Monday, February 26, 2018

Sundry Lenten Hymns

Mozarabic Hymns 2: Terce, Sext, None in Lent: Prudentius


Feria secunda: Ad tertiam in Quadragesima

In the Durham Hymnal this hymn is used at Compline. The collectar specifies it for the 3rd and 4th Saturdays and the 3rd Sunday of Lent. The Anglo-Saxon version does not have the third stanza, nor the same doxology. It is taken from Prudentius, Cathemerinon  VII. 
 
O Nazarene, lux Bethlehem, Verbum Patris.
Quem partus alvi Virginalis protulit,
Adesto castis, Christe, parsimoniis,
Festumque nostrum rex serenus adspice,
Jejuniorum dum litamus victimam.

 Nil hoc profecto purius mysterio,
Quo fibra cordis expiatur vividi,
Intemperata quo domantur viscera,
Arvina putrem ne resudans crapulam
Obstrangulatae mentis ingenium premat.
  
Hinc subjugatur luxus, et turpis gula,
Vini atque somni degener socordia,
Libido sordens, inverecundus lepos,
Variaeque pestes languidorum sensuum
Parcam subactae disciplinam sentiunt.
  
Nam si licenter diffluens potu et cibo,
Jejuna rite membra non coerceant:
Sequitur, frequenti marcida oblectamine,
Scintilla mentis ut tepescat nobilis,
Animusque pigris stertat ut praecordiis.
   Amen. Honor, potestas, etc.

O man of Nazareth. Light of Bethlehem, the Word of the Father, whom the birth from a virginal womb brought forth, assist us, O Christ, in this season of chaste abstinence and as a  peaceful king watch over our observance, while we offer up the sacrifice of fasting. Nothing is more cleansing than carrying out this mystery, by which the very fiber of the living heart is cleansed, through which the intemperance within us is conquered, lest unbridled fat and sordid drunkenness be not restrained and the natural capacity of the  strangled  mind be strangled and oppressed.  In this way luxury and base gluttony are brought low, degenerate sloth of wine and sleep, filthy lust and foolish wit and the various plagues of sick feelings are subjected and made to feel the discipline of restraint. For if drink and food flow freely, the  body is not coerced with proper fasting, it follows that, exhausted by continual amusement, the noble spark of the mind grows tepid and the soul sleeps from the laziness of the  inmost heart. 

 Feria secunda: Ad sextam in Quadragesima
  
Referre prisci stemma nunc jejunii
Libet, fideli proditum volumine,
Ut diruendae Civitatis incolis
Fulmen benigni mansuefactum Patris
Pie repressis ignibus pepercerit.

 Gens insolenti praepotens jactantia
Pollebat olim, quam fluentem nequiter
Corrupta vulgo solverat lascivia:
Et inde bruto contumax fastidio,
Cultum superni negligebat Numinis.
  
Offensa tandem jugis indulgentiae
Censura, justis excitatur motibus,
Dextram perarmat rhomphaeali incendio;
Nimbos crepantes et fragosos turbines
Vibrans, tonantum nube flammarum quatit.
  
Sed poenitendi dum datur diecula,
Si forte vellent improbam libidinem,
Veteresque nugas, condomare ac frangere,
Suspendit ictum terror exorabilis,
Paulumque dicta substitit sententia.
   Honor, potestas, etc

I would now tell the ancient origin of the fast, passed down in that trustworthy book, how the good of the Father softening his thunderbolt, repressing his fire by love, did not attack the inhabitants of a city that deserved to be destroyed. Once a powerful people flourished with insolent pride, in which, opulent and dissolute, their corrupted lasciviousness had caused general dissipation, and so, obstinate in  foolish disdain, they disregarded the worship of the heavenly God. After a long indulgence, the divine justice so offended is indignant and armed his hand with a sword of fire. Dark clouds burst out with a crash; Livid and thunderous fires shake the vault of heaven on the head of the guilty. But, they are given time to repent; He is still free to censure  the course of their shameful debaucheries; They may, if they will, arrest the disorders in which they have grown old; The merciful vengeance deigns to suspend its blows; and for a brief space the sentence already issued was suspended.

Feria secunda:  Ad nonam in Quadragesima
  
Sed cur vetustae gentis exemplum loquor?
Pridem caducis cum gravatus artubus
Jesus, dicato corde jejunaverit;
Praenuncupatus ore qui prophetico.
Emmanuel est, sive nobiscum Deus?

Qui corpus istud molle naturaliter,
Captumque laxo sub voluptatum jugo,
Virtutis arcta lege fecit liberum,
Emancipator servientis plasmatis,
Regnantis ante victor et cupidinis.

