Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Theology of the Offertory - Part 7.8 - Two Prayers from the 1565 Missal of Seville

As noted in the most recent articles of this series, the Missals of Toledo and Seville are quite unusual in having preserved so late as the mid-16th century a type of prayer called an “Apologia”, in which the priest protests his unworthiness to approach the altar and offer the Eucharistic sacrifice. At Toledo, two of them remained in the place which they originally had when they were created, as part of the Offertory, although their use was optional. In the Missal of Seville, which has four of them, they are printed between the prayers said before the altar at the beginning of Mass and the blessing before the Gospel. This missal has far fewer rubrics than that of Toledo, and gives no indication as to when these prayers were to be said. Only the last one has a rubric before it, which states that the priest says it “before the sacred things, or when he wishes.”

It was a custom in some places in the Middle Ages for the priest to say prayers silently when he was seated and the choir was singing. The prayer Summe sacerdos et vere Pontifex, a common prayer of preparation for Mass, is preceded in some editions of the Sarum Missal by a rubric which says that it is “to be said during the Mass (‘in missa’) while the Office (the Sarum term for the Introit), Kyrie, Gloria and Creed are sung.” (It continues by saying “or the whole prayer is said before the Mass, which is better.”) That such a custom should have arisen is not surprising, given the extreme length of many polyphonic works of the 15th and 16th centuries.

The retable of the high altar of Seville Cathedral, showing various episodes from the Life of Christ. The project was begun by a Flemish artist, Pierre Dancart, in 1482, who continued worked on it for ten years. It was continued by others after his death and completed in 1564. (Image from wikipedia by Shawn Lipowski.)
The position in which the Apologias are printed in the Missal of Seville indicates that they were used in the same way, as optional prayers to say if the singing was very long. The first prayer is labelled as “A Prayer of St. Ambrose”, as was commonly done in the Middle Ages. It comes from the 9th-century manuscript known as the Sacramentary of St. Gatien of Tours in France, and is also found in the Missal of Sarum inter alia.

Deus, qui de indignis dignos, de peccatoribus justos, de immundis facis mundos; munda cor meum et corpus meum ab omni sorde et cogitatione peccati: et fac me dignum atque strenuum sanctis altaribus ministrum: et praesta, ut in hoc altari ad quod indignus accedere praesumo, acceptabiles tibi hostias offeram pro peccatis et offensionibus, et innumeris quotidianis meis excessibus, et pro peccatis omnium viventium, et defunctorum fidelium, et eorum qui se meis commendaverunt orationibus: et per eum tibi meum sit acceptabile votum: qui se tibi Deo Patri pro nobis obtulit in sacrificium: qui est omnium opifex et solus sine peccati macula Pontifex, Jesus Christus Filius tuus Dominus noster. Qui tecum etc.

O God, who makest worthy men of the unworthy, just men of sinners, and clean of the unclean: cleanse my heart and my body from all filth and thought of sin: and make me a fitting and vigorous minister for Thy Holy Altars: and grant that upon this altar, which I, though unworthy, dare to approach, I may offer Thee acceptable sacrifices for my sins and offenses, and my daily and innumerable excesses, and for the sins of all the living, and of the faithful departed, and of those that have commended themselves to my prayers, and may my prayer be acceptable to Thee, through Him who for us offered Himself in sacrifice to Thee, God the Father, who is the maker of all things, and the only High Priest without the stain of sin: Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord. Who lives etc.

This is followed by a brief prayer of a different type, and then another Apologia.

Domine Jesu Christe, Fili Dei vivi, immensam clementiam tuam humili devotione deposco, ne irascaris mihi indigno famulo tuo, pro eo quod immundus mente et corpore domum tuam sanctam intrare, et ad corpus sanguinemque tuum sumendum accedere praesumo indignus, et multis flagitiis obrutus. Sed reconciliare mihi, Domine Jesu Christe, Fili Dei vivi, qui mulierem fluxum sanguinis patientem a tactu gloriosissimae fimbriae vestimenti tui non prohibuisti. Illam quoque peccatricem ac paenitentem a sanctorum pedum tuorum osculo non sprevisti. Ita nec me, Domine, pro innumerabilibus sceleribus meis a communione tanti mysterii velut immundum repellas, sed paenitentiam mihi dignam agere, fontemque lacrimarum habere concedas; ut pura mente et casto corpore, non jam ad judicium, sed ad remissionem omnium peccatorum meorum te miserante illud percipere merear, Salvator mundi. Qui cum Patre etc.

Lord Jesus Christ, son of the Living God, with humble devotion I ask Thy boundless clemency; that Thou be not wroth with me, Thy unworthy servant, that unclean in mind and body, I presume to enter Thy holy house, and come to receive Thy body and blood, though unworthy and overwhelmed by many shameful deeds. But be Thou reconciled to me, Lord Jesus Christ, son of the Living God, who kept not the woman that suffered the issue of blood from the touch of the most glorious hem of Thy garment. Thou also didst not spurn the sinful and penitent woman from the kiss of Thy holy feet. So also drive me not away, o Lord, as one unclean because of my innumerable crimes from partaking in so great a mystery, but grant me to do worthy penance, and have a fount of tears; that with pure mind and chaste body, I may merit to receive it no longer unto judgment, but unto the remission of all my sins, in Thy mercy, o Savior of the world. Who with the Father etc.

