His progress across the eastern sky; the weather apps are telling me that we should have some rain before too much longer. January indeed; it had been predicted to remain cold and I was looking forward to the possibility of the annual snow but I think that's off the agenda for the week. Holy Mass from Saint-Eugène later on is a Solemn Requiem at the catafalque offered for the repose of the soul of the martyred king Louis XVI but it is the feast of Saint Agnes, glittering jewel and glory of the Roman Church, Virgin and Martyr (CE, Introibo, Wiki).
Cardinal Schuster in his Liber sacramentorum; the quotation is from Saint Jerome's Epistle CXX ad Demetriadem.
In ancient times the station was held in the Basilica of St Agnes on the Via Nomentana, where on the occasion of this feast St Gregory preached one of his forty celebrated homilies on the Gospel. The Fathers of the Latin Church, Jerome, Ambrose, Damasus, and Prudentius all join in singing the praises of this virginal 'Lamb' who fearlessly faced the sword and the stake of idolatrous Rome, and generously shed her blood for him who had consecrated her with his own. Omnium gentium litteris atque linguis, praecipue in Ecclesiis, Agnetis vita laudata est. Her body was laid originally in a small property on the Via Nomentana, in agello suo, not far from the coemeterium maius, where, according to ancient Roman tradition, St Peter had baptized....
That is the hymn Agnes beatae virginis (I already used it for the earlier 'today's collecta' post, ahem-- there is not much at YouTube of the Office of Saint Agnes, alas). It's in the Liber hymnarius (albeit with some textual alterations) for use in the Roman Rite at Vespers and Lauds but properly belongs to the Ambrosian.
The three lessons of the second nocturn at Matins by Saint Ambrose, from the first book of his De Virginibus. I'm not going to amend and ameliorate and et cetera the translation, which is what is provided at Divinum Officium.
Hodie natális est Vírginis, integritátem sequamur. Natalis est Mártyris, hóstias immolemus. Natalis est sanctæ Agnetis, miréntur viri, non despérent párvuli, stupeant nuptæ, imiténtur innuptæ. Sed quid dignum ea loqui póssumus, cujus ne nomen quidem vacuum laudis est? Devotio supra ætátem, virtus supra natúram: ut mihi videátur non hóminis hábuisse nomen, sed oraculum Mártyris, quod indicávit, quid esset futura. Nomen Vírginis titulus est pudoris. Appellábo Mártyrem: prædicávi satis. Prolixa laudátio est, quæ non quæritur, sed tenétur. Nemo est laudabílior, quam qui ab ómnibus laudari potest. Quot hómines, tot præcones, qui Mártyrem prædicant, dum loquúntur.
Hæc tredecim annórum martyrium fecisse traditur. Quo detestabílior crudelitas quæ nec minúsculæ pepércit ætáti; immo magna vis fidei, quæ étiam ab illa testimónium invénit ætate. Fuitne in illo corpúsculo vúlneri locus? Et quæ non hábuit quo ferrum reciperet, hábuit quo ferrum vinceret. Hæc inter cruentas carnificum impávida manus, hæc stridéntium gravibus immobilis tractibus catenárum, nunc furentis mucroni militis totum offerre corpus, mori adhuc nescia, sed parata, vel si ad aras invita raperétur, téndere Christo inter ignes manus, atque in ipsis sacrílegis focis trophæum Dómini signare victoris: nunc ferrátis colla manusque ambas insérere néxibus. Sed nullus tam tenúia membra poterat nexus includere. Novum martyrii genus! Nondum idonea pœnæ, et jam matúra victóriæ; certare difficilis, facilis coronári: magistérium virtútis implévit, quæ præjudícium vehebat ætátis.
Non sic ad thálamum nupta properaret, ut ad supplicii locum, læta successu, gradu festina Virgo processit. Flere omnes, ipsa sine fletu. Mirari plerique, quod tam facile vitæ suæ pródiga, quam nondum hauserat, jam quasi perfuncta donaret. Stupére univérsi, quod jam divinitátis testis exsísteret, quæ adhuc árbitra sui per ætátem esse non posset. Quanto terróre egit carnifex ut timerétur, quántis blanditiis ut suadéret, quantórum vota, ut sibi ad nuptias proveníret! At illa: Et hæc Sponsi injuria est, inquit, exspectáre plácituram. Qui me sibi prior elégit, accípiet: quid, percussor, moraris? Pereat corpus, quod amari potest óculis, quibus nolo. Stetit, orávit, cervicem infléxit. Cérneres trepidare carnificem, quasi ipse addictus fuísset, trémere percussoris déxteram, pallére ora alieno timentis periculo, cum puella non timéret suo. Habetis ígitur in una hóstia duplex martyrium, pudoris et religiónis. Et virgo permansit, et martyrium obtinuit.
Post Tertiam. Pater Jean-François Thomas SJ is celebrant of the Mass this morning. He delivered this prône at la Place Royale (called in these latter days la Place de la Concorde)... at some point this morning, I suppose; at the hour when Louis XVI was put to death. The Requiem of Claudio Casciolini was sung and the Domine salvum fac regem from the Mass Gaudete in Domino semper composed by François Giroust for the Sacre of Louis XVI at Reims on 11th June 1775, the feast of the Most Holy Trinity. The Testament of King Louis, signed on Christmas Day in 1792, was read prior to the absolutio at the catafalque-- I don't recall this being done in the past but my memory isn't particularly reliable. Friday morning. The text of Pater Thomas's sermon is here.
I notice that Dom Prosper Guéranger includes a sequence for today's feast by the venerable Adam of Saint-Victor ("one of his finest") in l'Année liturgique that doesn't appear in Dr Mousseau's edition (following Pater Blume SJ's critical edition) but I think I'll put the first strophes here-- it is too lengthy for me to type out the entire poem.
Animemur ad agonem,Recolentes passionemGloriosae virginis.Contrectantes sacrum florem,Respiremus ad odoremRespersae dulcedinis.Pulchra, prudens et illustris,Iam duobus Agnes lustrisAddebat triennium....
Friday. I noticed this post of Dr DiPippo's at New Liturgical Movement only this morning; the antiphon Beata Agnes set by Peter Phillips is lovely and I wish I'd thought of it yesterday. I'll likely include it again on the second feast of Saint Agnes on the 28th-- presumably someone thought to institute a 'quasi-octave'; I'm sure Dom Prosper and Dom Ildefonso have a page or two for us on this subject. I don't understand how it is embedded at NLM but I can't manage to do so, tsk; anyway, the link is here.