Inhospitali namque secretus loco,
Quinis diebus octies labentibus,
Nullam ciborum vendicavit gratiam,
Firmans salubri, scilicet, jejunio
Vas appetendis imbecillum gaudiis.
   Honor, potestas. Etc.

But what does the example of an ancient people tell us? When Jesus himself, long since  weighted down with a perishable body, fasted with a dedicated heart; he who was long before named by the mouth of  prophecy ‘Emmanuel’, or, ‘God with us’. He, who had a weak body according to nature and yet loosened  from the captivity of the yoke of pleasure,  made free by the strong law of virtue, deliverer of created slaves, victor over the concupiscence which previously ruled them.For hidden in an inhospitable place, in the course of five times eight days, he did not demand the grace of any food, strengthening with a healthy fast the weak vessel for the joys sought.

Hymnus ad Sextam in Quadragesima

In tota Quadragesima feriabilis diebus canatur  . . . ad sextam, ‘meridie orandum est’
Ælfric's Letter to the Monks of Eynsham Wincester Hymnal: ferias in Lent; Canterbury and Durham Hymnal: daily in Lent.

YMNUS AD SEXTAM

MERIDIE ORANDUM EST
Christusque deprecandus est,
ut iubeat nos edere
de suo sancto corpore,

ut ille sit laudabilis
in universis populis,
ipse celorum dominus,
qui sedet in altissimis,

detque nobis auxilium
per angelos mirabiles,
qui semper nos custodiant
in omni vita seculi,
             
Gloria tibi, trinitas

Prayer must be made at noonday and we must ask Christ that he command us to eat of his holy body, that he be praised among all peoples, He, the Lord of heaven, who is enthroned in the highest, and that he give us help through his wondrous angels, who for ever guard us in whole  life  of the world.

SUMME LARGITOR PREMII: yet another hymn for Compline during Lent

The Durham Hymnal appoints this hymn for Lent, as does the Cistercian Hymnal. In the Sarum usage it was sung at Matins.

SUMME LARGITOR PREMII,
spes qui es unica mundi,
preces intende servorum
ad te devota clamantum.

Nostra te conscientia
grave offendisse monstrat
quam emundes, supplicamus,
ab omnibus piaculis.

Si rennuis, quis tribuet?
Indulge, quia potens es.
Si corde rogamus mundo,
certe debes ex promissio.

Ergo acceptare nostrum,
qui  sacrasti,  ieiunium,
quo mystice paschalia
caplamus sacramenta.

Summa nobis hoc conferat
in deitate trinitas,
in qua gloriatur unus
per cuncta secula deus.
Amen.

Most high giver of reward, you who are the one hope of the world, attend to the prayers of your servants, calling to you with devotion. Our conscience shows that we have gravely offended you, which we pray you will cleanse from all sin.  If you refuse, who will grant it? Forgive us, for you are powerful. If we ask with a clean heart, certainly you must grant it as you promised.  Therefore, receive our fast, which you consecrated we may take spiritually the Paschal sacrament. May the most high Trinity in godliness confer this, by which the one God is glorified through all ages. Amen. 

Hymn for Compline in Lent: Prudentius


From Milfull, The Hymns of the Anglo-Saxon Church
In one manuscript this hymn appears in the section for Lent, while in another it is among the ferial hymns. It is taken from Prudentius’s  Cathemerinon VI, verses 125-153.
Although not written as a Lenten hymn, nor as Compline hymn either, this hymn does cover many of the themes of the Lenten season: baptism, te fontis et lavacri, the passion, Crux pellit omne crimen, the temptation, O tortuose serpens.

Cultor Dei memento
te fontis et lavacri
rorem subisse sanctum,
te chrismate innotatum.

Fac, cum vocante somno
castum petis cubile,
frontem locumque cordis
crucis figura signet.

Crux pellit omne crimen,
fugiunt crucem tenebrae:
tali dicata signo
mens fluctuare nescit.

Procul, o procul vagantum
portenta somniorum,
procul esto pervicaci
praestigiator astu!

O tortuose serpens,
qui mille per maeandros
fraudesque flexuosas
agitas quieta corda,

Discede, Christus hic est,
hic Christus est, liquesce:
signum quod ipse nosti
damnat tuam catervam.

Corpus licet fatiscens
iaceat recline paullum,
Christum tamen sub ipso
meditabimur sopore.

Gloria eterno patri
et Christo vero regi,
paraclitoque sancto,
et nunc et in perpetuum.
Amen.

