Saturday, January 27, 2018

Ordo notes for the week of Septuagesima Sunday (Jan 28-Feb 3)

The notes below are designed to assist those wishing to say the Benedictine Office according to the officially approved 1962 books (noting that older books can readily be adapted to this end).

You can find notes on the rubrics of Septuagesimatide here.  The key thing to remember is that the word Alleluia is not used after I Vespers of this Sunday, and so alternative antiphons for phrases are substituted in.


They provides notes on the variable parts of the Office only, so should be read in conjunction with the Learn to Say the  Benedictine Office notes provided elsewhere on the blog.


Key to the abbreviations:
MD= Monastic Diurnal (MD, 2004 onwards editions)

AM =Antiphonale Monasticum 1934 (1995 edition).
LR=Liber Responsorialis (downloadable from CC Watershed) and the Nocturnale Romanum.
LH=Liber Hymnarius, 1983
SupAM=Supplement to the Antiphonale Monasticum published by Clear Creek.


THE ORDO


Sunday 28 January – Septuagesima Sunday, Class II

[The feast of St Cyril is not marked in the Office this year]

Matins: Invitatory antiphon for the Septuagesimatide Sundays (Preoccupemus faciem Domini); hymn Primo dierum (from the psalter); readings, responsories and collect of the Sunday; note that the Alleluia is not used, antiphons for Septuagesima instead.

Lauds: Antiphons and proper texts, MD 154*/AM 312 ff, with psalms of Sunday (Ps 50, 117, 62)

Prime to None: Antiphons etc for the day from MD 158-9*

Vespers: Psalms and antiphons of Sunday; chapter, responsory, hymn etc for the day, from MD 159*/AM 315 ff

Monday 29 January – Class IV; St Francis de Sales, memorial [EF: Class III]

**For St Frances as Class I, see MD 21**

Matins: Note: In Nocturn II, antiphons of Septuagesima henceforth; three readings of the day (feria II after Septuagesima Sunday)

Collect, MD 157*/AM 313

Laudsfor the commemoration, MD [44–5]/AM 665/798

Vespers: Magnificat antiphon MD 161*/AM 316

Tuesday 30 January – Class IV [EF: St Martina]

Collect, MD 157*/AM 313; Magnificat antiphon for Vespers, MD 161*/AM 317

Wednesday 31 January – Class IV; St John Bosco, memorial [EF: Class III]

Collect, MD 157*/AM 313

Lauds: for the commemoration, MD [45-6]/AM 743 (plus collect from SupAM 35 or Missal or Diurnal)

Vespers: Magnificat antiphons MD 161*/317


Thursday 1 February - St Ignatius, Class III

Matins: Invitatory and hymn from Common of a martyr (LR 148); psalms and antiphons of the day; reading 1&2 of the feria (combine readings 2&3; use responsories 1&3 of the feria), third reading and responsory  of the feast

Lauds and Vespers: Psalms and antiphons of the day, the rest from the Common of one martyr, MD (31)/AM 641; collect of the feast, MD [46]/AM 800

Prime to None: Antiphons, etc from the common

Friday 2 February - Purification of the BVM, Class II

Matins: Invitatory of the feast, Ecce venit ad templum, LR 433; hymn, psalms and antiphons from the Common of feasts of the BVM, LR 245; Gospel, twelve readings and responsories of the feast

Lauds: Proper antiphons and texts for the feast, MD [49]/AM 802 ff with festal psalms

Prime to None: Antiphons of Lauds; chapter, versicle and collect of the feast at Terce to None

Vespers: Antiphons of Lauds; psalms and propers from Common of BVM, MD (119)/AM 800, Magnificat antiphon, MD [51-2]/AM 805

****Compline: Antiphon of Our Lady, Ave Regina Caelorum, MD 266/AM 175 or 179 (and henceforward)

Saturday 3 February  Saturday of Our Lady; St Blase, Memorial

Matins: Reading 3 of Our Lady, Saturday 1 in February

Lauds to None: MD (129) ff; for the commemoration at Lauds, MD [52]/AM 737/805

I Vespers of Sexagesima Sunday, MD 162*/AM 318 ff

Thursday, January 25, 2018

From the martyrology: Conversion of St Paul; St Poppo OSB (Jan 25)


1467 Polish

Today in the Extraordinary Form, Ordinary Form and traditional Benedictine Office we celebrate the famous conversion of St Paul:

"The conversion of St. Paul the Apostle, which occurred in the second year after the Ascension of our Lord."

