The Sun is trying to shine through the clouds...

But they insist on blocking his rays, although as the morning progresses the greyness seems to be dissipating; still chilly, though. It is the feast of Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Introibo), at least in the Traditional Rite including its last iteration in 1960/1962, and in the Pauline Rite, too. And so far as I can tell, both the Traditional and Pauline Rites celebrate the Mass Iustus ut palma florebit. Holy Mass is streamed from Saint-Eugène at 1100; I'm listening to the Benedictine nuns of Jouques sing the Mass now.  

I see that I forgot to 'publish' this, tsk.

Am feeling a bit under the weather so won't go out to Mass at Saint Mary's this noon-- which failure, apart from the more important considerations, 'costs' me two trips via Lyft, each of them discounted by 75% (the discounting expires today). Tomorrow for the Pauline Rite 'vigil' Mass, though. 

The Mass for Friday in the 4th Week of Lent, which in the Traditional Rite is commemorated in the Mass of Saint Joseph, is Meditatio cordis mei (Introibo). The lesson recounts the Prophet Elias's raising of the son of the woman of Sarephta from the dead, and in the Gospel the Apostle Saint John tells of the Lord's raising of Lazarus from the tomb.

The church on the Esquiline appointed for today’s assembly [i.e. the collecta] was also known by the name ad Lunam, and perhaps owes its foundation to Pope Hilary (461-8); later it was raised to the rank of a deaconry under the name of St Vitus, when during the 7th century the cultus of this martyr became so popular in Italy that a great number of churches were erected to his honour. A monastery was attached to the deaconry, the monk Philip, who was raised to the papacy for a single day by the party opposing Stephen IV (768-71), being a member of this community. The dominicum Eusebii marks the site of the house of St Eusebius, that heroic Roman priest who was a victim of the cruel measures of the Arian Emperor Constantius II (353-61). It was converted into a church immediately after the death of the saint, and in the Gelasian Catalogue of 894 we find among the signatories a certain Valentinus archipresbyter in titulo Sancti Eusebii in Esquilinis. Near this spot was the ancient burying-ground of the Via Merulana, which circumstance may [or may not] have influenced the choice of the two lessons of today’s Mass, in which the raising of the widow’s child from the dead by Elias and the resurrection of Lazarus are narrated. 

The Introit is derived from Psalm XVIII: 'The meditation of my heart is always in thy sight, O Lord, my helper and my redeemer'.B The very thought of God is to us a tower of strength in which we can always take refuge from the temptations and troubles of life. In truth, when temptations assail us, when the glamour of this world threatens to stifle that higher aspiration to an infinite good which is present in all of us, when the weight of our past sins causes us almost to despair of ever reaching the port of salvation, when especially in the hour of death Satan makes a final effort to gain possession of our souls, it is enough to think of God, to call upon him with all our heart, and lo!  the storm ceases, the enemy is routed and the soul becomes filled with the sweetness which the name of God alone can bring, when invoked with faith and with fervour. In a word, all our trouble arises from our forgetfulness of God, whereas the prophet says: Memor fui Dei et delectatus sum

The Collect already hints at the coming paschal regeneration, when the spiritual life of Christ received by us in holy Communion will accomplish in our souls the mystery of his spiritual resurrection. This new birth, however, is at present only spiritual, so the Church continues to be a visible society, composed of suffering and mortal men, whose material needs also have to be satisfied. The Church, taking into account both the aspirations of our soul and the necessities of our bodily nature, is careful not to separate that which God has joined together, so she prays that her children whilst seeking to treasure up eternal riches may not be deprived of temporal help. The Lesson, telling of the restoration to life by Elias of the widow’s son (III Kings XVII 17-24) is suggested by the account in the Gospel of the resurrection of Lazarus. Those great friends of God, Abraham, Moses and Elias, show in their dealings with him a confidence born of love, which is infinitely pleasing to him. It is the mark of a soul which believes, as St John expresses it, in the love of God and therefore dares all things. In all its needs it turns to him, and with perfect simplicity and fearless words like those of Elias in today’s lesson, demands that which seems to it to be for the greater glory of God and the more worthy of his infinite goodness. 

The Gradual comes from Psalm CXVII, which is one of the ancient canticles of the paschal feast. 'It is good to trust in the Lord, rather than to have confidence in man'. The latter, indeed, even though willing, may not always be able to help us. The love of God alone can never fail, and has both the power and the will to save us. 