After this comes the Apologia prayer Si tantum Domine, which I have already given in Latin and English à propos of the Missal of Toledo. Unlike that of Toledo, the Missal of Seville does include Suscipe Sancta Trinitas, the medieval Offertory prayer par excellence, and in fact has a second version of it, which I believe is unique to that Use, which is to be said at Requiem Masses. Seville is also unique in placing both versions among the Apologias, and not in the Offertory; they are given in Latin and English in the previous article of this series. This group of prayers concludes with another Apologia, Deus, qui non mortem, which has also been given previously in Latin and English from the Missal of Toledo.

Lenten Art Commentaries by Fr Michael Morris

Here is an excellent series of recorded commentaries on works of art by Fr Michael Morris of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology. Fr Morris, who is on the full-time faculty of the school, heads their Religion and the Arts program, and writes the sacred art meditations for the monthly Magnificat magazine. He has been posting one a week during Lent, and they can be viewed here.  I encourage readers to visit this site watch these videos. At the end of this article is his meditation on the Ecce Homo by the Flemish artist Quentin Massys; the original painting is in the Prado in Madrid.

This does raise the question of what is purpose of such meditations? How do we make use of all the great information they contain? Do they help our participation in the liturgy? If so, how? If we cannot answer these questions satisfactorily then perhaps what we have here is just a bit of pious relaxation, one step up from vegging out in front of a documentary on the television - Catholic PBS!

The first point for each of us to ask ourselves, I suggest, is this: am I doing this as an exercise in understanding the work of art, or treating the work of art as a means for enhancing my knowledge and understanding of the Word? If it is the former, (and I speak for myself here), then I am indulging in intellectual pride or a cultural affectation. I might as well be be taking a benign secular art history course which, while acknowledging the Catholic intentions of the artist, is detached from them.

Even if my goal is the latter - enhancing knowledge and understanding of the Word - then unless it is conformed to the ultimate end, it becomes another form of intellectual pride in which I am seeking theological knowledge and understanding, rather than artistic.

The answer has to be that, like all other human activity, it can be ordered to the purpose of deepening my participation in the Sacred Liturgy, But how? Here is my approach:

I suggest that it is analogous to the study of Scripture, which when done well, internalizes what is learned so that our worship of God is more worthy. This last point raises yet another additional question. If meditation on art is analogous to study of Scripture, why bother with the study of art at all? Why not just study Scripture directly?

The answer is given to us in the Catechism. In the first item that comes under the heading Truth, Beauty and Sacred Art, we read, “Truth is beautiful in itself. Truth in words, the rational expression of the knowledge of created and uncreated reality, is necessary to man, who is endowed with intellect. But truth can also find other complementary forms of human expression, above all when it is a matter of evoking what is beyond words: the depths of the human heart, the exaltations of the soul, the mystery of God.” (CCC 2500)

This suggests that the words of the art meditation are just a first step. They lead us into a receptivity of those aspects of the work of art that are not said in the mediation, and which are “beyond words”. This is a passive, contemplative mode of study. It is, when understood in this way, a sort of visual lectio divina. This is not a new idea; St. Claire of Assisi, for example, is often credited with the development of a technique of meditating on art in this way. I suggest that in fact, unless art is studied in conjunction with this contemplative mode, then one might as well just be reading the truths of theology from a written script; we are not gaining anything beyond the words by looking at the picture.

And then we must go further still. Just as Benedictine spirituality as outlined in the Rule does not end with lectio divina but rather with the Opus Dei, the work of God - worshiping him in the Sacred Liturgy - so our meditation and contemplation of art must be directed towards this higher goal.

There are two ways in which this can be so, I suggest. The first, is an intellectual process that transforms us - those aspects of the Word that have been internalized by both meditation and contemplation are brought to the altar and affect our response in the Eucharist.

The second is that the meditation and contemplation of the art has developed our faculties of meditation and contemplation to a higher place. So when our worship is done in conjunction with appropriate holy images we use those faculties within the context of worship and are more engaged with that imagery in a way that raises our hearts and minds to God in our worship. Those truths that are beyond words are with us in the liturgy too.

This last point presupposes, of course, that there is some decent liturgical art where the liturgy is taking place!

As students, we are more likely to make this connection right up the hierarchy of ends and put it into practice if we are made aware by our teachers and develop the habit of using art work in our prayer and especially in the liturgy. Without this there is a real danger that such meditations will be just the empty intellectual exercises that give academia a bad name.

The Church tells us that when it offers a Catholic education, “A school is a privileged place in which, through a living encounter with a cultural inheritance, integral formation occurs.” ( The Catholic School, 26; pub. The Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education, 1977) This encounter with our cultural inheritance is not a “living” encounter that provides “integral formation” unless it is in conformity with its highest purpose - the worship of God in the Sacred Liturgy. It is the job of those us who teach to transmit to our students how to use well the information we give, in conformity with our ultimate end; otherwise we let them down...and waste many wonderful resources such as those provided by Fr Morris.

Don't forget the Way of Beauty online courses www.Pontifex.University (go to the Catalog) for college credit, for continuing ed. units, or for audit. A formation through an encounter with a cultural heritage - for artists, architects, priests and seminarians, and all interested in contributing to the 'new epiphany of beauty'.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Tenebrae at St Thomas Apostle DC

Is Lack of Solemnity a Cause or a Symptom of Our Problems?