Bamberg, Church of SS Peter and George

The martyrology also mentions, however, St Poppo, an eleventh century monastic reformer:

"At Marchiennes in France, St. Poppo, priest and abbot, renowned for his miracles."

St Poppo had a colourful life, as the Catholic Encyclopedia chronicles:

"Abbot, born 977; died at Marchiennes, 25 January, 1048. He belonged to a noble family of Flanders; his parents were Tizekinus and Adalwif. About the year 1000 he made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with two others of his countrymen. Soon after this he also went on a pilgrimage to Rome. He was about to marry a lady of noble family, when an impressive experience led him to seek another mode of life. As he was journeying late at night a flame burst forth over his head and his lance radiated a brilliant light. He believed this to be an illumination of the Holy Spirit, and soon after, 1005, he entered the monastery of St. Thierry at Reims."

He was appointed to head a number of monasteries to aid their reform in the spirit of Cluny, working under the guidance of St Richard of Saint-Vannes.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

SS Timothy and Suranus, Abbot (Jan 24)



Today in the Office we celebrate in the Office the feast of St Timothy, of whom the martyrology says:

"At Ephesus, St. Timothy, disciple of the apostle St. Paul, who ordained him bishop of that city.  After many labours for Christ, he was stoned for rebuking those who offered sacrifices to Diana, and shortly after went peacefully to his rest in the Lord."

But also mentioned is St Suranus:

"Also, blessed Suranus, abbot, who lived in the time of the Lombards."

The saint is mentioned in Book I of St Gregory's Dialogues:

"At such time as I yet lived in the Monastery, I understood by the relation of certain religious men, that in the time of the Lombards, in this very province called Sura and not far off, there was an holy Abbot called Suranus, who bestowed upon certain prisoners, which had escaped their hands, all such things as he had in his Monastery: and when he had given away in alms all his own apparel, and whatsoever he could find either in the monks' cells or in the yards, and nothing was left: suddenly the Lombards came thither, took him prisoner, and demanded where his gold was: and when he told them that he had nothing, they carried him to an hill hard by, where there was a mighty great wood in which a certain prisoner that ran away from them had hid himself in an hollow tree. There one of the Lombards, drawing out his sword, slew the foresaid venerable Abbot, whose body as it fell to the ground, suddenly all the hill together with the wood did shake, as though the earth by that trembling had said, that it could not bear the weight of his holiness and virtue."

Sunday, January 21, 2018

St Agnes (January 21)



Zenobi Strozzi, c1448-9
From the 1962 Roman Martyrology:

"At Rome, the passion of St. Agnes, virgin, who under Symphronius, governor of the city, was thrown into the fire, but after it was extinguished by her prayers, she was slain with the sword.  Of her, St. Jerome writes: "Agnes is praised in the writings and by the tongues of all nations, especially in the churches.  She overcame the weakness of her age, conquered the cruelty of the tyrant, and consecrated her chastity by martyrdom."

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Ordo notes for the third week after the Epiphany (Jan 21-27)

The notes below are designed to assist those wishing to say the Benedictine Office according to the officially approved 1962 books (noting that older books can readily be adapted to this end).

They provides notes on the variable parts of the Office only, so should be read in conjunction with the Learn to Say the  Benedictine Office notes provided elsewhere on the blog.


Key to the abbreviations:
MD= Monastic Diurnal (MD, 2004 onwards editions)

AM =Antiphonale Monasticum 1934 (1995 edition).
LR=Liber Responsorialis (downloadable from CC Watershed) and the Nocturnale Romanum.
LH=Liber Hymnarius, 1983
SupAM=Supplement to the Antiphonale Monasticum published by Clear Creek.

THE ORDO



Sunday 21 January – Third Sunday after Epiphany, Class II; Commemoration of St Agnes [**in some places, St Meinrad, Class I]

Matins: All as in the psalter; readings, responsories and collect of the Sunday

Lauds: Psalm schema 1 – 50, 117, 62; hymn Aeterne rerum Conditor; collect and canticle antiphon from MD 148*/AM 307*; commemoration of St Agnes (for monasteries of nuns), MD [29]/AM 787-8

Prime to Vespers: All as in the psalter for Sunday, collect and canticle antiphon, MD 148*/AM 307

For St Meinrad, Class I, MD 16**ff

Monday 22 January – Class IV; St Vincent, memorial [EF: and St Anastasius;**in some places, St Meinrad]

Matins: Three readings (feria II of third week after Epiphany)

Lauds, Terce to VespersCollect MD 148*/AM 307; for the commemoration, MD [34]/AM 737/789

For St Meinrad, Class II, MD 20**

Tuesday 23 January – Class IV; St Emerentiana, memorial [EF: St Raymond Pennafort]

Matins: Three readings

Lauds, Terce to Vespers: Collect MD 148*/AM 307; for the commemoration at Lauds, see MD [35]/AM 744/790

Wednesday 24 January – Class IV; St Timothy, memorial [EF: Class III]

Matins: Three readings

Lauds, Terce to Vespers: Collect MD 148*/AM 307; at Lauds, for the commemoration MD [35–6]/AM 736/790

Thursday 25 January – Conversion of St Paul, Class III

Matins: Invitatory (Laudemus Deus) and hymn (Doctor egregie), LR 432-3; readings and collect of the feast; rest as in the psalter 

Lauds: Antiphons and proper texts for the feast, MD [36]/AM 792 ff with festal psalms, with collects of St Paul and St Peter under one conclusion

Prime to None: Antiphons etc of the feast, MD [39] ff with hymns and psalms (for 'throughout the week'); collect of St Paul

Vespers: Antiphons for the feast, with psalms for the Common of Apostles, MD (13)/AM 626; chapter, responsory etc for the feast, with collects of St Paul and St Peter under one conclusion

Friday 26 January – Class IV; St Polycarp, memorial [EF: Class III; Ben. Confed: St. Robert, St. Alberic and St. Stephen, abbots of Citeaux - Optional Memorial]

Matins: Three readings

Lauds, Terce to Vespers: Collect MD 148*/AM 307; for the commemoration at Lauds, MD [42-3]/AM 737/797

Saturday 27 January – St John Chrysostom, Class III

Matins: Invitatory and hymn from Common of a confessor bishop (LR 190); psalms and antiphons of the day; reading 1&2 of the feria (combine readings 2&3; use responsories 1&3 of the feria), reading and responsory 3 of the feast

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the day, rest from Common of a confessor bishop, MD (64)/AM 659; collect of the feast, MD [43]/AM 797

Prime to None: Antiphons etc from the Common

I Vespers of Septuagesima Sunday, MD 153-4*/AM 311 (Note: the Alleluia is added to the Benedicamus Domino and is not used hereafter)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The mystery of the numbers Part II - The Second Sunday after Epiphany and the 'de psalmiis' responsories


Annunciation Cathedral (Jerusalem) Fresco of Marriage at Cana.jpg
Annunciation Cathedral (Jerusalem) : Fresco of Marriage at Cana.
photo by See The Holy Land



Last week I suggested that the Gospel for the Sunday within the former Octave of the Epiphany, on our Lord's teaching in the Temple at the age of twelve, relates to the idea of the twelve days of Christmas.

This week the Gospel is the story of the wedding at Cana, and it too includes some important number symbolism which I want to look at, particularly focusing on some possible links between the the six water jars of the Gospel, and the first of the Matins responsories for this Sunday, and whose text comes from Psalm 6.

In the twentieth century it was proposed that the core of the psalm based responsories used in this period actually represent a set of proto-responsories that were originally used throughout the year, and their ordering through the week was thought to attest to an earlier version of the Roman Office psalm cursus. [1]

I want to suggest that in fact these responsories were chosen, probably in the late seventh or eighth century, for their links to the season and the readings used in them.  So today, a bit of a taster for my theory, looking at the first of the set.

When does Epiphanytide end?

In both the Roman and Benedictine Offices, the 'ordinary' of the Office reverts, this week, to 'time throughout the year (aside for the Marion cycles at Compline, and in the Office of Our Lady on Saturday).

As Gregory DiPippo has pointed out over at New Liturgical Movement, however, in a useful post on when the Christmas season ends, the Gospels over the next few Sundays (as well, it should be noted, as the Propers at Mass) all continue to reflect the key themes encapsulated in the feast of the Epiphany.

