Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

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Office of Readings: 13-14th Century:

Salve, mater misericórdiæ,
mater spei et mater véniæ,
mater Dei et mater grátiæ,
mater plena sanctæ lætítiæ.
  (O María.)

Vallis vernans virtútum líliis,
tota fluens summis delíciis,
mater sancta, tuis suffrágiis
condescénde nostris misériis.
  (O María.)

Te creávit Pater ingénitus,
obumbrávit te Unigénitus,
fecundávit te Sanctus Spíritus:
ipsis honor ex corde pénitus.
  (O María.) Amen.

Hail. Mother of mercy, Mother of hope, Mother of pardon, Mother of God, Mother of grace, Mother filled with holy joy, O Mary. Abounding with the virtues in the valley of the lilies, overflowing with the highest delights, Holy Mother, with your prayers, condescend to hear our misery. (O Mary) The unbegotten Father created you, the Only-begotten overshadowed you, the Holy Spirit made you fruitful: honor from the inner heart to the Trinity. (O Mary)


At Lauds: 12th – 13th Centuries

María, virgo régia,
sponsa regis et fília,
te Dei sapiéntia
elégit ante sæcula.

Puélla carens mácula,
Dei domus ebúrnea,
te dedicávit cælitus
missus ab eo Spíritus.

Caritátis signáculum,
totíus boni spéculum,
auróra veri lúminis,
arca divíni séminis,

In domo summi príncipis
tu áffluis delíciis;
virga Iesse florígera,
repléris Dei grátia.

O margaríta cándida
et stella mundi spléndida,
fac puris esse móribus
nos vera templa Spíritus.

Sit Trinitáti glória,
o Virgo nobilíssima,
quæ te suórum múnerum
thesáurum dat magníficum. Amen.

Mary, royal Virgin, spouse and daughter of the King, the wisdom of God chose you before the ages. A young girl without spot. the ivory house of God, the Holy Spirit sent from above set you apart. Sign of love, Mirror of every good, dawn of the true Light, Ark of the divine seed. In the house of the highest Ruler you overflow with delights, the flourishing rod of Jesse, you are filled with the grace of God. O shining Pear, radiant Star of the world, grant that by living purely we may become temples of the Spirit. To the Trinity glory, O Virgin most noble, who gave you such a great treasury of gifts. Amen

Vespers: from the Common of the BVM

Ave, maris stella,
Dei mater alma,
atque semper virgo,
felix cæli porta.

Sumens illud «Ave»
Gabriélis ore,
funda nos in pace,
mutans Evæ nomen.

Solve vincla reis,
profer lumen cæcis,
mala nostra pelle,
bona cuncta posce.

Monstra te esse matrem,
sumat per te precem
qui pro nobis natus
tulit esse tuus.

Virgo singuláris,
inter omnes mitis,
nos culpis solútos
mites fac et castos.

Vitam præsta puram,
iter para tutum,
ut vidéntes Iesum
semper collætémur.

Sit laus Deo Patri,
summo Christo decus,
Spirítui Sancto
honor, tribus unus. Amen.

Hail, Star of the Sea, loving Mother of God and ever virgin, fair gate of heaven. You who received the “Ave’ from the mouth of Gabriel, establish us in peace, reversing the name of “Eva”. Break the chains of sin, give light to the blind, drive away our evil, ask for us all that is good. Show yourself a mother, may he who was born for us and humbled himself to be your Son, receive our prayer through you.  Virgin alone, meek beyond all others, cause our sins to be absolved, make us meek and chaste. Make our life unsullied, our journey safe, that we may see Jesus and with you praise him forever. Amen.

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Presence of Mary in the Mystery of Worship (La presencia de María en el misterio del culto)

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To the offering of Christ are united not only the members still here on earth, but also those already in the glory of heaven. In communion with and commemorating the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints, the Church offers the Eucharistic sacrifice. In the Eucharist the Church is as it were at the foot of the cross with Mary, united with the offering and intercession of Christ (Catechism of the Catholic Church: 1370).

The Blessed Virgin Mary is intimately united both to Christ and to the Church and is inseparable from both. She, therefore, is united in that which constitutes the very essence of the liturgy: the sacramental celebration of Salvation for the glory of God and the sanctification of man. Mary is present at the liturgical action because she was present at the salvific event.

