Thursday, February 28, 2013

Compendium of the 1961 Revision of the Pontificale Romanum - Part 2.7: The Lustration of the Altar (1961)

In the 1961 revision, the order in which the Gregorian water is sprinkled in the church is significantly changed, as may be seen in the following table.


1. procession to the altar

5. one circuit of the walls with one chant
2. five crosses made on the altar with the Gregorian water

6. aspersion of floor with one antiphon and a psalm
3. the prayer Singulare illud

8. one prayer (the other prayer and the preface are said later in the ceremony)
4. seven circuits of the altar, with the antiphon Asperges me

4. one circuit of the altar, without Asperges me (a different chant is said in its place)
5. three circuits of the walls with three different chants

2. five crosses made on the altar with the Gregorian water
6. aspersion of the floor with three different antiphons

3. the prayer Singulare illud
7. aspersion toward the four cardinal points

8. two prayers, followed by a preface

The Gregorian water has already been made before the ceremony, or at the beginning outside the church. When the Litany of the Saints has been sung, and the prayer after it said by the bishop, (see part 2.3), the bishop immediately begins to sprinkle the walls of the church, making one circuit only, (formerly three) starting behind the altar, and going to the left. As he does this, the choir sings the antiphon “This is the house of the Lord, strongly built; it is well founded upon a mighty rock,” repeating it after every two verses of psalm 121; Gloria Patri is not sung at the end. (The antiphons and psalms that accompanied the second and third aspersion of the walls are suppressed.)

The bishop sprinkles the water down the middle of the church, starting from the altar, and going to the main door, and then across the church from wall to wall. As he does this, the choir sings the antiphon “This is no other than the house of God, and the gate of Heaven,” repeating it after every two verses of psalm 83 Quam dilecta; Gloria Patri is not sung at the end. (This antiphon is sung without a psalm in the 1595 Pontifical; the other antiphons and versicles sung at the point are suppressed.) The sprinkling of the water towards the four cardinal points, and the chant that accompanied it, are suppressed.

Standing before the altar, the bishop turns and faces the people, singing “Dominus vobiscum”. When the reply is made, the bishop, continuing to face the people, says the following prayer. (This was formerly said at the conclusion of this part of the ceremony, leading into a preface.)
God of all sanctification, Sovereign almighty, whose mercy is known to be without end; o God, who embrace all things in heaven and earth together, keeping Thy mercy unto Thy people that walketh in the sight of Thy glory; hear the prayers of Thy servants, that Thy eyes may be opened upon this house day and night; and this church (changed from basilica), founded in holy mysteries in honor of Thy holy and most victorious Cross, and in memory of Thy Saint N., do Thou dedicate with Thy most great clemency, illuminate with Thy mercy, and with Thy own splendor glorify, and in mercy deign Thou to admit and propitiously to regard every person who shall come to adore Thee in this place. And for the sake of Thy great name, and Thy mighty hand, and Thy uplifted arm, willingly protect, mercifully hear, eternally defend and preserve all who supplicate Thee in this tabernacle; that always happy, and ever rejoicing in Thy religion, they may constantly persevere in the Catholic faith of the Holy Trinity. (changed from in the confession of the Holy Trinity, with Catholic Faith.)
This prayer now ends with the short conclusion, since it no longer leads into a preface. The words noted in italics above are removed; a few other minor verbal adjustments are made, which do not affect the sense.

The bishop now goes around the altar only once, (formerly seven times), sprinkling it with the Gregorian water, using an aspergil made of hyssop, and saying nothing. The antiphon Asperges me and the psalm which formerly accompanied this aspersion are suppressed.

He then ascends the altar, and with the water makes the same five crosses on it as in the previous version of the rite: first in the middle, then the upper left, lower right, lower left, and upper right. At each cross he says “Let this altar be sanctified, unto the honor of God almighty, and of the glorious Virgin Mary, and of all the Saints, and to the name and memory of Saint N. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit. Peace be to thee.” The ministers respond “Amen.” (The words noted in italics are suppressed from the previous version.) At each of the five places, the bishop makes a single cross with the water; he no longer makes three crosses above it with his hand. This ceremony is no longer called “Consecration of the Altar” in the rubrical title, but rather “Lustration of the Altar.”

During the sprinkling around the altar, and the lustration of it, the choir sings the antiphon: “I will go in to the altar of God: to God who giveth joy to my youth,” repeating it after each verse of psalm 42 Judica me, from which it is taken; Gloria Patri is not said at the end. (This antiphon and psalm were formerly said while the bishop proceeded from the blessing of the Gregorian water to the consecration of the altar with said water.)

