Cool but not colder, and the rains seem to have...

Stopped for the time being. It is the feast of the martyrs Saints Perpetua and Felicity (CE, Introibo, Wiki), who are named in the Roman Canon but whose feast was only added to the Calendar during the reign of Pius X, if I'm remembering rightly. It is a mistake to imagine that the Sacred Liturgy is a sort of machina with uninterruptible runs of logic determining its intricacies. 

Ah, at Introibo I see that their feast had been celebrated on their dies natalis, tomorrow, until 1568 when Pius V raised the feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas (tomorrow, on the 7th) in rank, reducing the feast of the martyrs to a commemoration. Pius X advanced the feast of Saints P. and F. to today, the 6th. In the Pauline Rite I believe Saint Thomas's feast has been moved to another date and the feast of Saints P. and F. restored to the 7th. 

The Mass of the Lenten feria is Lex Dómini irreprehensíbilis, which will not, I bet, show up at YouTube. (I think that there is no streaming of Holy Mass from Saint-Eugène this morning.) But there is a recording of the Introit for the Mass of Saints Perpetua and Felicity, Me expectaverunt peccatores, it being the Mass from the common of many martyrs.

The Passio Sanctarum Perpetuae et Felicitatis is worth the trouble it takes to read it (CE, Wiki). 

Post Tertiam. Fairly lengthy lessons at Mass today. The first is from the 27th chapter of Genesis, verses 6 through 40, Rebecca and Jacob, Isaac and Esau, Esau who sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. The Gospel is from the 15th chapter of Saint Luke, verses 11 through 32, the filius adolescentior, the prodigal son. Dr DiPippo posted an article about the Patriarch Joseph in Lent yesterday at New Liturgical Movement that discusses these lessons. 

The church of the Collecta is already well known to us; it is the dominicum Clementis, about three hundred yards distant from the titulus [the stational church] of SS Peter and Marcellinus. This basilica was built during the lifetime of Pope Siricius (385-98), and, according to the Roman custom, it probably marks the dwelling-place on that spot of one at least of the two martyrs whose names it bears. We know from Pope Damasus (366-84) that as a boy he learnt the circumstances of their martyrdom from the lips of the executioner himself: percussor retulit mihi Damaso cum fuer essem. As the liturgy of this day lays great stress on the contrast between the two brothers, Esau and Jacob, and between the faithful son and the prodigal, it is possible that underneath there lies an allusion to that executioner, who expiated his crime by baptism and penitence. 

The Introit, taken from Psalm XVIII, praises the law of God, which is perfect and unalterable, and, while it enlightens the intellect as to the claims of duty, also arouses the heart and strengthens the will to accomplish that duty. This is the difference between the mild evangelical law and the laws of men-- and, for the most part, those, too, of the Synagogue. Men preach and speak well, indeed, but without making sufficient allowance for the weakness of human nature, which cannot rise to higher things unless God himself lifts it up and infuses into it the desire to will what he wills. The Collect expresses the usual sentiment of the Lenten fast, desiring that the chastisement of the flesh may promote the vigour of our souls. 