The Ordinary Form at the Sacred Music Colloquium
The first chapter in my recently-published book is entitled “Solemnity: The Crux of the Matter.” Part of my argument therein is that when the liturgy is not celebrated “with due solemnity,” as St. Thomas would say, it falls short of its very essence as our participation in the heavenly liturgy, it grows slack in its power to sanctify us by forming our minds and hearts, and it fails to give to Almighty God the full measure of glory He ought to receive from His creatures. Thus, a failure to cultivate appropriately solemn liturgy causes the Mass, as well as the Divine Office (really, in either form of the Roman Rite), to become problematic, to be a cause of problems in the life of the Church and of the Christian.

When this essay first appeared in The Latin Mass back in 2008, a reader at the time submitted the following critique:
Lack of solemnity isn’t the cause of the problem with the Mass. It is a symptom of the problem with the Mass. Kwasniewski lays out the alternatives well enough: either a “fault endemic to the Ordinary Form of the Roman rite of the Mass, that which follows the Missal of Paul VI”, or a “problem with the people and their shepherds.” He wastes little time deciding on the latter.
          But not so fast. I cannot bring myself to believe that the problem is that for the past forty years we have been failing miserably the lofty standards set for us by Annibale Bugnini and his Mighty Fifteen. Kwasniewski is not saying that either, of course, but he is hewing to a course that leads us in that direction.
          Briefly, human behavior does not change in a vacuum. Devotion to liturgy does not evaporate unless the liturgy has itself evaporated, or at least become so eviscerated that people no longer know what constitutes proper response.
          The joy joy joy of participation theme comes right from Vatican II and its aftermath. It is most definitely NOT merely a failing of random weakly-trained priests, bishops, and laity. Joy and solemnity are note antipodes, as some seem to think, but neither are they compatible in any obvious way. We were exhorted to joyous participation, and we responded with pleasantry, diffidence, and informality—they call that being “welcoming.”
          Unsolemnity grew naturally and inevitably from the lack of rubric, lack of a sense of the need for discipline, and the proliferation of one “option” after another. Don’t like chant? Howzabout a little strummin’ for Jesus? This gospel passage a little strong for you? Bracket it and omit it. Don’t like this canon? Too long? Too many saints’ names? No prob — try this one, or this one — or do what 99.9% of American priests do: stick with the real short one. Reception on the tongue a bit yucky? Take it in the hand. Want a little wine with that?
          What you end up with is not a liturgy, but an anti-liturgy. That is, a “liturgy” which destroys itself by allowing so many options and so much innovation that there is little left to be solemn about.
          In other words, to a large extent Professor Kwasniewski has put the cart before the horse. It is the Novus Ordo liturgy and its lack of rubric that invites bad behavior, much more than it is bad behavior which spoils good liturgy. A solemn, “proper” Novus Ordo is, at best, a cosmetic solution to a much more serious problem.
I sympathize with what this writer is saying; so much of it is obviously true. Indeed, I had once thought that it was going to be easier to apply the hermeneutic of continuity to the Ordinary Form than it has proved to be, for the simple reason that there are as many versions of the modern Roman liturgy as there are dioceses, religious orders, and priests who use it, and almost no one agrees about anything definite. Inculturation has led to babelization. Catholic clergy, religious, and laity who have gratefully embraced Benedict XVI’s vision of a Reform of the Reform have not yet been able to prevail over institutionalized mediocrity and the inertia of bad habit. While there is no question that the Benedictine renewal is here to stay, especially among younger clergy, we cannot kid ourselves: the revival of an authentic liturgical spirit and the defeat of the malleable modernist model of the Mass is going to be a long drawn-out war, like the trench warfare of World War I.

One point on which I wholeheartedly agree with my critic is when he says: “Unsolemnity grew naturally and inevitably from the lack of rubric, lack of a sense of the need for discipline, and the proliferation of one ‘option’ after another.” Only a priest classically trained, with deep religious sensibilities, would be able to approach a liturgy so formless, so laden with options, and manage to celebrate it with solemnity — or let us say, invest that ritual with the solemnity that the Mass ought to have, patterning his ars celebrandi after the pre-rupture paradigm.

The Novus Ordo does not require solemnity, it merely permits it. For example, the Propers of the Mass are not required but permitted; traditional sacred music is not required but permitted; worship facing eastwards, the stance of nearly 2,000 years of Christian worship, is not required but permitted (although seldom seen); communion on the tongue, kneeling, is not required but permitted; and so forth. In general, continuity with the great tradition of Catholic worship is theoretically permissible, but almost never mandated — and rarely witnessed on the ground. To paraphrase Martin Mosebach, the problem with the new liturgy is that it may be celebrated reverently. (There’s more to that statement than meets the eye...)

The revolutionary change in the liturgy in 1969/1970, no matter what one thinks of its particulars, gave a lot of people the carte-blanche excuse they were apparently waiting for (or, in some cases, not waiting for as they rushed ahead with unauthoriazed experiments): now everything is up for grabs and we can do whatever we want with the liturgy. This, surely, is contrary to the very idea of a Missal or of rubrics at all. In a healthier period not so hell-bent on self-destruction, among clergy still animated with the fear of the Lord, the Novus Ordo Missae, for all its admitted faults, could have been the point of departure for dependably reverent celebrations, as can actually be seen in such rare groups as the Community of St. Martin, the Oratorians, or the Church Music Association of America. One might perhaps say that if you do not bring to the Novus Ordo Missae the spirit of reverence (presumably developed elsewhere, e.g., from the usus antiquior or from private devotions faithfully practiced), you will not find that spirit in its slim modern profile and minimalist requirements.

