Of the weather mages and so I wore a hat when I went out for my morning walk. Now it's 30. There is also a 'winter storm watch' ongoing, since at least yesterday: now they are saying that there is a chance of ice and snow anytime from Thursday evening through midday Friday. 'Confidence is low that freezing rain will materialize', the 'winter storm watch' acknowledges, in the third or fourth paragraph of the 'watch' notice. Still, it is chilly, and there's a heavy frost that's quite wintery and lovely on this feast of Saint Scholastica, Virgin (Introibo, Wiki-- at the CE, one has to read through articles about Saint B., Monte Cassino et aliae to get to Saint S., tsk), sister of Saint Benedict and first abbess of the Benedictine nuns. Holy Mass will be streamed from Saint-Eugène at 1000.
The festival of this saint, dove-like in her virgin purity, is already to be found in the twelfth century Antiphonary of the Vatican Basilica, and she certainly owes her popularity to St Gregory the Great, who, in the second book of his Dialogues, describes her last hours with so much grace and charm. In the ninth century, in the time of Leo IV (847-55), whilst at Subiaco the monastic heirs of the Benedictine tradition dedicated their principal monastery to Scholastica, sister of their patriarch St Benedict, the people of Rome also, being desirous of emulating them in their devotion to a saint who was their fellow-citizen, erected, near the diaconal church of St Vitus on the Esquiline, a sanctuary in her honour, which passed in later years into the possession of the Abbey of St Erasmus on the Coelian Hill. Close to the Baths of Agrippa there still exists an oratory of the 16th century dedicated to SS Benedict and Scholastica, which belongs to the pious congregation of the Norcini.
The Mass is that of the Common of a Virgin, with the exception of the Collect, which recalls the vision of St Benedict who, from his tower on Monte Cassino, saw the pure soul of his sister fly up towards heaven in the form of a dove. The Introit is the same as for the feast of St Lucy on December 13. The Collect is proper to the day : 'O God, who to show us the path of innocence, didst cause the soul of thy blessed virgin Scholastica to go up into heaven in the form of a dove; grant that by the help of her merits and prayers, we may live in such innocence as to be worthy to win everlasting bliss. Through our Lord.' The Lesson is also that of the feast of St Lucy, but the Gradual is from another part of Psalm XLIV: 'With thy comeliness and thy beauty set out, proceed prosperously, and reign. Because of truth and meekness and justice: and thy right hand shall conduct thee wonderfully.' The virgin is here likened to a warrior, fully armed, who fights the holy battles of truth and justice. These signify fidelity to God in carrying out her vow of chastity, by which, with the help of divine grace, she rises above the allurements of the world, the snares of the devil, and also above the weakness of her own sex. This is the glorious victory which Christ achieves through his virgin spouse. The Tract, which is, as it were, a mystical nuptial hymn, is drawn from the same psalm as the Gradual: 'Hearken, O daughter, and see, and incline thy ear: for the King hath greatly desired thy beauty. All the rich among the people shall entreat thy countenance: the daughters of kings in thy honour. After her shall virgins be brought to the King: her neighbours shall be brought to thee. They shall be brought with gladness and rejoicing: they shall be brought into the temple of the King.' The Gospel with the parable of the ten virgins, and also the Communion which is taken from it, are those of the feast of St Agnes. The Offertory is likewise taken from Psalm XLIV: 'The daughters of kings in thy honour: the queen stood on thy right hand, in gilded clothing, surrounded with variety.' This pure gold which adorns the clothing of the mystical queen is symbolical of the purity of intention by which the most ordinary and humble actions of daily life become worthy of eternal life when they are directed to the greater glory of God. The Secret and the Post-Communion are as on the feast of St Lucy.
St Gregory the Great, relating the last conversation of St Scholastica with her brother, says that on that occasion she had more power than he over the heart of God, because whilst St Benedict upheld the law of discipline and justice she, on the other hand, appealed to a higher law, that of love: plus potuit, quia plus amavit. Let us bear in mind this beautiful sentence of St Gregory and make use of it in our spiritual life.
It is a bit of a challenge, reading the old writers on the subject of virginity and women and the supposed weakness of their sex and so forth but one receives what is true and silently sets what is not to the side as a relic of the times. In an age when the woke attempt to persuade us that differences between women and men are negligible and political, eh, it is not too much trouble to take the holy authors of the past according to their sense and not according to the strict letter of their texts.
Time for Terce and then breakfast. It's a morning to bake cornbread, I think. I believe this is the Tract from today's Mass also; it is sung in the recording for the great feast of Our Lady's Annunciation on March 25th.
A missa cantata, a High Mass, today in honor of Saint Scholastica or, possibly, because it's Wednesday-- perhaps the schola sings on Wednesdays, I mean, or on Wednesdays and another weekday: I could keep track but I don't think I will. I prefer the pleasant surprise.
There was a priest celebrant this morning who I'm unfamiliar with-- it wasn't (as the YouTube page claimed) Fr de LaBarre, certainly. The schola was evidently the 'Chorale FSSP', with which I'm also unfamiliar. It may be that this Chorale is the 'visiting schola' of whose existence I've been aware without ever identifying who they are. The server who attended at Father N.'s left whilst he was preaching looked ill ('peaked' is the word my grandparents would have used) and he had his handkerchief out a couple of times. The song sung after Mass sticks in my head and is called Salva nos Stella maris; I believe they sang it the last time they were at Saint-Eugène.
The Schola Sainte-Cécile is much more accomplished in its execution of the propers than the schola singing today-- but of course perhaps not all the singers of the visiting schola were present at Saint-Eugène this morning.