This Sunday for example, the Gospel is the miracle performed at the wedding at Cana, one of the three events explicitly commemorated in the feast as a public 'manifestation of Christ's glory':
And the third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee: and the mother of Jesus was there. And Jesus also was invited, and his disciples, to the marriage.  And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to him: They have no wine. And Jesus saith to her: Woman, what is that to me and to thee? my hour is not yet come.  His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye. 
Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three measures apiece. Jesus saith to them: Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.  And Jesus saith to them: Draw out now, and carry to the chief steward of the feast. And they carried it.  And when the chief steward had tasted the water made wine, and knew not whence it was, but the waiters knew who had drawn the water; the chief steward calleth the bridegroom,  And saith to him: Every man at first setteth forth good wine, and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse. But thou hast kept the good wine until now. 
This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee; and manifested his glory, and his disciples believed in him.
The wedding and the Christmas season

There is a lovely sermon on this Gospel by St Bede, which explains the mystical significance of the wedding, and its links to the Nativity:
Christ descended from heaven to earth in order to connect the Church to himself in spiritual love.  His nuptial chamber was the womb of his Incorrupt mother...and from their he came forth like a bridegroom to join the Church to himself. [2]
St Bede also nicely links together the whole of the greater Christmas season:
As the sixth age of the world began, the Lord appeared in the flesh [Christmas]; on the eighth day after his nativity he was circumcised in accordance with the law [Octave of Christmas]; on the thirty-third day after this he was brought to the temple and the offerings stipulated by the law were made for him. [Feast of the Purification].  
The water jars transformed into wine at the wedding at Cana, he goes on to explain, represent 'knowledge of sacred scripture, which both cleanses its hearers from the stain of sin and gives [them] drink from the font of holy cognition', they contain 'the saving waters of the scriptures'.

And that there of six of them, he suggests, refers to the six ages of the world (from St Augustine - the first from Adam to Noah; the second from the Flood to Abraham; and so forth).  Each of these eras, he suggests both foreshadows and is transformed for us by Christ: the Flood becomes baptism for example.

But the piece of number symbolism that I particularly draw you attention to is the link he makes between the number of jars and baptism on the 'eighth day':
Behold, the sixth hyria [water jar] [is] for cleansing the contagion of sin, for giving drink from the joys of life, and for bringing cleaner flowing waters to others.  But in the circumcision of the eighth day you may understand baptism, which has redeemed us from the death of our sins into the mystery of the Lord's resurrection. 
The Matins responsories: Psalm 6

It seems to me that this symbolism helps explain the choice of the Psalm used in the first Matins responsory for this Sunday, Domine ne in ira tua.

The meaning of psalm numbers

First consider the significance of the number of the psalm - Psalm 6; 6 water jars.  ,

We tend to be oblivious to the significance the Fathers gave to the number of psalms, since these days every book of Scripture is divided into chapters and assigned verse numbers.

But chapter and verse numbers are in fact largely an early modern invention; originally only the psalms had 'chapter' numbers and the Fathers considered these to be part of the inspired text.  Accordingly, Patristic psalm commentaries often point to their significance in the context of the content of the psalm.  St Benedict's contemporary Cassiodorus, for example, comments that:
It is not without significance that he set the character of the penitent within the number six, which is acknowledged as perfect in the discipline of numbers.  
On the sixth day God created man; in the sixth age, the Lord Christ deigned to come into the world for the salvation of men, so that this reckoning seems to embrace both man's beginning and the absolution of his sins. [3]  
Psalm 6 is the also first of the penitential psalms, and so the emphasis St Bede places on the transformation of the water into wine as signifying the cleansing of our sins is therefore particularly appropriate, and reflected in several of the other (psalmic and non-psalmic) responsories used over this week.  Indeed, Pope Sergius I (650-701) instituted an early morning procession before Mass on the Feast of the Purification, at which black vestments were worn, to mark the end of the season.[4]

Psalm titles

The second link is the reference St Bede makes back to the eighth day, the Circumcision of Our Lord, and its baptismal associations.

Psalm 6 has the following title in the vulgate: 'In finem, in carminibus. Psalmus David. Pro octava', or 'Unto the end, in verses, a psalm for David, for the octave'.

While modern interpreters either ignore the titles altogether, or take them very literally, the Fathers devoted a great deal of consideration to their allegorical meanings.

And several Patristic commentaries, including that of the fifth century Roman monk Arnobius Junior, interpreted the reference to the 'octave' in the title of Psalm 6 as a reference to circumcision and baptism, a theme they saw reflected symbolically in the verse of Psalm 6 where the psalmist speaks of floods of tears drenching his bed each night.

The second responsory: Psalm 9

Now all of the above could be dismissed if the links to the season ended with the first responsory.

