These are the best hours of the day...

These in the early morning, as Dawn gives way to the Sun's rising, although cloaked as he often is in these parts by clouds and fog: the birds are singing and, if I'm lucky, the house is silent. Holy Mass-- it is Monday in the 3rd Week of Lent (Introibo)-- will be live streamed at the usual hour from Saint-Eugene with commemoration of the Confessor Saint John of God (CE, Introibo, Wiki). Exaudi Deus orationem meam is the Offertory; I try YouTube from the beginning of the proper-- Introit, Gradual and so on-- and this is the first 'hit'. 

Time for Terce.

These Sundays the schola at Saint-Eugène has, as I noted yesterday, been singing the motet O bone Jesu by Marc' Antonio Ingegneri. Looked finally at Spotify (as I meant to do yesterday before I was distract by the Nivers albums) and, mirabile dictu, there is, from 30+ years ago, a recording of his responsoria for Tenebrae. Les saqueboutiers de Toulouse and the Choeurs de chambre de l'Orchestre National de Lyon. Several of them are on YouTube. A good number of them are instrumental rather than for the voice, or are performed on this album as instrumental works.  

There is an unfortunate tapping that is recorded along with the responsoria-- it is a familiar sound but I cannot describe it: like something is dragging along behind a vehicle and tap tap tap tap, sometimes more and sometimes very little noticeable or else absent altogether (I was first afraid that it was my Bose speaker giving way finally to the vicissitudes of age). Ah-- it is like a playing card clothes-pinned to the frame played by the spokes of a bicycle wheel, the bicycle being ridden fairly slowly.

There's a recording of Ingegneri's Missa Laudate pueri Dominum inter alia, too, from only last year.

Velum templi is the second responsorium at Matins of Good Friday so am not quite sure why it is the first on the album-- but paying a bit more attention they are all of them out of order; who knows. Doubtless there is order in Maestro Tétu's scheme somehow. 

The church of the deaconry of St Adrian [where is the collecta] is in the Forum in the former aula of the Senate. It was dedicated by Pope Honorius I (625-38) to the memory of this famous martyr of Nicomedia, who, during the Byzantine era, was the object of much devotion in Rome, where churches and monasteries were built in his honour. The stational basilica de Pallacine, dedicated later on to St Mark the Evangelist, was erected by the Pope of that name (337-40), and is the only church in Rome sacred to the memory of this devoted disciple of St Paul and faithful interpreter of St Peter, who, besides sharing with these Apostles the first evangelization of the Eternal City, wrote his Gospel after their death, at the request of the faithful in Rome. Under the high altar of the titulus Marci rests the body of the founder with the relics of the martyrs Abdon and Sennen. We find ourselves here, as it were, in an Eastern sanctuary in the very heart of the city, with Mark the founder of the Patriarchate of Alexandria on the one hand (for the Egyptian element was strong in Rome) and the Persians Abdon and Sennen on the other. The scriptural passage read today has in mind the Eastern origin of the titular patrons of the basilica, and tells us, therefore, of the Syrian Naaman, who, rejecting the grander rivers of Damascus, was cleansed from his leprosy in the lesser waters of the Jordan. This extract is well adapted to the catechumens who yesterday began their course of instruction preparatory to baptism. Peter, observes Tertullian, baptized in the Tiber, and if the aspirants desire to be healed from the leprosy of infidelity and original sin, they must humble themselves, and, abandoning the rivers of Damascus i.e. the attractions of their former worldly life, must wash themselves clean in the pure waters of holy baptism. 

