specify that the priest ought to be facing the people for the Prayer after Communion, it is because he cleansed the vessels in his usual posture for the Liturgy of the Eucharist, viz., standing at the western side of the altar, facing eastwards.
140. If they are necessary, any brief announcements to the people follow here.The phrase “facing the people” would seem superfluous here, but the possibility of an interruption by announcements might prompt a question about the stance the priest should take up afterwards. In any case, this rubric falls into the pattern of the priest being told to face the people when saying “The Lord be with you,” with some notable exceptions: see n. 31 and all the Preface dialogues, where the priest is never told to be facing the people.
141. Then the dismissal takes place. The Priest, facing the people and extending his hands, says: “The Lord be with you…”
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (2011, 2nd ed.) matches the foregoing rubrics in every respect, with the same implications as above. One may consult GIRM 124, 146, 154, 157, 158, and 165; cf. 181, 185, 243, 244, 257, 268. The controversy over the egregious mistranslation of GIRM 299 is not our concern at present; see here to read more. I will limit myself to the observation that one who clings to the mistranslation of n. 299 effectively consigns over a dozen other paragraphs of the GIRM, namely those listed above, to incoherence or total superfluity.
Particularly striking, in any case, is this passage from GIRM 2:
[T]he doctrine which stands out in the following sentence, already notable and concisely expressed in the ancient Sacramentary commonly called the Leonine — “for whenever the memorial of this sacrifice is celebrated the work of our redemption is accomplished” — is aptly and exactly expounded in the Eucharistic Prayers; for as in these the Priest enacts the anamnesis, while turned towards God likewise in the name of all the people, he renders thanks and offers the living and holy sacrifice, that is, the Church’s oblation and the sacrificial Victim by whose death God himself willed to reconcile us to himself; and the Priest also prays that the Body and Blood of Christ may be a sacrifice which is acceptable to the Father and which brings salvation to the whole world.Part of the new liturgical movement is surely rediscovering how just and right it is when the priest is "turned towards God in the name of all the people" -- and when the people, facing east together with him, offer up the sacrifice of praise.
Saturday, November 21, 2015
|The Presentation of the Virgin, by Tintoretto, 1553-56, from the church of the Madonna dell’Orto in Venice.|
And the child was three years old, and Joachim said: Invite the daughters of the Hebrews that are undefiled, and let them take each a lamp, and let them stand with the lamps burning, that the child may not turn back, and her heart be captivated from the temple of the Lord. And they did so until they went up into the temple of the Lord. And the priest received her, and kissed her, and blessed her, saying: The Lord has magnified your name in all generations. In you, on the last of the days, the Lord will manifest His redemption to the sons of Israel. And he set her down upon the third step of the altar, and the Lord God sent grace upon her; and she danced with her feet, and all the house of Israel loved her. And her parents went down marveling, and praising the Lord God, because the child had not turned back. And Mary was in the temple of the Lord as if she were a dove that dwelt there, and she received food from the hand of an angel.” (chapter 7 and beginning of chapter 8)This story is told in similar terms in the “History of Joseph the Carpenter”, written about the year 400, which goes on to tell how the temple priests chose Joseph to be Mary’s husband. The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, of the same period, adds that “Joachim, and Anna his wife, went together to the temple of the Lord to offer sacrifices to God, and placed the infant, Mary by name, in the community of virgins, in which the virgins remained day and night praising God. And when she was put down before the doors of the temple, she went up the fifteen steps so swiftly, that she did not look back at all; nor did she, as children are wont to do, seek for her parents.” (chapter 4) It then describes the Virgin’s life of prayer and work in the temple, showing Her to be a perfect model of religious life.
A feast in honor of this event appears in an English manuscript known as the Canterbury Benedictional, written about 1030, and in a number of English calendars after that. It seems, however, to have died off; in the last editions of the Sarum Missal, from the mid-16th century, it is missing from the Calendar, and the Mass is included only in the appendix. Elsewhere, it appears sporadically in liturgical books printed in the century before the Council of Trent; the Mass and Office were often simply those of the Virgin’s Nativity, with the word “Nativity” changed to “Presentation” wherever it occurred. Pope Sixtus IV (1471-84), who was the Minister General of the Franciscans until two year before his election, brought his order’s traditional zeal for new Marian feasts to the Use of Rome by adding the Presentation to the Roman Missal and Breviary, as he also did for the Immaculate Conception. The unusually elaborate rhyming Office seems to refer to the novelty of the feast in the Magnificat antiphon of First Vespers.
Novae laudis adest festivitas,
grata mundo ac caeli civibus,
qua Beatae Mariae sanctitas
templo data est a parentibus,
ut olivae pinguis suavitas
uberibus redundet fructibus.