The Lesson from Genesis (XXVII 6-40), relating how Jacob took the place of the first-born son Esau and obtained his father’s blessing, alludes to the Gentiles, who in the divine economy of redemption take the place of the Jewish people, being protected by the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, typified by the skins of the kids which covered the neck and hands of Jacob. The Gradual is derived from Psalm XCI: 'It is good to give praise to the Lord, and to sing to thy name, O most High. To show forth thy mercy in the morning, and thy truth in the night'. The just man feels the need of raising his thoughts to God and communing with him in prayer at all times. Therefore in the early morning he gives thanks for the mercy which awaits him ere the sun has gilded the mountain-tops with its rays, and again in the evening, when all is quiet around him and nature is wrapped in shadow, he, too, following the example of Jesus, who erat pernoctans in oratione Dei, lifts up his soul to the Lord and obtains from above that light and strength which he needs for the labours of the coming day. So, too, does the Church act, of which it is written in the Book of Proverbs, De node surrexit deditque praedam domesticis suis . . . non exstinguetur in node lucerna eius; and this has been the practice of all the great apostles and saints-- as, for instance, of St Francis Xavier, who laboured by day among the heathen Indians, and by night communed with Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar concerning the affairs of his apostolic ministry. The parable in the Gospel (Luke XV 11-32) of the prodigal son carries on the allegory begun in the preceding lesson. The prodigal represents the Gentile people, who have squandered their inheritance of natural virtues by giving way to their evil passions, and because they have not willed to recognize God as they should have done by the light of reason, were abandoned by God’s justice, as St Paul teaches us, in reprobum sensum et in passionem ignominiae. The self-righteous son, who is angry because his father rejoices over the return of the poor prodigal in penitence to the paternal home, represents the Jewish people, who tried every means in their power to prevent the Apostles from opening the gate of redemption to the heathen around them. The Offertory is from Psalm XII: 'Enlighten my eyes, that I may never sleep in death; lest at any time my enemy say, I have prevailed against him'. The sleep of death signifies not only the death of the body, but also that of the soul which is sunk in the lethargy of final impenitence. Such a soul no longer feels either shame or remorse; it glories in its wrongdoing, for outwardly it is prosperous and successful. This condition is a prelude to final reprobation, and Jeremias compares those who are enjoying this apparent happiness to a flock of sheep fattening in fertile meadows in preparation for the hour of slaughter. The sleep of death represents also lukewarmness and indifference, which of all spiritual evils is one of the most difficult to cure. It is necessary to ward it off with great diligence, and to that end the soul must constantly seek the light which comes from on high, for the twilight of devotions, monotonously performed from mere force of habit, easily induces this dangerous somnolence of the spirit. The Secret is inspired by the following verse from Psalm XVIII: 'Ab occultis meis munda me, et ab alienis parce servo tuo', according to the text of the Septuagint and of the Vulgate, which probably is inexact. Instead of alienis or strangers, we should apparently read and translate: 'From the proud preserve thy servant, O Lord'.


The Secret modifies to some extent the expression of the Psalmist, and implores, through the merits of the eucharistic sacrifice, the remission not only of personal sins, but also of those which are collective, external, and general, such as we sometimes commit through omission in cases where we are bound to prevent evil and do not do so. This is a somewhat unusual but truthful aspect of the responsibility which we have before our conscience and before God for the sins which our dependents, or even the whole community, may commit through our acquiescence, or through our solidarity with those who are violating the laws of divine justice. Especially in these days, when the nations govern themselves by a representative system, how many crimes may be committed, even by abstention, in political elections and in parliamentary sittings, of which the guilt falls not on one individual alone, but on the whole people. 


The Communion comes from the Gospel of today: 'Thou oughtest to rejoice, my son, because thy brother was dead and is come to life again; he was lost and is found'. In the Post-Communion we pray that the power of the Sacrament may penetrate our inmost being, but in order to obtain this result we must open wide the door of our soul, and keep no secret and hidden places where our Lord cannot enter.. In the Oratio super populum the priest beseeches almighty God mercifully to preserve his family-- that is, the Church militant; and as, unlike the Church triumphant, which consists entirely of the saints in heaven, the Church on earth depends solely on his merciful forgiveness of our sins, we ask him so to assist us with his grace that our confidence in him may not be in vain. Let us not show ourselves harsh towards those who, like the prodigal son, return home from a great distance. We ourselves were once a long way off, and if we now belong to the household of the faith it is because the good Shepherd has brought us back to the fold. We must try to smooth away difficulties, to help on conversions, and to imitate the angels of God, who rejoice with Jesus in heaven over one repentant sinner.

Blessed Cardinal Schuster made a very pertinent point, in the passage in bold supra, about our moral responsibility for evil government acts when we are (as it is said) collectively sovereign: 
"... (W)hen the nations govern themselves by a representative system, how many crimes may be committed, even by abstention, in political elections and in parliamentary sittings, of which the guilt falls not on one individual alone, but on the whole people." 

Listened to the nuns at Jouques sing their Mass; it was identical (in the texts, I mean) to the Traditional Mass with the exception of the Introit: instead of Lex Domini irreprehensibilis it was Intret oratio mea-- which Cantus Index or one of those resources said was meant to be for the Saturday in the 1st Week of Lent, last week not this. I suppose it is foolish to try to keep up with their adaptations; but looking about I see that the 1974 Graduale Romanum appoints Intret oratio mea as the Introit for today. Must email John Anderson and ask if the Jouques nuns generally follow the Roman book.

It is also the feast of Saint Colette (15th century), of Saint Chrodegandus (8th century), and of Saint Julianus (7th century).

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