It would certainly be mistaken, however, to claim that the “joy joy joy of participation theme” comes from Vatican II. Rather, Vatican II was content to transmit the emphasis on active participation (participatio actuosa) that one finds in the exhortations of St. Pius X, Pius XI, and Pius XII, themselves echoing the original Liturgical Movement’s earnest desire to have the people take rightful possession of the liturgy inasmuch as it pertains to them — following the prayers of the liturgy with understanding, chanting the responses and the Ordinary of the Mass, joining in public Vespers, and so forth. Having seen that the liturgy had become the specialized province of the clergy, Holy Mother Church rightly wished to remind the laity that the liturgy is theirs as well, the most sublime, pleasing, and sanctifying prayer for all Christians.

But this preconciliar program was premised on a fundamental truth: the liturgy is a gift to us from God through the generations that have preceded us, one that we must gratefully receive and enter into more and more fully. Participation thus meant entering into something already present in our midst, prior to our cogitation and volition; a transmitted body of symbols, cross-textured with words, melodies, gestures, actions, endowed with supernatural vitality and inexhaustible richness. It most definitely could not mean that we fashion something ourselves which, being in some way the image of our own mentality and our own age, we then “participate in,” as we create athletic games or board games that we then throw ourselves into.

The radical distortion of the concept of active participation is only slightly visible in Sacrosanctum Concilium, in the overemphasis on having people DO-SAY-SING stuff, as if this were always necessary at every step or as if, in and of itself, it guarantees true immersion in the liturgical act. Nevertheless, in most respects — including its insistence that participation is first interior before it is exterior and that the entire success of liturgical renewal depends on sound formation — this document is in continuity with the better tendencies of the Church-approved Liturgical Movement.

To return, then, to my critic, here is my agreement and my disagreement. The Novus Ordo is partly, but not exclusively, responsible for the loss of solemnity, and there is plenty of work that we can and should do, in regard to both forms of the Roman Rite, to intensify and elevate the solemnity of our liturgical celebrations. The ultimate solution, if we’re talking about a “Reform of the Reform,” can only be a Missal that is in deep and manifest continuity with the classical Roman rite. Indeed, as is generally acknowledged, even the Missal of 1962, as excellent as it is, already embodies the massive rupture of the post-1948 Holy Week ceremonies. Perhaps the distant path to liturgical peace and coherence will go by way of the 1962 Missal as the base text, with a restored pre-1948 Holy Week, and a few additional Prefaces, votive Masses, and saints’ feasts, so that the Missal is both up to date and manifestly Roman.

Ah, but now we are daydreaming. Our immediate work is somehow both simpler and more demanding: to offer the Sacrifice of Praise in both forms of the Roman Rite, as they now exist, with as much solemnity as possible, according to our circumstances, in continuity with the best of our tradition. Surely, in whatever capacity we serve our Lord, we may consciously strive, in all the ways at our disposal, for the “due solemnity” that befits the celebration of the Church’s sacraments and liturgies. Nothing less is worthy of our King to receive, nothing less is fitting for man to give.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Palm Sunday 2015

A great multitude that was met together at the festival cried out to the Lord: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest! (Processional antiphon of Palm Sunday)

The Entry of Christ into Jerusalem, by Pedro Orrente, ca. 1620, now in the Hermitage in St Petersburg
Turba multa, quae convenerat ad diem festum, clamabat Domino: benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini, hosanna in excelsis!

(Don't forget to send in photographs of your Palm Sunday ceremonies! photopost@newliturgicalmovement.org)

A Roman Pilgrim at the Station Churches 2015 (Part 10)

Tuesday of Passion Week - Station at Santa Maria in Via Lata
The original station church for this day, Saint Cyriacus, was demolished in the late 15th-century, and the station transferred to nearby Santa Maria in Via Lata. The crypt of this church (seen in the first photo) is believed to be part of a building where St Paul lived. The icon of the Virgin Mary over the altar dates to the late 13th-century.

Wednesday of Passion Week  - Station at Saint Marcellus
This station fell on March 25th, so the Mass was that of the Annunciation, rather than the Lenten feria. By a happy coincidence, the painting over the main altar is of the Annunciation.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Call for Participation - Society for Catholic Liturgy October 2015 Conference - NYC

A Call for Papers for the 2015 Meeting of the Society for Catholic Liturgy

The Liturgy: It is Right and Just
October 1-3, 2015
New York City

Keynote speaker: Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone

At the Sheen Center and the
Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral

​The Society for Catholic Liturgy will celebrate its twentieth anniversary in the heart of Manhattan ​with a conference exploring how the Church’s sacred worship is dignum et iustum, right and just.
​ ​
​​Questions arising from this topic may include but are not limited to:

A. Translation:
What is the history of the phrase dignum et iustum in the Western liturgical tradition?
What are the principles of sound liturgical translation?
Issues surrounding the 2011 translation of the Roman Missal
Issues surrounding the translation of the Lectionary
Issues surrounding the translation of the Liturgy of the Hours

B. The Rightness and Justice of Sacred Liturgy:
What does it mean to say that giving thanks to the Lord is “right” and “just”?
Liturgy and morality are usually treated as unrelated subjects. How is liturgical worship “just”?
How does one “do justice” to God with sacred art, sacred music, or sacred architecture?
Dignum means “meet” or “right,” but it also means “appropriate, suitable, worthy.”
What is “appropriate” worship, or what is worship that is worthy of God?
What is “appropriate” in sacred art, sacred music, or sacred architecture?

