This blog contains regular postings relating to the Traditional Latin Liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. It includes regular commentary on the saints days and the liturgical cycle, with brief background and extracts from the liturgy both in Latin and English. Much of the material has been extracted from the 'St Andrew's Daily Missal', Dom Gueranger's 'Liturgical Year', or similar sources.

Related website:

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

This Sunday's liturgy is concerned with the forgiveness of injuries and like last Sunday, is made up of two elements, i.e. the reading of the history of David which is continued in the Breviary and that of a passage of one of the epistles of St. Peter the Apostle whose feast is kept about this time. In fact the week beginning with the seventh Sunday after Pentecost was called the week after the feast of the Apostles.

[According to an ancient source the Gospel for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost having been transferred to the Mass of the first Sunday, a general displacement would have followed affecting all the Sundays from the fifth to the twenty-third, so that the Gospel for the fifth Sunday which dealt with St. Peter would have become that of the fourth, and so on. And then the Epistle and Gospel of the fifth Sunday would have called attention to St. Peter. But other sources weaken the testimony for the universality of this use. The present order of the Roman Missal goes back to St. Gregory the Great.]

When David had gained his victory over Goliath the Israelites went back victorious to their towns and villages singing to the accompaniment of instruments, "Saul slew his thousands and David his ten thousands."

Angered at this and with jealousy eating into his heart, Saul exclaimed: "They have given David ten thousands, and to me they have given but a thousand, what can he have more than the kingdom?" "And Saul did not look on David with a good eye from that day forward" as if he guessed that David had been chosen by God. And jealousy turned him into a criminal. Twice while David was playing the harp to calm Saul's fit of madness he threw his javelin at him and twice David nimbly stepped aside while the javelin stuck quivering in the wall. Then Saul sent him into the battle, hoping that he would be killed, but David returned at the head of his armies, victorious, safe and sound (Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Postcommunion).

After this Saul became desperate and hunted David up and down the kingdom and one night he went into a cave, very deep and dark, in the recesses of which David happened to lie concealed. One of David's companions told him that it was the king; that the Lord was about to deliver him from his enemy's hand and that the moment had come to strike him dead with his spear. David, however replied that he would never lay his hand upon the Lord's anointed, and contented himself with secretly cutting off the hem of Saul's robe, after which he left the cave.

At sunrise, from a safe distance, he showed Saul the piece he had cut off and Saul wept and cried: "My son David, you are better than I." Again, on another occasion, David came across Saul fast asleep at night with his spear stuck in the earth close to his pillow and did no more than take the spear and Saul's drinking vessel with it. And Saul blessed him again, however, without slackening in his pursuit.

Later on the Philistines recommenced the war and Israel being defeated, Saul killed himself by "throwing himself on his sword ". When David learned of Saul's decease, far from rejoicing, he rent his garments and had the Amalekite killed who brought the news while carrying Saul's crown and claiming for himself the fictitious merit of having slain David's enemy. David sang a dirge for Saul: "Ye mountains of Gelboe, let neither dew nor rain come upon you, neither be they fields of first-fruits: for there was cast away the shield of the valiant, the shield of Saul as though he had not been anointed with oil. ... Saul and Jonathan, lovely and comely in their life, even in death they were not divided."

"Why," asks St. Gregory, "did David, who had not even rendered evil for evil, utter this curse upon the mountains of Gelboe, when he learned that Saul and Jonathan had fallen in the fight? In what sense have the mountains of Gelboe been guilty of the death of Saul, that receiving neither dew nor rain, all their verdant vegetation should be turned into barrenness, in accordance with this imprecation?"

Saul whose anointing in no way prevented his death is a type of our Mediator in His death, and the mountains of Gelboe, whose name means watercourses, stand for the Jews with their proud hearts who dissipate themselves in a stream of worldly ambitions The King the true anointed one, lost the life of his body among them, wherefore wholly deprived of the dew of grace they remain in a state of barrenness. These proud souls bring forth no fruit, for they remain faithless to the Redeemer's coming, and while the Church, from the beginning, has shown herself prematurely fertile by the multitude of nations she has brought forth, it is with difficulty that in the last days she will garner some Jews, gathered like a late harvest or like fruit out of season (2nd Nocturn).

