And Saint Luke in his Gospel (2,22) continues, tulerunt illum in Jerusalem, ut sisterent eum Domino:
And when the time had come for purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem, to present him before the Lord there.
Today is the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Traditional Rite; in the Novus Ordo Rite of Paul VI this has been re-named and re-framed as the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. It is a matter of emphasis, more than anything of substance: the same events are celebrated and remembered, the same passages of the Scriptures are made use of, et cetera. But it is certainly true that in the Traditional Rite it is a feast of Our Lady while in the Pauline Rite it is a lesser feast of Our Lord. Eh. The 8th responsory at Matins.
R. Senex Púerum portábat, Puer autem senem regébat:* Quem virgo concépit, virgo péperit, virgo post partum, quem génuit, adorávit.V. Accípiens Símeon Púerum in mánibus, grátias agens benedíxit Dóminum.R. Quem virgo concépit, virgo péperit, virgo post partum, quem génuit, adorávit.V. Glória Patri, et Fílio, * et Spirítui Sancto.R. Quem virgo concépit, virgo péperit, virgo post partum, quem génuit, adorávit.
Today we celebrate the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also called Candlemas. This feast, which for a long time was called the ‘Purification of Mary’, is both a feast of the Lord and of his Mother. The Presentation of the Child in the Temple was not a rite prescribed by the Mosaic law, unlike the Purification of his mother, but was a holy act that the parents of Jesus made their own.
In the 4th century this feast was celebrated in Jerusalem as the meeting of Simeon with the infant Jesus (hence its name Hypapante, meeting). In the 6th century Justinian brought the feast to Constantinople. In the 7th century it was celebrated in Rome, where it took on penitential overtones with a nocturnal procession using candles, symbolising the pilgrimage of Joseph and Mary from Bethlehem to Jerusalem to present the child. In the 8th century it became a Marian feast. Mary, like all women in this tradition [what a periphrasis! subject to the Mosaic Law, rather-- M], 40 days after giving birth, must purify herself in order to achieve pidyon haben, redemption of the first-born. And finally, in the 10th century, the blessing of candles was added, which earned it the name Candlemas.
That is the brief explanation from the learned folks at Neumz, which I much approve of, although the notion that 'it became' a feast of Our Lady Deipara is perhaps a morsel of rather stale bread, a thoughtless reflex evincing the need to rationalize everything consequent to the so-called Enlightenment. But certainly everyone in 1939 thought of today, superficially anyway, as a feast of Our Lady, not one of Our Lord.
Holy Mass from Saint-Eugène is in three hours, at 1000. I must attend to breakfast and then Terce.
Post Tertiam. From the Liber sacramentorum of Blessed Cardinal Ildefonso Schuster.
... An edict of Justinian in 542 introduced this festival at Constantinople, whence it spread throughout the East and also reached Rome. In the list of Gospels of the Wurzburg Codex, the feast die II mensis februarii has no title and is out of its proper order, a sure sign that it had only recently been brought to Rome. Towards the end of the seventh century, Sergius I, who was of Greek origin, added greatly to its importance by ordering that it should be preceded by a penitential procession to the Liberian Basilica, as on the other three great festivals of the Blessed Virgin. In this way the predominately Marian character of the feast became established, whereas originally amongst the Orientals it had been regarded rather as a feast of our Lord. The early title of Ὑπαπαντή or occurrus Domini (meeting of the Lord [with Simeon]) has left distinct traces on the Liturgy as we have it today. Thus the summons to the night vigils, the Lessons, the Collect, the Antiphons, and the Preface of Christmas still commemorate the meeting of Simeon and the Infant Jesus in the temple, giving to the purificatio of his Virgin Mother a somewhat secondary place. Indeed, this appellation itself does not appear in the Liber Pontificalis in which the statute of Pope Sergius is mentioned as referring to the dies Sancti Simeonis. It is found for the first time in Roman liturgical documents in the Gelasian Sacramentary, where, however, the title of purificatio displays a Gallican origin. The stational procession had become so much a part of the liturgical customs of Rome that the silence of the Gelasian Sacramentary on this point does not authorize us to maintain that it had not as yet been instituted....
A description of what the Roman festival entailed toward the end of the 7th century follows, and I was planning on copying it here but, goodness, it goes on for pages and pages. (The pdf of the Liber sacramentorum is available gratis online, ahem.) Almost time for Mass.
I will of course add here the video recording of Holy Mass from Saint-Eugène once it becomes available but because it is a missa lecta, i.e. a 'low Mass', read, without the schola, I'll hunt for recordings of the parts of the proper that would have been sung had the schola been present. But first would come the chants for the blessing and distribution of the candles.
And from Solesmes.
Then Exsurge, Domine.
I must admit I'm a bit confused about when the candles are distributed but I'm fairly sure this belongs here to accompany that action.
The Introit, Suscepimus Deus misericordiam tuam; the same text is sung as at the Gradual, although to a different melody.
Since we are in Septuagesima, the Alleluia, with its verse Senex Puerum portabat, isn't sung but instead the Tract Nunc dimittis.
Found what may be a prosa for the feast, Ave Maria gratia plena, but I don't imagine that sequences are sung after Septuagesima although I may well be wrong: Adam of Saint-Victor's for the Purification, Templum cordis adornemus, is a magnificent composition woefully underused if so. The Offertory is Diffusa est.
The Communion is Responsum accepit Simeon.
There are other versions of these chants on YouTube, at least for many of these, but, good heavens, I've had enough fussing at YouTube. At Wigmore Hall in a recorded concert in half an hour, Steven Isserlis, cello, and Mishka Rushdie Momen, piano, are performing works by Janácek, Kabalevsky, and Shostakovich. One ought to eat crepes today in celebration of the feast, I think. I fried potatoes and eggs for breakfast, with a bit of ham and cheese-- 'tis as close to the range that I'll be today.
Had never heard Kabalevsky's Cello Sonata in B flat major op 71; I recall some piano exercises from the distant past and I'm confident that they were from opus 39 but none of these sound familiar alas.
The Cello Sonata in D minor op 40 of Shostakovich is concluding the program at Wigmore Hall.