Jul 20, 2014

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

The Lectionary today is a commentary on God's mercy and forgiveness. The Book of Wisdom describes  how God could apply his justice in a strict manner in order to show us his might. Yet, the Book of Wisdom notes, God actually applies his might by judging with clemency and governing us with leniency. And so he teaches us that the just must also be kind. Therefore, God has given us hope that he will grant us the grace of repentance for our sins. Likewise, the Psalmist tells us that The Lord is good and forgiving. Other versions describe the same as The Lord being sweet and pleasant, mild and gentle, especially with respect to pentitents. The Psalmist says, "You, O Lord, are a God of compassion and steadfast love, patient, abundant in mercy and true." Our Lord expresses the same reality in his three parables of the Wheat, the Mustard Seed, and the Yeast.

The Holy Fathers of the Church understand in the parables of the Mustard Seed and Yeast, signs of Jesus Christ put to death and risen in glory. Jesus is the mustard seed, which having been thought little of, after being buried, rises into a tree so large that all the birds of the air, that is souls, rest in his branches (Sts. Gregory the Great and Hilary). The Cross which was the instrument of his death becomes a glorious tree of life which gives rest to the whole world. Jesus is the yeast, who being put to death, was hidden in the tomb of the earth. But, afterwards, by his resurrection, brings to fulfillment everthing in the holy scriptures. St. Augustine compares Jesus to the yeast in this way: He is the love which, being hidden in the measure of the human heart, causes the whole person to flourish and come to perfection.

In the parable of the Wheat, it is clear that Jesus is the sower of good seed. The enemy, the Devil, sows bad seed. St. Jerome says that when a field is first sprouting, it is difficult to tell the difference between the weeds and the wheat. Not until they are maturing and begin to bring forth fruit can they be identified. What at first appears as weeds may by repentance and spiritual progress become wheat. God shows his mercy, patience and gentleness so that none of the wheat might accidentally perish. But in the end, whether it is the end of the world or the end of our lives only, there will no longer be room for repentance. We have this life only to accept the good seed of The Lord into our hearts.

All three parables explain what the kingdom of heaven is like. Jesus plants himself in our hearts by grace. His love, which he proved upon the Cross, the same which he shares with us in this Holy Mass, is capable of turning weeds into wheat. He takes our imperfections and weaknesses, and, yes, even sins, and turns them into perfect love.

The enemy, who was a murderer and a liar from the beginning, sows the seed of death by convincing us to take for ourselves the fruit of the tree. But we were not created to grasp life for ourselves by the violence of our own wills. We were created to be receivers and givers not takers and hoarders. And after the enemay has convinced us to sin, he continues to lie. Not only do we not ger what his lies promised to us, but afterwards he turns this lie against us. He tells us that we are his, that there is no mercy for us, no forgiveness for us, no love for us. He tells us that we are weeds and that we are his children. But that, too, is a lie.

Jesus plants the Cross of Truth, the Tree of Life, right in the midst of human history. The Truth of the Cross is this: He loved us even while we were sinners. The most horrific crime, the greatest evil ever accomplished in the history of mankind was the crucifixion of the only Son of God. And, yet, God is able to take the horror and replace it with Beauty, the evil and exchange it for the most perfect act of love the world has ever known. Jesus did this so that he could send to us his Spirit of Truth in order that he might convince the world of his love.

In a few moments we will prepare the altar and I will pray the Prayer over the Offerings. Listen closely and you will hear this line: "O God, who in the one perfect sacrifice brought to completion varied offerings of the law..." You see the truth of the Sacrifice of the Cross reaches back into history and brings to perfection all the imperfections of former sacrifices offered to God. A little later in the Eucharistic prayer I will extend my hands over the gifts and call upon them the power of the Holy Spirit. And God will once again make present the one perfect sacrifice which has overcome and torn asunder all the lies of the enemy. Here, in this moment, we will join all of our sorrows, joys, anxieties, hopes, our love to this one perfect sacrifice of Jesus. And Jesus will make them perfect. He has the power to reach into the darkest depths of our hearts, where we keep hidden the secrets that we wish no one else to discover, which we ourselves may not dare to look at, and he exchanges our imperfections and sinfulness with the perfection of his own love.

The enemy whispers his lies to us in the darkness, because they are not true. Jesus proclaims the truth in the light of the resurrection: You are loved. You are forgiven. You are becoming whear. You are his.

Jul 15, 2014

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Year A

One of my favorite images from the Gospels is when Jesus teaches the people from the sea shore. In the Gospels, Jesus is constantly getting into a boat and going back and forth across the Sea of Galilee.  This time, the crowds were so large, he gets into a boat and preaches to them from the boat.  Teaching this way allows the crowd to see him as well as allowing his voice to carry across the waters, something like a natural microphone. But there is also scriptural imagery at work here if we know our scriptures. Principally, I'm thinking about the imagery of water. The particular reference I have in mind here is Psalm 29:3, 10: "3 The voice of The Lord is upon the waters, the God of Majesty has thundered, The Lord is upon many waters...10 The Lord makes the flood to dwell, and The Lord shall sit [there] as King forever." And here in the Gospel is The Lord, the King, sitting upon the waters of Galilee and teaching his people. His voice carrries across the waters and plants the word of truth into the hearts of those who will listen. He is in some sense recreating them from within.

The imagery of water is often connected to the creative activity of God. It appears in the very first two verses: Genesis 1:1-2. "1 In the beginning God created heaven and earth. 2 And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over the waters." In the days of Noah, God caused a great flood. It was a re-creating of sorts, a renewing and purificiation of the world by water. And in the Gospel, God is speaking again across the waters and re-creating hearts anew.

What is it that makes the spritual life possible? Foremost, it is the Sower of the seed - Jesus. He plants the word of life in our hearts. But it is also necessary that we be disposed to receive his word. If our spiritual life has become hardened by sin, his word will not take root in our souls and will be snatched away by the evil one. If we do not allow the word to be nurtured by prayer, meditation, assisting at Holy Mass, the full practice of our Catholic faith, its growth will be superficial. It may look to the whole world like a healthy plant but it is already doomed. But what if the seed is truly planted in good soil? It still needs attention and care. If a garden is left untended, the precious plants die and only weeds will remain. A garden is generally tended in much the same way that the soil was prepared. Prayer, study of scripture, the full practice of the faith, the Holy Mass, Sacramental Confession, etc. 

God is like a Cosmological Gardener. The very first garden was the Garden of Eden. Human beings were created to tend the garden including one another. That is one way to understand being made in the image and likeness of God. If he is The Gardener, we are also meant to be gardeners. This likeness to him is obscured by the sin of Adam and Eve, which cause them to be expelled from the garden. And it has effects not just on the would-be gardeners but also on all of creation which human beings were meant to tend. So St. Paul says that "creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God ... in hope that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God." All of creation, St. Paul says, is groaning as if in labor pains until the day of our glorification. And we, too, groan as we wait for adoption. God does not will merely to restore humanity to a former state but even to lift us up to something far greater: participation in the sonship of his Only Son by adoption. This adoption is not a legal fiction. It is not merely like something only declared on paper, but it is in fact and reality. It reaches down into the very core of what it means to be human. It takes root in our souls and grows and blossoms and bears eternal fruit.

"The seed is the word of God, but the sower is Christ; everyone who finds him, will remain forever (Semen est verbum Dei, sator autem Christus; omnis qui invenit eum, manebit in aeternum)." The fruit is to become a son in the Only Son of God. God, if we let him, will actually put us in the place of his Son, to reign in his kingdom forever. Just as he put his Son in our place upon the Cross. And even there, there was water - flowing from his pierced side: cleansing, purifying, and re-creating the world anew.

Water from the side of Christ, wash us!

A New Beginning

After a long time of silence while I was studying in seminary, I've decided to start posting here and there again. I will return to some of my musings on the liturgy as well as posting some of my reflections and homilies. I was ordained to the priesthood on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, June 28th, 2014. I thought about doing these sorts of things through my Facebook account but I think the venue is a little better here. So here we go!

May 18, 2011

Rituale Romanum

It's been a while since I've posted here but I've been doing some research at seminary that I thought might be beneficial to others with regard to the Rituale Romanum.

The Motu Proprio Summorum Ponticum extended the use of the adminstration of some of the sacraments in the forma extraordinaria:

Art. 9.1: The pastor, having attentively examined all aspects, may also grant permission to use the earlier ritual for the administration of the Sacraments of Baptism, Marriage, Penance, and the Anointing of the Sick, if the good of souls would seem to require it.

Art. 9.1: Parochus item, omnibus bene perpensis, licentiam concedere potest utendi rituali antiquiore in administrandis sacramentis Baptismatis, Matrimonii, Poenitentiae et Unctionis Infirmorum, bono animarum id suadente.

The Instruction Universae Ecclesiae clarifies the use of the older liturgical books:

24. The liturgical books of the forma extraordinaria are to be used as they are. All those who wish to celebrate the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite must know the pertinent rubrics and are obliged to follow them correctly.

24. Libri liturgici formae extraordinariae adhibeantur ut prostant. Omnes qui secundum extraordinariam formam Ritus Romani celebrare exoptant, tenentur rubricas relativas scire easque in celebrationibus recte exsequi.

28. Furthermore, by virtue of its character of special law, within its own area, the Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum" derogates from those provisions of law, connected with the Sacred Rites, promulgated from 1962 onwards and incompatible with the rubrics of the liturgical books in effect in 1962.

28. Praeterea, cum sane de lege speciali agitur, quoad materiam propriam, Litterae Apostolicae Summorum Pontificum derogant omnibus legibus liturgicis, sacrorum rituum propriis, exinde ab anno 1962 promulgatis, et cum rubricis librorum liturgicum anni 1962 non congruentibus.

35. The use of the Pontificale Romanum, the Rituale Romanum, as well as the Caeremoniale Episcoporum in effect in 1962, is permitted, in keeping with n. 28 of this Instruction and always respecting n. 31 of the same Instruction.

35. Salvo quod sub n. 31 huius Instructionis praescriptum est, ad mentem n. 28 ipsius Instructionis licet Pontificale Romanum, Rituale Romanum et Caeremoniale Episcoporum anno 1962 vigentia adhibere.

Seems straightforward no? Well . . . musca in unguentum est. (There is a fly in the ointment).

Here's my problem. The available options for the Rituale Romanum in reprints are the 1945 Rituale Romanum from Preserving Christian Publications and the 3 Volume Weller edition of the Rituale Romanum also available at Preserving Christian Publications. Neither of these are entirely in accord with the liturgical rubrics in effect in 1962. For example, the Weller edition does not expunge the abjurations of cult in the baptism of adults nor does it indicate where the vernacular is permitted in the administration of the sacrament of Baptism and for that matter I am unsure that the english given there is in accord with the english given recognitio in 1959. In addition to use the 1945 Rituale Romanum would require a process of updating by searching through the AAS or EL and even then how can I be sure I've gotten them all? The last latin typical edition of the Rituale Romanum was in 1952 but there are a number of changes that came afterwards right up to 1962. Of course, most of the changes are fairly simple but there are some major changes that are not so simple. The best that can be done right now is to lay one's hands on a used copy of the Collectio Rituum (1961, Practical Handbook of Rites Blessings and Prayers, The North Central Publishing Company: St. Paul Minnesota) or the Parish Ritual and/or Sacristy Manual from Benzinger Brothers approved by Card. Spellman also circa 1961. I'm lucky enough to have the former but that doesn't even solve all the problems. Hopefully at some point an interested publisher will reprint a fully compliant Rituale Romanum and usefully a Collectio Rituum for use in the United States.