At the same time, servers lay ash or sand before the gates of the sanctuary in the form of a Saint Andrew’s cross, in preparation for the ritual of the drawing of the two alphabets on the floor. This ritual was formerly done at an earlier point in the ceremony, before the blessing of the Gregorian water, and has already been described in the place where it occurs in the Pontifical of Clement VIII.

Having finished the lustration of the altar, the bishop says “Dominus vobiscum. Oremus.” and the following prayer. (In the Pontifical of 1595, this prayer is also said right after the crosses are made with water on the altar; it was formerly introduced by “Oremus. Flectamus genua. Levate.” The words in italics are suppressed.)
(In virtue of) that one propitiation, offered on the altar of the Cross to redeem us, and prefigured by the patriarch Jacob, when he erected a stone as a title, for sacrifice, and the vision of heaven’s gate opened above; we pour forth our prayers in supplication to Thee, o Lord, that Thou may now command the polished substance of this stone, on which the heavenly Sacrifice is to be offered, to be enriched by the abundance of Thy sanctification, who didst once write the law on tables of stone. (short conclusion)
The bishop now goes to draw the two alphabets in the ashes (or sand) on the floor, as described in part 2.3 of this series. This part of the ceremony is given a new title in the rubrics of 1961, “the taking possession and dedication of the church.”
A leaf of a 14th century Pontifical according to the use of the archdiocese of Sens, showing the two alphabets to be drawn in ashes on the floor. Greek scholars may be interested to note that the obsolete letters such as digamma and koppa, which are only used as numerical symbols in the standard alphabet, are also included.
Turning towards the people, the bishop and says,
“Dearest brethren, let us humbly pray God almighty, that He may deign to bless and keep this dwelling place, that He may drive darkness from it, and pour in light, granting no power to the raging adversary, but (rather) that it be truly the house of God, and the enemy have no freedom to do harm therein.”
This exhortation has no analogue in the prior version of this ceremony. The bishop then says “Oremus.” The deacon says both “Flectamus genua,” and, after a pause, “Levate,” which is traditionally said by the subdeacon. (A similar change was introduced in the Holy Week reform of 1955.) These were formerly said facing the door, but are now said facing the altar; the prayer which follows, however, is said by bishop facing the nave, as it was in the previous version.
O God, who sanctifiest the places that are dedicated to Thy name, pour forth Thy grace upon this house of prayer, that the aid of Thy mercy may be felt by all who here invoke thy name.
This prayer itself is unchanged, but is now said with the long conclusion, leading into the preface dialogue and preface. (In the Pontifical of 1595, the prayer “God of all sanctification” noted above was said before this preface.)

The preface: (the words in bold type are added in the 1961 revision; the words in italics are omitted.)
Truly it is meet and just, right and profitable to salvation, that we always and everywhere give Thee thanks, o Lord, holy Father, almighty and everlasting God, and humbly to pray Thee: Be present to our prayers, be present to the sacraments, be present also to the pious works of Thy servants, and to us who ask for Thy mercy. Upon this Thy church, which we, though unworthy, consecrate under the invocation of Thy holy name, to the honor of the holy Cross, on which Thy co-eternal Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, deigned to suffer for the redemption of the world, and to the memory of Saint N., let there also descend Thy Holy Spirit, abounding in all the richness of His seven-fold grace; so that, as often as Thy holy name is invoked in this house, the prayers of those who call upon Thee may be heard by Thee, holy Lord. O blessed and holy Trinity, Who dost purify all things, clean all things, adorn all things. O blessed majesty of God, Who dost fill all things, contain all things, dispose all things. O blessed and holy hand of God, Who dost sanctify all things, bless all things, enrich all things. O God, the holy of holies, with most humble devotion Thy clemency we implore, that Thou may deign by our humble ministry, in the everlasting abundance of Thy sanctification, to puri + fy, to + bless and to conse + crate this Thy church, unto the honor of the holy and most victorious Cross, and to the memory of Thy Saint N. Here also, may the priests offer to Thee sacrifices of praise, here may Thy faithful people fulfill their vows, here may the burdens of their sins be loosed, and the fallen faithful restored. In this Thy house, therefore, we beseech Thee, o Lord, may the sick be healed, the weak strengthened, the lame cured, the lepers cleansed, the blind enlightened, and demons cast out. Here may the troubles of all the weak, by Thy favor, o Lord, be relieved, and the bonds of all sins made loose; so that all who enter this temple duly to beseech Thy beneficence, may rejoice at having obtained it, and this gift of Thy grace, which They receive, give them reason to glory in Thy everlasting mercy.
It ends with the long conclusion regularly said at the end of prayers, which is no longer said in a low voice, but sung out loud as part of the preface itself.

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