Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The Feast of All Saints 2013: The Apostles

From the Breviary according to the use of the Roman Curia, 1529, the continuation of the sermon for the fourth day in the Octave of All Saints:
Next let us venerate those rays of the true Sun, the blessed Apostles, whom the Searcher of hearts and Judge of consciences took unto the work of the Gospel, men of no nobility, fishermen, common and simple, not kings and nobles, not orators and sophists, that the words of the prophet might be fulfilled, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the prudence of the prudent I will reject.” (1 Cor. 1, 19, citing Isaiah 29, 14 according to the Septuagint.) The Son of God, and the wondrous Spirit (who by the division of tongues did once scatter the pride and arrogance of the world in the building of the Tower of Babel), baptized these men, and sent them into the world, so that at their simple, humble confession, they might gather back together the diversity of those same tongues, for the building of the Holy Church.
The contrast between the confusion of tongues in the very first book of the Bible and the events of the first Pentecost which our anonymous author makes here is an obvious one. He may also, however, have been thinking of an antiphon which, although not used in the liturgical books of Rome itself, is found in several medieval Uses of the Roman Rite. The Dominicans, for example, sing this antiphon with the Psalms at First Vespers of Pentecost; the first part is borrowed from the second Alleluia of the Mass, which is sung on each day of the octave.
Aña Veni, Sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium, et tui amoris in eis ignem accende; qui per diversitatem linguarum cunctarum, gentes in unitatem fidei congregasti, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Aña Come, o Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful, and kindle within them the fire of Thy love; Who through the diversity of all tongues, didst gather the nations into the unity of the faith, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Pentecost, one of the panels from the reverse of the large altarpiece of the Cathedral of Siena known as the Maestà, by Duccio di Buoninsegna, 1308-11; now in the Cathedral Museum (Museo dell’ Opera Metropolitana del Duomo)

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