Showing posts with label After Epiphany. Show all posts
Showing posts with label After Epiphany. Show all posts

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!


Thursday, January 5, 2017

January 6: Feast of the Epiphany


The celebration of the feast of the Epiphany (the word means manifestation) on January 6 is very ancient as a decree of the Holy See dating back to 376 attests.  It is traditionally one of the great feasts around which the Church year is traditionally arranged (with Sundays after the Epiphany).  Sad then that in many Churches today it is actually celebrated on the preceding Sunday, and precedes only very ordinary time indeed!

The Feast actually encompasses three different 'manifestations' of our Lord's divinity:
  • the visit of the Wise Men from the East (the primary focus of the liturgy);
  • the baptism of Our Lord by St John the Baptist; and
  • the changing of wine into water at the wedding feast of Cena.
No wonder then that until 1955 it also had an octave.

It is also rich with devotional traditions, including the blessing of holy water (of the 'super-charged' variety!), frankinsense, gold and chalk (to be used in the annual blessing of your house).

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Ordo for the week of the sixth remaining after Epiphany (after Pentecost, 26th)


Sunday 13 November - Sixth Sunday Remaining after Epiphany, Class II; Commemoration of All Saints of the Benedictine Order

Matins: Fourth Sunday of November

Lauds: Psalm schema 1 (50, 117, 62); hymn Aeterne Reum Conditor; canticle antiphon MD 486*; for the commemoration, MD [356]

Prime to None: All as for Sunday in the psalter, with collect MD 486*

Vespers: Canticle antiphon and collect, MD 486*

Monday 14 November – All Souls of the Benedictine Order, Class II [EF: St Josaphat]

All as for All Souls Day, MD [337] ff including the readings, except for the collects, MD [360] ff (note the separate collect for Prime and Compline)

Tuesday 15 November –  Class IV; St Albert the Great, memorial

All as in the psalter; collect, MD 486*; for the commemoration, MD [362-3]

Wednesday 16 November – Class IV [EF: St Gertrude]

All as in the psalter; collect, MD 486*

Thursday 17 November - St Gertrude, Class II/III [EF: St Gregory Thaumaturgis]

Matins: Invitatory antiphon, hymn and three readings and responsories of the feast (if Class II, antiphons, readings and responsories of the feast, psalms from the Common of Virgins)

Lauds: Antiphons and proper texts of the feast, MD [363] ff; festal psalms

Prime to None: Antiphons and proper texts of the feast, psalms of the day

Vespers: Antiphons and proper texts of the feast, psalms from the Common of Virgins

Friday 18 November - Dedication of the Basilicas of SS Peter and Paul, Class III

Lauds to Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of the day with the rest from the Common for the Dedication of a Church, MD (114); collect, MD [371]

Saturday 19 November - Saturday of Our Lady [EF: St Elizabeth of Hungary]

Matins to None: At Matins, Saturday 4&5 of November; Lauds to None, MD (129) ff;

I Vespers of the Fifth Sunday of November, MD 461*/Last Sunday after Pentecost, MD 487*

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Ordo for the week of the Fifth Sunday remaining after Epiphany (after Pentecost, 25)

Sunday 6 November  - Fifth Sunday Remaining after Epiphany, Class II (25th Sunday after Pentecost)

Matins: Third Sunday of November

Lauds: Psalm schema 1 (50, 117, 62); hymn Aeterne Reum Conditor; canticle antiphon MD 485*

Prime to None: All as for Sunday in the psalter, with collect MD 485*

Vespers: Canticle antiphon and collect, MD 485*

Monday 7 November – Class IV

Matins: Three readings henceforward; third week of November

Lauds to Compline: All as in the psalter; collect, MD 485*

Tuesday 8 November – Class IV; The Four Crowned, Martyrs, memorial

All as in the psalter; collect, MD 485*; for the commemoration, MD [345]

Wednesday 9 November - Dedication of the Archbasilica of the Most Holy Saviour (St John Lateran), Class II

Lauds to Vespers: See MD [345]; All from the Common for the dedication of a Church, MD (114) ff

Thursday 10 November – Class IV; St Theodore, memorial [EF: St Andrew Avellino]

Collect, MD 485*; for the commemoration at Lauds, MD [346]

Friday 11 November - St Martin of Tours, Class II

Matins: Invitatory antiphon, hymn, antiphons, readings etc of the feast; psalms from the Common of a Confessor Bishop

