Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Pontifical Vesting Prayers of the Usus Antiquior

As a follow up to yesterday’s post on the rite of vesting a bishop for the celebration of Mass, we here present the Pontifical vesting prayers of the Missal of St. Pius V in Latin and an original NLM English translation. Where the prayers quote or allude to the words of Scripture, I have followed the Douay-Rheims translation as much as possible. These prayers were originally meant to be said one by one in the act of donning each garment, but for practical reasons, it is a common custom to read them all at once, and then begin vesting. The prayers for the washing of the hands and six vestments (amice, alb, cincture, maniple, stole, chasuble) are similar to those appointed to said by priests, but not identical, and generally longer; six are for vestments proper to bishops. The Missal itself makes no mention of vestment prayers for the deacon and subdeacon, but it is customary for them to say the same vesting prayers as priests where appropriate, adding those for the dalmatic and tunicle which were said by the bishop.

It is well known that many liturgical vestments were originally just ordinary clothes of the Late Antique period, which over time became stylized. After the traditional array of vestments had become established, the medieval love for symbolism and allegory was applied to it with enthusiasm as to every other aspect of the liturgy. For example, the third book of William Durandus’ famous commentary on the liturgy, the Rationale Divinorum Officiorum, gives at least one spiritual meaning to each of the vestments proper to the various ranks of the clergy. Such allegories, once accepted, were sometimes then read back into the vesting prayers themselves, as seen in the Roman prayer for the pontifical gloves. The allegorical meaning of the coverings on Jacob’s hand in Genesis 27, explained by Saint Augustine in the tenth chapter of his book Against Lying, is quoted by Durandus, and also forms the basis of the prayer which the bishop says while donning the gloves. It should also be noted that these prayers contain many references, direct and indirect, to the Bible, a typical feature of liturgical customs originating in the Carolingian period.

* * *

Orationes dicendae ab Episcopo quando in Pontificalibus celebrat

[The Prayers to be said by a Bishop when he celebrates in Pontificals]

Ad Caligas  Calcea, Domine, pedes meos in praeparationem evangelii pacis, et protege me in velamento alarum tuarum.

The Buskins  Shod my feet, Lord, unto the preparation of the gospel of peace, and protect me under the cover of thy wings. (Ephesians 6, 15 and Psalm 60, 5)
Cum exuitur Cappa  Exue me, Domine, veterem hominem cum moribus et actibus suis: et indue me novum hominem, qui secundum Deum creatus est in justitia, et sanctitate veritatis.

When the Cappa is removed  Take off of me, Lord, the old man with his manners and deeds: and put on me the new man, who according to God is created in justice, and the holiness of truth.
(Ephesians 4, 22 and 24)
Cum lavat manus Da, Domine, virtutem manibus meis ad abstergendam omnem maculam immundam; ut sine pollutione mentis et corporis valeam tibi servire.

When he washes his hands  Give strength to my hands, Lord, to wash away every unclean stain; that I may be able to serve Thee without defilement of mind or body.
Ad Amictum  Impone, Domine, galeam salutis in capite meo, ad expugnandas omnes diabolicas fraudes, inimicorum omnium versutias superando.

At the Amice  Place the helmet of salvation, Lord, upon my head, to overthrow all the deceits of the devil, prevailing against the cunning of all enemies.
(Ephesians 6, 17)
Ad Albam  Dealba me, Domine, et a delicto meo munda me; ut cum his, qui stolas suas dealbaverunt in sanguine Agni, gaudiis perfruar sempiternis.

At the Alb  Wash me clean, Lord, and cleanse me from my sin; that I may rejoice and be glad unendingly with them that have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. (Psalm 50, 3 and Apocalypse 7, 14)
Ad Cingulum  Praecinge me, Domine, cingulo fidei et virtute castitatis lumbos meos, et extingue in eis humorem libidinis; ut jugiter maneat in me vigor totius castitatis.

