Grey and chilly but it looks as if...

The sky will clear as the morning advances. I drank too much coffee yesterday and so slept like the dead after 0200 or so i.e. I didn't wake up until almost 0600-- far too late to say the Night Office, tsk, so after the invitatorium I began the day with Prime. Holy Mass is streamed from Saint-Eugene at 1000, the usual hour-- well, the page is saying 1100 but that may simply be Sunday's time change percolating through the YouTube tubes. It is the Mass Exaudi, Deus, orationem meam (Introibo) for the Tuesday of the 4th Week in Lent. The Introit is evidently taken from the 5th Sunday post Pentecosten so the recordings at YT are flowing with alleluias; hence Exspectans exspectavi Dominum, the Offertory, the chanted version of the gentleman whose name I cannot recall at the moment Dr Marek Klein and then a setting by Igor Stravinsky.

Donated back issues of The New Criterion and a spare (i.e. I purchased it twice in error) volume of Dom Prosper to the 'neighborhood library' I pass by when I walk the western route-- it is a wooden box in which people leave books et cetera for passers-by and neighbors to take, presumably erected and perhaps constructed by the householder at that location on Cal Young Road. The TNC marketing people want subscribers to buy a specially designed case for the year's issues, as if it's National Geographic in 1968. If I had shelf space I'd probably keep 'em but cases? I don't think so. If the Internet collapses I'm out of luck but otherwise I can consult any back issue I want online.

It does appear to be the case that Mass will be streamed at 1100. I suppose I am recalling this from years previous; eventually their time will change and here I'll be back to 1000. Of course, this is perhaps my imagination inventing the past.

The church of the collecta corresponds to the present Santa Caterina dei Funari, and the foundress of the monastery may have been the nobilissima foemina whose father in 967 granted a piece of land to the adjacent monastery. At one time Sancta Maria Domnae Rosae was the residence of the Dean of the Lateran Schola, and in 1536 Paul III granted it to St Ignatius Loyola, who founded there an institution for poor girls. The Basilica of St Lawrence in Damaso [the statio] takes its name from the great Pontiff of the catacombs, who caused it to be built beside the ancient Archives of the Roman Church, on the spot where his father had ended his long ecclesiastical career, and where he himself had begun his own. It is therefore full of memories connected with his family, especially as, according to an ancient tradition, the family of Pope Damasus (366-84), like that of the martyr St Lawrence, was of Spanish origin, and there may be some truth in the hypothesis of those archaeologists who would identify the celebrated Bishop Leo, who is buried at the Campo Verano, near the tomb of the Archdeacon Lawrence, with the husband of Laurentia, the mother of Pope Damasus. Whatever may be the truth of this, we know from documentary evidence that the family of Damasus had been established in Rome for a long period, while the high ecclesiastical office held by his father made it easy to suppose that the son, too, would in time attain to the highest honours, so in a famous inscription we find the following designation bestowed upon Damasus in his quality of being born a Pope: Natus qui antistes Sedis Apostolicae. Under the high-altar of the stational basilica rest the sacred relics of its founder, transferred thither from his tomb near that of Pope Mark (337-40) in the Via Ardeatina. 

The Introit is taken from Psalm LIV (the martyrs’ psalm): 'Hear, O God, my prayer, and despise not my supplication: be attentive to me, and hear me. I am grieved in my exercise; and am troubled at the voice of the enemy, and at the tribulation of the sinner'. This is the cry of the Just One, the prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemani, when for our sake he endured the assault of the tempter, who vaunted over him, innocent and holy, the power of sin and death and hell. In the Collect we pray God that the observance of the fast, while it enables us to subdue the body and to increase in true piety, may also procure for us the pardon we desire. The Lesson (Exodus XXXII 7-14) contains the beautiful prayer of Moses for his people, who had fallen into the sin of idolatry. This is perfect love-- to be willing that one’s name be struck off from the book of life rather than let one’s own brethren perish beneath the justice of God. It was through love that Moses, as the Scriptures tell us, wrestled with this divine but terrible justice, and love prevailed. The Gradual comes from Psalm XLIII, and, following the example of the great lawgiver, Moses, who invoked the merits of the early Patriarchs in order to propitiate the divine anger, asks God to help us as he helped our fathers in the days of old. The wonders worked by almighty God in past times should fill us with confidence, for his arm is not shrunken through length of years, nor has his love grown cold towards us. The rebellion of the Israelites against Moses, narrated in the foregoing lesson, whilst it may contain an allusion to the schism which broke out in Rome on the occasion of the election of Damasus as Pope, when even a great part of the clergy abandoned him, most certainly is a type of the treatment which our Lord received from his own people when he went up to Jerusalem for the feast of Tabernacles, and of which we read in the Gospel of today (John VII 14-31). 