Lauds: Antiphons and proper texts of the feast, MD [346] ff with festal psalms of Sunday

Prime: Antiphon 1 of Lauds

Terce to None: Antiphon, etc of the feast

Vespers: Antiphons of Lauds with psalms from Common of a Confessor Bishop, MD (68); proper texts of the feast, MD [350] ff

Saturday 12 November – Saturday of Our Lady; St Mennas, memorial [EF: St Martin I]

Matins to None: At Matins, reading of Saturday 2 of November; Lauds to None, MD (129) ff ; for the commemoration, MD [352-3]

I Vespers of the fourth Sunday of November, MD 460*/Sixth Remaining after Epiphany, MD 486*

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Ordo for the week of the fourth remaining after Epiphany (24th after Pentecost)

This Sunday is the feast of Christ the King in the Extraordinary Form (and 1963 Benedictine rite); the collect for the week is of the fourth remaining Sunday after Epiphany.

Note that the Office on All Souls Day is that of the Roman Office and follows special rules.

Sunday 30 October – Feast of Christ the King, Class I

Lauds: Festal psalms of Sunday, rest for the feast, MD [322] ff

Prime: Antiphon 1 of Lauds

Terce to None: Antiphon, chapter, versicle and collect of the feast, MD [324] ff

Vespers: All as for I Vespers, MD [318] ff except for the Magnificat antiphon, MD [326]

Monday 31 October - Class IV

All as in the psalter; collect, MD 484* (fourth remaining after Epiphany)

I Vespers of All Saints, MD [328] ff

Tuesday 1 November – All Saints, Class I

Lauds: Antiphons and proper texts of the feast, MD [331] ff with festal psalms

Prime: Antiphon 1 of Lauds

Terce to None: Antiphons and proper texts of the feast

Vespers: Antiphons and proper texts from I Vespers, MD [328]; psalms from the Common of Martyrs, MD [328]; Magnificat antiphon, MD [336]

Wednesday 2 November - All Souls, Class I

**Note: As set out in the Diurnal:

(1) There are no opening prayers or hymns at any of the hours.
(2) The psalms have 'requiem aeternam..et lux perpetua.....' added to the end of each instead of the Gloria.
(3) The prayers at the end of each hour are said kneeling.

Matins: All as for Office of the Dead except for the readings and responsories (which are identical to those of the Roman Office of the day).

Lauds: Of the Dead, MD (163) with additional prayers set out for the feast, MD [337] ff

Prime to None:  The usual opening prayers, hymn and antiphon are omitted; see the instructions MD [338] ff

Vespers: As for the Office of the Dead  with collect etc MD [341] ff

Thursday 3 November - Class IV

All as in the psalter; collect, MD 484*

Friday 4 November – Class IV; St Charles Borromeo, memorial [EF: Class III]

All as in the psalter; collect, MD 484*; for the commemoration at Lauds, MD [344-5]

Saturday 5 November – Saturday of Our Lady

Matins to None: At Matins, reading of Saturday 1 of November; Lauds to None, MD (129) ff

I Vespers of the Third Sunday of November, MD 460*/ Fifth Sunday Remaining after Epiphany, MD 485*

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Second Week after the Epiphany

Sunday 17 January - Second Sunday after the Epiphany

All as in the psalter for Sundays throughout the year.

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

Prime to None: All as in the psalter for Sunday, collect MD 147*

Vespers: As in the psalter with canticle antiphon, MD 147*

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

Collect MD 147*

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

Collect MD 147*; for the commemoration at Lauds, MD [26]

Wednesday 20 January - SS Fabian and Sebastian, Class III

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

Terce to None: Chapter and versicle from the Common, collect MD [27]

Thursday 21 January - St Agnes, Class III (Class II for monasteries of nuns) [**in some places, St Meinrad, Class I]

Matins: Invitatory and hymn from the Common of Virgins, lessons 1&2 of the day, lesson 3 and responsories of the feast.

Lauds: Antiphons and proper texts for the feast, MD [27] ff with festal (Sunday) psalms, MD 44.

