Monday, May 05, 2014

In Honor of Saint Pius V

Pope St. Pius V's vision of the Christians' victory at Lepanto
“O God, who for the overthrow of the enemies of Thy Church and for the restoration of divine worship didst vouchsafe to choose blessed Pius as supreme Pontiff: grant that we may be defended by his patronage and so cleave to Thy service, that overcoming all the wiles of our enemies, we may rejoice in perpetual peace. Through our Lord. Amen.” (translation of the Collect for May 5, Missale Romanum 1962)

Today we offer to God our thanks for the life, work, sanctity, and intercession of this great reformer, Antonio Ghislieri (1504–1572), Vicar of Christ from January 8, 1566 to his death on May 1, 1572. Saint Pius V faithfully preserved Tradition and guided the Barque of Peter in tempestuous times. He it was who consolidated the Roman Rite at a time when a coherent, trustworthy, and eminently ancient rite was desperately needed for unity of worship (not to mention unity of doctrine) across Europe.

The Missal of Pius V, in its later editions that affect us more directly, has taught us some of the most fundamental lessons of our lives as Catholics. Through the sacred liturgy, we hallow the name of God, our Father, giving worship and thanks to Him; we pray that His kingdom come and His will be done on earth, in our souls, our families, our nations, as in heaven; we beg that the bread of eternal life be given to us, as well as the bread of earthly goods according to our daily needs; we ask humbly that our sins be forgiven even as we ask for the grace to forgive those who have sinned against us; we implore God to strengthen us in our trials and deliver us from evil.

In an address to the Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on September 21, 2001, Pope John Paul II had this to say about the Missale Romanum promulgated by his predecessor in 1570:
The People of God need to see priests and deacons behave in a way that is full of reverence and dignity, in order to help them to penetrate invisible things without unnecessary words or explanations. In the Roman Missal of Saint Pius V, as in several Eastern liturgies, there are very beautiful prayers through which the priest expresses the most profound sense of humility and reverence before the Sacred Mysteries: they reveal the very substance of the Liturgy.
A fact that will no doubt be of interest to readers of NLM (if they don't already know it): prior to Pius V there had been only four Latin Fathers recognized as Doctors of the Church—Augustine, Jerome, Gregory, and Ambrose. In 1567, Pope Pius V elevated St. Thomas Aquinas as the fifth Doctor, and in 1568, added the four Eastern Fathers St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory Nazianzus, and St. Athanasius.

Saint Pius V, pray for us.
A small edition of the Missale Romanum from 1587

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