I've done some preliminary research into this lacuna, back to 1950 so far, trying to find the corrections, additions, etc. so that someone with an older Rituale Romanum / Collectio Rituum could mark the changes and appropriately use the Rituale. Here's what I've come up with so far:

AAS 42 [1950], 795: Urbis et Orbis: Ingenti populi, October 31, 1950
Following the definition of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, in the Litany of Loreto after the line Regina sine labe originale concepta, is inserted the line Regina in caelum assumpta.

AAS 46 [1954], 68: Variationes in rubricis missalis et ritualis romani, June 3, 1953
A change in the rubrics to Title V Chapter I, nos. 3 and 4, in the Praenotanda de hoc Sanctissimo Sacramento, and Chapter IV, no. 4, as well as Chapter V, nos. 1, 2 and 3. The change was made following the Apostolic Constitution Christus Dominus of Pope Pius XII changing the law of fasting before Holy Communion to one hour.

AAS 47 [1955], 414: Benedictionis maris, April 27, 1955
Inserted a blessing of the sea.

AAS 48 [1956], 844: Benedictionis lapicidinarum et marmorariae officinae, October 31, 1956
Inserted blessings for stone and marble quarries.

AAS 49 [1957], 1043: Benedictionis stationis radiophonicae, October 24, 1957
Inserted a blessing for radio stations.

S.C.R. N.D. 37/1959: Dioecesium Americae Septentrionalis, October 11, 1959
Permitted the use of the vernacular in the administration of the sacraments of Baptism, Matrimony and Extreme Unctio saving the exorcisms, blessings and formulas. Permitted the use of english enitrely in Matrimony outside of the Mass. Permitted the addition of english prayers after the funeral rites were completes where determined by the Ordinary.

AAS 52 [1960], 412: Litaniae Pretiosissimi Sanguinis D.N.I.C., February 24, 1960
Added the Litany of the Most Precious Blood

EL, 1960, 74, 133: (Ephemerides liturgicae) S. C. R. Prot. H. 10/959, November 27, 1959
Abolished abjuration of pagan, Jewish, Muslim and other sects from Title II, Chapter 4, no. 10 of the rite for baptism of adults.

AAS 52 [1960], 987: Laudibus in blasphemiarum reparationem, October 12, 1960
Added the invocation Benedictus Sanguis eius Pretiosissimus to the Divine Praises.

AAS 54 [1962], 310-338: Ordo Baptismi adultorum, April 16, 1962
Reordered the rite of baptism for the allowance of a seven step "catechumenate." If the rites were given all at once the previous ritual is followed. With the permission of the Ordinary however it may be broken up as described in the above document over seven steps.

Some of these are rather minor changes but others are significant. Further, the permission for the use of the vernacular in 1959 excludes the blessings found in Title IX De benedictionibus. Also remember that Summorum Pontificum derogates from any of the permissions and recognitions granted to vernacular in 1963/4.

Sep 23, 2006

The Roman Canon: Origin and Development IV

Meal Berakoth 1

Blessed be thou, JHWH, our God, King of the universe, who givest us this fruit of the vine. 2

Blessed be thou, JHWH, our God, King of the universe, who bringest forth bread from the earth. 3

L.: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
R.: Blessed be he whose generosity has given us food and whose kindness has given us life. 4

Blessed be thou, JHWH, our God, King of the universe, who feedest the world with goodness, with grace and mercy, who givest food to all flesh for thou nourishest and sustainest all beings and providest food for all thy creatures. Blessed be thou, JHWH, who givest food to all.

We thank thee, JHWH, our God, for a desirable, good and ample land which thou was pleased to give to our fathers, and for thy covenant which thou hast marked in our flesh, and for the Torah which thou hast given us, and for life, grace, mercy and food which thou hast lent us in every season. And for all this, JHWH, our God, we thank thee and bless thy name. Blessed be thy name upon us continually and for ever. Blessed be thou, JHWH, for the land and for the food.

Have mercy, JHWH, our God, upon thy people Israel, upon thy city Jerusalem, upon Zion, the abiding place of thy glory, upon the kingdom of the house of David thine annointed, and upon the great and holy house that was called by thy name. Feed us, nourish us, sustain us, provide for us, relieve us speedily from our anxieties, and let us not stand in need of the gifts of mortals, for their gifts are small and their reproach is great, for we have trusted in thy holy, great and fearful name. And may Elijah and the Messiah, the son of David come in our life-time, and let the kingdom of the house of David return to its place, and reign thou over us, thou alone, and save us for thy name’s sake, and bring us up in it and gladden us in it and comfort us in Zion thy city. Blessed be thou, JHWH, who rebuildest Jerusalem. 5

[SPECIAL FORM: Our God, and the God of our fathers, may the remembrance of ourselves and of our fathers and the remembrance of Jerusalem, thy city, and the remembrance of the Messiah, the son of David, thy servant, and the remembrance of thy people, the whole house of Israel, arise and come, come to pass, be seen and accepted and heard, be remembered and be mentioned before thee for deliverance, for good, for grace, for lovingkindness and for mercy on this such and such a day. Remember us, JHWH, our God, on it for good and visit us on it for blessing and save us on it unto life by a word of salvation and mercy, and spare, favour and show us mercy, for thou art a gracious and merciful God and King.] 6



1 “Neither the Mishnah nor the Tefillah give us a complete test, which is not to be found before the Seder Amram Gaon. But they multiply allusions to the content of the formulas from the earliest times, which act as a guarantee for us of the substantial conformity between the text still in use today and the ancient practice.”(Bouyer 82)

2 “The obligatory prelude of the meal was the ritual hand-washing with which the Jews also began their day. Then, in a ceremonial meal, each person upon arriving drank a first cup of wine, repeating for himself this” text. “This is the first cup mentioned by St. Luke in his account of the Last Supper”. (Bouyer 79)

3 “[The] meal did not officially begin until the father of the family or the presiding member of the community had broken the bread which was given to the participants, with this blessing.” “It was looked upon as a general blessing for the whole meal that was to follow, and no one who arrived later was allowed to partake.” “The courses and cups of wine then followed, and each person in turn pronounced a series of blessings. The Passover meal was distinguished simply by special foods, bitter herbs and the lamb, which were used together with the special corresponding prayers and the dialogued recitation of the haggadah, i.e. a kind of traditional homily on the origin and the ever fresh sense of the feast.” Bouyer thinks that the haggadah becomes central to the placement of the Instituion Narrative within the berakoth. (Bouyer 80, 157)

4 “In every case, however, the essentail ritual act came at the end of the meal.” On holy days celebrated on the eve a lamp was lit, which is the origin of the ancient Christian use of the lucernarium and has survived into our own day in the blessing of the paschal candle. Then incense was blessed and burned. Then a second general hand-washing takes place. The servant would bring an ewer to the master of the house or the one who presided, though when a servant was not available then the youngest at the table would do so. This is the origin of John the Beloved Disciple bringing the ewer to Jesus. Jesus then turns to Peter who is considered the most worthy after himself and washed not only his hands but his feet. “It is after these preliminaries that the presider, with the cup of wine mixed with water before him, solemnly invited those assisting to join in with his act of thanksgiving.” (Bouyer 80-81)

5 Bouyer 82-83.

6 The Seder Amram Gaon prescribes certain variations of the third berakah either for Sabbath or a high holy day. What is most remarkable about this text is the extensive use of the Hebrew word zikkaron (remembrance). This gives a context to the command of Jesus to “do this in remembrance of me”. The term also recalls the Temple sacrifices when we see the connection to the Abodah prayer. The idea of memorial is also prevalent there and this prayer arises from those that originally consecrated the Temple sacrifices. (Bouyer 84-85)

Sep 19, 2006

The Roman Canon: Origin and Development III

The Tefillah of the Shemoneh Esreh 1

JHWH, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise!

Aboth:
Blessed be thou, JHWH, our God and God of our fathers, God of Abraham, God of Isaac and God of Jacob, the great, mighty and revered God, the most high God, who bestowest lovingkindness, possessest all things and remeberest the pious deeds of the fathers, and wilt bring a redeemer to their children’s children for thy name’s sake, in love, King, Helper, Saviour and Shield. Blessed be thou, JHWH, the Shield of Abraham.

Geburoth:
Thou art mighty forever, JHWH, thou quickenest the dead, thou art mighty to save, and thou causest the dew to fall (who causest the wind to blow and the rain to fall), who sustainest the living with lovingkindness, quickenest the dead with great mercy, supportest the falling, healest the sick, loosest them that are bound and keepest faith to them that sleep in the dust. Who is like unto thee, Lord of mighty acts, and who resembleth thee, King, who killest and quickenest and causest salvation to spring forth. And faithful art thou to quicken the dead, Blessed be thou, JHWH, who quickenest the dead.

Keter 2:
Unto thee shall the multitudes above with all the gatherings below give a crown, all with one accord shall thrice repeat the holy praise unto thee, according to what is said through the prophet: and one cried unto another and said: Holy, holy, holy is JHWH of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory. Then with noise of great rushing, mighty and strong, they make their voices heard, and upraising themselves towards them, they say: blessed, blessed be the glory of JHWH from his place.

From thy place shine forth, our King, and reign over us, for we wait upon thee. When wilt thou reign? Reign in Zion speedily, even in our days and in our lives do thou dwell (there). Mayest thou be magnified and sanctified in the midst of Jerusalem thy city throughout all generations and to all eternity. And let our eyes behold they kingdom, according to the word that was spoken in the songs of thy might by David, thy righteous annointed: JHWH shall reign for ever, thy God, Zion, unto all generations. Hallelujah.

Qedushat ha-Shem:
From generation to generation give homage to God for he alone is high and holy, and thy praise, our God, shall not depart from our mouth for ever, for a great and holy king art thou. Blessed be thou JHWH, thou holy God.

Binah:
Thou favorest man with knowledge and teachest a human being understanding. Favour us with knowledge, understanding and discernment from thee. Blessed be thou, JHWH, who graciously bestowest knowledge.

Teshubah:
Cause us to return, our Father, unto thy Torah, and draw us near, our King, unto thy service, and bring us back in perfect repentance before thee. Blessed be thou, JHWH, who delightest in repentance.

Selishah:
Forgive us, our Father, for we have sinned; pardon us, our King, for we have transgressed, for thou art good and forgiving. Blessed be thou, JHWH, who art gracious and dost adundantly forgive.

Geullah:
Look upon our affliction and plead our cause, and redeem us speedily for thy Name’s sake; for thou art a mighty Redeemer. Blessed be thou, JHWH, the Redeemer of Israel.