Prime: Antiphon 1 of Lauds, with psalms of the day

Terce to None: Antiphon, chapter, versicle and collect of the feast, MD [30] ff

Vespers: MD [31] ff

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

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

Collect MD 147*; for the commemoration, MD [34]

For St Meinrad, Class II, MD 20**

Saturday 23 January – Saturday of Our Lady; St Emerentiana, memorial [EF: St Raymond Pennafort]

Matins: Saturday 4&5 of January

Lauds:  As for the Office of Our Lady throughout the year, MD (129) except for the Benedictus antiphon and collect, MD (133); for the commemoration, MD [35]

Prime to None: As for the Office of Our Lady throughout the year, MD (129) except for the Antiphons MD (134) and (for Terce to None) collect MD (133)

I Vespers of Septuagesima Sunday, MD 153-4* [Note: The Alleluia is ceremonially 'buried' at Vespers, with concluding versicle and is not said thereafter in the opening prayers of the Office until Holy Saturday]

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Ordo for first week after Epiphany

Sunday 10 January – First Sunday after the Epiphany, Class II; St Paul the first hermit, memorial [EF: Feast of the Holy Family]

For feast of the Holy Family, MD 3** ff

Lauds: Psalm schema 1 – 50, 117, 62; hymn Aeterne rerum Conditor; chapter etc, MD 142* ff; for the commemoration, MD [23]

Prime to None: Antiphons etc from MD 144*ff

Vespers: Psalms and antiphons of Sunday with chapter, responsory and hymn of I Vespers, MD 140*; Magnificat antiphon, MD 146*

Monday 11 January - Class IV [EF: Commemoration of St Hyginus]

Matins: Ordinary of Epiphanytide; Readings, for week after first Sunday of Epiphany

Lauds: Psalms and antiphons of Monday; chapter, hymn etc, MD 133* ff; Benedictus, antiphon Day IV, MD 135*; collect MD 136* (after Sunday)

Terce to None: Chapter and versicle of Epiphanytide

Vespers: Psalms and antiphons of Monday; chapter, hymn, etc, MD 137*; Magnificat, antiphon Day IV, MD 139*

Tuesday 12 January - Class IV

Lauds: Psalms and antiphons of Tuesday; chapter, hymn etc, MD 133* ff; Benedictus, antiphon Day V, MD 136*; collect MD 136*

Terce to None: Chapter and versicle of Epiphanytide

Vespers: Psalms and antiphons of Tuesday; Chapter, hymn, etc, MD 137*; Magnificat, antiphon Day V, MD 139*

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

Proper texts for the feast of the Epiphany, MD 129* ff (except for the collect  and Matins readings). 

Note:

Lauds: Antiphons and proper texts for the feast, MD 129*, with festal (Sunday) psalms, MD 44; collect, MD 140*.

Prime: Antiphon 1 of Lauds, MD 129*.

Terce to None: Antiphon, chapter, versicle and collect of the feast, MD 132-133* and collect, MD 140*.

Vespers: Antiphons for the feast, as at I Vespers, MD 126* ff, with Magnificat antiphon from MD 133*; collect from MD 140*.

TIME THROUGHOUT THE YEAR

Thursday 14 January - Class IV; SS Hilary [EF: Class III] and Felix, memorials

All as for Thursday throughout the year; collect MD 142*; for the commemorations, MD [24-5]

Friday 15 January - Class IV [**In some places, Our Lady of Prompt Succour, Class I; EF: St Paul the First Hermit]

All as for Friday throughout the year; collect MD 142*

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

Saturday 16 January - Office of Our Lady on Saturday; St Marcellus I, memorial [EF: Class III]

Matins: Saturday 3 of January

Lauds:  As for the Office of Our Lady throughout the year, MD (129) except for the Benedictus antiphon and collect, MD (133); for the commemoration, MD [25]

Prime to None: As for the Office of Our Lady throughout the year, MD (129) except for the Antiphons MD (134) and (for Terce to None) collect MD (133)

I Vespers of Second Sunday of Epiphany: MD 146*

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Office in Christmastide and the Sundays after the Epiphany

The season of Christmas (or Nativitytide) has two parts: the 'twelve days of Christmas', from Christmas Eve (I Vespers of Christmas) to January 5; and the season of Epiphany, which officially runs up to 13 January.

There is a bit of a trick to it though, because older versions of the liturgy actually treated all of the time up until the Feast of the Purification on February 2 as the season of Epiphany, and the Office retains traces of that: the Sundays are still labelled 'after Epiphany' up until the pre-Lenten season of Septuagesima, and the readings on them reflect Epiphany themes. 

