And oranges of Dawn are already adoring the eastern skies, for over half an hour now. Yesterday ended up being alternating swathes of sun and rain and there's no reason to suspect that today will be anything else than that. Somehow the font here is different-looking, I think but am not sure; hmm [it is because I copied the martyrology business from the page actually displayed on the Internet instead of from the Blogger composing window, tsk, but am not going to waste more time on it]. In any event, it is of course the 2nd Sunday of Lent, Reminíscere miseratiónum tuarum, Dómine, et misericórdiæ tuæ, quæ a sǽculo sunt, remember Thy kindnesses, Lord, and of Thy mercy which is from of old, never let our enemies subject us to them: free us, O God of Israel, from all our sorrows. As I noted, I am late to Prime. Then Terce will follow after a chore or two, and at that point I'll turn on the recording of Holy Mass from Saint-Eugène; the schola was in parts quite splendid yesterday. The Pauline Rite Mass at Saint Mary's was distracting but the Holy Sacrifice indeed it was, no matter my personal reactions to it.
Post Tertiam. Am following the recorded Mass now and the first question in my mind-- since Matins or whenever it was that I realized this-- is, why was the Gospel of the Transfiguration read both yesterday and today? Cardinal Schuster or Dom Prosper or someone I read must explain this. Canon Guelfucci and M. l'Abbé Grodziski are giving their homilies-- Canon G. does what seems to be interminable announcements and then the priest celebrant (Father G. in this case) gives his sermon. This is when I ordinarily go to make tea, ahem. Am adding this on Friday, five days after writing here. Dr DiPippo published this ('The Myth of a Sunday with No Mass') at New Liturgical Movement on Sunday but I missed it until today; he argues that Prosper and Ildefonso et alii are simply wrong, having misconceived the meaning of Dominica vacat: he argues that it means only 'there is no station on this day'. Eh.
Am roasting parsnips later on but cut them up earlier. This will be my first dish of parsnips in several years; I had forgotten how sweet they are! They smell sweet when they are cut up. Am using olive oil only and minimum amounts of salt and pepper. Now for Blessed Ildefonso's pages.
Properly speaking there should be no stational Mass today, as it has already been celebrated at St Peter’s on the termination of the Pannuchis [i.e. yesterday, the vigil that was celebrated through the night, ending with the celebration of the Mystery-- I think it must be a plural, like vigiliae-- which Pannuchis became the Ember Days, eventually]. In fact, in the ancient Sacramentaries, this day is marked Dominica vacat [an 'empty Sunday', one on which there was no station and even no Sacrifice]; the people, too, were weary after the prolonged fast and vigil. When the Roman Sacramentary was introduced into other places outside Rome, where there were neither stations nor vigils, it was found necessary to make up the liturgy for to-day with portions taken from other Masses, and this was finally accepted even in Rome itself. The name given to the Basilica of St Mary on the Coelian Hill, in domnica, is of very ancient origin—of the 4th century, at least—when the Lord’s house was generally called the Dominicum, as it is to this day among nations of Anglo-Saxon and Germanic race.The Introit is that of the preceding Wednesday. In the Collect we ask God to behold our poverty, our weakness and our need, and implore his help that our bodies may not succumb to outward evils, and our souls to sin. The passage from the first Epistle to the Thessalonians (IV 1-7) precedes in the text yesterday’s lesson. To the early Christians of Asia and of Greece, affected as they were by the extreme corruption of the surroundings in which they lived and of which they themselves had once formed part, the chief danger was that arising from the prevalent sin of immorality, raised by idolatry to a form of religious worship. The Apostle, with a plain-spoken frankness necessitated by the circumstances, explains to those to whom he was writing the purpose and the holiness of matrimony. 'Each one of you possesses his own wife, so that in her he may have a help towards holiness. Marriage, therefore, is enjoined as regards each of the faithful with the object that no one shall covet his neighbour’s wife, for God is the defender of conjugal fidelity'. The Gradual is taken from Psalm XXIV: 'The troubles of my heart are multiplied; deliver me from my necessities, O Lord. See my abjection and my labour, and forgive me all my sins'. The Tract is from Psalm CV and is a beautiful hymn of thanksgiving: 'Give glory to the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Who shall declare the powers of the Lord, who shall set forth all his praises? Blessed are they that keep judgement, and do justice at all times. Remember us, O Lord, in the favour of thy people: visit us with thy salvation.'The Gospel is the same as that of the Mass of the preceding Pannuchis (Matt XVII 1-9). In the Middle Ages many churches and monasteries, in imitation of the Greeks, instituted a special festival for the celebration of the mystery of the Transfiguration. Rome did not adopt this custom until 1457, when Callixtus III introduced the feast in commemoration of a great victory over the enemies of the Faith. Up to that time the traditional liturgy of this Second Sunday in Lent, which formerly was celebrated with great pomp and solemnity, had amply satisfied the desires of the people. The early Roman Liturgy did not, it is true, devote many festivals to celebrating even the most important mysteries of the life and Passion of our Saviour, but in its annual cycle it offered to the faithful full opportunity of meditating, at the proper season, on all the solemn mysteries of the Redemption. Therefore the homilies of St Leo I on the Transfiguration, delivered on this same night at St Peter’s, are a masterpiece of their kind. Later on, when the spirit of the Roman Liturgy was no longer clearly understood-- in its dedicating, for instance, the whole of the fifteen days before Easter to the commemoration of the Passion of our Lord, the Second Sunday in Lent with the preceding Saturday to the Transfiguration, the first of January to the Holy Name of Jesus, the Invention of the Holy Cross to the honouring of the instrument of Redemption, in the midst of all the paschal rejoicings-- there were added as many more feasts in memory of the Passion, of the sacred lance, etc., which, although devotional in themselves, disturb the harmonious lines of the Roman Liturgy. These form a needless repetition which detracts from the beauty of the original design; they are additions intended to fill up the older lacunae, but they show a lack of comprehension of the wealth of the liturgical treasure of the Roman Church, in reference to which we may repeat: Floribus eius nec rosae nec lilia desunt. The Psalm for the Offertory is that of the preceding Wednesday; the Secret is the same as that of that other dominica vacat after the Pannuchis of December; the Communion is also from the Mass of Wednesday, while the Post-Communion is taken from Sexagesima Sunday.Thus the patchwork composition of this Sunday’s Mass confirms two important principles. The first is liturgical-- namely, that the Mass of the Pannuchis dispensed originally with the celebration of any other Mass, so that in some places the holy Sacrifice was not offered even on Easter Day. The second principle is theological-- to wit, that the ecclesiastical spirit, especially in the matter of liturgy, which to the ordinary Catholic is as a part of his Catechism, is strongly opposed to that hankering after novelty so dear to the secular mind. Pious and simple souls are disturbed by any kind of innovation, as though they feared it would shatter the edifice of their faith, fortified by the buttress of patriotic tradition. To pray to God in those same formulas dedicated by the Fathers, to sing those same hymns which comforted them in their sorrows and labours for the Church; all this helps us to enter more completely into their devotion, and to be sharers with them in their hopes and their ideals.
There is, recently, a new, bespectacled server at Saint-Eugène who looks like he is about eight years old-- I realise that boys serve at the altar in many places but ordinarily at Saint-Eugène it is adults and young men. I do sometimes speculate about what goes on over there but, like here, my interest in parish news and gossip isn't... very lively. The recording of Vespers.
It is also the feast of Saints Macarius, Rufinus, Justus, and Theophilus (3rd century), of Saint Romanus (5th century), and of the Blessed Martyrs of Unzen (17th century).
R. Deo grátias.
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