O you who worship God, remember that you were washed in the fount, submitted to the holy dew, were marked by the chrism. When sleep calls you, be sure to seek your chaste bed, your forehead and the place of your heart be signed with the figure of the cross. The cross repels all sin, darkness flees the cross, when such a sign is made, the mind will know no wavering. Far away, far way be the omens of wandering dreams, be far away, you deceiver, with your stubborn tricks. O writhing serpent, who through your thousand-fold wanderings and slippery deceits, agitate quiet hearts.  Depart! Christ is here! Christ is here! Melt away! The sign you yourself recognize damns your band. The body, grown weary, may lie back and relax a bit, yet even in sleep it meditates on Christ.  Glory to the eternal Father and to Christ the true King, and to the Holy Comforter, now and forever. Amen.

The Canterbury Hymnal: Hymn for Vespers in Lent


Vespers, first and second Sundays in Lent: Gernot B. Wieland, The Canterbury Hymnal

YMNUS AD VESPERAM
             
SIC TER QUATERNIS TRAHITUR
horis dies ad vesperum,
occasum sol pronuntians
noctis redire tempora.

nos ergo signo domini
tutemus claustra pectorum,
ne serpens ille callidus
intrandi temptet aditum

sed armis pudicitie
mens fulta vigil libere
sobrietare comite
hostem repellat inprobum.

sed nec ciborum crapula
tandem distentet corpora,
ne vi per sompnum animam
glorificatam pulluat.

Gloria tibi, trinitas

Thus in three times four hours day is dragged into evening, the sun announces its setting, the time of night returns. Therefore, let us guard the enclosure of the hearts with the sign of the Lord lest that crafty serpent should try to enter. But let the vigilant mind freely depend on the weapons of modesty and with its companion, sobriety, repel the wicked enemy.  But may the drunkenness of food not bloat our bodies lest by force it should pollute the glory-filled soul.  
 
 
 

Monday, February 19, 2018

St. Peter Damian: “The Poetry of Asceticism” (Raby) repost


In the Liturgica Horarum there are ten hymns by Prudentius, nine by St. Peter Damian, and eight by St. Ambrose (Gabriel Diaz Patri in The Genius of the Roman Rite p. 80), which makes the 11th Century Camoldolese one of the major traditional contributors to the hymnody of the reformed office. To the extent that the Liturgy of the Hours represents a lessening of the burden of the Office on the clergy St. Peter Damian would have little sympathy with the project. He was not one to lessen burdens but rather to increase them.  Hellen Waddell writes that like Calvin Peter could be called “The Accusative Case” (The Wandering Scholars p. 94). St. Peter was  oppressed by "the terror of Judgement… the flames of the last day seemed to be already kindled against a world of sinners…He lived in a world of phantasms, where the natural order did not exist, where the devil went forth as a raging lion, and the wickedness of men was ripe for judgment” (Raby) Of course it is the quality of his poetry which earned Peter a place in Liturgica Horarum, not his invective. But how do we get this strange combination of elegant charm and opprobrium? A hideous childhood and a first rate education! In From Judgment to Passion Rachel Fulton (like Miss Waddell another Presbyterian medievalist) explains:

“The certainty of doom and the need to answer for one's sinfulness hung over Peter from the very moment of his birth, or so at least he (apparently) recalled in later life in conversations with his close friend, devoted disciple and fellow  hermit John of Lodi .  This is Peter's story as John tells it in the Vita that he wrote of his saintly master soon after his death. At his birth, one of Peter's brothers had berated his mother, "For shame! Look, there are already so many of us that the house is scarcely able to hold us, and see, how badly matched are the crowd of heirs and the straitened inheritance!" This outburst so enraged Peter's mother that, "inflamed by a fit of feminine malice" (possibly a post-partum depression, possibly a determined attempt at infanticide), she refused to feed the infant and, wringing her hands, declared herself unfit to live. Thus disinherited from the maternal breast that was then his only possession, the baby was on the verge of wasting away with hunger and cold, when one of the serving women (ironically, given Peter’s later career, the wife of a priest) intervened and rebuking his mother for risking her soul with the sin of infanticide, coaxed her into caring for him by nursing the baby herself. Thereafter, Peter's mother, restored to her maternal self, cared for the child lovingly, until her own death and that of his father left Peter at the mercy of his siblings.