Refnah:
Heal us, JHWH, and we shall be healed; save us and we shall be saved, and grant a perfect healing to all our wounds; for thou, God, art a merciful Physician. Blessed be thou, JHWH, who healest the sick of thy people Israel.

Birkat ha-shanim:
Bless this year unto us, JHWH, our God for (our) welfare (and give dew and rain for blessing upon the face of the earth, and wind on the land, and satisfy the whole world by the goodness and fill our hands from thy blessings and from the riches of the gifts of they hands, and watch and rescue this year from all evil and from all destruction and from all calamity, and make it a hope, and let the end of it be peace. Spare us, and have mercy upon us and upon all the produce of it, and upon all the fruits of it, and bless it like (good) years with blessing of dew, and life, and plenty, and peace). Blessed be thou, JHWH, who blessest the years.

Qibbus galuyoth:
Sound the great horn for our freedom, and lift up the ensign, to gather our exiles, and proclaim liberty to gather us from the four quarters of the earth to our land. blessed be thou, JHWH, who gatherest the dispersed of thy people Israel.

Birkat mishpat:
Restore our judges as at the first, and our counselors as at the beginning, and reign thou alone over us, JHWH, in grace and mercy and righteousness and judgment. Blessed be thou, JHWH, the King who lovest righteousness and judgment.

[Birkatha-minim:
And for the slanderers let there be no hope, and let all the wicked perish in a moment and let all our enemies be speedily cut off, and the dominion of arrogance do thou speedily uproot and crush and humble in our days. Blessed be thou, JHWH, who breakest the wicked and humblest the arrogant.] 3

Birkat saddiqim:
Towards the righteous and the pious and the true proselytes may thy mercies be stirred, JHWH, our God, and grant a good reward unto all who faithfully trust in thy name and set our portion with them, so that we may never be put to shame. Blessed be thou, JHWH, the stay and trust of the righteous.

Birkat Yerushalem 4:
To Jerusalem, thy city, return in mercy, and dwell in it as thou hast spoken; and rebuild it as an everlasting building in our days. Blessed be thou, JHWH, who rebuildest Jerusalem.

Birkat David:
Speedily cause the offspring of David to flourish, and let his horn be exalted by thy salvation, because we wait for thy salvation all the day. Blessed be thou, JHWH, who causest the horn of salvation to flourish.

Tefillah:
Hear our voice, JHWH, have mercy upon us and accept our prayer in mercy and favour; for thou art a God who hearkenest unto our prayers and supplications: from thy presence, our Kind, turn us not empty away, for thou hearkenest to the prayer of every mouth. Blessed be thou, JHWH, who hearkenest unto prayer.

Abodah 5:
Accept, JHWH, our God, thy people Israel and their prayer and restore the service to the Holy of Holies of thy house and receive speedily in love and favour the fire-offerings of Israel and their prayer, and may the service of thy people Israel ever be acceptable unto thee, and let our eyes behold thy return to Zion in mercy. Blessed be thou, JHWH, who restorest thy Presence to Zion.

Hodah:
We give thanks unto thee, our God and the God of our fathers; thou art the Rock of our lives, the Shield of our salvation through every generation. We will give thanks unto thee and declare thy praise for our lives which are committed unto thy hand, and for our souls which are in thy charge. Thou art all-good for thy mercies fail not, thou art merciful for thy lovingkindnesses never cease, we have ever hoped in thee. And bring us not to shame, JHWH, our God, abandon us not and hide not thy face from us, and for all thy name be blessed and exalted, our King, for ever and ever. Everything that liveth should thank thee, Selah, and praise thy name, All-good, in truth. Blessed be thou, JHWH, whose name is all-good, and unto whom it is becoming to give thanks.

Birkat kohanim:
Grant peace, welfare, blessing, loving kindness and mercy unto us and unto all Israel, thy people, and bless us, our Father, even all of us together, with the light of thy countenance; for by the light of thy countenance thou hast given us, JHWH, our God, the Torah of life, love and grace, and righteousness and mercy, and may it be good in thy sight to bless thy people Israel in mercy in all times. Blessed be thou, JHWH, who blessest thy people Israel with peace.


1 After the Shemah and the following prayer, which was not transcribed in the last article, the Tefillah of the 18 blessings (Shemoneh Esreh) is recited. The form reproduced here is the Babylonian one from the Seder Amram Gaon. Scholars disagree with whether the Babylonian or Jerusalem recension more closely corresponds to that of the time of Jesus. This dispute is not so important since it is admitted that there were no two Jewish communities of his time that used exactly the same words. Bouyer 70.

2 The Keter is not counted among the eighteen blessings but is counted as a continuation of the Geburoth. There are eighteen total blessings: Aboth, Geburoth, Qedushat ha-Shem, Binah, Teshubah, Selishah, Geullah, Refnah, Birkat ha-shanim, Qibbus galuyoth, Birkat mishpat, Birkat saddiqim, Birkat Yerushalem, Birkat David, Tefillah, Abodah, Hodah, and Birkat kohanim.

3 “It is after [the Birkat mishpat] and prior to [Birkat saddiqim] that the [Birkatha-minim] was introduced as a later addition which brought the number of traditional ‘blessings’ from eighteen up to nineteen. It is the famous prayer against the apostates and slanderers of the people of Israel. These minim are certainly the Christians, especially the Jewish Christians, and all those among the Jewish people who were in league with them or thought to be.”(Bouyer 76)

4 “The Birkat Yerushalem which follows [the Birkat saddiqim] is obviously, since the year 70 of our era, aimed at the rebuilding of Jerusalem which Titus has destroyed. But, as Abrahams points out, the original formulas must have focused not on the rebuilding but on the building of Jerusalem and on her perpetual possession of the divine presence.”(Bouyer, 76)

5 “It is called Abodah, “service” and it is generally admitted that it proceeds directly from the prayer that was recited in the temple of Jerusalem for the daily offering of the holocaust. Later it was revised so that it could be applied to the restoration of the sacrifices interrupted by Titus.”(Bouyer 78)

The Roman Canon: Origin and Development II

Berakoth of the Qedushah 1:
L 2: Bless ye JHWH, who is to be blessed.

R.: Blessed be JHWH, who is to be blessed, for ever and ever.

Yozer:
L: Blessed be thou, JHWH, our God, king of the universe, who formest light and createst darkness, who makes peace and createst all things: Who in mercy givest light to the earth and to them that dwell thereon and in his goodness renewest the creation every day continually. How manifold are they works, JHWH. In wisdom hast thou made them all, the earth is full of thy possesions. King who alone wast exalted from aforetime, praised, glorified and exalted from days of old. Everlasting God, in thine abundant mercies have mercy upon us, Lord of our strength, Rock of our stronghold, Shield of our salvation, thou stronghold of ours. The blessed God, great in knowledge, prepared and formed the rays of the sun: it was a boon he produced as a glory to his name. He set the luminaries round about his strength. The chiefs of his hosts are holy beings, they exalt the Almighty, continually declare the glory of God and his holiness. Be thou blessed, JHWH, our God, in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. Be thou blessed, our Rock, our King and our Redeemer, Creator of holy beings, praised be thy name forever, our King, Creator of ministering spirits, and all his ministering spirits stand in the height of the universe, and with awe proclaim aloud in unison the words of the living God and everlasting King. All of them are beloved, all of them are pure, all of them are mighty, all of them in dread do the will of their master, all of them open their mouths in holiness and purity and praise and glorify and sanctify the name of the great King, the mighty and dreaded One, holy is He. They all take upon themselves the yoke of the kingdom in heaven, one from the other, and give leave one to another to hallow their Creator: in tranquil joy of spirit, with pure speech and with holy melody they all respond in unison in fear, and say with awe ...

Qedushah:
R: Holy, holy, holy is JHWH of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.

L: And the Ophanim and the holy Chayoth with a noise of great rushing, upraising themselves towards them praise and say:

R: Blessed be the glory of JHWH from his place.

L: To the blessed God they offer pleasant melodies, to the King, the living and ever-enduring God they utter hymns and make their praises heard, for he alone performeth mighty deeds and maketh new things, the Lord of battles, he soweth righteousness, causeth salvation to spring forth, createth remedies, is revered in praises, the Lord of wonders who in his goodness reneweth the creation every day continually, as it is said: (Give thanks) to him that maketh great lights for his grace endureth forever. Blessed be thou, JHWH, Creator of the luminaries.

Ahabah:
L: With abounding love hast thou loved us, JHWH, our God, with great and exceeding pity thou hast pitied us, our Father, our King, for the sake of our fathers who trusted in thee, and whom thou didst teach the statutes of life, be gracious also unto us. Our Father, merciful Father, have mercy upon us, and put into our hearts to understand, and to discern, and to hear, and to learn, and to do all the words of instruction in thy Torah in love. And enlighten our eyes in they commandments, and let our hearts cleave to they fear, and unite our hearts to love thy name, soon in love exalt our horn and be thou our king and save us for the sake of thy name, for we have trusted in thee, that we be put not to shame, and we trust in thy name that we be not abashed nor stumble for ever and ever because thou, O God, art our Father, our God, and let not thy mercy abandon us for ever and ever. Let peace come over us from the four corners of the earth and cause us soon to go upright to our land, for thou hast chosen us from all peoples and tongues and hast brought us near unto thy great name in love. Blessed be thou, JHWH, who hast chosen thy people Israel in love.

Shemah 3:
R.:(Hear, O Israel: The Lord your God is the Lord alone; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your thought, and him only shall you serve.)


1 Preceding this is the Qaddish prayer which was the original conclusion of the targum. Bouyer quotes only its first part commenting that this is evidentlly the direct source of the first part of the Lord’s prayer, “Magnified and sanctified be his great name, Amen. In the world which he has created according to his will. And may he establish his kingdom during your life and during your days and during the life of all the house of Israel, even speedily and at a near time. Amen.” Bouyer, Louis. Eucharist: Theology and Spirituality of the Eucharistic Prayer. Trans. Charles Quinn. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1968. 61-64.

2 Sheliach sibbur – the member of the community designated for saying the prayer in the name of all. Today , and since the 6th century, it is always the hazan, mentioned in the Gospels, the “minister” who is the ancestor to the Christian deacon. (Bouyer, 61) N.B. I have used L to stand for the Sheliach sibbur (leader) and R for the community response.

3 Bouyer does not dwell on the Shemah because it disappeared in Christian services, i.e. his concern is not so much with regards to the Jewish prayers but rather in the origin of the Eucharistic prayer that develops from it. Nevertheless, I thought it good to include it here at this juncture if only to show where in the sequence it appears. (Bouyer, 69)

Sep 14, 2006

The Roman Canon: Origin and Development I

Some time ago I began studying the Roman Rite with a view to understanding the process which had resulted in the reform of the liturgical books. Primarily, I was concerned over certain accusations leveled against the reform of the liturgical books especially the Roman Missal. As my study has progressed I have been able to evaluate various critiques and found these critiques to have varying degrees of authenticity or reliability. It happens upon occasion that certain works, upon providing facts of evidence and scholarly analysis; convince me to change my opinion of this or that question. Indeed, this has happened several times to me over the course of the study and perhaps it may happen yet again in the future. Lamentably, given that I have published my thoughts and findings for public review, it means that I must from time to time return to read and perhaps revise what I have written previously. I find that I have come upon one of those moments.