In fact, however, if we look at the responsories set for the Sundays in Epiphanytide through the lens of Patristic interpretations, similar linkages can be found for all of the responsories set for these Sundays.

Consider, for example the second of the set, which uses verses from Psalm 9.

The Vulgate gives the  title of Psalm 9 as 'In finem, pro occultis filii. Psalmus David', or  'Unto the end, for the hidden things of the Son. A psalm for David.'

St Augustine's commentary on the psalm links this very directly to the idea of the manifestation, or epiphany of Christ:
What then are the hidden things of the Son? By which expression we must first understand that there are some things of the Son manifest, from which those are distinguished which are called hidden. Wherefore since we believe two advents of the Lord, one past, which the Jews understood not: the other future, which we both hope for; and since the one which the Jews understood not, profited the Gentiles; For the hidden things of the Son is not unsuitably understood to be spoken of this advent, in which blindness in part is happened to Israel, that the fullness of the Gentiles might come in. (Enarrations on the Psalms)
That the final sentence of St Augustine's commentary on the Psalm (referencing Romans 11) also links very neatly to the first Nocturn readings of Matins during this period, which are from the Epistles of St Paul.

Indeed, as it turns out, St Augustine's commentaries on the psalms, and his extensive use of St Paul's Epistles (which were read at Matins during this period) in them, are quite central, I think, to this whole story.  But more on this anon...

References

[1]  R. Le Roux: ‘Etude de l’office dominical et férial: les répons “de psalmis” pour les matines de l’Epiphanie à la Septuagésime selon les cursus romain et monastique’, EG, vi (1963), 39–148.  The most recent version of this theory was summarised by Laszlo Dobszay in 'The Divine Office in History', in T&T Clark Companion to Liturgy, Alcuin Reid (ed), esp pp 217-9.

[2]  This and subsequent quotes are from Homily 1.14 in Bede the Venerable, Homilies on the Gospels, Book I, translation by Lawrence T Martin and David Hurst, Cistercian Studies 110, 1991).

[3] Cassiodorus: Explanation of the Psalms, vol 1, trans P G Walsh, Ancient Christian Writers series, 1991.

[4] Ordo Romani I

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Ordo notes for the second week after the Epiphany (Jan 14-20)

The notes below are designed to assist those wishing to say the Benedictine Office according to the officially approved 1962 books (noting that older books can readily be adapted to this end).

They provides notes on the variable parts of the Office only, so should be read in conjunction with the Learn to Say the  Benedictine Office notes provided elsewhere on the blog.

The Sunday hymns and Matins and Lauds

This week marks the return of the Office to the 'time throughout the year' texts.

Note that the Sunday hymns at Matins and Lauds change this week to Primo dierum and Aeterne Rerum Conditor.  These hymns are used up until the start of Lent.

Key to the abbreviations:


MD= Monastic Diurnal (MD, 2004 onwards editions)
AM =Antiphonale Monasticum 1934 (1995 edition).
LR=Liber Responsorialis (downloadable from CC Watershed) and the Nocturnale Romanum.
LH=Liber Hymnarius, 1983
SupAM=Supplement to the Antiphonale Monasticum published by Clear Creek.



THE ORDO




Sunday 14 January – Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Class II

[Note the feast of St Hilary is not marked in the Office this year]

Matins: All as in the psalter with hymn Primo dierum omnium (LH 182), except for the readings, responsories and collect

Lauds: Psalm schema 1 – 50, 117, 62; hymn Aeterne rerum Conditor; collect and canticle antiphon, MD 147*/AM 306

Prime to Vespers: All as in the psalter for Sunday; canticle antiphon, MD 147*

Monday 15 January – Class IV [EF: St Paul the first hermit; Ben. Confed: St. Maurus and St. Placid, disciples of our Holy Father St. Benedict - Memorial ; **In some places, Our Lady of Prompt Succor, Class I]

 **For Our Lady of Prompt Succor, MD 11 ff**

All as in the psalter: Collect MD 147*

Tuesday 16 January – Class IV; St Marcellus I, memorial [EF: Class III]

All as in the psalter; Collect MD 147*; for the commemoration at Lauds, MD [25]/AM 737/783

Wednesday 17 January - St Antony, Class III

Matins: Invitatory and hymn from Common of a Confessor, LR 190; psalms and antiphons of the day; reading 1&2 of the feria (combine readings 2&3; use responsories 1&3 of the feria), reading and responsory 3 of the feast