(A feast of new praise is nigh, pleasing to the world and the citizens of heaven, in which the holiness of Blessed Mary is given to the temple by Her parents, that the sweetness of this rich olive tree may redound with rich fruits.)
|A page of a Roman Missal of 1515, with the rubric in the upper part of the right-hand column, “On the feast of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary, the Mass is said of (Her) Nativity, with the name ‘Nativity’ changed to ‘Presentation.’ ”|
The Byzantine Rite knows no such reserve or restraint in regard to the feast, which is properly called “The Entrance of the Our All-Holy Lady, the Mother of God, into the Temple.” It is ranked as one of the Twelve Great Feasts, most of which are kept with both a Forefeast and Afterfeast, broadly the equivalent of a Vigil and Octave in the traditional Roman Rite. Afterfeasts vary in length, however, and those of the Virgin’s Presentation and Nativity are the shortest, only four days, the final day being known as the Leave-taking.
As such, it has a great many proper texts to be sung in the Office, of which here I can only give a very small selection.
At Vespers: Today, let us dance, O faithful, singing to the Lord in psalms and hymns and honoring His sanctified Tabernacle, the living Ark, that contained the Word Who cannot be contained; for in wondrous fashion she is offered to the Lord as a young child in the flesh, and Zachariah, the great High Priest, joyfully receives her as the dwelling place of God.
Here and elsewhere, the liturgy assumes that the High Priest who received Mary into the Temple was Zachariah, the father of John Baptist.
Anna the all-praised cried out rejoicing, “Receive, O Zachariah, her whom God’s prophets proclaimed in the Spirit, and bring her into the holy Temple, there to be brought up in reverence, that she may become the divine throne of the Master of all, His palace and resting place and dwelling filled with light!”
At the Divine Liturgy, the usual hymn to the Mother of God “It is truly meet’ is replaced by the following:
The angels beheld the entrance of the Pure One and were amazed. How has the Virgin entered into the Holy of Holies? Since she is a living Ark of God, let no profane hand touch the Theotokos. But let the lips of believers unceasingly sing to her, praising her in joy with the angel’s song: Truly, thou art more exalted than all, O pure Virgin!
The Apocryphal Gospels have also helped to establish the traditional manner of representing the Entrance of the Mother of God in icons. The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew states in chapter six that “when (Mary) was three years old, she walked with a step so mature, she spoke so perfectly, and spent her time so assiduously in the praises of God, that all were astonished at her, and wondered; and she was not reckoned a young infant, but as it were a grown-up person of thirty years old.” For this reason, She is represented in this icon, not as a child, but as a miniature adult, to indicate that the fullness of grace and virtue already resides within Her. The lamp-bearing virgins who accompany Her to the temple at Joachim’s request, as stated above in the Protoevanglium of James, are also shown. Note how The Virgin Mary approaches the high priest with Her hands open, to symbolize that She is offering Herself to God.
“Since last September, with a small bunch of students, we organize every Wednesday a Mass in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. The main particularities are the offering of the Sacrifice in Latin, with the Gregorian chant, ad orientem, and with the traditional way to receive the Holy Eucharist. The chaplain of the University, since his arrival in September, is a supporter of the initiative. These pictures were taken this week on the occasion of St Martin’s feast, celebrated by our chaplain.
We want to associate this student project with the Reform of the Reform and especially with the new liturgical movement that actually spreads throughout the world. ... We hope this still small project will grow and that the Christ through his holy liturgy will touch many people in Fribourg and elsewhere.”
Friday, November 20, 2015
I would say that the church should be the symbolic heart of the community. Therefore, just as all human activity is formed by and leads us to the worship of God, so the design of all buildings, whatever their purpose, should be derived from and point to what should be the focal point within a town plan, the church, and so we ought to see columns in secular buildings too. All of this should be modified so that each building is appropriate to its particular purpose: a government building would have a design that corresponds more directly to that of a church, I would suggest, than the design of a cow shed or a public convenience.
Thursday, November 19, 2015
The pilgrimage is first of all a time of prayer and thanksgiving to God for having given the Church the Holy Father Dominic, founder of the Order of the Preachers. It is also an opportunity for the study and promotion of the rite that for seven hundred and fifty-years characterized the liturgical life of the Order, and which since 2007, thanks to the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of Pope Benedict XVI and the Instruction Universae Ecclesiae of the Pontificial Commission Ecclesia Dei, may again be celebrated and promoted without any limit in the Church and in the Dominican Order.
Also, as Fr Thompson has noted both here and at Dominican Liturgy, a special plenary indulgence has been proclaimed for the various events of the Dominican Jubilee.