For those perhaps who have not studied the history of the Roman Rite, I will give a summary of sorts of the books and authors that have influenced my opinions in these matters. I have remained interested in the subject of liturgy and continue to read with the purpose not so much for knowledge of the liturgy as an end but rather as a means towards understanding and therefore entering more deeply into the liturgical rites. I remain in quiet awe of the scholarship and mental acumen of these liturgical giants without whose works I would know and understand precious little.

My understanding of the development and origin of the Roman Rite is due in main to four authors: Nicholas Gihr 1, Adrian Fortescue 2, Gerhard Rauschen 3 and Fernand Cabrol 4. These were the first works I read on the liturgy and so I think made the most impression upon me. These authors quoted, referenced and even critiqued the arguments of other liturgical luminaries such as: Franz Xaver von Funk, Edmund Bishop, Pierre Battifol, F.E. Brightman, Louis Duchesne, Anton Baumstark, F. Probst, Paul Drews, Rudolf Buchwald, etc. The general theory of development which I had accepted was due in large part to Fortescue’s treatment of the subject together with the synthesis and analysis of Rauschen. Fortescue in his seminal work, The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy, gives a brief synthesis of important liturgical scholars works on the history of liturgical development. He generally follows Drews in his opinions, not without some critique of his own, however. These views can be found in several articles which Fortescue wrote for the Catholic Encyclopedia 5.

As liturgical documents began to be collected, published and studied the work of comparative liturgy took on a renewed fervor. Exciting new texts and critical editions with scholarly analysis were published. The question of the development of rites came to the forefront because of it. The uniqueness of the Roman liturgy both as a whole and particularly in regards to the Roman Canon caused liturgists to begin asking about the origins of such uniqueness. Early work suggested that the primitive liturgy would likely follow that of the West Syrian liturgies (Antiochian). The foundation for this thesis is eminently reasonable speculation on the basis that the first liturgies would have come from Jerusalem and then into Syria, specifically Antioch. It is well known that Peter established the episcopal see in Antioch before ultimately journeying on to Rome. Thus it was reasonable that the apostolic liturgical rites in Rome and Antioch should be in substantial accord not only as to content but also as to structure or form.

To this end the liturgies found in the Apostolic Traditions and the Apostolic Constitutions were speculated to be reflective of early Christian liturgy. The first of these documents, as I am now convinced by Bouyer, was authored by a Roman of “adoption” who originally came from somewhere in Syria. As Bouyer convincingly argues, the very structure of the liturgy betrays any pretense to being primitive. Rather, it seems that the author holds that the Syrian traditions are the apostolic ones and for that reason has difficulty with the Roman liturgy of his time. Thus liturgists who thought to find the primitive rite of Rome in the Apostolic Traditions were greatly mistaken but no less so than those who thought to identify it with the liturgy found in the Apostolic Constitutions.

At one time, the liturgy found in Book VIII was attributed to Clement of Rome. For this reason the liturgy was often called the Clementine liturgy and will often today be referred to as the Pseudo-Clementine liturgy. It is this text which Drews uses as the basic model for the primitive liturgy. This assumption inherently meant that there was a radical alteration at some unknown juncture to the Roman Canon. Many, if not most, liturgists have more or less followed Drews in his reconstruction of the primitive Roman Canon. Even those who think his reconstruction theories have certain flaws in one point or another generally concede the same conclusion, i.e. that the Roman Canon had been drastically altered at some point. What made such speculation possible is twofold: the paucity of documents which witness to the primitive Roman form and the error of seeking knowledge of the primitive anaphora in unreliable documents. Very famous treatments of the liturgy and the anaphora all reflect this lamentable error from the beginning of the liturgical movement up to the eve of the reform and even into our own times. This principle and unfounded error can be found in Fortescue 6, Rauschen 7, Cagin 8, Gassner 9, Jungmann 10, and Vagaggini 11 among others.



N.B. This is the first installment of a several part series.

1 Rev Dr. Nicholas Gihr, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: Dogmatically, Liturgically and Ascetically Explained, 6th edition, B. Herder Book Co, 1924.

2 Rev. Dr. Adrian Fortescue, The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy, Loreto Publications, 2003: original printing 1912.

3 Rauschen, Gerhard, Ph.D., S.T.D., Eucharist and Penance: In the First Six Centuries of the Church, B Herder, St. Louis, 1913.

4 Rt. Rev. Dom Fernand Cabrol, The Mass of the Western Rites, 1934.

5 Liturgy; Canon of the Mass; et al.

6 The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy

7 Eucharist and Penance: The First Six Centuries of the Church

8 Dom Paul Cagin, L’Eucharistia, Canon primitif de la Messe, Paris, 1912.

9 Rev. Dr. Jerome Gassner, O.S.B., The Canon of the Mass: Its History, Theology, and Art, B Herder, St. Louis, 1949.

10 Rev. Dr. Joseph A Jungmann, S.J., The Mass of the Roman Rite: Its Origins and Development, Benzinger Brothers, New York, 1959.

11 Dom Cipriano Vagaggini, The Canon of the Mass and Liturgical Reform, Alba House, Great Britain, 1966 (trans. 1967).

Sep 3, 2006

Louis Bouyer: Eucharist

Louis Bouyer, Eucharist: Theology and Spirituality of the Eucharistic Prayer. Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1968. xii + 484p. $22. ISBN10 0-268-00498-6.

Fr. Louis Bouyer of the French Oratory wrote this work in 1966, which was then re-edited in 1968. This latter date coincided with the introduction circa 1967 of three new Eucharistic Prayers to the Roman Rite. Since then, others have been added to the Roman Missal and one would give much to read Fr. Bouyer’s (1913-2004) critique and analysis of their form. In any case, the work here presented is a must read for any liturgical student. One of the most perturbing problems of the liturgical reform, the addition of the new Eucharistic Prayers, is here given its reason for existing. More than that, for these reasons are given in a few short paragraphs at the end of the book, the thoughts and genesis behind the desire for touching in anyway the core of the liturgical rite is explained.

The origins of the liturgical rites have long been a rather perplexing problem with various solutions being given. A synthesis of these solutions to the problem of the origin of the rites can be found in Fr. Adrian Fortescue, The Mass. Bouyer’s work specifies only the anaphora, or Eucharistic prayer, for critique and analysis in an attempt to uncover both the primitive form of the Eucharist and the primitive spirituality. In so doing, he gives vary many examples from Christian liturgical history, both East and West, which alone is worth the price of the book. His thesis rests on the tracing of Christian liturgical development back to its earliest times and even further into its Judaic foundations, especially with regards to the sacred meal prayers, or berakoth. He fully gives an explanation of these berakoth along with examples that can hardly be found elsewhere. Through the use of comparative liturgy, Bouyer finds in these berakoth the primitive form of the Eucharistic prayer. Of course, it makes perfect sense that the Last Supper was celebrated according to Jewish liturgical rites, or at least according to Jewish liturgical forms. This does not equate to reducing the Eucharistic prayer to a Jewish berakoth, however. It is within this structure that Christ gives new meaning and radically therefore alters, or rather fulfills, the ancient Jewish berakoth forever. We shall return to this point later.

The generally accepted theories of the Eucharistic prayer by liturgists seek to find the primitive Eucharist in sources such as the Apostolic Tradition, the Pseudo-Clementine Liturgy of Book VIII of the Apostolic Constitutions, and in the Divine Liturgy of St. James. This in turn meant that the Roman Canon had suffered some radical altering of its form for it was supposed that it had its primitive state in one of the liturgies just mentioned. Bouyer completely debunks this theory and proves even more surely that the Roman Canon retains the ancient form of the primitive Eucharist than any of these three supposedly primitive rites. It remains true that some restructuring of the Roman Canon happened but that is purely development and not the radical restructuring that some liturgists had supposed. Bouyer goes a long way towards giving credence to the development theories espoused by Gerhard Rauschen. Rauschen had argued against the theories of a radical alteration of the Roman Canon according to the Epiclesis argument. He had also affirmed the probability that what restructuring took place was due to influence from Alexandria rather than Ravenna. All this seems to be proven by Bouyer’s thesis. I am completely convinced on at least this count.

Unfortunately, the work also has a touch of the fever that has run through liturgists of this century that somehow the liturgy had become corrupted by accretions throughout the Middle Ages or the Dark Ages as these are more wont to call them. He also seems to be somewhat affected by an archeologism of sorts with regards to his insistence that the Eucharistic prayer is ideally situated within the context and language of a sacrificial meal (something that Benedict XVI, as a Cardinal, was highly critical of). He also seems to enjoy using the word Eucharist in its etymological sense of thanksgiving rather than in reserving it in reference to the Blessed Sacrament. I suppose that is hardly something to quibble over though it something that I found to be an annoyance. Nevertheless, this work is essential in understanding how the old offertory prayers came to be replaced by Jewish meal prayers and how the first three additions of Eucharistic prayers came to find a place in the Roman Missal along side the venerable and ancient Roman Canon. The fourth Eucharistic prayer in particular bears the marks of Bouyer’s genius and authorship. He is quite enamored of the Anaphora of St. Basil. He also identifies the third Eucharistic prayer as built upon the Gallican-Mozarabic traditions. I recommend this book highly both for the quality of scholarship in the analysis, as well as for the wealth of liturgical data found within, but not without cautioning that it be read with a critical eye.

Aug 12, 2006

The Necessary Authors

I'm quite sure that I am an incessant junkie for all things liturgical and I sincerely doubt that my abiding passion for such will ever abate. Nothing has ever fascinated me more than the study of Catholic liturgy in all of the various forms it has taken both throughout the history of the Roman Rite and in each of the other equally majestic Eastern Rites. I've been particularly blessed by having at my disposal works long out of print from that era in which the Liturgical Movement first began. I've also had at my fingertips various copies of the Ordinaries of various liturgical rites. Now many of these things are becoming reprinted or being made available via the Internet, and so much the better. I think it extremely worthwhile to have at our hands the works of Fr. Fortesque, Dom Cabrol, Fr. Parsch, Dom Gueranger, and the other masters of the original liturgical movement for the knowledge of the liturgical rites was thorough and breathtaking. I also find myself much indebited to recent scholarship which is equally rich in precious data and commentary as well as being so very relevant to the liturgical debate, and I dare say crisis of our own time. With that in mind the following list, though being by no means exhaustive, are works which I consider to be indispensable for those interested in liturgy today whether they be the uninitiated or those who are unable to spend the time or resources in a do-it-yourself study and for those who in fact have done or intend to do such study. One word of caution however: purchase these at your own risk as you may find yourself hopelessly enthralled by both the subject and the authors!

Aug 7, 2006

Liturgical Resources At Archive.org

I recently was introduced to an excellent site: The Internet Archive, by way of the blog in illo tempore (biretta tip to Mike). I found the following goodies available there:


There's quite a bit of other vintage liturgical and Catholic treasures to be had so poke around a little - you'll be pleasantly surprised, I know that I was.

Aug 1, 2006

O bone Iesu, fac ut sacerdos fiam secundum Cor tuum.

O good Jesus, grant that I may become a priest after Thine own Heart.
I wish to share my joy with all who read this blog or perhaps will have only just happened upon it by accident, and also to implore you for your prayers on my behalf, that I have been recently accepted as a seminarian for the Diocese of Phoenix by His Excellency, Bishop Thomas Olmstead. I will be attending the Pontificium Collegium Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio beginning the end of this month. I desire to thank all those, some of whom are readers of this blog, who encouraged me in my process of discerment up to this point either through their words to me, example of Christian virtues, and through prayers for vocations in general or for mine in particular.

Jul 20, 2006

Praying In Latin

My first real contact with the Latin language coincided with the death of my grandfather in 2003. My grandmother gave me a veritable library of books which included several on the liturgy most of which have been quoted on this site. A little over a year later I attended the first Classical Roman Rite Mass in my diocese that had been offered in communion with the Bishop in 35 years. Between the time of my grandfathers death and my first experience of the Classical Rite I had learned to pray the Rosary in Latin. I learned from a variety of sources beginning with the Our Father which I learned to chant from Pope John Paul II's album Abba Pater. This was also my first experience of Gregorian Chant. I will have to admit to mispronouncing several words of the Our Father and Hail Mary for some months before finding audio files to practice with. Even then I found that some pronounced words differently than I had heard them. Eventually I was instructed in Latin by a parishoner of the Mater Misericordiae Latin Mass community. Over time I acquired a Lewis and Short Latin Dictionary, a Wheelock's Latin course book, and several other teach-yourself courses. Attending the Latin Mass and listening to Gregorian Chant CD's really helped me along. While I am certainly not fluent in Latin, it has become my preferred language for prayer. I find that praying in Latin has had several benefits. First and foremost, it helps me to collect myself and become orientated towards God. Secondly when I first began praying in Latin it helped me to learn the prayers again and to become more familiar with the meaning of the words that I had so often rattled off in English. Thirdly, the natural rythmn of the Latin once become familiar is an anchor that leads me to contemplation and recalls me to my task when my focus shifts. The same but twice over for Gregorian Chant which effortlessly places me in the presence of God even when the schola is chanting an Offertory with which I am by no means familiar. Last night, I was reading Directorium Asceticum; or Guide to the Spiritual Life by Fr. John Baptist Scaramelli, S.J. and I came across this passage:


Volume I, Chapter VI: Three Sorts of Attention Suitable in Prayer.


"260. St. Thomas says that the attention which we have in our vocal prayers is threefold.1 The first kind is that which we pay to the words, as in the recitation of the Divine Office, during which we are bound to read the words carefully, and to pronounce them distinctly, so as to avoid making mistakes in the exact pronunciation of the prescribed words. But that this attention may be of real advantage, the person must have begun by placing himself in God's presence with the purpose to pray by the recital of this particular form of prayer. The second kind of attention is that paid to the meaning of the words uttered, as when those reciting the Psalms, the Our Father, Hail Mary, or other like prayers, all of which abound with devout affections, reflect meanwhile on the sense of what they say, and unite to the verbal recitation the devout feelings of their hearts. If the person making use of such prayer, instead of going always forward - as is done when reciting the Canonical Hours - prefer to stop at every verse and make devout reflections, nourishing his mind with the various meanings which occur; then the prayer will be something more than merely vocal; it will be mingled with Mental Prayer, and may be styled (to use the expression of St. Ignatius in his Spiritual Exercises) the "Second Method" of prayer. The third kind of attention is that given not to the words merely, nor to their import only, but to God Himself, to Whom all prayer is addressed directly or indirectly, as when, in prayer, we keep ourselves recollected in the presence of God, and adore, love, and thank Him, or entreat Him in our hearts to grant us the graces of which He sees us to stand in need. The first sort of attention [to the words] suffices; the second [to the import] is good, and may be very profitable; the third is best, and may become most advantageous to such as earnestly apply it. And we may here observe, that St. Thomas calls this last-mentioned application of the mind most necessary, especially to such as by their ignorance of the Latin language are unable to enter into the sense of the Psalms, the Pater Noster, or other prayers approved by Holy Church;2 for thus, while with their tongues they recite words which they understand not, instead of allowing their thoughts to wander in every direction, they can and should fix their minds on God, and occupy themselves with devout and profitable affections.

261. There is a well-known instance of this in the Chronicles of the Cistercian Choir. St. Bernard, while at choir one night with his monks, had the following vision: He beheld, by the side of each of the religious, an Angel with pen and paper in hand,taking down every psalm, verse, and word that was recited. There was this difference, nevertheless, that some Angels wrote in letters of gold, others of silver; others again used ink, others dipped their pens in water; while some stood holding their pens in their hands, without taking down anything. While the Saint was beholding this spectacle with the eyes of his body, God Almighty opened those of his mind, and, by a ray of heavenly light, caused him to seize the true meaning of this vision. He now understood that the letters of gold signified fervour of spirit, the inward charity that animated the prayers of some; those of silver denoted devotion, sincere in itself, but joined with a less degree of fervour. The letters in ink indicated the scrupulous exactness wherewith some recited the words of the psalms, but with very little devotional feeling. The prayers written with water indicated the negligence of such as, overcome with drowsiness, indolence, or idle thoughts, did not give careful attention to what they were reciting with their tongue. The Angels who wrote nothing represented the indolence and malice of those who were asleep or voluntarily distracted. We may gather from this legend that our Guardian Angels will write down our vocal prayers in divers characters, according to the measure of the attention, fervour, and devotion with which we pronounce the words.

262. But the reader may wish to know who takes note of the prayers which the Angels do not register, and whether they are wholly forgotten, and left both unrewarded and unpunished. I may direct them for an answer to another vision, from which it appears that such prayers are written by the demons in dark characters, indicative of the severe punishement in store.3 A holy Priest, after having celebrated Mass for the people, beheld standing by the altar, a demon, who, with pen and large skin of parchment in hand, was busily writing. The servant of God, without feeling any fear, commanded him, in the name of Jesus Christ, to show what he was so carefully noting down. The fiend replied, 'I am taking note of all the sins committed by the people while assisting at Mass.' Upon this the Priest, with a courage befitting his calling, snatched the long scroll from the enemy's hands, and read out before all the people the list of the faults each one had committed that morning at Mass. On hearing themselves publicly convicted of all the acts of immodesty and irreverence of which they had been guilty in Church, in time of prayer and during the Holy Sacrifice, they conceived a great sorrow, and hastened to confess with sincere contrition. When the Confessions were concluded, all trace of the infernal handwriting had vanished from the parchment; a sure token of the pardon God had granted. We shall then do well, when we begin to say our beads, the Office, or other pious prayers, to figure to ourselves our Guardian Angel standing on one side ready to note down our prayer in the Book of Life, if it be worthy of reward; and on the other side, the devil ready to mark it in the Book of Death, if it deserve punishment. And that we may gain merit and not incur chastisements from our prayers, I will say with St. Cyprian: 'When we are at prayer, dearly beloved, let us be watchful and apply ourselves with all the earnestness of our hearts. Far from us, at that time, be every worldly and carnal thought. The mind should then be intent upon nothing save upon the matter of our prayer alone.'4 The same holy martyr proceeds to inculcate such attention by the words of the Priest, who, at the Preface of the Mass, says to the people, 'Lift up your hearts:' to which all used to reply, 'We have them lifted up to the Lord.' Whereby we are reminded that in time of prayer, our thoughts must be wholly fixed on God alone.5

263. It must be borne in mind, however, that what has hitherto been said applies only to wilful distractions either purposely sought for the sake of amusement, or admitted with advertence; whether these proceed from the inconstancy of our fancy, or from the suggestions of the enemy of all good. Distractions such as these are alone sinful, St. Thomas teaches, and alone deprive our prayer of all fruit.6 But in no sense do I allude to those involuntary wanderings which may happen to any pious person qutie against his will, when, in placing himself transported elsewhere by importunate imaginings; provided these be driven away directly, and the sense of God's presence be renewed. Such distractions, as we learn from the same holy Doctor, though they return a hundred times, are by no means incompatible with true prayer.7 Nay, he further adds, for the encouragement of certain timorous consciences, that even persons raised to the highest pitch of contemplation, are, at times, borne down by human frailty to thoughts of earth, by the involuntary wanderings of the mind.8 Those, then, who are in earnest about their spiritual progress, must in time of vocal prayer keep strict guard over their minds and hearts, and they must take heed not deliberately to admit any thought foreign to prayer. When they do this, they need be under no alarm that their petitions will be advantageous to themselves and very pleasing to God."



1 Dicendum, quod triplex est attentio, quae orationi vocali potest adhiberi: una quidem, qua attenditur ad verba, ne aliquis in eist erret. Secunda, qua attenditur ad sensum verborum. Tertia qua attenditur ad finem orationis, scilicet ad Deum, et ad rem pro qua oratur. 2,2 quaest. 83, art. 3. in corp.

2 Quae quidem est maxime necessaria:et hanc etiam possunt habere idiotae. Ibid.

3 Joan.Junior. In lib. Scala Coeli.

4 Quando stamus ad orationem, fratres dilectissimi, vigilare, et incumbere ad preces toto corde debemus. Cogitatio omnis saecularis, et carnalis abscedat, nec quidquam tunc animus quam id solum cogitet, quod precatur. De. Oration. Dom., Serm. 6.

5 Ideo et sacerdos ante orationem, praefatione praemissa, parat fratrum mentes, dicendo: Surusm corda; ut dum respondet plebs: Habemus ad Dominum, admoneantur, nihil aliud se, quam Dominum cogitare debere. Ibid.

6 Si quis ex proposito in oratione mente vagatur, hoc peccatum est, et impedit orationis fructum. Art. Suprac. ad. 3.

7 Dicendum, quod in spiritu, et in veritate orat, qui ex instinctu spiritus ad orandum accedit; etiamsi ex aliqua infirmitate mens postmodum evagetur, Eod. art., ad I.

8 Mens humana, propter infirmatem naturae, diu stare in alto no potest. Pondere enim infirmitatis humanae deprimitur anima ad inferiora. Ed ideo contingit, quod cum mens orantis ascendit in Deum per contemplationem, subito evagatur ex quadam infirmitate. Eod. art., ad. 2.

Jul 6, 2006

An Exhortation To Hear Mass Devoutly

On "Gaudete" Sunday, as St. Gertrude prepared to communicate at the first Mass, which commences "Rorate," she complained to our Lord that she could not hear the Mass; but our Lord, who compassionates the afflicted, consoled her, saying: "Do you wish, My beloved, that I should say Mass for you?" Then, being suddenly rapt in spirit, she replied: "I do desire it, O beloved of my soul; and I most ardently beseech Thee to grant me this favor." Our Lord then intoned the "Gaudete in Domino semper," with a choir of saints, to incite this soul to praise and rejoice in Him; and as He sat on His royal throne, St. Gertrude cast herself at His feet and embraced them. Then He chanted the "Kyrie eleison" in a clear and loud voice, while two of the princes of the Choir of Thrones took her soul and brought it before God the Father, where she remained prostrate.

At the first Kyrie eleison, He granted her the remission of all the sins which she had contracted through human frailty; after which the Angels raised her up on her knees. At the second, He pardoned her sins of ignorance; and she was raised up by these princes, so that she stood before God. Then two Angels of the Choir of Cherubim led her to the Son of God, who received her with great tenderness. At the first Christe eleison, the saint offered to our Lord all the sweetness of human affection, returning it to Him as to its Source; and there was a wonderful influx of God into her soul, and of her soul into God, so that by the descending notes the ineffable delights of the Divine Heart flowed into her, and by the ascending notes the joys of her soul flowed back to God. At the second Christe eleison, she experienced the most ineffable delights, which she offered to the Lord. At the third Christe eleison, the Son of God extended His hands and bestowed on her all the fruit of His most holy life and conversation.

Two Angels of the Choir of Seraphim then presented her to the Holy Spirit, Who penetrated the three powers of her soul. At the first Kyrie eleison, He illuminated her reason with the glorious light of divine knowledge, that she mights always know His will perfectly. At the second Kyrie eleison, He strengthened the irascible part of her soul to resist all the machinations of her enemies, and to conquer every evil. At the last Kyrie eleison, He inflamed her love, that she might love God with her whole heart, with her whole soul, and with her whole strength. It was for this reason that the Choir of Seraphim, which is the highest order in the heavenly hosts, presented her to the Holy Spirit, Who is the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity, and that the Thrones presented her to God the Father, manifesting that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one God, equal in glory, co-eternal in majesty, living and reigning perfect Trinity through endless ages.

The Son of God then rose from His royal throne, and, turning towards God the Father, intoned the Gloria in excelsis in a clear and sonorous voice. At the word gloria He extolled the immense and incomprehensible omnipotence of God the Father; at the words in excelsis He praised His profound wisdom; at Deo He honored the inestimable and indescribable sweetness of the Holy Spirit. The whole celestial court then continued in a most harmonious voice, Et in terra pax homininbus bonae voluntatis. Our Lord being again seated on His throne, St. Gertrude sat at His feet meditating on her own abjection, when He inclined towards her lovingly; then she rose and stood before Him, while the Divine splendor illuminated her whole being. Two angels from the Choir of Thrones then brought a throne magnificently adorned, which they placed before our Lord; two princes from the Choir of Seraphim placed St. Gertrude thereon, and supported her from each side, while two of the Choir of Cherubim stood before her bearing brilliant torches; and thus she remained before her Beloved, clothed in royal purple. When the heavenly hosts came to the words Domine Deus Rex Caelestis, they paused, and the Son of God continued alone chanting to the honor and glory of His Father.

At the conclusion of the Gloria in excelsis, the Lord Jesus, Who is our true High Priest and Pontiff, turned to St. Gertrude, saying, "Dominus Vobiscum, dilecta - The Lord be with you, beloved;" and she replied, "Et spiritus meus tecum, praedilecte - And may my spirit be with Thee, O my Beloved." After this she inclined towards the Lord to return Him thanks for His love in uniting her spirit to His Divinity, Whose delights are with the children of men. The Lord then read the Collect, Deus, qui hanc sacratissimam noctem, which He conlcuded with the words, Per Iesum Christum filium tuum, as if giving thanks to God the Father, for illuminating the soul of St. Gertrude, whose unworthiness was indicated by the word noctem (night) which was called most holy, because she had become marvellously ennobled by the knowledge of her own baseness.

St. John the Evangelist, then rose and stood between God and her soul. He was adorned with a yellow garment, which was covered with golden eagles. He commenced with the Epistle Haec est sponsa, and celestial court concluded, Ipsi gloria in saecula. Then all chanted the gradual Specie tua, adding the Versicle Audi filia et vide. After this they commenced the Alleluia. St. Paul, the great Doctor of the Church, pointed to St. Gertrude saying, "Aemulor enim vos - I am jealous of you" (2 Cor. xi, 2); and the heavenly choir sang the prose, Filiae Sion exultent. At the words Dum non consentiret, St. Gertrude remembered that she had been a little negligent in resisting temptations, and she hid her face in shame; but our Lord, Who could not bear to behold the confusion of His chaste queen, covered her negligence with a collar of gold, so that she appeared as if she had gained a glorious victory over all her enemies.

Then another Evangelist commenced the Gospel Exultavit Dominus Iesus, and these words moved the Heart of Jesus so deeply that He arose, and extending His hands, exclaimed aloud, Confiteor tibi Pater, manifesting the same thanksgiving and gratitued to His Father as He had done when He said the same words on earth, giving special thanks for the graces bestowed on this soul. After the Gospel He desired St. Gertrude to make a public profession of faith, by reciting the Creed in the name of the whole Church. When she had concluded, the choir chanted the offertory, Domine Deus in simplicitate, adding Sanctificavit Moyses. The Heart of Jesus then appeared as a golden altar, which shone with a marvellous brightness, on which the angel guardians offered the good works and prayers of those committed to their care. The Saints then approached, and each offered his merits to the eternal praise of God, and for the salvation of St. Gertrude. The angelic princes, who had charge of the Saint, next approached and offered a chalice of gold, which contained all the trials and afflictions which she had endured, either in body or soul, from her infancy; and the Lord blessed the chalice with the sign of the cross, as the priest blesses it before Consecration.

He now intoned the words Sursum corda. Then all the Saints were summoned to come forward, and they applied their hearts in the form of golden pipes, to the golden altar of the Divine Heart; and from the overflowings of this chalice, which our Lord had consecrated by His benediction, they received some drops for the increase of their merit, glory, and eternal beatitude.

The Son of God then chanted the Gratias agamus to the glory and honor of His Eternal Father. At the Preface, He remained silent for an hour after the words Per Iesum Christum, while the heavenly hosts chanted the Dominum nostrum with ineffable jubilation, declaring that He was their Creator, Redeemer, and the liberal Rewarder of all their good works, and that He alone was worthy of honor and glory, praise and exaltation, power and dominion, from and over all creatures. At the words laudant angeli, all the angelic spirits ran hither and thither, exciting the heavenly inhabitants to sing the Divine praises. At the words Adorant Dominationes, the Choir of Dominations knelt to adore the Lord, declaring that to Him alone every knee should bow, whether in Heaven, on earth, or under the earth. At the Tremunt Potestates, the Powers prostrated before Him to declare that He alone should be adored; and at the Caeli caelorumque, they praised God with all the angel choirs.

Then all the heavenly hosts sang together in harmonious concert the Cum quibus et nostras; and the Virgin Mary, the efflugent Rose of Heaven, who is blessed above all creatures, chanted the Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, extolling with the highest gratitude by these three words the incomprehensible ominpotence, the inscrutable wisdom, and the ineffable goodness of the Ever Blessed Trinity, inciting all the celestial choirs to praise God for having made her most powerful after the Father, most wise after the Son, and most benign after the Holy Ghost. The Saints then continued the Domine Deus Sabaoth.

When this was ended, St. Gertrude saw our Lord rise from His royal throne and present His blessed Heart to His Father, elevating it with His own hands, and immolating it in an ineffable manner for the whole Church. At this moment the bell rang for the Elevation of the Host in the Church; so that it appeared as if our Lord did in heaven what the priests did on earth; but the Saint was entirely ignorant of what was passing in the Church, or what the time was. As she continued in amazement at so many marvels, our Lord told her to recite the Pater noster. When she had finished He accepted it from her, and granted that by this Pater noster they should accomplish everything which had ever been accomplished for the salvation of the Church and for the souls in purgatory. Then He suggested her to pray for the Church, which she did, for all in general, and for each in particular, with the greatest fervor; and the Lord united her prayer to those which He had offered Himself when in the flesh, to be applied to the Universal Church.

Then she exclaimed: "But, Lord, when shall I communicate?" And our Lord communicated Himself to her with a love and tenderness which no human tongue could describe, so that she received the perfect fruit of His most precious Body and Blood. After this He sang a canticle of love for her, and declared to her, that had this union of Himself with her been the sole fruit of His labors, sorrows and Passion, He would have been fully satisfied. Oh, inestimable sweetness of the Divine condescension, Who so delights in human hearts that He considers His union with them a sufficient return for all the bitterness of His Passion! and yet, what should we not owe Him had He only shed one drop of His precious Blood for us!

Our Lord then chanted Gaudete iusti, and all the Saints rejoiced with St. Gertrude. Then our Lord said, in the name of the Church Militant, Refecti sibo; He then saluted all the Saints lovingly, saying, Dominus vobiscum, and thereby increased the glory and joy of all the blessed. The Saints and Angles then sang, for the Ite Missa est, Te decet laus et honor Domine, to the glory and praise of the effulgent and ever peaceful Trinity. The Son of God extended His royal hand and blessed the Saint, saying: "I bless thee, O daughter of eternal light, with this special blessing, granting you this favor, that whenever you desire to do good to any one from particular affection, they will be as much benefitted above others as Jacob was above Esau when he received his father's blessing."

My dear reader, were our Lord to favor you but once with such a vision, how great would not be your devotion in hearing Mass! Ah! dear reader, our vision must be our faith; faith is the best of all visions, because it is not subject to any illusion. In the light of a lively faith you will see in every Mass all these marvels of Divine Omnipotence, Wisdom and Goodness, which St. Gertrude saw.



Fr. Michael Muller, C.S.S.R., The Blessed Eucharist: Our Greatest Treasure, October 22, 1867.

Anaphora of St. Ambrose

V. Dominus vobiscum.
R. Et cum spiritu tuo.
V. Sursum corda.
R. Habemus ad Dominum
V. Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.
R. Dignum et justum est.

PRAEFATIUM

Vere quia dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper hic, et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeternae Deus: per Christum Dominum nostrum: Per quem majestatem tuam laudant Angeli, venerantur Archangeli: Throni, Dominationes, Virtutes, Principatus, et Potestates adorant. Quem Cherubim, et Seraphim socia exsultatione concelebrant. Cum quibus et nostras voces, ut admitti jubeas deprecamur, supplici confessione dicentes: Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus Dominus, Deus Sabaoth. Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua. Hosanna in excelsis. Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini. Hosanna in excelsis.

Te igitur, clementissime Pater, per Iesum Christum Filium tuum Dominum nostrum, supplices rogamus ac petimus uti accepta habeas, et benedicas, haec dona, haec munera, haec sancta sacrificia illibata: Imprimis, quae tibi offerimus pro Ecclesia tua sancta catholica: quam pacificare, custodire, adunare, et regere digneris toto orbe terrarum: una cum famulo tuo Pontifice nostro N. et famulo tuo N. Imperatore nostro, sed et omnibus orthodoxis, atque catholicae, et apostolicae fidei cultoribus.