From all these considerations there stands out a great lesson of charity, for as David spared his enemy Saul and rendered him good for evil, so God forgives the Jews, since in spite of their unfaithfulness, He is always ready to welcome them into the kingdom of which Christ their Victim is King. Hence we can understand the reason for the choice of to-day's Epistle and Gospel, which proclaim the great duty of the forgiveness of injuries, "Be ye all of one mind in prayer, not rendering evil fo evil, not railing for railing," says the Epistle. And the Gospel adds: "If therefore thou offer thy gift at the altar and there, thou remember that thy brother hath anything against thee, leave there thy offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to thy brother and then coming, thou shalt offer thy gift."

David, having been anointed king by the elders of Hebron, took the citadel of Sion, which thus became his city, and put the Ark of God in the sanctuary there (Communion). This was the reward for his great charity, a virtue indispensable if the worship offered by men in the holy places is to be acceptable to God (Ibid.). It is for this, reason that the Epistle and Gospel call our attention to the fact that it is especially when we meet in prayer that we must be unite in heart. [It is the Liturgy which has added the words "in oratione" (in prayer), which are not found in St. Peter, at the beginning of the Epistle, to explain the last words of the Gospel and to connect these two parts of the Mass with each other.]

Certainly, as the history of Saul and to-day's Mass show, divine Justice has its rights, but if it utter a final sentence, it is only after almighty God has exhausted in vain, all the means suggested by His love.

The best way to come to the possession of charity is to love God, to desire the good things of eternity (Collect), and the possession of happiness in heavenly places (Communion), where entrance is only to be had through the continual practice of this fair virtue.

Exaudi, Domine, vocem meam, qua clamavi ad te: adjutor meus esto, ne derelinquas me, neque despicias me, Deus salutaris meus. * Dominus illuminatio mea, et salus mea, quem timebo?
Hear, O Lord, my voice with which I have cried to Thee: be Thou my helper, forsake me not, nor do Thou despise me, O God my Saviour. * The Lord is my light, and my salvation, whom shall I fear.
(Psalm 36:7,9,2. from the introit of Mass)

Deus, qui diligentibus te bona invisibilia praeparasti: infunde cordibus nostris tui amoris affectum: ut te in omnibus et super omnia diligentes, promissiones tuas, quae omne desiderium superant, consequamur.
O God, who hast prepared for those who love Thee such good things as eye hath not seen; pour into our hearts such love towards Thee, that we loving Thee above all things, may , obtain Thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire.

Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Matthew.
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples : Except your justice abound more than that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the. kingdom of heaven. You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill, shall be in danger of the judgement. But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother: Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say: Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. If therefore thou offer thy gift at the altar, and there thou remember that thy brother hath anything against thee, leave there thy offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to thy brother ; and then gift.
(St Matthew 5:20-24)

12th July, SS. Nabor and Felix, Martyrs

SS. Nabor and Felix, Martyrs

These two saints, who had St. Ambrose for their panegyrist, received the palm of martyrdom at Milan under Diocletian, in 303.

Salus autem justorum a Domino: et protector eorum est in tempore tribulationis. * Noli aemulari in malignantibus: neque zelaveris facientes iniquitatem.
But the salvation of the just if from the Lord: and He is their protector in the time of trouble. * Be not emulous of evildoers; nor envy them that work iniquity.
(Psalm 36:39,1 from the Introit of Mass)

Praesta, quaesumus, Domine: ut, sicut nos sanctorum Martyrum tuorum Naboris et Felicis natalitia celebranda non deserunt; ita jugiter suffragiis comitentur.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that even as we never fail to keep the birthday of Thy holy martyrs Nabor and Felix, so we may enjoy their continual intercession.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

12th July, St. John Gualbert, Abbot

St. John Gualbert, Abbot

John Gualbert was born at Florence, towards 999. One Good Friday, escorted by his armed attendants, he met alone and unattended, the murderer of his brother. He was about to pierce him with his lance when the murderer threw himself at his feet and craved pardon for the sake of Jesus crucified. John remembered the loving words of the Gospel and embraced him as a brother.

Still more touched by grace he became a monk and soon a lawgiver like Moses (Epistle), he founded at Vallombrosa in Tuscany a new Order to which he gave the rule of St. Benedict (Communion) and which is still flourishing after more than eight centuries of existence.

Simony reigned everywhere in Italy. His firmness and eloquence banished this disorder from Tuscany and brought back his country to integrity of faith and manners. So, when he died in 1073, they inscribed on his tomb: To John Gualbert, citizen of Florence, liberator of Italy.

