... Jejunium concépit, jejunium nutrívit, jejunium virum effécit.... Jejunium prophétas génuit, poténtes confírmat atque róborat... Jejunium legislatóres sapiéntes facit....
The Schola is singing André Campra's Mass Ad majorem Dei gloriam this morning, and I found their rendition (the Ordinary extracted from the remainder of the Mass) from several years ago at YouTube; there are several other versions there of parts of his Mass, too-- the Credo is in the second video infra.
One thing is certain: there is still a lot of hatred for the Traditional Latin Mass among those in power. But the clock is ticking on them, just as it is on everyone else. Eventually, they will be replaced. And among their future successors are a lot of priests who respect and venerate the Traditional Mass and celebrate with the older Missale. This recent attack is going to galvanize men in their determination to defend Tradition for the sake of the good of the Church.
Midway through the rigors of Lent, Honorius tantalizes his audience with a sermon abounding in allegories related to food.
Rejoice, Jerusalem, and celebrate a feast, all you that love her. [It is will be noted that this is not the version of Isaias taken into the Missal of Pius V.] The allusion to a “feast” in this alternate textual tradition of the Introit verse from Isaiah 66:10 allows him to direct the minds of the faithful, wearied by fasting, to the feast that awaits them in the Heavenly Jerusalem. Keep your eyes fixed on our mother above, where joy awaits!
Meanwhile, he reminds us that Holy Mother Church offers them the milk of consolation in this life, expressed through the teaching of the two Testaments, where we are promised a “land flowing with milk and honey” “a paradise of delight,” “a river of peace,” and bodies that “shine like the sun” in glory that “eye hath not seen.” They are refreshed also by the teaching and example of the Holy Fathers, as if by bread.
The faithful should therefore “praise the Lord for the benefits they have received” of holy doctrine and exempla, and for the rest of Lent “prepare themselves for this heavenly repast by cultivating cleanliness of heart and body, for chastity alone frees those who are in peril and reconciles the penitent with God.”
Several exempla serve to strengthen us for this task. The stories of the monk Malchus and the persecuted patriarchs are calculated to encourage laity to keep their obligation of marital continence (chastity) during the Lenten season, so that with the saints we might show marvelously “how much chastity can do.”
Lest we depart with minds too much inebriated with the milk of consolation, Honorius closes with a rendition of the Dantesque Vision of Dryhthelm, a dire warning to sinners to repent before it is too late!
I began with Dom Prosper this morning, earlier, so now it's time for Blessed Ildefonso.
Following the example of the Byzantine churches, which celebrated a feast in honour of the true Cross on the Fourth Sunday in Lent, the Roman Liturgy dedicates this Sunday, originally called in vigesima, to celebrating the wondrous triumph of the Sign of Redemption. Ever since the time of St Helen, a large portion of the true Cross has been preserved in the basilica in aedibus sessoriis, and for this reason the station is held there today. This venerable building with its two sanctuaries-- ante Crucem and post Crucem-- was supposed in Rome to be a reproduction, more or less exact, of the Martyrion at Jerusalem. Its earliest designation was Basilica Heleniana, or more commonly Sancta Hierusalem, whence we have those frequent allusions to Jerusalem in today’s Mass. In the Middle Ages, the Pope used to proceed to the station at Santa Croce in Gerusalemme holding in his hand a golden rose, the mystical significance of which he afterwards explained to the people. On his return he presented it to the Prefect of Rome, and this gave rise to the custom, which continues to this day, of sending the golden rose blessed by the Pope as a gift to one of the Catholic princes. It is difficult to trace the origin of this ceremony, which at Rome gives a special distinction to the Fourth Sunday in Lent. It may be derived from the Byzantine feast of Mid-Lent, but the hypothesis cannot be entirely rejected that in today’s solemnity, under the name of Dominica in vigesima, is recorded the ancient Roman caput jejunii which occurred three weeks before Easter. [There has got to be a less lost-in-the-ancient-liturgical-mists account of the history of the Golden Rose and whatever may be the relationship between this 4th Lenten Sunday and it. But the speculations of both Dom Prosper and Blessed Ildefonso are edifying and serve as a welcome antidote to the contemporary nonsense that passes as 'liturgical studies'.]