Lauds and Vespers: Psalms and antiphons of the day; the rest from the Common of a Confessor not a bishop, MD (78)/AM 672; collect MD [26]/AM 783

Prime to None: Antiphons etc from the Common

Thursday 18 January - Class IV [EF: Commemoration of St Prisca; start of Church Unity Octave, St Peter's Chair]

Three readings at Matins; Collect MD 147*

Friday 19 January - Class IV; Marius, Martha, Audifax and Abachum, memorial

Three readings at Matins; Collect MD 147*; for the commemoration at Lauds, MD [26]/AM 784

Saturday 20 January - SS Fabian and Sebastian, Class III

Matins: Invitatory and hymn from Common of martyrs, LR 175; psalms and antiphons of the day; reading 1&2 of the feria (combine readings 2&3; use responsories 1&3 of the feria), reading and responsory 3 of the feast

Lauds and Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of the day; rest from common of many martyrs, MD (43)/AM 648; collect MD [27]/AM 784

Prime to None: Antiphons etc from the Common

I Vespers of the Third Sunday after Epiphany, MD 147-8*/AM 163

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

SS Julian and Basilissa (January 9)


Basilissa Julian.jpg
Christ with Saints Julian and Basilissa, Celsus and Marcionilla,
Pompeo Batoni, 1736-8.

Today the martyrology recalls the martyrdom of St Julian and his wife Basilissa:
At Antioch, in the reign of Diocletian and Maximian, the birthday of the Saints Julian, martyr, and Basilissa, his virgin wife. Having lived in a state of virginity with her husband, she reached the end of her days in peace. But after the death by fire of a multitude of priests and ministers of the Church of Christ, who had taken refuge in his house from the severity of the persecution, Julian was ordered by the president Marcian to be tormented in many ways and executed. With him suffered Anthony, a priest, and Anastasius, whom Julian raised from the dead, and made partaker of the grace of Christ; also, Celsus, a boy, with his mother Marcionilla, seven brothers, and many others. 
The feast will be of particular interest to Benedictines, because St Benedict drew heavily on their Passio in constructing chapter 4 of his Rule, on the Tools of Good Works. 

The Passio Juliani et Basilissae is one of those martyrdom accounts that scholars have, in the past, tended to dismiss as more pious fiction than fact, but there almost certainly is at least some historical basis to it.  Regardless, their cult was widespread quite early on, and well established by the sixth century.

The basic storyline of the Passio is that Julian was forced by his family to marry, however reached an agreement with his wife, Basilissa, that they should both preserve their virginity.  They proceeded to convert their home into a hospital, and she founded a convent for women (of which she became the superior), while he undertook the direction of a large group of monks. 

One of the reasons generally for dismissing the account is the early date claimed for the establishment of cenobitic monasticism.  But we know that monasticism did in fact predate St Antony (St Athanaius' propaganda notwithstanding, pre-existing monasteries are actually mentioned in the Life), though it was probably not quite as formalised as the fourth or fifth century Passio suggests.

In any case, according to the Passio, Basilissa and her maidens died a holy death in advance of the Great Persecution of Diocletian, but Julian was martyred - though not before performing several miracles and converting his prosecutor's son and wife.  The Passio relates that Julian predicted he would survive the initial attempt to put him to death, and when questioned on how he achieved this, proceeds to give the catechesis that the Rule draws on.

Monday, January 8, 2018

St Wulsin, bishop of Sherborne (died c1002)

Today (January 8) is the feast of St Wulsin, who was appointed superior of the restored abbey of Westminster circa 960.

St Wulsin originally became a monk at Glastonbury, under St Dunstan, and went on to become part of the tenth century English Benedictine reform movement.

The saint was subsequently appointed as bishop of Sherborne (circa 960) and introduced a monastic chapter within his see.

He was famous for his austere life, modesty and humility, particularly reflected in his very modest pontifical regalia, which remained on display a century after his death.

You can read more about him here.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

The mystery of the numbers: 'Epiphany Sunday' and other liturgical problems


A celebration of 'plough Sunday'

This Sunday is one of those most affected by the liturgical wreckovations of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and not for the better, so I thought I would put up a little note on the various changes it has gone through.

In many places, the feast of the Epiphany is being celebrated today, creating the curious phenomenon of the 'thirteen days of Christmas' this year.

When Our Lord was twelve years old...

It is probably just as well, then that the Gospel of the day, common to the three previous versions of the Sunday (Sunday within the Octave of Epiphany, First Sunday after the Epiphany, and Feast of the Holy Family) is not used, since it emphasizes the importance of numbers in Scripture.

