Sunday, January 27, 2019

From the Rhymed Office of St. Thomas Aquinas

The Hymns of the Dominican Missal and Breviary
Aquinas Byrnes, OP


Felix Thomas, Doctor Ecclesiæ,
Lumen mundi, splendor Italiæ.
Candens Virgo flore munditiæ,
Bina gaudet corona gloriæ.

Saint Thomas, Doctor of the Church divine,
Italia's Star, to all the world a light,
A virgin with chaste lily shining bright,
The twofold crown of glory now is thine.


Scandit Doctor, civis cælestium,
Orbis decus, dux, lux fidelium,
Norma, limes, lex morum omnium,
Vas virtutum, ad vitæ bravium.

Fair virtue's urn, dweller of the height,
The world's high boast, the faithful's guide and light,
The norm and bound and law of morals right,
To life's true prize our Doctor's soul takes flight.

Adsunt Doctoris cælici
Thomæ festa solemnia:
Devotione supplici
Laudes promat Ecclesia.

This is Saint Thomas' festal-day.
Celestial Doctor of the King:
Let Mother Church, in prayerful lay,
Devoutly all his praises sing.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Sunday: Weeks I & III

Vespers 1 : St. Ambrose

Walpole: Ambrose probably wrote it for daily use throughout the year and the Ambrosian MSS gives as rubric simply hymnus uespertinalis. It was adopted into the later hymnary and there assigned to vespers on Saturday. 'Its general use is on Saturdays from that preceding the 1st Sunday after the Octave of the Epiphany to the Saturday before Quadragesima Sunday, both inclusive; and from the Saturday preceding the 1st Sunday in August to Advent.'

Walsh & Hutch: This hymn consoled Augustine at his mother's death: “I remembered the very true verses of your Ambrose . . .”  The first two stanzas then follow (Conf. 9.12.32). He recalled that earlier his mother had quoted the final line at Cassiciacum (De beata vita 35). At Arles, Caesarius prescribed it as an evening hymn. It is structured with a fourfold division: invocation to the Creator, who grants the night for necessary rest (SS 1—2); thanksgiving for the day now past (SS 3—4); prayer for faith to sustain us in sleep (SS 5—6); and entreaty to the Trinity to repel the devil's guile in the night hours (SS 7-8).

Deus, creátor ómnium
políque rector, véstiens
diem decóro lúmine,
noctem sopóris grátia,

Artus solútos ut quies
reddat labóris úsui
mentésque fessas állevet
luctúsque solvat ánxios,

Grates perácto iam die
et noctis exórtu preces,
voti reos ut ádiuves,
hymnum canéntes sólvimus.

Te cordis ima cóncinant,
te vox canóra cóncrepet,
te díligat castus amor,
te mens adóret sóbria,

Ut cum profúnda cláuserit
diem calígo nóctium,
fides ténebras nésciat
et nox fide relúceat.

Christum rogámus et Patrem,
Christi Patrísque Spíritum;
unum potens per ómnia,
fove precántes, Trínitas. Amen.

1.1 Deus, creator omnium.• The scriptural exordium is from the prayer of Nehemiah at 2 Mcc 1.'24: "Domine Deus, omnium Creator ." (O Lord God, Creator of all things)

2.1—2 solutos.. . reddat,• As often in Latin, there is a combination of participle and finite verb where English prefers two finite verbs.

3.1—2 Grates . , , preces: The elegant chiasmic order should be noted. The thanks are for the blessings of the past day, and the prayers for the coming night.

3-3 voti reos: A Virgilian phrase (Aen. 5.237: "voti reus"), expressing the notion of obligation to fulfill a vow, here specified in the stanzas following.

4-4 mens... sobria: Not with the suggestion of drinking to be avoided, but an exhortation to adopt the serious demeanor appropriate to prayer.

5.2—3 caligo.. . fides: As often, Ambrose contrasts the physical darkness with the shining faith to which we aspire.

6.1 Dot-mire mentem: Suggestive ofspiritual lethargy, as at Corinthians 11:30: "Ideo inter vos multi infirmes et inbecilles, et dormiunt multi" Wherefore are there many infirm and weak among you, and many sleep).