The Introit is derived from Psalm LV. With the glory given by men, the psalmist contrasts the glory he will receive from God, whose word will never be made void, nor can all the threats of man prevail against those to whom the Lord has promised salvation. In the Collect the Church insists again on the quality of our fast, which must have nothing in common with that of the followers of Islam nor with that of the Jews. The Christian fast consists essentially in curbing our passions and avoiding sin. The Lesson from 4 Kings (V 1-15) follows, with the story of the healing of Naaman by Eliseus the prophet, through his bathing seven times in the Jordan. The Syrian, covered with leprosy but full of pride in spite of his terrible condition, was angry because the seer of Israel had not made use of solemn rites and special formulas to heal him, and had not even come out of his house to speak to him, but merely ordered him by a messenger to wash in the waters of the Jordan. Yet it is thus that God acts when overcoming the devil in his pride, by employing humble means, such as the sacraments and sacramentals, in order that Satan’s defeat shall be the more humiliating. Naaman, therefore, if he wished to be cured, had first to lay aside all pride, to acknowledge his uncleanness, and to wash himself in the Jordan, in those very waters where, some centuries later, John baptized with the baptism of penance, in preparation for our Christian baptism. 

The Gradual-- as is the rule-- is taken from the same psalm as the Introit: 'O God, I have declared to thee my life: thou hast set my tears in thy sight. Have mercy on me, O Lord, for man hath trodden me under foot: all the day long he hath afflicted me, fighting against me'. The Gospel of today is suggested by the preceding lesson from the fourth Book of Kings. Our Saviour in the Synagogue of Nazareth reproaches his countrymen with having imitated the incredulity of their ancestors of the time of Eliseus, which obliged the prophet to work miracles only in favour of strangers, a terrible example which may well give us food for reflection. The divine graces poured forth so abundantly sometimes on certain favoured souls, meet with such very insufficient co-operation that there supervene indifference and a turning away from holy things. Those sacraments, those sermons, and those devotional exercises which sometimes touch the heart of the sinner so deeply, have no longer any effect on those pious souls who have become lukewarm and apathetic through the very abundance of divine gifts, and are like those sick persons who can no longer digest the food they take. 

The Offertory is from Psalm LIV: 'Hear, O God, my prayer, and despise not my supplication: be attentive to me and hear me." God always hears the prayer of a humble and sincere heart. Even when the unworthiness of the sup pliant renders certain special graces which he dares to ask for inopportune, God does not let the prayer go unanswered, but grants him that which is more important, a return to sanctifying grace through a sincere conversion. 

The Secret of today is a very beautiful prayer: 'Grant, O Lord, that the offering of our homage which we make unto thee may be made to us a sacrament available to our salvation'. The Communion, too, from Psalm XIII, resembles a cry of victory: 'Who shall give salvation to Israel out of Sion? when the Lord shall have turned away the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice and Israel shall be glad'. 

The Post-Communion repeats in other words a thought which is often seen in similar prayers in the Roman Liturgy: 'Grant, we beseech thee, almighty and merciful God, that what we take with our mouths we may receive with clean minds'. The Oratio super populum is expressed thus: 'Let thy mercy, O Lord, assist us, that by thy protection we may deserve to be delivered from the threatening dangers of our sins, and to be saved by thy deliverance'. 

Rome was continually being attacked by the Goths, Visigoths, and Lombards, shaken by earthquakes and decimated by famine and pestilence during the 5th, 6th, and 7th centuries. If Venice boasts of possessing the relics of St Mark, Rome may with greater justice address to him the salutation used by the Serenissima: 'Pax tibi Marce evangelista meus''Meus', indeed, by the very best of rights, for St Mark and St Luke exercised their apostolate in the Eternal City immediately after the two Princes of the Church, St Peter and St Paul; it was there that they wrote their Gospels, and Christian antiquity loved to give to St Mark the glorious title of 'Interpreter of Peter'. 

The Mass In Deo laudabo verbum.

The Magnificat sung at Vespers yesterday at Saint-Eugene was composed on the 8th tone or mode by Claudin de Sermisy  (EnglishFrench), who lived from ~1490 until 1562. Evidently, he wrote one for each of the eight tones. And there is a recording at Spotify from a couple of years ago of his Passion selon Saint Matthieu, one of the earliest polyphonic Passions, according to the Wikipediast; there is a Passion selon Saint Jean, also. 

It is also the feast of Saint Duthac (11th century), of Saint Felix (7th century), and of Saint Faustinus (20th century).

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


i.e. Laus Deo Virginique Matri