The text in question is St Luke 2:42-52:
And when he was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast, And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and his parents knew it not. And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day's journey, and sought him among their kinsfolks and acquaintance. And not finding him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his wisdom and his answers. And seeing him, they wondered. And his mother said to him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said to them: How is it that you sought me? did you not know, that I must be about my father's business? And they understood not the word that he spoke unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And his mother kept all these words in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men.
St Ambrose's commentary on the Gospel, read at Matins in the traditional Office, points out the importance of Our Lord's age, and the number of days Jesus was missing:
We read that when He was twelve years old the Lord began to dispute. The number of His years was the same as the number of the Apostles whom He afterwards sent forth to preach the Faith. He Who, as touching His Manhood, was filled with wisdom and grace from God, was not careless of the parents of the same Manhood, and, after three days, was pleased to be found in the Temple : thereby foreshadowing that, after the three days of His victorious Passion, He That had been reckoned with the dead, would present Himself, living, to our faith, in His heavenly Kingship and Divine Majesty.
Numbers in Scripture

Numbers in Scripture then, translated into the liturgical traditions of the Church, are not random, to be adjusted to suit our convenience; rather they are meant to remind us of the mysteries being celebrated.

The twelve days of Christmas leading up to the great feast of the Epiphany, when we celebrate the manifestation of the Incarnation to the nations, is not a random number, but encoded message about the spread of the Gospel, of the universality of its message, and the centrality of the Incarnation.

Christ's incarnation was made known at his birth to the Magi, the shepherd's and the angels; and again manifested when he had turned twelve years old, in his teaching in the Temple.

The current fashion of 'Epiphany Sunday' and its companion 'Ascension Thursday Sunday' are, I think, classic examples of inorganic development of the liturgy which needed to be suppressed as quickly as possible.

Feast of the Holy Family

By contrast, the prior feast in the EF calendar, the Feast of the Holy Family, illustrates a more natural type of development of the liturgy.  It had is origins in the seventeenth century in New France (now Canada), but was only introduced into the universal Roman calendar in 1921.

As far as I can discover, never made it into the Benedictine Calendar, though the Monastic Diurnal does provide texts for it in the supplement at the back of the book.

The feast, though, used the same Gospel as the old Sunday within the Octave of Epiphany, and thus simply provided some variety, through its antiphons, within the old Octave, relating closely to the themes of the Epiphany, in much the same way that the various feasts of the Christmas Octave do.

Octave of the Epiphany

The other major twentieth century change impacting on this Sunday was the abolition of most Octaves.

Prior to the 1950s, the Sunday was part of the Octave, reflecting the fact that the Epiphany is traditionally viewed as one of the most important feasts of the year.  Indeed in many places and times, it was seen as more important than Christmas, perhaps reflecting the Eastern tradition where the nativity is celebrated as part of the feast of the Epiphany.

The extension of a feast to eight days goes back to Jewish traditions: eight people were saved in Noah's ark; boys were circumcised on the eighth day after their birth; many purification ceremonies required eight days; and many feasts were celebrated over eight days, foreshadowing Christ's Resurrection on the 'eighth day'.

The association with the number eight isn't entirely lost in the 1962 calendar, since the old Octave day of the Epiphany is still celebrated as the 'Commemoration of the Baptism of Our Lord'.  Still, given that the Epiphany particularly celebrates Christ's baptism among its three main mysteries, it seems particularly unfortunate to downplay the association with the number of eight, given its strong baptismal associations (baptisteries, for example, traditionally had eight sides because of the eight saved from the Flood).

Accordingly, prior to the introduction of the feast (and in the Benedictine Office) the Sunday would have used the psalms and antiphons of the feast of the Epiphany, though with its own readings and related texts.

Most octaves, though, were abolished in the fifties, and this, unfortunately, was one of them.  It is one that should, in my view, be brought back!

Plough Sunday

It is also worth noting that this Sunday was traditionally, at least in England, known as 'Plough Sunday', when blessings of the relevant implements were done in anticipation of the start of planting the crops for the year.

Here in Australia, it is of course, the wrong season for this lovely tradition, by I gather it is making a bit of a come back in Northern climes!


Saturday, January 6, 2018

Traditional Benedictine Office - Ordo for the first week after Epiphany (Jan 7-13)

This week we are still in the broader season of the Nativity, and the 1962 Office preserves most of the texts of the previous octave of the Epiphany.  

