Rain for the Apostle Saint Andrew...

But not cold at all; upper 20s later in the week but I'll believe it when I feel it. Holy Mass from Saint-Eugène is at 1000 [CE, Wiki, NLM in plur. loc. sed e.g. here (the Vigil), here, and here (Byzantine hymns)]. 

In the meanwhile, here is the second video in the 'digital Advent calendar' put up at the Neumz page on YouTube. Today's presenter is Dr Martina Cocci; she is one of Neumz's translators, a musicologist and archivist. The Benedictine introit Dominus secus mare Galilaeae differs from the one (Mihi autem nimis honorati) in the Roman Missal.

Dr Cocci's exposition of Dominus secus mare is a wonderful introduction to that part of the opus Dei given us today by Holy Mother Church. And a damn sight more rewarding, alas, than many a sermon I've heard in church. While I expect that these video presentations are for this Advent only, as Neumz launches its apps and so forth, I will hope for such gifts at Lent and Eastertide too. Time for Terce.


I note that the esteemed composer Sir James MacMillan delivered an address to the Catholic Union of Great Britain on November 24. The entire lecture needs to be read and it's hard to choose what to select here.

... The 20th century brought back to our attention that the history of the faith is intrinsically connected to the sacrifice of its martyrs – men and women who followed Christ even to their deaths. They risked everything, even their lives to follow his teaching and to give witness to His divine truths. In the early 20th century martyrdom was something of another time and another place for most Catholics, especially in Western Europe and North America. The churches, in tandem with secular forces were building societies of moral progress and evolution – the outlawing of slavery, universal education, civil tolerance, religious pluralism, scientific advancement. 

Then everything changed. Tyranny returned emboldened and determined. As the American poet Dana Gioia puts it “The nationalistic hunger for self-determination among nineteenth-century Germans and Italians became the militaristic fascism of the 1930s.” And he goes on “The utopian egalitarianism of Russian progressives soon fostered the Great Terror, the Ukrainian Famine, and the gulags. Cambodia’s desire to transcend colonialism created Pol Pot and his re-education centres.” Martyrdom has made a comeback. 

When Poulenc wrote his martyrdom opera it was not just a response to an old event in the 18th century, it was a response to what he had just witnessed a few years earlier all over Europe. As Gioia writes “The example of professing Christians always runs the risk of disturbing political authorities…the best place to begin is the example of modern martyrs – the believers of our own age who were forced to death rather than spiritual betrayal.” 

And the source of this martyrdom and sanctity which blesses the world in the spilling of blood? The crucifixion of Christ – and the urgent retelling of this central story in our culture and civilisation is the single most important motivation an artist, of any age, of any century, of any race and any nation, can have....

Time for breakfast. Whilst cooking I had an unwelcome guest in my cubiculum-- I cannot tell if it's squirrel or bird shit, not being at all familiar with the first. I could investigate this but-- beyond having made sure that there isn't an exhausted corpus somewhere-- I think not. 


After Mass, there is piano recital in Ostrava, livestreamed on Vltava, the Czech state broadcaster's classical channel. Lukáš Vondráček performs Schubert's Sonata no 21 in B flat major D 960 and Brahm's Sonata no 1 in C major op 1.

The calendar just beeped; evidently there was to have been a concert at Wigmore Hall featuring the pianist Igor Levit and cellist Julia Hagen but because of the plague nonsense they, or one of them, who knows, had to cancel. So the Heath Quartet is performing James MacMillan's Memento, Thomas Adès's Arcadiana op 12, and then Benjamin Britten's String Quartet no 2 in C op 36. The Vondráček Schubert is lovely but I will switch to the Wigmore Hall program at 1130. There is what is called a 'glowing notice' by Ivan Hewett at the Telegraph, if one has access there etc.


The 8th lesson at Matins earlier, from St Gregory the Great's Homilia in Evangelia, 5.

In cælo jam sedet, qui de conversióne nos ádmonet; jam jugo fídei colla géntium súbdidit, jam mundi glóriam strávit, jam ruínis ejus crebrescéntibus, distrícti sui judícii diem propínquantem denúntiat: et tamen supérba mens nostra adhuc non vult hoc sponte desérere, quod quotídie perdit invíta. Quid ergo, fratres caríssimi, quid in ejus judício dictúri sumus, qui ab amore præséntis sǽculi nec præcéptis fléctimur, nec verbéribus emendámur?

He who calls us to be converted is now enthroned in heaven; He has broken the necks of the Gentiles to the yoke of the faith, He has laid low the glory of the world, and the wrecks thereof, falling ever more and more to decay, do preach unto us that the coming of that day when He is to be revealed as our Judge is drawing nigh and yet, so stubborn is our mind, that we will not yet freely abandon that which, will we, nill we, we lose day by day. Beloved brethren, what shall we answer at the seat of His judgment, we whom no lessons can persuade, and no whips can break of the love of this present world?

This is surely-- et tamen supérba mens nostra adhuc non vult hoc sponte desérere, quod quotídie perdit invíta, yet so stubborn are we that we won't freely give up those things that we in spite of ourselves lose day by day-- one of the most profound truths of our moral life. 

The expression in English, 'will we, nill we', is a version of the Latin nolens volens in use from the mid-15th century onward here translating invitus, against one's own will, reluctant, unwilling, in its context.


On the Kalends of December. Have just gotten around to reading Fr Hunwicke's post on St Andrew's Day. Very interesting about the history of the feast in England. 

The 1662 Book of Common Prayer, gives, for the most part, the same Sunday Collects, Epistles, and Gospels as the Missal of S Pius V. But the Reading and Gospel for the Sunday Next Before Advent (taken, like most such Prayer Book material, from the medieval Sarum Rite) were, unlike the other Epistles and Gospels After Trinity, quite different from those in S Pius V's edition of the Roman Rite. Not because of some sort of Protestant jiggery-pokery; they are thoroughly respectable lections offered to us by Catholic Tradition; they go back to the earliest Roman lectionaries, the Comes of Wuerzburg and Murbach.