Os justi meditabitur sapientiam, et lingua ejus loquetur judicium: lex Dei ejus in corde ipsius. * Noli aemulari in malignantibus: neque zelaveris facientes iniquitatem.
The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak judgement: the law of his God is in his heart. * Be not emulous of evildoers: nor envy them that work iniquity.
(Psalm 36:30-31 and 1 from the Introit of Mass)

May the intercession of the blessed Abbot John, we beseech Thee, O Lord, commend us unto Thee, that what we cannot have through our own merits, we may obtain through his patronage.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Saturday, 11 July 2015

11th July, The Solemnity of St Benedict, Abbot, Patriarch of Monks

The Translation of the Relics of St Benedict.

The Feast of St Benedict, on 21st March, being in Lent has no octave and is thus shorn of a certain amount of solemnity. The feast on 11th July is of the same rank but also possesses an octave compensating for this lack, as its title indicates. In England, it has taken the place of the very ancient feast of the Translation of the relics of the Saint (from Monte Cassino to the Abbey of Fleury, in France), which is still observed in some Benedictine Congregations.

St. Benedict is called the Doctor of humility. He was a prophet and wrought miracles and "was filled with the spirit of all the just" says St. Gregory. (His empire over devils is still exercised nowadays by the medal of St. Benedict which works wonders especially in missionary countries where Satan is most powerful.)

Among his sons are counted more than twenty popes, and an immense number of bishops, doctors, apostles, learned men and educators who have deserved well of humanity and of the Church. (Five sons of St. Benedict are numbered among the Doctors of the Church. St Augustine of Canterbury converted England; St. Boniface, Germany; St. Amandus, St. Willibrord, St. Anscharius and others brought to the faith more than twenty pagan nations.)

By his life he powerfully co-operated in the work of redemption and his glorious death has made him the patron of holy dying.

Benedictine Propers from the Missale Monasticum.

Faciam te in gentem magnam, et benedicam tibi, et magnificabo nomen tuum, erisque benedictus. * Benedic, anima mea, Domino: et omnia quae intra me sunt nomini sancto ejus.
I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and magnify thy name: and thou shalt be blessed. * Bless the Lord. O my soul, and let all that is within me bless his holy name.
(Genesis 2:2 and Psalm 102:1, from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui beatissimum Confessorem tuum Benedictum, omnium justorum spiritu replere dignatus es: concede nobis famulis tuis ejus Solemnitatem celebrantibus; ut ejusdem spiritu repleti, quod, te donante, promisimus, fideliter adimpleamus.
O God, who wouldst fill thy most blessed Confessor Benedict with the spirit of all the righteous: grant unto us thy servants who celebrate his solemnity, that filled with his spirit, we may faithfully accomplish by thy assistance, that which we have promised.

Domine, praevenisti eum in benedictionibus dulcedinis : posuisti in capite ejus coronam de lapide pretioso. * Vitam petiit a te, et tribuisti ei longitudinem dierum in saeculum saeculi.
O Lord, thou hast prevented him with blessings of sweetness : thou hast set on his head a crown of precious stones. * He asked life of thee, and thou hast given him length of days for ever and ever.
(Gradual: Psalm 20:4-5)

Alleluia, alleluia. Vir Dei Benedictus omnium justorum spiritu plenus fuit: ipse intercedat pro cunctis monasticae professionis.
Alleluia, alleluia. The man of God, Benedict was filled with the spirit of all the just: may he intercede for all of the monastic profession.

Sequence for the Mass of St Benedict

Laeta quies magni ducis,
Dona ferens novae lucis,
Hodie recolitur.

Caris datur piae menti,
Corde sonet in ardenti,
Quidquid foris promitur.

Hunc per callem orientis 
Admiremur ascendentis
Patriarchae speciem.

Amplum semen magnae prolis
Illum fecit instar solis
Abrahae persimilem.

Corvum cernis ministrantem,
Hinc Eliam latitantem
Specu nosce parvulo.

Elisaeus dignoscatur,
Cum securis revocatur
De torrentis alveo.

Illum Joseph candor morum, 
Illum Jacob futurorum
Mens effecit conscia.

Ipse memor suae gentis,
Nos perducat in manentis.
Semper Christi gaudia.