Key to the abbreviations:

MD= Monastic Diurnal (MD, 2004 onwards editions)
AM =Antiphonale Monasticum 1934 (1995 edition).
LR=Liber Responsorialis (downloadable from CC Watershed) and the Nocturnale Romanum.
LH=Liber Hymnarius, 1983
SupAM=Supplement to the Antiphonale Monasticum published by Clear Creek.

THE ORDO



Sunday 7 January – First Sunday after the Epiphany, Class II [EF: Feast of the Holy Family]

For feast of the Holy Family, LR 430, MD 3**

Matins: Invitatory and hymn of Epiphanytide (Christus apparuit, LH 16; Hostis Herodes, LH 36) with twelve lessons and responsories of the Sunday after Epiphany

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of Sunday (Psalm schema 1 – 50, 117, 62); hymn O Sola magnarum; chapter etc, MD 142*/AM 302 ff (Sunday in the Octave)

Prime to None: Antiphons etc, MD 144* ff

Vespers: Psalms and antiphons of Sunday with chapter, responsory and hymn of I Vespers, MD 140*; Magnificat antiphon (Filii quid fecisti), MD 146*/AM 303

Monday 8 January - Class IV

Matins: Ordinary of Epiphanytide (Invitatory, Christus apparuit; hymn, Hostis Herodes; versicles and chapter verse); three readings of Monday after first Sunday after Epiphany; responsories of Monday between Jan 7-12

Lauds to Vespers: Ordinary of Epiphanytide (psalms and antiphons as for throughout the year, rest as for the old Octave), AM 297/MD 133*; canticle antiphons for Day II - MD 135*/AM 297 (Lauds), MD 139*/AM 298 (Vespers)

Tuesday 9 January – Class IV

Matins: Ordinary of the Epiphany; readings of Tuesday in wk I after the first Sunday of Epiphany; responsories of Wednesday between Jan 7-13

Lauds to Vespers: Ordinary of Epiphanytide: MD 133*; canticle antiphons for Day III - MD 135*/AM 298 (Lauds), MD 139*/AM 298* (Vespers);

Wednesday 10 January – Class IV; St Paul the First Hermit, memorial

Matins: Ordinary of the Epiphany; readings of Wednesday in wk I after the first Sunday of Epiphany; responsories of Wednesday between Jan 7-12

Lauds to Vespers: Ordinary of Epiphanytide: MD 133*; canticle antiphons for Day IV - MD 135*/AM 299 (Lauds), MD 139*/AM 299 (Vespers); for the commemoration at Lauds, MD [23]/AM 775

Thursday 11 January – Class IV [EF: Commemoration of St Hyginus]

Matins: Ordinary of the Epiphany; readings of Thursday in wk I after the first Sunday of Epiphany; responsories of  Thursday between Jan 7-12

Lauds to Vespers: Ordinary of Epiphanytide: MD 133*; canticle antiphons for Day V - MD 136*/AM 299 (Lauds), MD 139*/AM 300 (Vespers)

Friday 12 January - Class IV [**St Benedict Biscop in some places]

**for St Benedict Biscop, MD 10-11**

Matins: Ordinary of the Epiphany; readings of Friday in the week after the first Sunday of Epiphany; responsories of  Friday between Jan 7-12

Lauds to Vespers: Ordinary of Epiphanytide: MD 133*; Matins readings of the date; canticle antiphons for Day VI - MD 136*/AM 300 (Lauds), MD 139*/AM 300 (Vespers)

Saturday 13 January – Commemoration of Our Lord’s Baptism, Class II

Matins:  Invitatory, hymn, psalms and antiphons as for Epiphany, LR 68; readings and responsories for Nocturn 1 readings as for the feria (Saturday after the first Sunday after Epiphany); Nocturns II&III of the feast

Lauds: All is said as on the feast of the Epiphany, MD 129* ff (antiphons and proper texts for the feast, MD 129*/AM 304, with festal (Sunday) psalms, MD 44); collect, MD 140*

Prime to None: Antiphons etc of the feast, MD 132-133*

Vespers: Everything as for the Epiphany except for the collect (Deus cuius Unigenitus) as at I Vespers, MD 126*/AM 295ff, with Magnificat antiphon from MD 133* (Tribus miraculis); collect from MD 140* (no commemoration of the Sunday)

TIME THROUGHOUT THE YEAR