Other proposals will be considered, but primary consideration will be given to proposals that are related to the conference’s theme.

+ + +

Submissions: Paper proposals of approximately 250 words should be emailed to secretary@liturgysociety.org or mailed to Mr. Christopher Carstens, Board Secretary – Society of Catholic Liturgy, Diocese of La Crosse, PO Box 4004, La Crosse, WI 54602-4004.

Proposals must be received by June 30, 2015.

Presentations will be 45 minutes in length, followed by 15 minutes of discussion. Papers presented will be considered for publication in Antiphon.

Presenters must register for the conference and will be responsible for their own expenses.

The Raising of Lazarus in the Liturgy of Lent

Until the first part of the eighth century, the Thursdays of Lent were “aliturgical” days in the Roman Rite, days on which no ferial Mass was celebrated. A similar custom prevails to this day in the Ambrosian and Byzantine Rites, the former abstaining from the Eucharistic Sacrifice on all the Fridays in Lent, the latter on all the weekdays. I have described in another article why Pope St Gregory II (715-31) changed this custom, and instituted Masses for the six Thursdays between Ash Wednesday and Holy Week. The Epistle and Gospel for the Thursday in the fourth week of Lent were clearly chosen as a prelude to those of the following day, which are a much older part of the lectionary tradition. In the Epistle of both days, one of the prophets raises not just a man, but a son, at the behest of his mother, anticipating the Resurrection of the Son of God; on Thursday, Elisha raises the Sunamite’s son (4 Kings 4, 25-38), and on Friday Elijah raises the dead son of the widow of Sarephta (3 Kings 17, 17-24). Likewise, on Thursday, Christ raises the widow of Naim’s son (Luke 7, 11-16) as he is born out to burial, and on Friday, Lazarus, on the fourth day after his death. (John 11, 1-45)

In his Treatises on the Gospel of St John, St Augustine notes à propos of this latter Gospel, and the resurrection of the dead at the end of the world, “(Christ) raised one that stank, but nevertheless in the stinking cadaver there was yet the form of its members; on the last day, with one word He will restore ashes to the flesh. But it was necessary that He should then do some (miracles), so that, when these were put forth as signs of His might, we might believe in Him, and be prepared for that resurrection which will be unto life, and not unto judgement. For He sayeth thus, ‘The hour cometh, when all that are in the graves shall hear His voice. And they that have done good things, shall come forth unto the resurrection of life; but they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment.’ ” (Tract 49, citing John 5, 28-29)

The Raising Of Lazarus, painted by Giotto in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, 1304-06
When St Paul spoke at the Areopagus in Athens (Acts 17, 19-34), many of the pagan philosophers who had gathered to hear him scoffed at the mention of the resurrection of the dead. The Church Fathers bear witness to the repulsion which many pagans felt at the Christian belief that the body might share the immortality which they saw as proper only to the soul, and many early heresies rejected both the Incarnation and the resurrection of the flesh professed in the Creed. On the day when the Raising of Lazarus is read, therefore, the Lenten station is kept at the church of St Eusebius on the Esquiline hill, which stood very close to a large and very ancient necropolis, a “city of the dead”, one which dated back even before the founding of Rome itself. In this way, the Church, led by the bishop of Rome, proclaimed to the ancient pagan world Her belief in the resurrection of the body, made possible by the death and resurrection of the Savior.

On the ferias of Lent, the Communion antiphons are taken each one from a different Psalm in sequential order, starting on Ash Wednesday with Psalm 1. The days which were formerly aliturgical do not form part of this series, namely, the six Thursdays, and also the first and last Saturday; the ferias of Holy Week are also not included. (See the table below; click for larger view.)

The series is also interrupted on six days when particularly important passages of the Gospels are read, and the Communion is taken from them instead, the last such being the Raising of Lazarus.