In fact the readings for the original six Sundays of Epiphanytide allowed for (before addition of Septuagesima under St Gregory the Great) continue to be said, with any Sundays displaced by an early start to Septuagesimatide moved to the end of the liturgical year.

In addition, the Office of Our Lady on Saturday continues to be said in its Christmastide form right up until February 2.

The other key point to note is that there are a number of texts to be said on particular dates in addition to the main (fixed) feast days.

The twelve days of Christmas

The Christmasy feel for the Office really starts on December 24, with the Vigil of the Nativity.  But in fact that day, at least up until None, is technically part of Advent.

Christmas has a second class octave, and so the Office is effectively that of Christmas for a whole week, but displaced to some degree by the series of second class feasts that occur in this period.

Between January 2 and January 5, the 'ordinary of the ferial office after the Octave of the Nativity', which includes chapter verses, hymns and so forth for Lauds to Vespers, is used, MD 119*.  

During this period, the antiphons and psalms are of the day of the week as set out in the psalter for ‘throughout the year and in Nativitytide’. At Matins, the Invitatory, hymn, versicles and chapter are of the season, and three readings are of the date.  At Terce, Sext and None, the antiphons is as for throughout the year; the chapter and versicle are particular to Nativitytide (set out in the psalter section of the Diurnal, as well as at MD 122-3*.  At Lauds and Vespers, the chapter, responsory, hymn, versicle and canticle antiphon are for the season, and can be found at MD 119-25*.

The Ordinary of the Office in Epiphany (January 7-12)

Epiphanytide is part of the greater season of Christmastide, hence at all hours, antiphons and psalms are of the day of the week as in the psalter for ‘throughout the year and in Nativitytide’.

At Matins, the Invitatory antiphon, hymn, versicles, responsories and chapter are of the season.  At Lauds and Vespers, the chapter, responsory, hymn, and versicle are for the season, and can be found at MD 133-9*.  

In the not too distant past the feast of Epiphany had an Octave, and the proper antiphons for the canticles set for each day are remnants of that octave.  Similarly, the feast of the Commemoration of the Baptism of Our Lord is said as if it were an octave day.

Office of Our Lady after Christmas

On fourth class Saturdays up until the feast of the Purification, the Office is of Our Lady after Christmas.

Matins: As for Office of Our Lady throughout the year except for collect.  Reading 3 is of Our Lady (the breviary provides readings for Saturdays 1, 2, 3, and 4&5.

Lauds to None: Office of Our Lady after Christmas, MD (133) ff.  

January 14 - Septuagesima: Ordinary of Time Throughout the Year

Nativitytide officially ends with the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord; from January 14 until Septuagesima, the Offices uses the default texts set out in the psalter section of the Diurnal or Breviary for ‘time throughout the year’.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Ordo notes for week of January 29



This Sunday is the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany in the Extraordinary Form.  The Gospel this week, to which the Benedictus and Magnificat antiphons for Sunday refer, is from Matthew 8, where a boat the apostles are on is caught in a storm, and Jesus calms the waters.

There is also a memorial of St Frances de Sales.

The Feast of the Purification: change of Compline antiphon

The major feast this week is of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, on Thursday, which marks the end of the last remnants of the Christmas season (for example in the Saturday Office of Our Lady, which reverts back to the antiphons and prayers used throughout the year after the feast). 

It also marks a change of Marian antiphon at Compline: from Wednesday night, Ave Regina Caelorum is said or sung.



Saints in the traditional Benedictine and Roman EF calendar this week
The Ordinary Form calendar

This is the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time.  The Gospel is St Mark 1:21-28, Our Lord preaches at Capernaum and expels an evil spirit from a man.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ordo notes for the week of January 22


Codex Egberti, c10th

This Sunday is the Third Sunday after Epiphany in the EF/traditional Benedictine calendar, and the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time in the OF.

This week in the traditional Benedictine and EF calendars

This Sunday's Gospel is St Matthew 8:1-13, Our Lord heals a leper and the Centurion's servant.
Ordinary Form calendar

This week's Gospel is St Mark 1:14-20.
  • Tuesday 22 January, St Frances de Sales;
  • Wednesday 23 January, The Conversion of St Paul; St Cadoc (English Congregation);
  • Thursday, January 26: SS Angela Merici, Timothy and Titus (OF); St. Robert, St. Alberic and St. Stephen, abbots of Citeaux - Optional Memorial (Benedictine Confed);
  • Saturday, January 28: St Thomas Aquinas.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Notes on the Office for the week of January 15


Duccio di Buononsegna, the Marriage at Cana
Epiphanytide is now over and we are now back in 'time throughout the year'!

Second Sunday after Epiphany

The Epiphany themes, however, are not altogether left behind in the Sundays after Epiphany (which, once upon a time was a distinct season), as this post on the Second Sunday after Epiphany) explains. This week's Gospel tells the story of the wedding at Cana.

Saints this week in the traditional Benedictine Office and EF

The saints celebrated in this week's Office are:
  • Monday 16 Jan - Pope St Marcellus I (pope from May 308 to 309) - he died not long after being banished by the Emperor Maxentius;
  • Tuesday 17 Jan - St Anthony (251-356), made famous by St Athanasius' life, which did much to promote monastic life in both the East and West;
  • Wednesday 18 January - commemoration of St Priscus, martyred under the Emperor Claudius, in the EF only.  The Feast of St Peter's Chair was also formerly celebrated on this day;
  • Thursday 19 January – SS Marius, Martha, Audifax and Abachum, a family from Persia martyred in Rome under the Emperor Aurelian;
  • Friday 20 January - SS Fabian and Sebastian.  St Fabian was Pope from 236 to 250 when he was martyred; St Sebastian was a layman martyred under Diocletian;
  • Saturday 21 January - St Agnes, one of the saints mentioned in the Roman canon.
In some places and Benedictine monasteries, Saturday is also the feast of St Meinrad OSB, a swiss monk killed by thieves attempting to raid a shrine at his monastery in 861.

Ordinary Form calendar

In the Ordinary Form, this Sunday is the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time.  The Ordinary Form General Calendar also celebrates St Anthony, SS Fabian and Sebastian and St Agnes this week.

The OSB General Calendar (1975) also celebrates the feast of SS Maurus and Placid on January 15 (in the traditional calendar, their feast is in October).

The English Congregation also celebrate the feast of St Wulfstan OSB, Bishop of Worcester (d 1095) on January 19.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The week after Epiphany...

c15th book of hours,
Jesus among the doctors

Holy Family or First Sunday after Epiphany?

In the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, this Sunday is titled the feast of the Holy Family, and the Monastic Diurnal includes the texts for that feast in the supplement section at the back.  In the universal Benedictine Calendar, however, the Office for Sunday is actually that of the First Sunday after Epiphany.

The Gospel is the same either way: the finding of the child Jesus in the Temple with the doctors.

The reason for this oddity in names is that the Feast of the Holy Family is quite recent - it was instituted in 1893 - and was never picked up by the Benedictines.  The Gospel though, creates provides a bridge between the Adoration of the Nativity and the Baptism of Our Lord on January 13, which marked the end of the old Octave of the Epiphany.

You can read more on this in my post from last year on the subject.

Epiphanytide and the Commemoration of Our Lord's Baptism (Friday, January 13)



This week we are in epiphanytide, which uses texts that are the remnants of the old Octave.

The major feast of this week, the commemoration of Our Lord's baptism marks the formal end of Christmastide (of which epiphanytide is a part) in the liturgical calendar, and a move into 'time throughout the year'.

Saints in the calendar this week

This week's saints in the Benedictine Calendar are:
Another great saint, whose feast is included this week (January 12) in the calendar of the English Congregation, is St Benet Biscop, a great saint for the traditionally inclined, who played a key role in the preservation of Western civilization in the 'dark ages'.


As a monk he had a reputation as being pious, ascetic, learned and holy. He is particularly honoured as the founder of the twin monasteries of Wearmouth whose Church still stands and Jarrow, where he was St Bede the Venerable's first abbot.

But his particular interest is the way his fascinating career illustrates the cross-fertilization of cultural currents at the time, and his work in importing books and skills to England where they were preserved and re-exported back to the Continent a century later.  Do go and read my full post on him.

Ordinary Form calendar

In the Ordinary Form, the Benedictine calendar this week includes the optional memorial of St Gregory of Nyssa (January 10).

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Feast of Epiphany (January 6)


Vicente Gil, 1498-1519
January 6 is, in some countries, as well as in the Extraordinary Form, the feast of the Epiphany. 

Christmastide and the date of the feast

In many more places, unfortunately, where it is not a Holy Day of Obligation, it is celebrated this coming Sunday instead.  And that is unfortunate, because the celebration of the feast of the Epiphany (the word means manifestation) on January 6 is very ancient as a decree of the Holy See dating back to 376 attests.

It marks, among other things, the end of the traditional twelve days of Christmas, and is traditionally one of the great feasts around which the Church year is traditionally arranged (with Sundays after the Epiphany).

It is worth noting, though, that Epiphany does not in fact mark the end of the broader Christmas season: the 1963 breviary rubrics split  'de tempore natalicio' into two sections: Nativitytide and Epiphanytide, which runs up to and includes 13 January (ie encompassing the old and now abolished octave of the Epiphany).

Manifestations of the divinity of Our Lord

The Feast actually celebrates three different 'manifestations' of our Lord's divinity:
  • the visit of the Wise Men from the East (the primary focus of the liturgy of the feast of the Epiphany);
  • the baptism of Our Lord by St John the Baptist (especially remembered on the old octave day in the feast of the Commemoration of the Baptism of Our Lord, January 13; and
  • the changing of wine into water at the wedding feast of Cena.
It is perhaps worth noting that the recent publication of an early account of the Magi's journey, The Revelations of the Magi, which suggests that there were in fact quite a large group of wise men who travelled to worship the Christ child, in no way contradicts the Gospel, which is silent on the size of the group...

The feast is rich in devotional traditions, including the blessing of holy water (of the 'super-charged' variety!), frankinsense, gold and chalk (to be used in the annual blessing of your house).

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Notes on the Ordo for the week of 1 January


Simone Martini, 1333

I'm going to experiment a little this year with the format and content of my notes on the saints of the calendar - please do let me know whether or not you like it, or any suggestions you may have.

In particular, rather than repeat previous notes on individual saints, in most cases I will simply provide a link to relevant posts from previous years or material on other sites.  Hopefully that will provide some space to add in a few posts on saints from various calendars, as well as other material on Benedictine spirituality...

The liturgical seasons

Up until the evening of January 5 (with I Vespers of the Epiphany) the season is still Christmas (nativitytide), and you can find the texts (chapters, versicles, hymns etc) for this season (Jan 2-5) in the Monastic Diurnal from page 119*. 

The proper texts for Epiphanytide (Jan 7-12), remnants of the now abolished Octave of the Epiphany, are on MD 133*ff. 

If however, you are following the Ordinary Form calendar (or in a place where the 'external solemnity' is transferred to the nearest Sunday) be aware that Epiphany is celebrated this year on January 8.

Note also that Saturdays Office is of Our Lady, said according to the 'After Christmas' rubrics.

Feasts

Epiphany aside (on which I will post later in the week), the only feast in the universal Benedictine calendar this week is the memorial of St Titus (celebrated on another date entirely in the Roman EF calendar).

In the Extraordinary Form, however, January 2 (January 3 in the Ordinary Form as an optional memorial) is a feast day.  For my previous comments on this, and notes on how to say the Office for the feast, see my previous discussion of the Holy Name of Jesus.

Also in the Ordinary Form, January 7 is the optional memorial of St Raymond of Penyafort.

In some countries and Benedictine Congregations this week also sees the feasts of St Elizabeth Anne SetonSt Andre Bessette and/or St John Neumann.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Second Sunday after Epiphany, Class II


Though we are back, today, in ‘time throughout the year’ so far as the rubrics go, the Sundays after Epiphany do naturally continue with the Epiphany theme, and this week the Gospel is the wedding feast at Cana, the subject of the Benedictus and Magnificat antiphons.

Pope Benedict has commented on this event that:

"The events at the Wedding at Cana are an attestation of this unique harmony between the Mother and the Son in seeking God's will. In a situation laden with symbols of the Covenant, such as the wedding feast, the Virgin Mother intercedes and provokes, so to speak, a sign of superabundant grace: the "good wine" that refers to the mystery of Christ's Blood. This leads us directly to Calvary, where Mary stands beneath the Cross together with the other women and with the Apostle John. The Mother and the disciple receive spiritually the testament of Jesus: his last words and his last breath, in which he begins to pour out the Spirit; and they receive the silent cry of his Blood, poured out entirely for us (cf. Jn 19:25-34). Mary knew where that Blood came from: it had been formed within her by the power of the Holy Spirit and she knew that this same creative "power" was to raise Jesus, as he had promised."