6.4 somni vaporem: The heat of sexual arousal is perhaps implied, as in hymn 23.2.4 below, "ne polluantur corpora." Faith here cools as elsewhere it heats.

8.1—2 Christum . . . Patrem . . . Spiritum.• This plea to the Tinity can be regarded as an anticipation of the doxology glorifying the Trinity with which hymns later close.

 O God, Creator of all, Ruler of the sky, vesting the day with beauteous light, night with the grace of rest. That quiet might loosen limbs and restore us for work and relieve weary minds, relax anxious grief. Grateful for the day that has passed and urged by the prayers of night, we sing and offer you a hymn that you would help us keep our vows. May our inmost hearts sing to you, tuneful voice resound, chaste desire love you, sober minds adore you. That when the deep darkness of night covers the day, faith may know no darkness and night may sparkle with faith. We ask this of Christ and his Father and the Spirit of Christ and the Father, one power through all things, O Trinity, favor those who pray. Amen.

Lauds : St. Ambrose

This hymn was appointed by Caesarius of Arles to be sung ad secundum nocturnum (i.e. at what was afterwards known as Lauds).

This hymn is certainly Ambrose's, for Augustine (Retract. 1.21) cites lines 15—16 "ex versibus beatissimi Ambrosii" (from the verses of the most blessed Ambrose). Moreover, Ambrose repeats many of the motifs at Hexaemeron 5.88. The hymn is specified as a hymnus nocturnalis in AmbroSian manuscripts. Caesarius of Arles appointed it to be sung at the Second Nocturn as an appropriate composition with which to greet the dawn. The poem is structured round the two interconnected themes of the cock as herald of the dawn and of the repentance it inspired in Peter after his triple denial of Christ.

Ætérne rerum cónditor,
noctem diémque qui regis,
et témporum das témpora
ut álleves fastídium,

Præco diéi iam sonat,
noctis profúndæ pérvigil,
noctúrna lux viántibus
a nocte noctem ségregans.

Hoc excitátus lúcifer
solvit polum calígine;
hoc omnis errónum chorus
vias nocéndi déserit.

Hoc nauta vires cólligit
pontíque mitéscunt freta;
hoc, ipse Petra Ecclésiæ,
canénte, culpam díluit.

Iesu, labántes réspice
et nos vidéndo córrige;
si réspicis, lapsus cadunt
fletúque culpa sólvitur.

Tu, lux, refúlge sénsibus
mentísque somnum díscute;
te nostra vox primum sonet
et vota solvámus tibi.

1.4       ut alleves: That is, to alleviate weariness by alternating (most relevantly for this hymn) night and day.

2.4 a nocte noctem segregans: Isidore, Orig. 5-30, suggests that the cock crows at midnight, but the more obvious sense is that his crowing separates the dark hour before the dawn from the earlier night hours.

3.1 lucifer: "The morning star," not, of course, itself dissipating the darkness, but signaling the dawn, Walpole understood it as the sun.

3-3 errorum: Walpole rightly defends this reading against the "correction" erronum ("truant slaves"). Errorum errantium), the abstract word for the concrete, appropriately registers the sense of "vagrant demons. "

4.1—3 nauta . . . Petra: These motifs are developed at Ilex. 5.88, where Ambrose likewise writes ipse petra. For Peter's denials, the cock crows, and Peter's bitter tears, see Mt Lk 22:56—62.

5-4 negantes arguit: The Arian Monophysites who deny Christ's divinity are visualized as heirs to Peter's denial.

7.1 labantes respice: As Christ did to Peter (Lk 22:61). The connection is made more explicitly at Hex. 5.88.. . . solvitur: We thus imitate the repentant Peter.

Eternal Creator of things, you who rule night and day, and give the time of the seasons that you may relieve our boredom. The cock, the watchman through the deep of night, now sounds, a nocturnal light for travelers, separating one from another. By this the morning star is aroused, the sky is parted from the darkness; by this every band of errors  abandons its harmful ways. By this the sailor regains his strength and the raging sea is calmed; by this Peter himself, the rock of the Church, by song washes away his guilt. O Jesus, look upon those who are falling, for by one glance you correct; if you see us, our lapses fall and crime is absolved by tears. You, O Light, shine on our senses, may sleep of our souls depart; our voices sing to you and our promises to you are kept.