Orphaned almost as soon as he was weaned, Peter was grudgingly raised by one his brothers (apparently the same one who had been so angered by his birth) and that brother's wife, who fed him with slops, clothed him with rags, kicked him and beat him, and eventually turned him out as a swineherd to live with the pigs. Peter’s  foster parents likewise seem to have raised him with the story of his unfortunate birth, thus reinforcing the sense of unworthiness and debt with which he would remember his childhood, He was rescued from this life of involuntary austerity at age twelve when he was placed in the care of another of his brothers, who lavished upon him such affection "that it seemed to exceed a father's”. This brother provided generously for his education in the best schools of the day, thus launching Peter on a promising secular career as a master of rhetoric. owing to the excellence of his teaching, Peter soon attracted many students and earned from their fees an abundance of money.  And yet he could not, it seems, shake the conviction that he was unworthy of the life of elegance and comfort that he now enjoyed, nor the certainty that judgment was near.”

It should go without saying that Dr. Fulton did not intend that any of this should reduce the sanctity of St. Peter Damian to childhood trauma. It is just another example of the Holy Spirit’s action: gratia non tollit naturam sed perficit.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

CATHEDRÆ S. PETRI APOSTOLI updated




Ad Officium lectionis: Elpis or Helpis

These stanzas are taken from a longer hymn, Aurea luce et decore roseo for the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul. It "has been constantly assigned to a Sicilian lady,Elpis or Helpis. But we know nothing about her. Until recently she was said to be the wife of Boethius, and to have gone with him to prison, being the mother by him of two sons, Patricius and Hypatius. All this is pure invention. Boethius' wife was Rusticiana, daughter of the senator Symmachus Not to be beaten, the upholders of the Elpis-legend said either that Elpis was a byname of Rusticiana, or that she was Boethius' first wife. She is a part of the many puzzling legends that have grown up round the name of Boethius.Still an Elpis may quite well have written the hymn; for why should it be attributed to a name otherwise unknown, and to a woman". (Walpole)

Iam, bone pastor, Petre, clemens áccipe
vota precántum, et peccáti víncula
resólve, tibi potestáte trádita,
qua cunctis cælum verbo claudis, áperis.

Sit Trinitáti sempitérna glória,
honor, potéstas atque iubilátio,
in unitáte, cui manet impérium
ex tunc et modo per ætérna sæcula. Amen.

Now, good shepherd, Peter, mercifully accept the intention of our prayers and loosen the chains of sin by the power handed over to you, through which with a word you close and open heaven for all. Glory be to the eternal Trinity, honor, power and praise in the Unity, whose authority abides  now and for eternal ages. Amen.

Ad Laudes matutinas: Paulinus II aquileiensis

Petrus beátus catenárum láqueos
Christo iubénte rupit mirabíliter;
custos ovílis et doctor Ecclésiæ,
pastórque gregis, conservátor óvium
arcet lupórum truculéntam rábiem.

Quodcúmque vinclis super terram strínxerit,
erit in astris religátum fórtiter,
et quod resólvit in terris arbítrio,
erit solútum super cæli rádium;
in fine mundi iudex erit sæculi.

Glória Patri per imménsa sæcula,
sit tibi, Nate, decus et impérium,
honor, potéstas Sanctóque Spirítui;
sit Trinitáti salus indivídua
per infiníta sæculórum sæcula. Amen.

Blessed Peter, at Christ’s command, wondrously broke the trap of chains; Guardian of the fold and Teacher of the Church, Shepherd of the flock and Protector of the sheep he drives away the violent rage of the wolves.  Whatever he bounds with chains on earth will be firmly bound in heaven and what by his judgement is unloosed on earth will be unloosed in the height of heaven: in the end he will the judge of the world. Glory to the Father through infinite ages, praise and authority to you, O Son, honor and power to the Holy Spirit, undivided strength to the Trinity though the infinity of the ages. Amen.

Ad Vesperas: novus

Divína vox te déligit,
piscátor, ac pro rétibus
remísque qua tu glória
cæli refúlges clávibus!

Tenax amóris próferens
ac dulce testimónium,
omnes amor quos láverat
oves regéndas áccipis.

Lapsus, supérno róbore
tu petra stas Ecclésiæ,
qua splendet illa sæculis,
nullis subácta víribus.

Tu, Petre, Christi oráculo
luces magíster ómnium,
fratrésque firmas, próvidus
tu verba vitæ núntias.

Gregem fac unum, próspera
lætis in ævum frúctibus,
salvúmque ab hostis ímpetu
ad lucis adduc pábula.

Sit summa Christo glória,
qui nos det aulæ cælicæ
intráre per te iánuam
in sempitérna gáudia. Amen.

The divine voice chose you, O Fisherman, that instead of nets and oars your shining glory should be the keys of heaven. Firm confessor sweet witness of love, you receive all those whom love has washed as sheep of the kingdom. Although fallen, by heavenly strength you are the Rock of the Church, by which she shines through the ages and no power has overcome her. You, O Peter, by Christ’s command the Teacher of all and you strengthen your brothers, as you watchfully proclaim the words of life. Prosper and unite the flock that she might be joyously fruitful through the ages and safe from the enemy’s attack until she reach the pastures of light. To Christ be highest glory, who through you, O Peter, grants us to enter in endless praise the gate of the heavenly court. Amen.




Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Behold now is the accepted time

Behold now is the accepted time.
 
Nunc tempus acceptábile and Dans tempus acceptábile two of the Lenten hymns proclaim. 

St. Thomas Aquinas in a Homily for the First Sunday in Lent says there are eight reasons for the commendation of the present time. 

1)      Time for seeking the Lord
2)     Time for reconciling with the Lord
3)     Time for correcting our ways
4)     Time for restraining unnecessary things and vices
5)     Time to receive divine compassion
6)     Time for suffering tribulation
7)     Time for acquiring salvation
8)    Time for doing good

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Farewell to Alleluia

This particular text is taken from The Canterbury Hymnal, edited by Gernot R. Wieland (Toronto Medieval Latin Texts)

IN SEPTUAGESIMA:AD UESPERAM

Alleluia dulce carmen,
uox perhennis gaudii,
alleluia laus suauis
est choris crelestibus,
quam canunt dei manentes
in domo per saecula.

Alleluia leta mater,
conciuis Hierusalem,
alleluia uox tuorum
ciuium gaudentium;
exules nos flere cogunt
Babylonis flumina.

Alleluia non meremur
nunc perhenne psallere,
alleluia nos reatus
cogit intermittere;
tempus instat quo peracta
lugeamus crimina.

Unde laudando precamur
te, beata trinitas,
ut tuum nobis uidere
pascha des in ethere,
quo tibi leti canamus
alleluia perpetim.
AMEN.

Alleluia, sweet song, sound of eternal joy, the alleluia is sweet praise to heavenly choirs, which those who abide in the house of God sing throughout the ages. Alleluia, our joyful mother, fellow citizen of Jerusalem, alleluia, the cry of your rejoicing citizens, the rivers of Babylon force us exiles to weep. We are not worthy to sing alleluia  forever yet. Our sin compels us to interrupt our alleluia. It is the time when we should mourn the sins we have committed. Therefore we petition you with praise, O blessed Trinity, and that you may grant us to see your Easter in heaven, where we shall gladly sing alleluia to you forever. Amen.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Preces cum Flétibus



It is no surprise that the Lenten hymn Audi, benígne Cónditor combines ‘prayers and tears’ but this  combination is found in many Latin hymns throughout the year. “Tears dissolve guilt” (Aeterne rerum conditor). Prudentius writes of prayers joined to singing (Nox et tenebrae et nublia). “Hear our prayers with tears” ( Lucis creator optime). “Our evil deeds are diluted by tears” (Telluris ingens conditor).

St. Augustine, however, makes note of the moral ambiguity of tears. When he was an infant, he used tears as a weapon: “I would take my revenge on them by bursting into tears” (conf. 1.6.8). The encounter with the grace of conversion culminated in “a heavy rain of tears” (conf. 8.12.28). Tears could also be a response to beauty: “I wept the more abundantly, later on, when your hymns were sung …” (conf. 9.7.16).

William of Tocco, one of the earliest biographer of St. Thomas Aquinas, reported that he often saw St. Thomas weeping, when he was singing the psalm verse during Compline in Lent: “Do not reject us in old age, when my strength is failing,” enraptured and consumed in piety, tears streaming down his face that seemed to be bursting forth from the eyes of the pious soul.” (David Berger Thomas Aquinas and the Liturgy pp. 14-15).

St. Thomas in fact explains ‘tears’ in the Article: Whether pain or sorrow is assuaged by tears? (ST I IIae 38.2):

Tears and groans naturally assuage sorrow: and this for two reasons. First, because a hurtful thing hurts yet more if we keep it shut up, because the soul is more intent on it: whereas if it be allowed to escape, the soul's intention is dispersed as it were on outward things, so that the inward sorrow is lessened. This is why men, burdened with sorrow, make outward show of their sorrow, by tears or groans or even by words, their sorrow is assuaged. Secondly, because an action, that befits a man according to his actual disposition, is always pleasant to him. Now tears and groans are actions befitting a man who is in sorrow or pain; and consequently they become pleasant to him. Since then, as stated above (Article 1), every pleasure assuages sorrow or pain somewhat, it follows that sorrow is assuaged by weeping and groans.

The tradition insists that ‘tears’ are a gift and as such it cannot be acquired on demand.  It is also something, like any gift, which can be misused. Further, it is a gift we should not refuse. When it comes, if it comes, it deepens, much like song, our prayers.