She is next to every baptismal font where the members of the Mystical Body are born to the divine life, in faith and in the Holy Spirit, since it was through faith and the power of the Spirit that their divine Head, Christ, was conceived. She is found next to each altar where the memorial of the Passion and Resurrection is celebrated since she was present, adhering with all her being to the plan of the Father, in the historical-salvific fact of the Death of Christ. She is close to every cenacle where, through the laying on of hands and the holy anointing, the Spirit is granted to the faithful, since with Peter and the other Apostles, with the nascent Church, she was present in the Pentecostal effusion of the Spirit. With Christ, the High Priest, the Church, the liturgical   community, Mary is incessantly united with both, Christ and the Church, in the saving  event and in the liturgical memorial.

So St. John Paul II said: “In the celebration of the annual cycle of the mysteries of Christ, the holy Church venerates with special love the blessed Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, united to her with an indissoluble bond to the saving work of her Son”.

Mary in the liturgy: she is "united with an indissoluble bond to the salvific work of her Son". It is an expression pregnant with meaning that deserves a quiet pause of contemplation and reflection in the light of the theology of the Sacrosanctum Concílium. The text offers a unique appreciation of the association of Mary to the Mystery of the Incarnation, as a principle and foundation of the totality of her association with the saving Economy. Following the thread of the words of the Pope, it can be said that the one who participated in the historical mysteries of his Son intérfuit mystériis is now present in the mysteries made present in the liturgical memorial adest in mystériis.

Hence, the presence of Mary in the saving events of the life of Jesus are the presuppositions for understanding the presence of Mary in the mysteries of the celebrated historical events of the life of her Son, renewed in the liturgy. The mysterious presence of Mary in the liturgy depends on the fact that Christ himself wanted to assume as the constituent element of his salvific action (the theandric act) the action of the Virgin (purely human act). In this case, the act of the Virgin, insofar as assumed by the Word and constitutively inserted in her salvific action, is, therefore, subsistent in Him and, hence, susceptible of being mysteriously re-presented in the liturgical celebration. This hypothesis is based on a double theological intuition.

A)    The first is built on the basis that the saving acts of Christ have been assumed to glory; carried out in history, they remain alive and effective meta-history. It is a theological argument collected in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "In the Liturgy of the Church, Christ means and performs mainly his paschal mystery. During his earthly life Jesus announced with his teaching and anticipated with his acts the paschal mystery. When his time came (cf. Jn 13, 1; 17, 1), he experienced the only event in history that does not just happen: Jesus dies, is buried, rises from the dead and sits on the right hand of the Father "once for all "(Rm 6, 10; Hb 7, 27; 9, 12). It is a real event, it happened in our history, but absolutely unique: all other events happen once, and then pass and are absorbed by the past. The paschal mystery of Christ, on the contrary, cannot remain only in the past, because by his death he destroyed death, and all that Christ is and all that he did and suffered for men participates in divine eternity and dominates thus all times and in them it remains permanently present. The event of the Cross and of the Resurrection remains and attracts


B)    The second intuition refers to the fact that not only the historical acts of Jesus have been assumed to glory, but also those of his Mother. The latter have been so insofar as they are indissolubly linked to the very acts of Christ (Sacrosanctum Concílium, 103). The historical acts of Mary, inserted in the same economy of the Salvific Event, inseparable from it insofar as the Event had not occurred in its salvific historicity without the presence and cooperation of the Mother of the Lord who always worked in communion with her Son and in the synergy of the Holy Spirit they also remain forever.



It is in this sense that I have just noted where we find a "pre-understanding" of that other important text of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "The Marian dimension of the Church precedes its Petrine dimension". [CCC, 773.] From the Petrine dimension, certainly, elements as substantial as its fundamental hierarchical structure emerge for the Church ... but, at the same time, the Church is original and constitutively Marian. Mary is present in the consilium salutis from the first moment, as a person actively involved in it. Consilium, project, plan of which She is, at the same time, fruit and cooperatively active with a personal uniqueness, unique and unrepeatable. Thus, the Marian dimension of the Church and, therefore, of its liturgy is not something merely devotional, demanded for affective reasons or sentimental pietism. The Second Vatican Council, confirming the teaching of the whole tradition, recalled that in the hierarchy of holiness, precisely the woman, Mary of Nazareth, is a figure of the Church. She "precedes" everyone on the path of holiness; in her person the Church has already reached the perfection with which she exists immaculate and without blemish. "[ Eph 5, 27.  In this sense affirms John Paul II in an Apostolic Letter it can be said that the Church is, at the same time, "Marian" and "apostolic-petrine". Carta Apostólica Mulieris dignitatem, 27]

But le us return to our theme: Mary's mystic presence in the liturgy. In the Roman Canon, Mary Most Holy is preceded by the significant adverb imprimis, (especially, in a particular way ...) which refers to the singularity of the presence of the Virgin, unparalleled with the angelic presence or with others in the communion of the Saints, because of the glorious and celestial condition of the person of Mary in body and soul.