At the Cincture  Gird me, Lord, with the belt of faith, my loins with the virtue of chastity, and extinguish in them the humour of lust; that the strength of all chastity may ever abide in me.
Cum accipit Crucem pectoralem  Munire digneris me, Domine Jesu Christe, ab omnibus insidiis inimicorum omnium, signo sanctissimae Crucis tuae: ac concedere digneris mihi indigno servo tuo, ut sicut hanc Crucem, Sanctorum tuorum reliquiis refertam, ante pectus meum teneo, sic semper mente retineam et memoriam passionis, et sanctorum victorias Martyrum.

When he receives the Pectoral Cross  Deign Thou, Lord Jesus Christ, to guard me, from all the snares of every enemy, by the sign of Thy most holy Cross: and deign Thou to grant to me, Thy unworthy servant, that as I hold before my breast this Cross with the relics of Thy Saints within it, so may I ever keep in mind the memory of the Passion, and the victories of the Holy Martyrs.
Ad Stolam  Redde mihi, Domine, obsecro, stolam immortalitatis, quam perdidi in praevaricatione primi parentis; et, quamvis indignus accedere praesumo ad tuum sacrum mysterium cum hoc ornamento, praesta, ut in eodem in perpetuum merear laetari.

At the Stole  Restore to me, Lord, I beseech Thee, the stole of immortality, which I lost in the transgression of the first father; and, though unworthy I presume to approach Thy sacred mystery with this garment, grant that I may merit to rejoice in it forever.
Ad Tunicellam  Tunica jucunditatis, et indumento laetitiae induat me Dominus.

At the Tunicle  May the Lord cloth me in the tunicle of delight, and the garment of rejoicing.
Ad Dalmaticam  Indue me, Domine, indumento salutis et vestimento laetitiae; et dalmatica justitiae circumda me semper.

At the Dalmatic  Cloth me, Lord, with the garment of salvation, and the raiment of joy; and ever place upon me the dalmatic of justice.
Ad Chirothecas  Circumda, Domine, manus meas munditia novi hominis, qui de caelo descendit; ut, quemadmodum Jacob dilectus tuus pelliculis hoedorum opertis manibus, paternam benedictionem, oblato patri cibo potuque gratissimo, impetravit; sic et oblata per manus nostras salutaris hostia, gratiae tuae benedictionem mereatur. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum, qui in similitudinem carnis peccati pro nobis obtulit semetipsum.

At the Gloves  Place upon my hands, Lord, the cleanliness of the new man, that came down from heaven; that, just as Jacob Thy beloved, covering his hands with the skins of goats, and offering to his father most pleasing food and drink, obtained his father’s blessing, so also may the saving victim offered by our hands, merit the blessing of Thy grace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who in the likeness of sinful flesh offered Himself for us.
(Genesis 27, 6-29 and Romans 8, 3)
Ad Planetam  Domine, qui dixisti: Jugum meum suave est, et onus meum leve: fac, ut illud portare sic valeam, quod possim consequi tuam gratiam.

At the Chasuble  O Lord, who said: my yoke is sweet and my burden light: grant that I may be able so to bear it, so that I may be able to obtain Thy grace.
(St. Matthew 11, 30)
Ad Mitram  Mitram, Domine, et salutis galeam impone capiti meo; ut contra antiqui hostis omniumque inimicorum meorum insidias inoffensus evadam.

At the Mitre  Place upon my head, Lord, the mitre and helmet of salvation; that I may go forth unhindered against the snares of the ancient foe, and of all my enemies.
(Ephesians 6, 17)
Ad Anulum  Cordis et corporis mei, Domine, digitos virtute decora, et septiformis Spiritus sanctificatione circumda.

At the Ring  Adorn with virtue, Lord, the fingers of my body and of my heart, and place upon them the sanctification of the sevenfold Spirit.
Ad Manipulum  Merear, precor, Domine, manipulum portare mente flebili; ut cum exsultatione portionem accipiam cum justis.

At the Maniple  I pray Thee , Lord, that I may merit to bear the maniple in lamentation; that with joyfulness I may receive a portion among the just.
(Psalm 125, 67)

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: