Sunday, December 16, 2018

Gaudete Sunday 2018

At the Mass (of the Third Sunday of Advent), the Introit is about the second coming (of Christ): “Rejoice ye always in the Lord, and again I say, Rejoice!” For the Apostle does not speak of the first coming when he says “The Lord is near”, but about the second coming; by this, he invites us to spiritual joy, through which we steadfastly await the joys of His second coming. For this reason he says “Rejoice ye always in the Lord”, that is, in awaiting the second coming, and “Rejoice” is repeated, because spiritual joy causes us to sweetly bear with all the troubles of the world, so that nothing may tear us away from the hope of those things which are eternal. Therefore, because spiritual joy is so necessary, he repeats it in this manner; or else, because of the joy of both comings, which the Saints have. It is modesty which guards this joy, and therefore follow the words “Let your modesty (be known to all men, for the Lord is near.”) The Church expresses its desire for this joy, which is peace for all the Saints, for her sons in singing the verse “And may the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, (keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.)” – William Durandus, Rationale Divinorum Officiorum, 6.5.2

In the Middle Ages, the verse which accompanies this Introit was usually not taken from Psalm 84, as we have it in the Missal of St Pius V, but rather from Philippians 4, continuing the text of the Introit, and it is this verse to which Durandus refers at the end of the passage given above. There were a few other examples of this in the Missal, such as the Introit of Pentecost, whose verse continued from the Book of Wisdom, and that of the Rorate Mass, which continued from Isaiah 45. The editors of the Tridentine Missal apparently decided it was better to have all the verses taken from the Psalms, a custom which is attested in some of the most ancient Graduals.

The Mass of the Third Sunday of Advent (beginning in the middle of the left hand column), from a Roman Missal printed at Lyon in 1497, with the Introit Gaudete and the verse “Et pax Dei...”

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