The questions that we proposed at the beginning of our reflection were of this tenor: can we speak of a presence of Mary in the celebration of Christian worship? In what sense? On what theological bases can we dispose? How much of analogy and distinction? The answers must necessarily be sober. Answers that illustrate but do not exhaust all that the questions they intend to cover. Mary is present in the liturgy in a way "analogous" to how her Son is present. This word "analogous" is taken from the analogy fidei, from the analogy mysteriorum, and points to the nexus of unity of all the mysteries in relation to the unique Mystery of Christ.

In line with these final paragraphs, I take the opportunity to highlight two liturgical testimonies, the one patristic and the other offered by J. Castellano, which could corroborate, each from their own angle, the question we are dealing with: the mysterious presence of Mary Most Holy in the liturgy. They are two different witnesses who, in their respective fields, point to the same feeling:

The first consists in the very significant Byzantine liturgical use, according to which, during the preparation of the gifts, the priest takes a particle of bread not consecrated and says: "In honor and memory of the most blessed, glorious and sovereign Mother of God and ever Virgin Mary and through her intercession, welcome, Lord, this sacrifice that we present on your altar. " The priest then takes that particle of unsacred bread, places it on the right of the consecrated Bread and says: "Standing at your right is the Queen, bejeweled with gold from Ophir, dressed in pearls and brocade (Ps 44)" [ ] M.B. ARTIOLI, Liturgia eucaristica bizantina, Torino, 1988, p. 40-41].

The second testimony is the confession of faith of St. Germain of Constantinople who, through a theology that is simultaneously prayer, during a homily on the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin and while conversing with her, confesses and interprets the faith of the Church in the presence of Mary in the liturgy and, beyond the liturgy, in the life of the People of God:

"O Most Holy Mother of God ... just as when you lived on earth, you were no stranger to the life of Heaven, so you are no stranger either, after your Assumption, to the life of men, rather you are spiritually present to them. .. As in the time you lived bodily with those who were your contemporaries, so now your spirit lives next to us. The protection with which you assist us is a clear sign of your presence in our midst. We all hear your voice and the voice of all of us also reaches your ears ... You watch over us. Even though our eyes are not able to contemplate you, or very happy, You yourself are gladly with us and manifest in different ways to those who are worthy of you”[ S. GERMÁN DE CONSTANTINOPLA, Homilia I de Dormitione, 4; PG 98, 341-348.].



Monday, November 12, 2018

Dominican Hymn for St Albert the Great: Matins Blasius Verghetti, O.P



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O clara lux Coloniae
Alberte, doctor optime,
Thomae magister inclyte,
Hymni tributum suscipe.

Te sanctitatis lampadem,
Te veritatis indicem,
Te caritate flammeum
Vox prædicat fidelium.

Cunctos fideles edoce
Quæ sunt caduca spernere,
Cunctasque mentes erige
Ad vera cæli gaudia.

Nunc e superna patria
Tuis adesto fratribus,
Petrique navem fluctibus
Maris frementis eripe.

Sit, Christe, Rex piissime,
Jugis tibi victoria:
Patri sit ac Paraclito
Laudis perenne canticum.

O Albert, bright light of Cologne, greatest doctor, renowned teacher of Thomas, receive the tribute of this hymn. The voice of the faithful proclaims you a lamp of holiness, revealer of truth, enkindled with love. Teach the faithful to spurn whatever is merely passing away, raise all minds to the joys of heaven. Now from the heavenly fatherland help your brothers: rescue the bark of Peter from the raging waves of the sea. To you, O Christ,  most merciful King, be eternal victory, to the Father and the Paraclete be an everlasting hymn of praise.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Félix María Arocena Solano: The Day and the Night in the Hymns of the Liturgy of the Hours


LAUDES - LA AURORA»

“Light is the shadow of God”. (Plato)

Often the formal architecture of the hymns of Laudes appears to reproduce an almost identical pattern throughout them. This provision is constituted, with rare exceptions, by a doublet of the following type: the two - and even, in some cases, up to three - first stanzas are written on the idea of light and then, following this idea is connected initially with other more varied subjects, but of an eminently ascetic nature, such as:

-that Christ should give us charity, (1) Fulgentis auctor, verse 5, Lauds II and IV Wednesday.

- that the theological virtues are rooted in the soul, (2) Æterna cæli, verse 5, Lauds I and III Friday

-to live the day in fidelity to Christ, (3) Aeterne lucis, verse 6 Lauds II and IV Tuesday

-the promotion of virtues through the struggle against vices: anger:  Aeterne lucis, verse 5, Lauds II and IV Tuesday; sensuality, (5); Aeterne lucis, verse 6 Lauds II and IV Tuesday gluttony (6): Aeterne lucis, verse 6 Lauds II and IV Tuesday

-avoid the sins of the tongue, (7) Sol ecce lentus, verse 3 Lauds II and IV Wednesday; Iam lucis, verse 6 Lauds II and IV Thursday

-be guarded from all adversity, (8) Iam lucis, verse 1 Lauds II and IV Thursday

Now the operative mechanism that has been used to amalgamate the first stanzas of light with ascetic themes is the idea of purity, of which light is, as we know, a classical symbol. Here are some examples:

-keep the heart clean until the end of time, (9) Æterna cæli, verse 4 Lauds I and III Friday

- to be pure to the bottom of our soul, (10) Iam lucis, verse 3 Lauds II and IV Thursday

-the light brings us the serenity and renders us pure, (11) Sol ecce Surgit, verse 3 Lauds I and III Thursday

-to our dark heart, with God filling it, the day is opened and ennobled (12) Nox et Tenebrae, verse 3 Lauds I and III Wednesday

-that the Paraclete should keep holy the temple of our body, (13) Lucis largitor, verse 4 Lauds II and IV Monday

-that the purity of the soul should overcome the claims of the arrogant body (14) Lucis largitor, verse 4 Lauds II and IV Monday

We can extract another typical characteristic of the hymns of Laudes from the prism of the vocabulary and the verbs that the poets use. In stanzas whose content alludes to the auroral moment of the day, it is very common to use expressions and verbs of an inchoative type. It is a literary technique that instills in the mind of the reader a feeling of renewal that accompanies the moment of the morning, when, out of the world of night dreams, awakens a new day, capable of being filled with love for God and service to men.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Golden Legend: The Dedication of a Church

My impression is that the most neglected feast in our parishes is that of the Dedication of our churches. Could  it be because so many modern churches look like banks or secular buildings of some sort and lack the power to cause us to celebrate? However, the Church, lest the we forget our own feast of dedication, causes us to celebrate as a feast the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, Mater et Caput, ‘the Mother and Head of all the Churches of the world”. So that Medieval best-seller, The Golden Legend by the Dominican Jacobus de Voragine, explains:


The dedication of the church is solemnly hallowed among the other feasts of the church, and because that it is double church or temple, that is to wit, material and spiritual. And therefore it is to be seen shortly of the dedication of this double temple. As to the dedication of the temple material. three things be to be considered. First, wherefore it is hallowed or dedicate. Secondly, how it is hallowed. Thirdly, by whom it is hallowed. And because that two things be in the church that be hallowed, that is the altar and the temple, therefore it is first to be seen how the altar is hallowed. The altar is first hallowed for three things. First, to make sacrifice to God, as it is said, Genesis viii.: Noah edified first an altar to our Lord, and took of all the birds and of all the beasts of the the thought, and the song of the voice to the preaching of the word of God: but in this, what profiteth the sweetness of the voice without the sweetness of the heart? She breaketh the voice, but the will keepeth the concordance of the voice, and of good manners, so that by ensample he accord him to his neighbour, and by his good will he accord him to God, and by obedience to his master; and this is the treble manner of music, which is reported to the treble difference of the office of the church. For the office of the church is made in psalms, in lessons, and in song. The first manner of music is made by touching of fingers, as in the psaltery and semblable instruments: the second is the song as of the voice; and that appertaineth to the lessons. And thereof saith the Psalmist Sing ye to him in deporting your voice. The third, that is by blowing, appertaineth to the song of a trumpet and hereof saith David: Praise ye him in the sound of the trumpet.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Dedication of the Lateran Basilica


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Lauds: 8th-9th Centuries

Anguláris fundaméntum
lapis Christus missus est,
qui paríetum compáge
in utróque néctitur,
quem Sion sancta suscépit,
in quo credens pérmanet.

Omnis illa Deo sacra
et dilécta cívitas,
plena módulis in laude
et canóre iúbilo,
trinum Deum unicúmque
cum fervóre prædicat.

Hoc in templo, summe Deus,
exorátus ádveni,
et cleménti bonitáte
precum vota súscipe;
largam benedictiónem
hic infúnde iúgiter.

