Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Theology of the Offertory - Part 7.2 - The Missals of the Monastic Orders

The Cistercians, like the Premonstratensians, changed their Offertory in the middle of the 17th century, abandoning the traditional form of their Use and replacing it with that of the Missal of St Pius V. The vogue for Romanization was at the time so strong within the Order (and elsewhere) that the possibility was seriously considered of completely abandoning the Cistercian Use of the Office in favor of the Monastic Breviary of Paul V, a matter in which, fortunately, wiser heads prevailed. Here I shall describe the Cistercian Offertory ritual as it was before this change.

After saying the Offertory antiphon, the priest elevates the paten, host and chalice together, and says the Cistercian version of the standard Offertory prayer Suscipe Sancta Trinitas while kneeling.
Suscipe, sancta Trinitas, unus Deus, hanc oblationem, quam tibi offerimus in memoriam beatæ passionis, resurrectionis et ascensionis Domini nostri Jesu Christi: et in honorem beatæ Mariæ semper Virginis genetricis ejusdem Domini nostri, et omnium Sanctorum et Sanctarum, caelestium virtutum et vivificae Crucis; ut eam acceptare digneris pro nobis peccatoribus, et pro animabus omnium fidelium defunctorum. Qui vivis et regnas Deus. Per omnia saecula saeculorum.
Receive, o holy Trinity, one God, this offering, which we offer to Thee in memory of the blessed Passion, Resurrection and Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in honor of the blessed Mary ever-Virgin, and mother of the same Our Lord, of all holy men and women, of the heavenly powers, and of the life-giving Cross; they Thou may deign to receive it on behalf of us sinners, and for the souls of all the faithful departed. That livest and reignest, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Bowing profoundly before the altar, he then says the prayer In spiritu humilitatis, with the same variation found in the Dominican Use.
In a spirit of humility, and in contrite heart, may we be received by Thee, o Lord; and so may our sacrifice take place in Thy sight this day, that it may be received by Thee, and please Thee, o Lord.
The Cistercian version of the Orate fratres is “Orate, fratres, pro me peccatore: ut meum pariter ac vestrum in conspectu Domini acceptabile fiat sacrificium. – Pray brethren, for me, a sinner: that my sacrifice, which is also yours, may be made acceptable, in the sight of the Lord.” This is very similar to that of the Premonstratensian Use; the reply to it is identical between the two uses.
Dominus sit in corde tuo et in ore tuo; suscipiatque Dominus Deus de manibus tuis sacrificium istud, et orationes tuæ ascendant in memoriam ante Deum pro nostra et totius populi salute.
May the Lord be in thy heart and in thy mouth, and may the Lord God receive this sacrifice from thy hands, and may thy prayers ascend in remembrance before God, for our salvation and that of all the people.
Like many missals formed in the medieval period, printed Cistercian Missals before this reform have no Ritus servandus, the long rubric describing in detail the actual rite of Mass; this was written down in a separate book. Fr. Edmund Waldstein of Heiligenkreuz Monastery in Austria (a.k.a. Sancrucensis) very graciously provided me with the text of this rubric from a 12th-century Cistercian manuscript. This contains a description of the rite of incensing, which I include as something which may perhaps interest the reader. One should not assume, however, that this rite was still done in precisely the same manner in 1606, when the Missal out of which I have cited the Offertory above was printed.

When the priest has received the thurible from the acolyte, he passes it once around the chalice, then incenses the right side of the mensa, the left side, and the front of the altar. He passes the thurible to the deacon, and proceeds to wash his hands, assisted by the subdeacon, after which he bows low and says In spiritu humilitatis. Meanwhile, the deacon, standing slightly away from the altar, incenses the right side of the altar twice, then the cross twice; he then passes behind the altar over to the left side, incenses it twice, and the cross on the altar twice again. The thurible is then given back to the acolyte. No reference is made to incensing any of the persons present, as one might expect in the spirit of Cistercian austerity.

The Cistercian Abbey of Pontigny, one of the four eldest daughter houses of Cîteaux. In the Cisterican system of visitations, by which mother-houses would routinely visit their daughters to ensure adherence to the rules and customs of the Order, Pontigny took turns with the abbeys of Clairvaux, La Ferté and Morimond in visiting Cîteaux itself. It was here that St Thomas Becket took refuge when driven out of England by King Henry II in 1164. 
The Carthusian Use

No one will be surprised to know that the Carthusian Offertory is even simpler and more austere than that of the Cistericans; uniquely among the Uses of the religious orders, it contains no version of Suscipe Sancta Trinitas, even though that prayer was well established as a part of Offertory when the Carthusian Order was founded in 1084. Here I give the texts and basic rubrics from a Missal of 1627; a fuller account of the Carthusian Mass is given in this article from 2008.

When placing the water in the chalice, the priest says, “From the side of our Lord Jesus Christ came forth blood and water, unto the remission of sins. In the name of the Father, + and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”, making the sign of the Cross over the chalice at the place marked. As he washes his hands, he says the customary verse of Psalm 25, “I will wash my hands among the innocent,” and two or three other verses, according to the rubric. (The Dominicans also say only three verses.)

The prayer In spiritu humilitatis is the same as the Cistercian version noted above, but it is said “when he offers the chalice at the middle of the altar.” He then makes the sign of the Cross with the chalice, saying “In the name of the Father etc.”, and lays it down.

The Missal does include a simple rubric for the incensation at the Offertory. The priest begins by holding the thurible over the chalice, without moving it, and saying “Let my prayer, o Lord, be directed as incense in thy sight.”, but only this. He then makes a cross over the chalice with it once, saying “In the name of the Father etc.” He then swings the thurible once towards the cross, once over the right side of the mensa, once over the left side, and three times before the front. As in the Cistercian Use, the incensation of the altar is continued by the deacon, who walks around the altar in a full circle, stopping to incense the Blessed Sacament as he passes both behind and in front.  As the Priest turns and says the Orate fratres, the deacon raises the front of the chasuble with one hand and with the other incenses the priest with one swing of the thurible; only the priest is incensed.

The Orate fratres is much shorter than that of the other religious Uses of the same period, consisting only in the words “Orate, fratres, pro me peccatore, ad Dominum Deum nostrum. – Pray brethren, for me a sinner, to the Lord, our God.” No reply is made.

A Carthusian Missal of 1713, open to the Offertory prayers and the beginning of the Prefaces. (This photograph was originally published on NLM in 2009.)
This series was begun as a reply to the contention made elsewhere that the Offertory was invented in the Scholastic period to create a “second sacrifice” of bread and wine, apart from the Sacrifice of Christ’s Body and Blood. I have argued against this partly on the basis of the fact that the Roman version of the Offertory makes no reference to either bread or wine as objects of sacrifice. The Carthusian version does not even use the word “sacrifice”. If the Offertory were indeed an imposture of the Scholastic period, which succeeded in foisting itself on the entire Western Church, how were the Carthusians alone allowed to not adopt this putative new theology of sacrifice and priesthood? We must also note that unlike the Cistercians, Premonstratensians and Carmelites, their use of the Mass was never Romanized, and continued to have this particularly simple form of the Offertory ritual throughout the post-Tridentine period.

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