The Introit comes from Isaias (LXVI 10-11) where the prophet, foreseeing the future destinies of the Church, exhorts Jerusalem to rejoice, and invites those also who mourned with her to be glad, for the Lord will fill her with all consolation. The verse that follows is from Psalm CXXI, which was chosen because of its many allusions to Jerusalem. Today is indeed the feast of Sancta Hierusalem. In the Collect we confess that the scourges which fall upon us are indeed deserved by our sins. They are our just due, but we cannot forget that mercy and compassion befit the Lord, therefore with filial confidence we pray in all humility and contrition as the prophet prays in Psalm 1: redde mihi laetitiam salutaris tui.
The Lesson is taken from St Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians (IV 22-31). It is fitting that on a festival such as this the Church should proclaim before the triumphal sign of her redemption her own deliverance from the bondage of sin as represented by the Synagogue, and that glorious freedom to which she was called by Christ from the cross. As Ishmael once persecuted the Son of the Promise, so the world persecuted the Redeemer and nailed him to the cross; yet this shameful death did but prepare the way for the triumph of the victim, while the murderers, like the son of Agar, lie crushed under the curse of God. The victory of evil is brief and superficial; the future belongs to Christ and his Church. The Gradual, in praise of Jerusalem, is from Psalm CXXI. The mere announcement of the return from the exile of Babylon to the holy city fills the faithful soul with such joy that it already feels itself loosed from the bonds of the flesh, and free to take flight upwards towards heaven.
The Tract comes from Psalm CXXIV, and is very similar in conception to Psalm CXXI. The position of Jerusalem with its surrounding hills is taken as a type of the soul which trusts in the Lord. Its faith is as immovable as Mount Sion, for its hope is in God, whose grace is about his people, even as the hills encircle Jerusalem, so that the enemy shall not prevail against them.
The fast is suspended today on account of the Sunday-- not, however, abstinence from flesh meat, for in early days this was strictly observed all through Lent at Rome, just as it is now by the Russian and Oriental Churches-- and the Church invites us, as it were, to take a little rest in order to recruit our strength before proceeding with renewed fervour on the road of penance. The Liturgy, therefore, reminds us of how our Lord multiplied the loaves and the fishes in the desert, and fed therewith five thousand persons (John VI 1-15). That food represents the Word of God, which is the food of the soul, but it also represents the material blessings with which the divine Providence unfailingly sustains our human nature. It is not fitting through an exaggerated piety to put asunder that which God has joined together. Nature is the support and foundation on which both grace and the supernatural order rest; therefore, whilst mortifying our desires, we must always satisfy the legitimate requirements of our frail humanity. As a general rule, except in special cases of privileged souls sustained by grace, the Fathers of the spiritual life insist strongly on the necessity of discretion, which is the golden mean between two contrary excesses. There have been examples of persons who, rashly trying to dispense with it in spiritual matters, have justified the saying: 'He who would set himself up to be an angel, ends by falling to the level of the brutes'.
The Offertory is taken from Psalm CXXIV: 'Praise ye the Lord, for he is good: sing ye to his name, for it is sweet: whatsoever he pleased he hath done in heaven and in earth'. The infinite power of God is very terrible, but in Him it is closely allied with infinite love and tenderness, hence we should always keep both these attributes before us in contemplating him. An infinite justice fills us with dread, yet when we consider that this justice is at the same time both lovingkindness and mercy, we are filled with that filial reverence which is a happy mingling of love and holy fear. The Secret is the same as that of the Fourth Sunday in Advent, which originally had no proper Mass. The verse from Psalm CXXI which is chosen for the Communion proclaims once more the glories of the mystical city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem. It is built on the hill of faith like a walled city, and its streets are connected with one another, just as the blessed are united together in the Communion of Saints. Through its twelve apostolic gates all the tribes of the Lord enter in to glorify the name of Jehovah. The Post-Communion desires to obtain from almighty God that frequent participation in the Sacrament may confer on us right dispositions-- that is, the grace to receive our Lord with a clean heart and a submissive mind. The best preparation that we can make for our Communion tomorrow is to receive Communion fervently today. How different is the providence of man from that of God! Philip and the other Apostles realized the difficulty of feeding so great a multitude in that desert place, but made no further effort to solve it. Many good but languid souls stop short at the first difficulty. Jesus, on the contrary, never refuses his aid, and when natural resources are exhausted, he exerts his divine power, and sooner than abandon his creatures, works a miracle on their behalf.
It is also the feast of Saint Matilda (10th century), of Saint Paulina (12th century), and of the Blessed Maria Giuseppina (20th century).
V. Et álibi aliórum plurimórum sanctórum Mártyrum et Confessórum, atque sanctárum Vírginum. R. Deo grátias.
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