Memento, Domine, famulorum, famularumque tuarum et omnium circumstantium, quorum tibi fides cognita est, et nota devotio, pro quibus tibi offerimus: vel qui tibi offerunt hoc sacrificium laudis, pro se, suisque omnibus: pro redemptione animarum suarum, pro spe salutis, et incolumitatis suae: tibique reddunt vota sua aeterno Deo, vivo et vero.

Communicates, et memoriam venerates inprimis gloriosae semper Virginis Mariae, Genitricis Dei et Domini nostri Iesu Christi: sed et beatorum Apostolorum ac Martyrum tuorum, Petri et Pauli, Andreae, Iacobi, Ioannis, Thomae, Iacobi, Philippi, Bartholomei, Matthaei, Simonis et Thaddaei, Xysti, Laurentii, Hippolyti, Vincentii, Cornelii, Cypriani, Clementis, Chrysogoni, Ioannis et Pauli, Cosmae et Damiani, Apollinaris, Vitalis, Nazarii et Celsi, Protasii et Gervasii: et omnium Sanctorum tuorum; quorum meritis, precibusque concedas, ut in omnibus protentionis tuae muniamur auxilio. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Hanc igitur oblationem servitutis nostrae, sed et cunctae familiae tuae, quaesumus Domine, ut placatus accipias: diesque nostros in tua pace disponas, atque ab aeterna damnatione nos eripi, et in electorum tuorum iubeas grege numerari: Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Quam oblationem, quam pietati tuae offerimus, tu, Deus, in omnibus, quaesumus, benedictam, ad†scriptam, ra†tam, rationabilem, acceptabilemque facere digneris: ut nobis Corpus, et San†guis fiat dilectissimi Filii tui Domini nostri Iesu Christi.

Qui pridie quam pateretur, accepit panem in sanctas, ac venerabiles manus suas: et elevatis oculis in caelum ad te Deum Patrem suum omnipotentem, tibi gratias agens, benedixit, fregit, deditque discipulis suis, dicens: Accepite, et manducate ex hoc omnes. HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM [quod pro vobis confringetur].

Simili modo postquam coenatum est, accipiens Calicem, elevavit oculos ad coelos ad te Deum Patrem suum omnipotentem: item tibi gratias agens benedixit deditque discipulis suis, dicens: Accipite, et bibite ex eo omnes. HIC EST ENIM CALIX SANGUINIS MEI, NOVI ET AETERNI TESTAMENTI: MYSTERIUM FIDEI: QUI PRO VOBIS ET PRO MULTIS EFFUNDETUR IN REMISSIONEM PECCATORUM.

Mandans quoque, et dicens ad eos: Haec quotiescumque feceritis in meam commemorationem facietis, mortem meam praedicabitis, resurrectionem meam annuntiabitis, adventum meum sperabitis, donec iterum de coelis veniam ad vos.

Unde et memores sumus, Domine, nos servi tui sed et plebs tua sancta, eiusdem Christi Filii tui Domini nostri tam beatae passionis, nec non ab inferis resurrectionis, sed et in caelos gloriosae ascensionis: offerimus praeclarae maiestati tuae de tuis donis ac datis, hostiam puram, hostiam sanctam, hostiam immaculatam. Panem sanctum vitae aeternae et Calicem salutis perpetuae.

Supra quae ac sereno vultu respicere digneris: et accepta habere, sicuti accepta habere dignatus es munera pueri tui justi Abel, et sacrificium Patriarchæ nostri Abrahæ: et quod tibi obtulit summus sacerdos Melchisedech, sanctum sacrificium, immaculatam hostiam.

Supplices te rogamus, omnipotens Deus: iube haec perferri per manus sancti Angeli tui in sublime altare tuum, in conspectu divinae maiestatis tuae: ut quotquot, ex hac altaris participatione sacrosanctum Filii tui, Corpus et Sanguinem sumpserimus, omni benedictione caelesti et gratia repleamur. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum.

Memento etiam, Domine, famulorum, famularumque tuarum N. et N. qui nos praecesserunt cum signo fidei et dormiunt in somno pacis. Ipsis, Domine, et omnibus in Christo quiescentibus, locum refrigerii, lucis et pacis, ut indulgeas, deprecamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Nobis quoque minimis, peccatoribus famulis tuis, de multitudine miserationum tuarum sperantibus, partem aliquam, et societatem donare digneris, cum tuis sanctis Apostolis et Martyribus: cum Joanne, Stephano et Andrea, Petro, Marcellino, Agnete, Caecilia, Felicitate, Perpetua, Anastasia, Agatha, Euphemia, Lucia, Apollonia, Iustina, Sabina, Thecla, Pelagia atque Catharina, et omnibus Sanctis: intra quorum nos consortium, non aestimator meriti sed veniae, quaesumus, largitor admitte. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

Per quem haec omnia, Domine, semper bona creas, sanctificas, vivificas, benedicis, et nobis famulis tuis largiter praestas ad augmentum fidei et remissionem omnium peccatorum nostrorum. Et est tibi Deo Patri omnipotenti ex ipso, et per ipsum, et in ipso, omnis honor, virtus, laus, gloria, imperium, perpetuitas et potestas, in unitate Spiritus Sancti per infinita saecula saeculorum. R. Amen.


V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.
V. Lift up your heart.
R. We have them to the Lord.
V. Let us give thanks the Lord our God.
R. It is meet and just.
Truly for it is meet and just, right and for our salvation, always and everywhere to give Thee thanks, holy Lord, Almighty Father, Eternal God: through Christ our Lord: through Whom Angels praise Thy Majesty, Archangels venerate, and Thrones, Dominations, Virtues, Principalities and Powers adore. Whom the Cherubim and Seraphim together celebrate in exultation. We entreat Thee, do Thou command our voices to be heard with theirs, singing with lowly praise: Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of Hosts. Heaven and earth are filled with Thy glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

Therefore, most gracious Father, we humbly beg of Thee and entreat Thee, through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord to deem acceptable and bless, these gifts, these offerings, these holy and unspotted oblations. which we offer unto Thee in the first instance for Thy holy and Catholic Church, that Thou wouldst deign to give her peace and protection, to unite and guide her the whole world over; together with Thy servant N., our Pontiff, and Thy servant N., our Emperor, and also all orthodox believers, who cherish the catholic and apostolic faith.

Be mindful, O Lord, of Thy servants and handmaids and of all here present, whose faith is known to Thee, and likewise their devotion, on whose behalf we offer unto Thee, or who themselves offer unto Thee, this sacrifice of praise for themselves and all their own, for the good of their souls, for their hope of salvation and deliverance from all harm, and who pay Thee the homage which they owe Thee, eternal God, living and true.

In the unity of holy fellowship we observe the memory first of the glorious and ever virgin Mary, mother of our Lord and God, Jesus Christ; and also of Thy blessed apostles and martyrs, Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon and Thaddeus; of Sixtus, Lawrence, Hippolytus, Vincent, Cornelius, Cyprian, Clement, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian, Apollinaris, Vitalis, Nazarius and Celsus, Protasius and Gervasius and of all Thy saints, by whose merits and prayers grant that we may be always fortified by the help of Thy protection. Through the same Christ our Lord.

This oblation, therefore, of our service, and that of Thy whole family, we beseech Thee, O Lord, graciously to accept and to dispose of our days in Thy peace, and to command us to be delivered from eternal damnation, and to be numbered in the flock of Thine elect. Through Christ Our Lord.

Which oblation, which we piously offer to Thee, do Thou, O God, we beseech Thee, vouchsafe to make in all things blessed, approved, ratified, reasonable, and acceptable: that it may become for us the Body and Blood of Thy most beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Who the day before He suffered, took the bread into His holy and venerable hands: and having raised His eyes to heaven, unto Thee, O God, His Father almighty, giving thanks to Thee, blessed, broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying: Take ye all and eat of this:
FOR THIS IS MY BODY [which is broken for you]!

In like manner, after supper, taking the chalice, raising His eyes to heaven to Thee O God, His Almighty Father: and giving thanks to Thee, He blessed, and gave to His disciples, saying: Take, and drink ye all of it: FOR THIS IS THE CHALICE OF MY BLOOD OF THE NEW AND ETERNAL COVENANT: THE MYSTERY OF FAITH, WHICH SHALL BE SHED FOR YOU AND FOR MANY UNTO THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS.
Commanding also and saying to them: As often as you do this, ye shall do them as My commemoration, proclaiming My death, announcing My resurrection, hoping in My coming, until I come again to you from heaven.

Mindful in the highest, therefore, O Lord, not only of the blessed passion of the same Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, but also of His resurrection from the dead, and finally His glorious ascension into heaven, we, Thy ministers, as also Thy holy people, offer unto Thy supreme majesty, of Thy gifts bestowed upon us, the pure Victim, the holy Victim, the all-perfect Victim: the holy Bread of life everlasting and the Chalice of unending salvation.

Upon which do Thou vouchsafe to look with favorable and gracious countenance, and accept them, as Thou did vouchsafe to accept the gifts of Thy just servant Abel, and the sacrifice of our Patriarch Abraham, and that which the Highpriest Melchisedech offered unto Thee, a holy Sacrifice, an unspotted Victim.

Most humbly we implore Thee, almighty God, bid these our mystic offerings to be brought by the hands of Thy holy Angel unto Thy altar above, before the face of Thy divine majesty; that those of us who, by sharing in the Sacrifice of this altar, shall receive the most sacred Body and Blood of Thy Son, may be filled with every grace and heavenly blessing. Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Be mindful, O Lord, also of thy servants and handmaids, N. and N., who have gone before us with the sign of faith, and rest in the sleep of peace. To these, O lord, and to all who sleep in Christ, we beseech Thee to grant, of Thy goodness, a plce of comfort, light, and peace. Through the same Christ our Lord.

To us also the least, Thy sinful servants, who hope in the multitude of Thy mercies, vouchsafe to grant some part and fellowship with Thy holy Apostles and Martyrs: with John, Stephen and Andrew, Peter, Marcellinus, Agnes, Cecilia, Felicita, Perpetua, Anastasia, Lucy, Appollina, Justina, Sabina, Thecla, Pelagia and Catharine, and all the Saints: into whose company, not weighing our merits, but granting us pardon, we beseech Thee to admit us. Through Christ our Lord.

Through whom, Lord, Thou dost ever create, hallow, fill with life, bless and bestow upon us, Thy servants, all good things to increase our faith and also through whom Thou dost forgive all of our sins. And it is to Thee O God, Almighty Father, from Him, and through Him, and in Him that all honor, merit, praise, glory, rule, perpetuity and power, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, is Thine, for ever and ever R. Amen.



The Ambrosian Canon is the Roman Canon with differences in a few phrases, especially the list of Saints in the Communicantes and Nobis quoque. The English translation is sufficient to give the reader who knows no or little Latin a text for comparison. I've attempted to stay as litteral as possible without giving poetics any consideration so the English doesn't flow in certain places. Nevertheless, it may be of interest to those who have looked for the Ambrosian Canon before without being able to find it in English.

On a historical note, while St. Ambrose has his name attached to this anaphora, that is not to say that he wrote it, but rather that it is the anaphora from the liturgy that bears his name.

Jul 1, 2006

Vere Sanctus

Missale Romanum 1970
Vere Sanctus es, Domine, fons omnis sanctitatis. Haec ergo dona quaesumus, Spiritus tui rore sanctifica ut nobis Corpus et Sanguis fiant Domini nostri Iesu Christi.1

ICEL translation:
Lord, you are holy indeed, the fountain of all holiness. Let your Spirit come upon these gifts to make them holy, so that they may become for us the body and blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ.2

Literal translation:
Truly, O Lord, you are the Holy One, the source of all holiness. Therefore, we beseech you, sanctify these gifts by the dew of your Spirit so that they become for us the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.3

Vere Sanctus es, Domine, fons omnis sanctitatis: Origen calls the Trinity the source of all holiness.4 The Psalms call God the fountain of life.5 St. Gregory Thaumaturgus calls the Holy Spirit "sanctity itself, the Leader of sanctification" some manuscripts include "fountain of holiness."6 The text of the Gloria in excelsis speaks of Jesus Christ as "tu solus sanctus" without, however, meaning to attribute this property to the Son alone for it is added: "cum Sancto Spiritu, in gloria Dei Patri."7 Likewise, the title Holy One is used here for the Father not in an exclusionary sense of properly belonging to Him alone, but rather as that which is common to all three Divine Persons of the Most Holy Trinity. The Angelic Doctor explains that "'Whatever by nature belongs to the Father belongs also to the Son,' such as life, truth, light and the like. These are said, however, to be proper to the Father not in relation to the Son, and proper to the Son not in relation to the Father, but in both in relation to creatures, to which in contrast with God the aforementioned do not properly belong. Or they may be said to be proper to each Person, not as pertaining to him exclusively, but as pertaining to Him of Himself."8 And this is true also of the Holy Spirit because what is proper to the nature of the Godhead is proper to each Divine Person in Himself.

The whole clause is a conjunctive clause which connects the Prefatio, Sanctus, and the account of the Last Supper. The "Vere Sanctus" especially prominent in the old Gallican Rite and continues in the Mozarabic Rite though in a different form.9 The Mozarabic form is addressed to the Father put is a predication of the attributes of "He who comes in the name of the Lord".10 The Anaphora of St. John Chrysostom also has a connection clause which introduces the actions and words of the Last Supper and the words of consecration: "With these blessed powers, O Master who lovest every human being, we too cry out and say: Holy art Thou and all holy, and magnificent is Thy glory. Thou hast so loved this world as to give Thy Only-Begotten Son that anyone who believes in Him shall not perish, but have life everlasting".11 The Vere Sanctus is a modern addition to the Anaphora of St. Hippolytus, which does not have the Sanctus and so obviously does not need the Post Sanctus to connect the preface with the following prayers.12 The introduction is brief such as that found in the Roman Canon with the "Te igitur, clementissime Pater" which immediately proceeds to beg that the Father might bless the gifts there present on the altar.

Haec ergo dona quaesumus, Spiritus tui rore sanctifica ut nobis Corpus et Sanguis fiant Domini nostri Iesu Christi: The Church after recalling that the Father is the Holy One and fountain (source) of all holiness proceeds to humbly beg that He send His Spirit to make the gifts of bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The imagery used is one that has gotten a lot of press lately with the debates over the translation of the Ordinary of the Mass. Literally the latin of the text asks the Father to send the dew of the Spirit to sanctify the gifts. Fr. Zuhlsdorf of the blog "What Do The Prayers Really Say", with help of some of his very astute readers have answered any such objections. The literal translation of this phrase is grounded in Sacred Scripture and the Fathers of the Church.

In the John 6 discourse on the Holy Eucharist, our Lord foretells the gift that He will give us and draws an explicit correlation between the Holy Eucharist and the manna which God gave the Hebrews while the sojourned in the desert on their way to the promised land. "And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as hoarfrost on the ground. When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, "What is it?" For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, "It is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat."13; "When the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell with it."14

Many other reference to dew may be found in the scriptures such as Isaac's blessing to Jacob: "God give thee the dew of heaven"15 and his words to Esau "Far from the fertile earth shall be your dwelling; far from the dew of the heavens above!"16 David writes "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethern to dwell together in unity: Like the precious oil upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, the beard of Aaron, that ran down to the edge of his robe; As the dew of Hermon, that descends upon Mount Sion: For there the Lord bestows the blessing, life for evermore."17 From these verses we see how the Lord's blessing is evoked by the image of dew. In the Psalm here quoted, it is juxtaposed with the priestly ordination which is like the "dew of Hermon that descends upon Mount Sion" it is through the priests that the Lord bestows his blessing: everlasting life. And is this not the blessing that our Lord spoke of in his discourse: "If any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh."18

St. Bellarmine, in his exposition of the Psalms, says that the oil of annointing symbolizes the "supernatural graces that flow from Christ, as the head, and from Him on the prelates of the Church, who are indicated by the beard, and through them on the faithful in general, indicated by the fringe of the garment. He (the psalmist) then compares such union of brethern to the dew that falls on the mountain . . . which is from Christ, who is so elevated, and so abounds in such heavenly dew; and therefore, St. John said, 'And of His fulness we have all received.'"19 Pope Paul VI, wrote similarly, "Further, the cathedral temple is an expression of the image of the Church of Christ, praying, singing, adoring all over the world: surely it is to be viewed as an image of His Mystical Body, whose members are bound together through a structure of love, nourished by the dewing of celestial gifts."20

St. Ambrose in a sermon speaks of the washing of the disciples by our Lord, evoking the context of the Last Supper, wherein he tells us that the water with which He washed their feet was "heavenly dew". In a prayer St. Ambrose composes after reflection he says, "As a servant, Thou dost wash the feet of Thy disciples; as God, Thou sendest dew from heaven." St. Ambrose continues, "Damasus cleansed not, Peter cleansed not, Ambrose cleansed not, Gregory cleansed not; for ours is the ministry, but the sacraments are Thine. For it is not in man's power to confer what is divine, but it is, O Lord, Thy gift and that of the Father, as Thou hast spoken by the prophets, saying: 'I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh, and their sons and daughter shall prophesy.' This is that typical dew from heaven, this is that gracious rain, as we read: 'A gracious rain, dividing for His inheritance.' For the Holy Spirit is not subject to any foreign power or law, but is the Arbiter of this own freedom, dividing all things according to the decision of His own will, to each, as we read, severally as He wills."21

Finally, we read the words of the Prophet Hosea: "I will be the dew for Israel: he shall blosom like the lily; He shall stike root like the Lebanon cedar, and put forth his shoots. His splendor shall be like the olive tree and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar. Again they shall dwell in his shade and raise grain; They shall blosom like the vine, and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim, What more has he to do with idols? I have humbled him, but I will prosper him. 'I am like a verdant cypress tree'-Because of me you bear fruit!"22 What wonderful imagery in such a brief clause, how lovely does the liturgy proclaim the great mysteries of the Catholic faith!




1. The Roman Missal, Catholic Book Publishing Co., NY, 1985, p. 1064.

2. Ibid., p. 549.

3. Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, WDTPRS Blog

4. De principiis, Origen 1.4.2 "totius sanctitatis fons"

5. Psalmus 35:10 "fons vitae"

6. CCEL S. Gregorius Thaumaturgus, Creed, translation Rufinus "sanctitas sanctificationis proestratix" and another Latin version "sanctitas et fons sanctitatis et aedificationis administrator"

7. Gloria in excelsis

8. Contra errores Graecorum, Pars I Caput VI: "Praemittit enim quod quaecumque naturaliter dicuntur inesse patri, illa omnia insunt filio, sicut vita, veritas, lux et huiusmodi. Haec autem dicuntur esse propria patri non in respectu ad filium, nec filio in respectu ad patrem, sed utrique in respectu ad creaturam, cui in comparatione ad Deum non proprie praedicta conveniunt; vel proprium, hic dicitur non quod convenit uni soli, sed quod proprie et vere alicui convenit secundum se."

9. The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy, Fr. Fortescue, Loreto Publications, Fitzwilliam, NH 2003, pp. 103, 167, 328. Original publication 1912.

10. Gabriel S Diaz Patri, Synopsis Rituum, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Centro de Estudios Filosoficos Medievales S.E.L.M., 2nd Edition August 2004: Mozarabicus (First Sunday of Advent): "Vere sanctus et gloriosus Dominus noster Iesus Christus filius tuus"; Mendoza, Liturgia Hispanica vel Mozarabica, S.E.L.M., 2004: "Vere Sanctus; vere benedictus Dominus noster Iesus Christus filius tuus".

11. Liturgy, Kyr Jospeh Raya, Alleluia Press, Ontario, Canada 2001, p. 66.

12. Cf. Anaphora of St. Hippolytus; Canonum Reliquiae

13. Exodus 16:13-15; "quoque ros iacuit per circuitum castrorum cumque operuisset superfaciem terrae apparuit in solitudine minutum et quasi pilo tunsum in similtudinem pruinae super terram quod cum vidissent filii Israel dixerunt ad invicem man hu quod significat quid est hoc ignorabant enim quid esset quibus ait Moses iste est panis quem Dedit Dominus vobis ad vescendum" Biblia Sacra, iuxta vulgatam versionem.

14. Numbers 11:9; "cumque descenderet nocte super castra ros descendebat pariter et man" Biblia Sacra, iuxta vulgatam versionem.

15. Genesis 27:28; "det tibi Deus de rore caeli" Biblia Sacra, iuxta vulgatam versionem.

16. Genesis 27:39; "in pinquedine terrae et in rore caeli desuper" Biblia Sacra, iuxta vulgatam versionem.

17. Psalm 132; "Ecce quam bonum et quam iucundum habitare fratres in unum sicut unguentem in capite quod descendit in barbam barbam Aaron quod descendit in ora vestimenti eius sicut ros Hermon qui descendit in montes Sion quoniam illic mandavit Dominus benedictionem et vitam usque in saeculum" Biblia Sacra, iuxta vulgatam versionem.

18. John 6:51; "si quis manducaverit ex hoc pane vivet in aeternum et panis quem ego dabo caro mea est pro mundi vita" Biblia Sacra, iuxta vulgatam versionem.

19. A Commentary on the Book of Psalms, S. Robert Bellarmine, trans. Ven. John O'Sullivan, Loreto Publications, Fitzwilliam, NH, 2003. Original publication in English 1866. Psalm 132.

20. Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, WDTPRS, Paul VI: Nourished by the dewing. From Pope Paul VI's Apostolic Constitution Mirificus Eventus.

21. Ibid, St. Ambrose on "dew"; Cf. St. Paulinus on "dew"; St. Augustine on "dew"; Dew and the Holy Ghost.

22. Hosea 14:6-9: "ero quasi ros Israel germinabit quasi lilium et erumpet radix eius ut Libani ibunt rami eius et odor eius ut Libani convertentur sedentes in umbra eius vivent tritico et germinabunt quasi vinea memoriale eius sicut vinum Libani Ephraim quid mihi ultra idola ego exaudiam et dirigam eum ego ut abietem virentem ex me fructus tuus inventus est" Biblia Sacra, iuxta vulgatam versionem.