Communio Videns Dominus flentes sorores Lazari ad monumentum, lacrimatus est coram Judaeis, et exclamavit: Lazare, veni foras: et prodiit ligatis manibus et pedibus, qui fuerat quatriduanus mortuus.
Seeing the sisters of Lazarus weeping at the tomb, the Lord wept before the Jews, and cried out: Lazarus, come forth: and he who had been dead four days came forth, bound by his hands and feet.
The Roman Mass of the day makes no other reference to the Gospel; in this sense, the Ambrosian Rite gives Lazarus much greater prominence. The First Sunday of Lent in the Ambrosian Rite is called “in capite jejunii – the beginning of the fast”; the following four Sundays are each named for their Gospels, all taken from St John: the Samaritan Woman (4, 5-42), Abraham (8, 31-59), the Blind Man (9, 1-38), and Lazarus (11, 1-45). On the Fifth Sunday, four of the seven Mass chants cite the day’s Gospel, and the Preface speaks at length about the Raising of Lazarus. The Ingressa (Introit) of the Mass is similar to the Roman Communion cited above.
Ingressa Videns Dominus sororem Lazari ad monumentum, lacrimatus coram Judaeis, et exclamavit: Lazare, veni foras. Et prodiit ligatis manibus et pedibus, stetit ante eum, qui fuerat quatriduanus mortuus.
Seeing the sister of Lazarus at the tomb, the Lord wept before the Jews, and cried out: Lazarus, come forth: and he who had been dead four days, coming forth, stood before him, bound by his hands and feet.
The first reading of the Mass is Exodus 14, 15-31, the Crossing of the Red Sea, a passage which most rites have at the Easter Vigil. St Paul teaches in First Corinthians that this is a prefiguration of baptism: “Our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea. And all in Moses were baptized, in the cloud, and in the sea: And did all eat the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink; (and they drank of the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.)” (chap. 10, 1-4) St Ambrose, in his Commentary on the Song of Songs, says that just as the children of “after the crossing of the Red Sea … were cleansed … by the flow of the rock that poured forth spiritual water, for the rock was Christ; and therefore they ate the manna; so that, as often as they were washed clean, they might eat the bread of angels… now also, in the mysteries of the Gospel, you recognize that being baptized … you are cleansed by spiritual food and drink.” (IV.5; PL XV, 1905A)
The Crossing of the Red Sea, depicted in a paleo-Christian sarcophagus, a reasonably common motif in early Christian funerary art. The front of the sarcophagus has been sawed off and used as the front of an altar in the Cathedral of Arles in France.
The Ambrosian Rite uses this passage not at the Easter vigil, but as an introduction to the story of Lazarus, whose death and resurrection foretell those of Christ Himself, and in Him, our own; first spiritually in the waters of baptism, and second in the body, at the end of the world. The chant which follows the first reading is called the Psalmellus; as the name suggests, it is almost always taken from one of the Psalms, like its Roman equivalent, the Gradual. Here we might expect that it be taken from the canticle of Moses in chapter 15, which follows the same passage at the Easter Vigil of the Roman and Byzantine Rites; instead, it is taken from the Gospel.
Psalmellus Occurrerunt Maria et Martha ad Jesum, dicentes: Domine, Domine, si fuisses hic, Lazarus non esset mortuus. Respondit Jesus: Martha, si credideris, videbis gloriam Dei. V. Videns Jesus turbam flentem, infremuit spiritu, lacrimatus; et veniens ad locum, clamavit voce magna: Lazare veni foras. Et revixit qui erat mortuus, et vidit gloriam Dei.
Mary and Martha came to meet Jesus, saying: Lord, Lord, if Thou had been here, Lazarus would not have died. Jesus answered: Martha, if thou shalt believe, thou shalt see the glory of God. V. Seeing the crowd weeping, Jesus groaned in spirit, weeping, and coming to the place, He cried out in a loud voice: Lazarus, come forth. And he that had died came back to life, and saw the glory of God.
The only other day on which the Psalmellus is taken from the Gospel is Holy Thursday, which in the Ambrosian Rite is much more focused on the Passion than on the Institution of the Eucharist. The first reading at the Ambrosian Mass of the Lord’s Supper is the entire book of Jonah, whose story Christ Himself explains as a prophecy of His death and resurrection; the Psalmellus which follows it is taken from the first part of the Passion of St Matthew, chapter 26, 17-75. The Ambrosian liturgy then makes explicit in the Preface this link between the death of Lazarus and that of Christ, in which our redemption is effected. (I here cite only the end of this beautiful text, which can only be spoiled in translation.)
Praefatio O quam magnum et salutare mysterium, quod per resurrectionem Lazari figuraliter designatur! Ille tabo corporis dissolutus, per superni regis imperium continuo surrexit ad vitam. Nos quidem primi hominis facinore consepultos, divina Christi gratia ex inferis liberavit, et redivivos gaudiis reddidit sempiternis.
O how great and profitable to salvation is this mystery, which is represented in a figure through the resurrection of Lazarus! He, being loosed from the corruption of the body, by the command of the Almighty King rose at once to life. Christ’s divine grace delivered us from hell, who indeed were buried by the crime of the first man, and restored us to eternal joy, when we had returned to life.
The preface of the Fifth Sunday of Lent, sung during the Capitular Mass at the Basilica of St Ambrose in Milan in 2012. The part of the preface which I have cited above begins at 1:23.

In the Byzantine Rite, the connection is made even more explicit; the Gospel of the Raising of Lazarus is read on the day before Palm Sunday, which is therefore called Lazarus Saturday. Bright vestments are used at the Divine Liturgy, instead of the dark vestments used at most services of Lent and Holy Week. The troparion sung at the Little Entrance declares the meaning of the Raising of Lazarus, and is also sung the following day, which is one of the Twelve Great feasts of the Byzantine liturgical year.
Troparion Τὴν κοινὴν Ἀνάστασιν πρὸ τοῦ σοῦ Πάθους πιστούμενος, ἐκ νεκρῶν ἤγειρας τὸν Λάζαρον, Χριστὲ ὁ Θεός, ὅθεν καὶ ἡμεῖς ὡς οἱ Παῖδες, τὰ τῆς νίκης σύμβολα φέροντες, σοὶ τῷ Νικητῇ τοῦ θανάτου βοῶμεν. Ὡσαννὰ ἐν τοῖς ὑψίστοις, εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι Κυρίου!
Confirming the general resurrection before Thy passion, Thou didst raise Lazarus from the dead, O Christ God! Whence we also, like the children, bearing the symbols of victory, cry out to Thee, the Vanquisher of death: Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord!
The troparion of Lazarus Saturday sung in Spanish, Old Church Slavonic, Arabic, Romanian and English.

