Another beautiful morning ahead, I hope...

Although for the time being-- it is after 0700-- the skies are grey and Dawn's rising wasn't much visible beyond the grey, as is so often the case in Eugene's winter. Today is the Thursday post Cineres, and Holy Mass is streamed from Paris at 1000; it is the Mass Dum clamarem ad Dominum, which is also sung at some point after Pentecost, I believe. The Mass seems to lack a Tractus, for some reason that Blessed Ildefonso or Dom Prosper will inform us about, doubtless. The feast of Saint Simeon, martyr and second bishop of Jerusalem, is commemorated at Lauds and at Mass. I am going to begin adding three other random saints whose feast day it is also, at the bottom of the page. The Latin tag is added at the end of each day's Martyrology and means, 'and in other places many other holy martyrs, confessors, and virgins'. Cardinal Schuster doesn't say a word about the absence of a Tract-- who knows.

The Basilica of St Nicholas [where the collecta happened] stands in the ancient forum olitorium near the theatre of Marcellus, and, owing to its central position, became very celebrated in the Middle Ages, and was raised to the status of a deaconry. The station at St George’s was instituted by St Gregory II (715-31), when the cultus of the great Cappadocian martyr had become exceedingly popular in Rome. A titular church already existed here in 482, as an inscription of that date mentions an Augustus lector de Belabru, but the dedication to St George was certainly of later date. Today’s Gospel, telling of the Centurion of Capharnaum, alludes to the military character ascribed by tradition to St George, which caused him to be specially invoked during the Middle Ages as the armed champion of the Christian family. The Introit is taken from Psalm LIV: 'When I cried to the Lord, he heard my voice from them that draw near to me, and he humbled them, who is before all ages, and remains for ever: cast thy care upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee'. The Collect implores almighty God, who by sin is offended, and by penance pacified, to receive favourably the prayers of his suppliant people, and to turn away the scourges of his wrath, which they have deserved by their sins. 

The present Mass, composed in the time of Gregory II, is a mere collection of chants and lessons taken from other offices and adapted as we see it to-day. The scene from Isaias (XXXVIII, 1-6), in which the prophet warns King Ezechias of his approaching death, was very popular in ancient times, and we find it reproduced also in painting, in the neighbouring Basilica of Sancta Maria Antiqua in the Forum Romanum. As it in no wise relates to St George, we may suppose that it contains some allusion to Pope Gregory II, who, having miraculously recovered from a dangerous illness, but ever dreading the approach of the Lombards, is said to have instituted the stations of the Thursdays in Lent, comparing himself at the same time with Ezechias, who was struck down by a mortal sickness at the very moment in which the Assyrian army was surrounding Jerusalem. It is in any case certain that when, about the thirtieth year of the 8th century, these words were read at Rome-- 'I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the King of the Assyrians and I will protect it'-- the thoughts of the people must have turned to Luitprand and his nefandissima gens langobardorum, as the Romans called the barbarian foe which was laying siege to the capital of the world. At the announcement of the nearness of death, Ezechias, although a just and devout man, wept, for the violence of death is a penalty against which human nature rebels. He wept, too, because none may dare to appear before the judgement-seat of almighty God unless he be truly penitent. God heard his prayer, and granted him a reprieve of three lustres, not indeed that this present life is a better gift than life immortal, but because the years of this earthly pilgrimage afford us time in which to sow the seed of life eternal, the fruit of which is to be garnered in glory. He who labours most and sows more diligently will gather a greater harvest, and will thus give greater glory to God in heaven. 

The Gradual is closely connected not only with the lesson, but also with the Introit; so much so that these two antiphons are often taken from the same psalm, more especially on the Sundays after Pentecost, today’s Gradual, for instance, being from Psalm LIV, as is the Introit. 'Cast thy care upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee. When I cried to the Lord, he heard my voice from them that draw near to me'....

Not a word. My presumption now is that this-- no Tract today or indeed on any of these three days post Cineres-- is more or less 'liturgical common knowledge' that I happened to have missed out on (of which I'm sure there is much more where that came from). Not a word about the 'absent' Tract in l'Année liturgique, either, at least not in the pages specifically for today, Friday, and Saturday. I spent some more time on this and the fact is that the Tract is in the Mass text for tomorrow and Saturday simply without the title i.e. the Gradual includes the Tract. I don't know what went on today. Any time I begin to imagine that I understand what goes on with the rubrics I am forced to acknowledge that I don't, really.  

Am listening to a concert from Wigmore Hall, from their archive, that was put online yesterday for Ash Wednesday; the Cardinall's Musick. Byrd, Tallis, Thomas Weelkes, and others.

Ante Vesperas. I only just restrained myself from purchasing the Hartker Antiphonary and some other volume in the series Paléographie musicale from Solesmes-- the shipping alone would have cost over fifty dollars. Tsk. 

It is also the feast of Blessed Giovanni da Fiesole, Fra Angelico (15th century), of Saint Exsuperia of Vercelli (6th century), and of Saint Geltrude Comensoli (19th century).

V. Et álibi aliórum plurimórum sanctórum Mártyrum et Confessórum, atque sanctárum Vírginum.
R. Deo grátias.