Joyful rest of our leader, that brings the gift of a new light, we commemorate you today.

Grace is given the loving soul, may our ardent heart be united to the songs of our lips.

By the radiant way going up to the east, let us admire our Father rising to heaven, equal to the patriarchs.

His innumerable posterity, figure of the sun, made him like to Abraham.

See the crow serving him and recognize hence Elias hiding in a little cave.

Recognize Eliseus, when he bids return the axe from beneath the current.

It is Joseph through his life without stain; it is Jacob bringing future things to mind.

May he be mindful of his people, and may he lead us till we behold with him the eternal joys of Christ.

Tamquam lignum quod plantatum est secus decursus aquarum, quod fructum suum dabit in tempore suo: et folium ejus non defluet, et omnia quaecumque faciet prosperabuntur.
He is like unto a tree that is planted near the running waters, which shall bring forth its fruit in due season: and his leaf shall not fall off, and all whatsoever he shall do shall prosper.
(Offertory: Psalm 1:3)

Suscipe, omnipotens Deus, haec sacra munera, quae in beati Patris nostri Benedicti Abbatis festivitate tibi offerimus; ut sicut illi amorem tuum eximium tribuisti, ita et in nobis ejus patrocinio divinae caritatis flammas accendas.
Receive, O almighty God, this sacred oblation, which we offer unto Thee on the festival of our holy Father Benedict the Abbot: so that even as thou didst grant him thy ardent love, so also thou wouldst, through his protection, inflame in us the fire of divine love.

Benedictionem omnium gentium dedit illi Dominus, et testamentum confirmavit super caput ejus: agnovit eum in benedictionibus suis, et conservavit illi misericordiam suam.
The Lord gave him the blessing of all nations, and confirmed his covenant on his head : he acknowledged him in his blessings, and preserved for him his mercy.
(Communion: Ecclus. 44:25-26)

Divini Sacramenti pasti deliciis, te, Domine, benedictionum fons et origo, supplices exoramus; ut per intercessionem beatissimi Patris nostri Benedicti, benedictionis tuae gratiam consequamur.
Fed with the delights of the divine sacrament, we address our supplications to Thee, O Lord, the source and origin of all blessings, that by the intercession of our most holy Father Benedict, we may receive the grace of thy blessing.

The sequence sung by the monks of Norcia:

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia on St Benedict:

11th July, St Pius I, Pope and Martyr

St. Pius I, Pope and Martyr

The Cycle makes us honour to-day a saint whom "God anointed with His holy oil " (Gradual) and whom He invested with the fulness of His priesthood (Introit, Alleluia) by raising him to the pontifical throne after St. Hyginus in 142, others say in 167.

He prescribed that the feast of the Resurrection should only be kept on a Sunday, which thenceforth became the chief of all Sundays.

He established a baptistry in the house which St. Pudentiana and St. Praxedes had placed at his disposal, and where their father, the Senator Pudens, had already received St. Peter. He transformed into a title-church the adjoining baths of Novatus, where is held the Station on the Tuesday in the third week of Lent. On account of the stay of the first Sovereign Pontiff, he dedicated it under the title of Pastor.

To fulfil his office of good shepherd, he feared not to renounce his own life (Gospel), and endured many hardships, which hastened his end, for his sheep and for Christ the supreme Pastor. He received at the same time as the crown of martyrdom the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him (Epistle), and was buried in 150 on the Vatican.

Statuit ei Dominus testamentum pacis, et principem fecit eum: ut sit illi sacerdotii dignitas in aeternum. * Memento, Domine, David, et omnis mansuetudinis ejus.
The Lord made to him a covenant of peace, and made him a prince: that the dignity of the priesthood should be to him for ever. * O Lord, remember David: and all his meekness.
(Ecclesiasticus 45:30 and Psalm 131:1 from the Introit of Mass)

Be mindful of our weakness, O almighty God, and since the burden of our deeds is grievous to us, grant that the glorious intercession of blessed Pius Thy martyr and bishop may protect us.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Friday, 10 July 2015

10th July, The Seven Brothers, Martyrs: and SS Rufina and Secunda, Virgins and Martyrs

The Seven Brothers Martyrs; and SS. Rufina and Secunda, Virgins, Martyrs

The Church, celebrating to-day the triumph of the seven sons of saint Felicitas, who were martyred under their mother's eyes, praises this courageous woman (Epistle), who, by exhorting them to die, "was herself victorious in all of them".

