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.


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.