Hic promereántur omnes
petíta acquírere
et adépta possidére
cum sanctis perénniter,
paradísum introíre
transláti in réquiem.


Christ, the cornerstone, was made the foundation, who joined together the walls, which holy Zion received and in which she abides in confidence. The whole city, sacred to God and beloved by him, filled with music of praise and joyful song, fervently proclaims God, the three and one. Into this temple, O most high God, come and in your good mercy receive the requests of our prayers; here ever pour out your great blessing. Here may all be worthy to have their petitions answered and to possess what they ask and with the saints forever enter paradise and be taken into rest.

The Office of Readings: 7th Century?

Christe, cunctórum dominátor alme,
plebs tibi supplex résonet in aula,
ánnuo cuius rédeunt colénda
  témpore festa.

Hic locus nempe vocitátur aula
regis imménsi nitidíque cæli
porta, quæ vitæ pátriam peténtes
  áccipit omnes.

Hæc tuam plebem sacra cogit ædes,
hæc sacraméntis pia ditat usque,
cælicis escis alit in perénnis
  múnera vitæ.

Quæsumus ergo, Deus, ut seréno
ádnuas vultu fámulos gubérnans,
qui tui summo célebrant amóre
  gáudia templi.

Æqua laus summum célebret Paréntem
teque, Salvátor, pie rex, per ævum;
Spíritus Sancti résonet per omnem
  glória mundum. Amen.


O Christ, the life-giving ruler of all, may the people’s humble prayer resound in your churches at this time of the year when the celebration of your feast comes around again.  This is the place which is called the court of the great King and the gate of heaven bright, which receives all seeking the fatherland of life. This holy temple gathers your people, this holy place continuously enriches them with the sacraments;  it feeds them with the heavenly food of eternal life. We beseech you, therefore, O God, that you pleased to guide with your presence your servants, who celebrate with great love the joys of your temple. Equal praise to the heavenly Father, and to you, holy King, through the ages; may the Holy Spirit resound though all the world. Amen.

II Vespers: 8th-9th Centuries

Walpole: This grand old hymn, full of poetical feeling though rugged enough as to its prosody, was written in VI- Vlllth cent, if we may judge by its metre and the character of its rhymes. The main idea is taken from Rev. xxi. 2, some of its imagery from Is. xxviii. 16 and i Pet. ii. 5 f. …This hymn is the ultimate source of inspiration to all the many hymns concerning the New Jerusalem.


Urbs Ierúsalem beáta, (1)
dicta pacis vísio,
quæ constrúitur in cælis
vivis ex lapídibus, (2)
angelísque coronáta (3)
sicut sponsa cómite,

Nova véniens e cælo,
nuptiáli thálamo
præparáta, ut intácta
copulétur Dómino.
Platéæ et muri eius
ex auro puríssimo; (4)

Portæ nitent margarítis
ádytis paténtibus,
et virtúte meritórum
illuc introdúcitur
omnis qui ob Christi nomen
hic in mundo premitur .

Tunsiónibus, pressúris
expolíti lápides
suis coaptántur locis
per manum artíficis;
disponúntur permansúri
sacris ædifíciis.
Glória et honor Deo
usquequáque altíssimo,
una Patri Filióque
atque Sancto Flámini,
quibus laudes et potéstas
per ætérna sæcula. Amen.

1.       ' Blessed city called Jerusalem, (that is to say) the vision of peace.'
2.      vivis ex lapidibus I Pet. ii. 4: Ad quem accedentes lapidem vivum, ab hominibus quidem reprobatum, a Deo autem electum, et honorificatum:et ipsi tamquam lapides vivi superædificamini, domus spiritualis, sacerdotium sanctum, offerre spirituales hostias, acceptabiles Deo per Jesum Christum.
3.      ' adorned by angels as a bride (is adorned) by her attendants,'
4.      Rev. XXI. 21:  Et duodecim portæ, duodecim margaritæ sunt, per singulas: et singulæ portæ erant ex singulis margaritis: et platea civitatis aurum mundum, tamquam vitrum perlucidum.

Blessed city Jerusalem, called vision of peace, which was built in heaven from living stones, crowned by the angels, like a noble bride. Coming down from heaven prepared for the nuptial bed, a virgin joined to the Lord,  her streets and walls made from purest gold. Her gates bright with pearls,  her inner places of the temple opened and by virtue of merits all are lead there who in this world suffered for the name of Christ. The stones are struck, pressed and polished, arranged for their place by the hands of the craftsman; designed to remain forever in the holy buildings. Glory and honor to God most high and to the Son equally and the flaming Spirit: praise and power through endless ages.