The kinsfolk of Jesus desired that he should attract attention to himself by signs and wonders, especially in the Holy City and on a festival day, but he preferred to go up to Jerusalem secretly and quietly, avoiding all outward show, and making no attempt to reveal himself as the Messias. This was because he did not seek glory for himself, but only the honour of his Father. Nevertheless, he gave one of the strongest proofs of his divine nature to the Jews, who were always asking for signs, in the fact that, notwithstanding all the hatred borne to him by the Sanhedrim, he was able to defy them by appearing in public, by preaching and by healing the sick, without their being able to harm one single hair of his head until the hour should come which he himself had appointed. When, however, this hour did at last come, the Jews, even in his very Passion itself, could do to him no more than that which had already been foretold by the Holy Ghost through the mouths of the prophets many centuries before. Every minute circumstance of time, place, and person had been foreseen in such a manner that St Peter was able to say that the Sanhedrim had conspired against Christ: facere quae manus tua et consilium tuum decreverunt fieri

It should be noted that in the Roman liturgical terminology this first week of the second half of Lent was known as mediana; and from the Gospel of today die festo mediante, which was, however, deferred in other churches until the middle of the paschal season. [Hmm.]

The Offertory is from Psalm XXXIX: 'With expectation I have waited for the Lord, and he looked upon me: and he heard my prayer: and he put a new canticle into my mouth, a song to our God'. What is this new canticle of praise? The hymn of the resurrection, the Eucharistia of the New Testament in the blood of Christ. The Secret is that of the Third Sunday after the Epiphany. Psalm XIX provides the verse for the Communion: 'We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our Lord God we shall be exalted'. The name of God is the Word; it is Jesus, He who declares all the glory, the beauty, the power, and the goodness of the Father; He is the salvation sent by God to man; the fount of bliss in whom alone we should rejoice. 

The Post-Communion, or thanksgiving after the Communion, is that of the preceding Friday. The order of the collects in the ancient sacramentaries is less precise than that of the lessons, because there was a large number of alternative ones; some selected one, some another, which explains the fact that in our present Missal, notwithstanding this great variety, we meet with gaps which have been filled in by the repetition of the same collect. In the missa over the people [the Oratio super oblata] the priest calls down upon them the divine compassion, to the end that the chastisements from which they suffer-- in days of old this meant barbarian invasions, earthquakes, plague, famine, and the subversion of public order-- may cease, and that they may mercifully be granted relief. 

The primary cause of all unhappiness, not only of individual, but also of social and public troubles, is sin; for, as Holy Scripture tells us, miseros facit populos peccatum. If sin were done away with from among us, there would no longer be any necessity for the instruments of divine justice, death, sorrow, and disease, etc.-- all those evils, in fact, which St Paul calls stipendia peccati. In the incident of Jesus going up to the feast of Tabernacles only when the festival was well begun we may perceive a veiled purpose. In this way he not only wishes to teach us to love and reverence the sacred Liturgy and the rites of religion, but shows us that he himself is the centre of creation and of all history. Everything culminates in him, and the order and harmony of all creatures consist in this final relationship of every created being with the Word of God. Woe to those who overturn this divine ordering of the world and sacrifice the creature to the worship of self! God alone is all, and he it is in quo vivimus, movemur et sumus.

Amen. Blessed Ildefonso is sometimes less than strictly accurate, from the point of view of the historians of the Sacred Liturgy, but he sees clearly what's gone wrong with contemporary society.

It is also the feast of Saint Heribert (11th century), of Saint Allo (7th century), and of Saint Benedetta (13th century).

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