She extended her maternity to the souls of her children by making them accomplish the will of God (Gospel, Communion, see November 23). They died in A.D. 150 under the Emperor Antoninus.

A century later Rufina and Secunda, sisters by birth, became doubly so by mixing their blood at the same execution, rather than lose the virginity they had consecrated to Jesus, their Spouse. They were martyred at Rome under the Emperors Valerian and Gallienus, in 257.

Laudate, pueri, Dominum, laudate nomen Domini: qui habitare facit sterilem in domo, matrem filiorum laetantem.  * Sit nomen Domini benedictum: ex hoc nunc, et usque in saeculum.
Praise the Lord, ye children, praise ye the name of the Lord; who maketh the barren woman to dwell in a house, the joyful mother of children.* Blessed be the name of the Lord, from henceforth now and forever.
(Psalm 112:1,9,2 from the Introit of Mass)

Praesta, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus: ut, qui gloriosos Martyres fortes in sua confessione cognovimus, pios apud te in nostra intercessione sentiamus.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that we, who acknowledge the boldness of  thy glorious martyrs in confessing Thy name, may experience likewise their loving  intercession for us. (Collect)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia on St Felicitas and her sons:

Thursday, 9 July 2015

9th July, SS. John Fisher and Thomas More, Martyrs

SS. John Fisher and Thomas More, Martyrs

Among the Christian heroes who fought resolutely against heresy and laid down their lives rather than adhere to the schism in England, a place of honour is due to cardinal John Fisher and to the chancellor Thomas More.

John Fisher, born at Beverley in 1469, chancellor of the academy of Cambridge, later for 33 years bishop of Rochester, refuted in many books the protestant errors (Breviary.)

Thomas More, born in London in 1478, a layman, married and the father of a family, learned jurist and scholar, was made High Chancellor of England by Henry VIII.

Both were imprisoned in the Tower of London by order of the king because they were opposed to his illegitimate union with Anna Boleyn and because they refused him the usurpated title of supreme head of the Church of England in matters spiritual as well as temporal.

John Fisher, created cardinal by Pope Paul III, ascended the scaffold on the 22th of June 1535 and was beheaded after reading this sentence of the Gospel: "This is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only True God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent." (Alleluia)

Thomas More was beheaded in his turn on the 6th July 1535 for having resisted, after the example of the great doctor of the law Eleazar (Epistle), all solicitations on the part of his own family and which he deemed contrary to his conscience and to the rights of God, of Christ and the Church (Gospel).

Pius XI solemnly canonized these two saints on the 19th of March 1935.

May the merits and the prayers of these martyrs of the true faith and of the primacy of the Church of Rome obtain that we may be united in Christ by the same profession of faith (Collect).

Astiterunt justi ante Dominurn, et ab invicem non sunt separati: calicem Domini biberunt, et amici Dei sunt.
The just stood before the Lord and were not separated from each other: they drank the chalice of the Lord, and have been called friends of God.
(Antiphon of the Magnificat)

Multae tribulationes justorum, et de his omnibus liberavit eos Dominus: Dominus custodit omnia ossa eorum: unum ex his non conteretur. * Benedicam Dominum in omni tempore: semper laus ejus in ore meo.
Many are the afflictions of the just; but out of them all will the Lord deliver them. The Lord keepeth all their bones: not one of them shall be broken. * I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall be always in my mouth.
(Psalm 33:20-21,2 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui beatos Martyres tuos Joannem et Thomam, verae fidei et Romanae Ecclesiae principatus propugnatores, inter Anglos suscitasti: eorum meritis ac precibus concede; ut ejusdem fidei professione, unum omnes in Christo efficiamur et simus.
O God, who didst raise up Thy blessed martyrs, John and Thomas, from among the English to be the defenders of the true faith and of the primacy of the holy Roman Church, grant that through their merits and prayers, we may all become and remain one by the profession of the same faith.

Alleluia, alleluia. Haec est vita aeterna, ut cognoscant te solum Deum verum, et, quem misisti, Jesum Christum. Alleluia.
Alleluia, alleluia. This is eternal life : That they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent. Alleluia.
(Alleluia verse)

Catholic Encyclopaedia on St Thomas More:
On St John Fisher: