Friday, July 07, 2017

Solemn High Mass of Thanksgiving at the Monastery of Norcia

Today, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the issuance of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, the Benedictine Monks of Norcia celebrated a solemn High Votive Mass of St. Benedict, with prayers of thanksgiving added as a second set. The participants of the Albertus Magnus Center for Scholastic Studies’ Summer Theology Program were present (that’s how I happened to be there) and one of them, a seminarian, took some photographs that he shared with me for NLM. The liturgy began with the office of Terce, as indicated by the use of the cope.

The photos permit us a glimpse of the new chapel that the monks have built with the help of many neighbors and visitors from Italy and abroad. This new chapel will serve the monastery’s needs until, at a future date, it becomes possible for the community to proceed with a new and much larger Italian Gothic church akin to the basilica in town that now lies in ruins.

Spending these days in an agriturismo right below the monastery has given me a new appreciation for the spirit of zealous determination that characterizes these faithful sons of St. Benedict, who truly embody the motto succisa virescit (cut down, it grows back again).


The monks approach two by two, genuflect, and kneel to receive Our Lord.
For me, the most striking aspect of today’s liturgy was the proper preface for St. Benedict, which was used because it was a votive Mass in his honor. I was so impressed with it that I asked a monk afterwards if he’d allow me to see the text of the Preface. He obliged by taking my camera to the sacristy, snapping a picture of the Preface, and bringing the camera back to me outside.

VERE dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere, Domine, sancte pater, omnipotens aeterne Deus: qui beatissimum confessorem tuum Benedictum, ducem et magistrum caelitus edoctum, innumerabili multitudini filiorum statuisti. Quem et omnium justorum spiritu repletum, et extra se raptum, luminis tui splendore collustrasti; ut in ipsa luce visionis intimae, mentis laxato sinu, quam angusta essent inferiora deprehenderet. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Quapropter profusiis gaudiis, tutus in orbe terrarum monachorum coetus exsulta. Sed et supernae virtutes atque angelicae Potestates hymnum gloriae tuae concinunt, sine fine dicentes...
It is truly meet and just, right and wholesome, for us ever and everywhere to give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: Who didst establish Benedict thy most blessed Confessor, taught from heaven, as leader to and master of a numberless multitude of sons. Whom also, filled with the spirit of all the just, and rapt out of himself, Thou didst illumine with the splendor of Thy light, that in the very light of that intimate vision, his mind being unfettered, he might see how truly narrow are all things here below: through Christ our Lord. Wherefore with abundant joys doth the whole choir of monks throughout the world exult, while the hosts above, and the angelic powers also join in singing the hymn of Thy glory, saying without ceasing...
Through the prayers of Holy Father Benedict, may God bless the good monks of Norcia and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI!

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