The Gospel describes the resurrection of Lazarus (John XI 1-45), thus anticipating by a week the Greek Church, which celebrates it with great solemnity on the day preceding Palm Sunday. The raising up of Lazarus after he had lain four days in the grave is the most marvellous of the miracles worked by our Saviour. Not indeed on account of the magnitude of the prodigy-- for to the omnipotence of God it is as easy to raise to life the whole human race at the last day as it is to cause the smallest flower of the field to unfold its petals-- but because of the circumstances which accompanied it. The miracle, tangible and undeniable, was worked at the very gates of Jerusalem, and in the presence of a multitude of witnesses. The enemies of Jesus were so convinced of the decisive power of this new proof of his Messianic mission that they even planned to do away with Lazarus and put him back again into his tomb, as though by killing him they could, says Saint Augustine, prevent our Lord from restoring him a second time to life. Jesus loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus, and in their home found comfort for the sorrows caused him by the Jews. This little family is a symbol of all religious houses, and a prototype of those loving souls who are bound to Jesus by a more intimate union. Persecuted and rejected by the world, he takes shelter in the cloister, and seeks compensation in the love of a few chosen friends. He weeps and shudders beside the grave of him whom he loved, not only to show us how great was his love, but also to teach us that the death of Lazarus is a figure of the sentence of death which has been pronounced upon all the seed of Adam, Jesus the friend of our fallen race suffers death for us in his own person, he weeps tears of blood for our sakes, and at last by the word of his Gospel calls us from the tomb to a newness of life, so that henceforth each one of us may live to God-- vivat Deo

The verse chosen for the Offertory from Psalm XVII may well be applied to the multitude who sleep in the grave: 'Thou wilt save the humble people, O Lord, and wilt bring down the eyes of the proud; for who is God beside thee, O Lord?' The liturgical application of this verse indicates that our Lord’s mission as the Messiah will be fulfilled in the resurrection of the dead. The first consequence of the sin into which humanity was beguiled by the devil, whom the Scriptures therefore call homicida ab initio, was death; now the Saviour is come into the world to destroy the effects of sin, hence the day of his Parousia, when he shall raise up the human race and shall share the glorified life with his faithful friends, will be the day of his final victory. 

The Secret asks that the expiation of the Eucharistic Sacrifice may purify us from sin and appease the anger of God. The Communion, contrary to the usual Lenten custom, is drawn from the Gospel of the day. It belongs to the Ambrosian Liturgy, which shows a more archaic taste in the selection of its chants compared to that of Rome. The videns Dominus with the syllabic melody of the Gregorian antiphonary is wonderfully striking, especially in the force of the Lazare, veni foras, in which the composer has endeavoured to express the fulness of the love of Jesus for his friend.

Videns Dóminus flentes soróres Lázari ad monuméntum, lacrimátus est coram Iudǽis, et exclamávit : Lázare, veni foras : et pródiit ligátis mánibus et pédibus, qui fúerat quatriduánus mórtuus.

In the Post-Communion we pray that our participation in the holy Sacrament may ever cleanse us from our own faults and may defend us from all adversity. The Church in her eucharistic collects always places before us one or other of the fruits of the Blessed Sacrament. The Eucharist, in fact, is everything to us, for it is Jesus himself; and Jesus is not only our grace and propitiation for past sins, but he is the antidote which preserves the soul from the corruption of temptation, and sows in our flesh the seed of immortality. In the Oratio super populum, the priest implores almighty God that we, who, knowing our own weakness, trust in his strength, may by his grace ever rejoice in his loving-kindness. This is the spirit which is pleasing to God. He suffers for a time the proud man who boasts that he can do without his help, and when he does strike him down, it is to teach him that without the grace of God no one can prosper. When, however, a soul in true humility acknowledges its absolute need of divine assistance, God condescends to its unworthiness, and stretching forth his hand to succour it, he raises it up to the height of heaven. The resurrection of Lazarus may be regarded by us also as a type of the Sacrament of Penance. Jesus alone has the power to convert the heart, but he delegates to his apostles and ministers the office of freeing Lazarus from the bands and the winding-sheet which envelop him, so that he may henceforth be able to walk easily in the way of the divine precepts. 

At the Communion the Schola is singing an antiphon composed by Jean Charlier de Gerson, who was one of the great proponents of devotion to Saint Joseph in the 15th century. I believe Saint Augustine is the source of the text.

O felicem virum, beatum Joseph! cui datum est Deum, quem multi reges voluerunt videre et non viderunt, audire et non audierunt, non solum videre et audire, sed portare et complecti, deosculari, vestire et custodire!

O happy man, blessed Joseph, to whom was given the Lord God, Whom many kings desired to see and did not, to hear and heard not: he not only saw and heard the Lord but bore Him and embraced Him, kissed, clothed, and guided Him.

The hymn at the Offertory, of the canons of Premontré in the 16th century, Iste Confessor Patriarcha, was well done, too. Am at the limit, however, of my tolerance for the day for 'church', ahem.

The folks at Neumz, in their email for the feast, note that the Vespers hymn in the Liber hymnarius, Te Ioseph celebrent agmina caelitum, is by Juan Blanch Mur, a Carmelite who lived from 1642 to 1718.  The book mentioned, by Don Felix Arocena Solano, Los himnos de la tradición, looks very interesting indeed but I cannot spend $70 on it, alas.  

It is also the feast of Saint Alcmund (9th century), of Saint Lachtain (7th century), and of the Blessed Marco (15th century).

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