The Paschal character of the day expressed by the use of bright vestments also informs the kontakion which follows the troparion.
Kontakion Ἡ πάντων χαρά, Χριστός, ἡ ἀλήθεια, τὸ φῶς, ἡ ζωή, τοῦ κόσμου ἡ ἀνάστασις, τοῖς ἐν γῇ πεφανέρωται τῇ αὐτοῦ ἀγαθότητι, καὶ γέγονε τύπος τῆς ἀναστάσεως, τοῖς πᾶσι παρέχων θείαν ἄφεσιν.
The joy of all, Christ, the Truth, and the Light, the Life, the Resurrection of the world, has appeared in His goodness to those on earth. He has become the image of our Resurrection, granting divine forgiveness to all.
While the troparia and kontakia are sung by the choir, the priest silently reads a prayer called the Prayer of the Trisagion, but sings the doxology out loud. It is followed at once by the hymn “Holy God, Holy mighty one, holy immortal one, have mercy on us.” On a very small number of days, however, the Trisagion, as it is called, is replaced by another chant, the words of Galatians 3, 27, “As many of you as have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ, alleluia.” Among these days are certain feasts of Lord such as Christmas, Epiphany (i.e. the Baptism of the Lord), Easter and Pentecost, and also Lazarus Saturday.

The traditional Old Church Slavonic version of “As many of you ...” begins at 0:52

As the Church prepares to accompany the Savior to His passion and death, and celebrate His glorious Resurrection, the Orthros (Matins) of Lazarus Saturday declares in several texts of surpassing beauty our salvation in Christ, who in His humanity wept for the death of Lazarus, the death He himself would shortly suffer, and in His divinity raised both Lazarus and Himself, as he will raise the whole of our fallen race on the last day.

Knowing beforehand all thing as their Maker, in Bethany didst Thou foretell to Thy disciples, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep today’; and knowing, Thou asked, ‘Where have ye laid him?” And to the Father Thou prayed, weeping as a man; whence also crying out, Thou raised from Hades Lazarus, whom Thou loved, on the fourth day. Therefore we cry to Thee: Accept, Christ and God, the praise of those that make bold to bring it, and deem all worthy of Thy glory.

O Christ, Thou raised Lazarus that was dead for four days from Hades, before Thy own death, confounding the power of death, and for the sake of one beloved to Thee, proclaiming beforehand the liberation of all men from corruption. Wherefore adoring Thy omnipotence, we cry out, ‘Blessed art Thou, o Savior; have mercy on us!’

Providing to Thy disciples the proofs of Thy divinity, among the crowds Thou didst humble Thyself, taking counsel to hide It; wherefore, as one that knoweth beforehand and as God, to Thy disciples Thou foretold the death of Lazarus. And in Bethany, among the peoples, perceiving not the grave of Thy friend, as a man Thou asked to learn of it. But he that through Thee rose on the fourth day made manifest Thy divine power; Almighty Lord, glory to Thee!

A Beautiful Collection of Holy Week Photographs

A stunning collection of photographs of Holy Week taken during the last ten years at St John Cantius in Chicago has been assembled, which you can see over at their website. As a preview, I have posted a few photographs below of Palm Sunday, Tenebrae, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. Do go and have a look at the whole collection.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Picture Post: Passion Sunday at St. Theresa's, Trumbull, CT

St. Theresa's Church, Trumbull, CT, celebrated its third Mass in the Extraordinary Form to mark Passion Sunday. The Rev. Shawn W. Cutler, parochial vicar, was the celebrant, assisted by the pastor, the Rev. Brian P. Gannon, S.T.D., as deacon, and Mr. John Pia as subdeacon. An estimated congregation of 200 attended the mass. The parish schola cantorum provided the music.

The Hungarian Greek-Catholic Church Elevated to Metropolitan Sui Juris Status

As reported last week on Vatican Radio and elsewhere, the Holy Father has elevated the Hungarian Greek-Catholic Church from a church sui juris to the status of a metropolitan church sui juris. The Eparchy of Hajdúdorog has been raised to the status of a metropolitan see, and Fülöp Kocsis, hitherto Bishop of Hajdúdorog, has been appointed the first metropolitan archbishop. The Apostolic Exarchate of Miskolc has been raised to an Eparchy, and a new Eparchy has been created at Nyíregyháza; Bishop Atanáz Orosz has been appointed bishop of the former, and Apostolic administrator of the latter sede vacante. Both are suffragan to Hajdúdorog.

The website of the Hungarian Greek-Catholic Church has posted a very large number of photos of the installation of Metropolitan Fülöp; they are also available on the church’s facebook page, along with a number of links to various videos. Here is just a small selection, reproduced with their kind permission. (This post has been amended; thanks to Mr Samuel Howard for pointing out my original mistake in the combox.)

And here is a video of the complete ceremony; you can make it bigger by clicking the link at the top and watching it in a separate window.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Holy Week Photopost Request

As always, the high point of our photopost collection is Holy Week;. We invite you to send your photos (whether of the Ordinary or Extraordinary Form) to photopost@newliturgicalmovement.org for inclusion. We are also always glad to receive photographs of celebrations in the Eastern rites, as well as vespers and the office. Please be sure to include the name and location of the church, and always feel free to add any other information you think important.

Specifically, we are looking for photos from Palm Sunday, Chrism Mass, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil, Tenebrae, and Easter Sunday.

Evangelize through beauty!

Passiontide Veils 2015 - Your Photos

As always, thanks to all of our readers who sent in photographs of their churches with veils for Passiontide. We are looking forward to seeing your pictures of yesterday’s feast, the Annunciation, followed by Palm Sunday and the rest of Holy Week, and then Easter. (This post has been updated with several new submissions, and we will be happy to add more if they arrive.)

St Mary Magdalene - Brighton, England
for more images see Fr. Ray Blake’s blog: http://marymagdalen.blogspot.co.uk/
Missa Cantata in the Premonstratensian Use. Note how right after the Consecration, the priest stretches his hands out in the form of Cross, a very common custom of medieval uses.
Oratory (in formation) of St Philip Neri - Washington, D.C.
Old St. Mary’s Church - Cincinnati, Ohio

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Feast of the Annunciation 2015

Today is the beginning of our salvation, and the manifestation of the mystery from the ages; the Son of God becometh the Son of the Virgin, and Gabriel proclaimeth grace. Wherefore, let us also cry out with him to the Mother of God: Rejoice, O full of grace! The Lord is with thee. (Troparion of the Annunciation)

The Annunciation, from the Trebizond Gospels (11th-century)
Σήμερον τῆς σωτηρίας ἡμῶν τὸ κεφάλαιον, καὶ τοῦ ἀπ' αἰῶνος μυστηρίου ἡ φανέρωσις· ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ, Υἱὸς τῆς Παρθένου γίνεται, καὶ Γαβριὴλ τὴν χάριν εὐαγγελίζεται. Διὸ καὶ ἡμεῖς σὺν αὐτῷ, τῇ Θεοτόκῳ βοήσωμεν· Χαῖρε Κεχαριτωμένη, ὁ Κύριος μετὰ σοῦ.

Monks of Norcia Sign with Recording Label

From a press release just made public:
The Monks of Norcia Sign with Recording Label De Montfort Music
Distributed Worldwide Through Decca/Universal Music Classics
Debut International Recording of Ethereal Chant 

March 23, 2015 (New York, New York) – The Monks of Norcia, a monastic Benedictine community of men from Norcia, Italy, are releasing their first international album. As the monks sing nine times per day, it is fitting that, after years of inquiries, they decided to release a recording of their classic-style Gregorian chant. The album will be available in early June of 2015. 
Their monastery rests in the center of life and culture in the small town of Norcia, Italy and the monks engage the modern world while following in the footsteps of venerated sixth-century monk St. Benedict. Located on the ancient ruins of the home of St. Benedict and his sister St. Scholastica, the monastery is closely tied not only to the townspeople of Norcia, but to many international travelers who visit Monastero di San Benedetto in Norcia, or the Monastery of St. Benedict in Norcia. 
Current Prior Fr. Cassian Folsom, an American, founded The Monks of Norcia. Before he became a monk, Fr. Folsom was enrolled in the music program at Indiana University in the United States. Fr. Cassian Folsom has inspired many with his dedication to monastic chant, clearly a central part of the young vibrant community where the average age among the monks is thirty-three. “Music for the monastic life is an essential part of our prayer. The Divine Office as well as the Mass are moments of prayer during the day which are all sung, so chant is part of the air we breathe and since we do it so often, it comes naturally. We wanted to do a recording, focusing on the monks exclusively and on chant only. Moving deliberately, it took several years from the invitation and interest expressed by De Montfort Music to finally being ready to For Immediate Release ecord, the time is right now and we are very happy with this prospect of releasing the music this way,” says Fr. Cassian Folsom. 
Founded in 1998, The Benedictine Monks of Norcia are a young, monastic order of men who reside in Norcia Italy. Their monastery is home to the birthplace of Saint Benedict, set in the beautifully preserved nature of the Umbrian landscape. The Monks seek a life of prayer and work as guided by the Rule of St. Benedict summarized by the motto “Ora et labora” (work and pray). Their monastery rests in the center of town and receives many visitors from far and wide. In addition to chanting the Divine Office in Latin, the Monks sing the Mass and sing their meal prayers. They own their own brewery, which distributes their well-received signature beer called ‘Birra Nursia.’

Photo credit: Christopher Owens (http://cdo.photography)

A Roman Pilgrim at the Station Churches 2015 (Part 9)

Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent - Saint Eusebius
In the historical lectionary, this was the day on which the Gospel of the Raising of Lazarus (John 11, 1-45) was read; the station was therefore kept at the church of Saint Eusebius on the Esquiline hill, right next to a very ancient Roman cemetery.

Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent - Saint Nicolas ‘in Carcere’
The peculiar name of this church, Saint Nicholas ‘in prison’, derives from a tradition that Saint Nicholas of Myra was brought to Rome and imprisoned by the Emperor Constantius for his refusal to accept the heresy of Arius. The church encompasses the remains of three temples built in the later years of the Roman Republic, the basements of which were in fact used a prisons in antiquity.

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