When the Office of Readings is read in the daytime: Aron 12th Century?

Dies ætásque céteris
octáva splendet sánctior
in te quam, Iesu, cónsecras,
primítiæ surgéntium.

Tu tibi nostras ánimas
nunc primo conresúscita;
tibi consúrgant córpora
secúnda morte líbera.

Tibíque mox in núbibus,
Christe, ferámur óbviam
tecum victúri pérpetim:
tu vita, resurréctio.

Cuius vidéntes fáciem,
configurémur glóriæ;
te cognoscámus sicut es,
lux vera et suávitas.

Regnum, cum Patri tráditos,
plenos septéno chrísmate,
in temet nos lætíficas,
consúmmet Sancta Trínitas. Amen.

The eighth day is more holy and brighter than other days, which you, O Jesus, consecrated as the first fruits of the resurrection.  First now raise our souls together with you; then may our bodies rise free from the second death. O Christ, may we soon be carried to meet you in the clouds, with you conquering forever: for you are life and resurrection. Seeing your face, may we be transfigured into glory; may we know you as you are: true light and goodness. May the Holy Trinity bring the kingdom to fulfillment: making us glad in Christ, handed over to the Father and filled with the seven-fold anointing.  Amen.

Vespers II: St. Gregory the Great ?

The five hymns, probably composed by the same author, are taken from the first five days of Creation in Genesis. This, the first, refers to the creation of light.

Lucis creátor óptime,
lucem diérum próferens,
primórdiis lucis novæ
mundi parans oríginem;

Qui mane iunctum vésperi
diem vocári prǽcipis:
tætrum chaos illábitur;
audi preces cum flétibus.

Ne mens graváta crímine
vitæ sit exsul múnere,
dum nil perénne cógitat
seséque culpis ílligat.

Cælórum pulset íntimum,
vitále tollat prǽmium;
vitémus omne nóxium,
purgémus omne péssimum.

 Great Creator of light, providing the light of day and fashioning the first beginnings of new light at the beginning of the world; You who bid morning joined to evening to be called day: now dark disorder falls upon us: hear our prayers with tears. Let not our minds heavy with sin be deprived of the rewards of life and bind ourselves to sin with no thought for things eternal. May our soul knock at the door of heaven, carry away the prize of life; let us shun everything harmful, let us purge all that is evil.

Thursday, January 24, 2019


Ad Officium lectionis: saec XVIII

Pressi malórum póndere
te, Paule, adímus súpplices,
qui certa largus désuper
dabis salútis pígnora.

Nam tu beáto cóncitus
divíni amóris ímpetu,
quos insecútor óderas,
defénsor inde amplécteris.

Amóris, eia, prístini
ne sis, precámur, ímmemor,
et nos supérnæ lánguidos
in spem redúcas grátiæ.

Te deprecánte flóreat
ignára damni cáritas,
quam nulla turbent iúrgia
nec ullus error sáuciet.

O grata cælo víctima,
te, lux amórque Géntium,
o Paule, clarum víndicem,
nos te patrónum póscimus.

Laus Trinitáti, cántica
sint sempitérnæ glóriæ,
quæ nos boni certáminis
tecum corónet præmiis. Amen.

Pressed down by the weight of evil, O Paul, we come to you praying that you will give us from above certain pledges of our salvation. For you aroused by the blessed blow of divine love,  first persecuted those whom you hated and then as their defender embraced them.  Ah, do not forget your first love, we pray, and lead us back in our weakness to the hope of heavenly grace. By your prayers may love, which knows not damnation, flourish,  love which is disturbed by no murmuring and which no error can wound.  O victim pleasing to heaven, light and love of the Gentiles, O Paul, we pray to you, our glorious avenger and patron. A hymn of praise to the  eternal glory of the Trinity, who crowns us with you, the reward for those who have fought the good fight. Amen.

Ad Laudes matutinis: saec. VIII-IX

Doctor egrégie, Paule, mores ínstrue
et mente polum nos transférre sátage,
donec perféctum largiátur plénius,
evacuáto quod ex parte gérimus.

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

Doctor without equal, Paul, instruct  our life and mind that we be set on the path to heaven;  grant that we may more fully  possess what has been perfected and what we now know only in part.  Glory be to the eternal Trinity, honor, power and praise in the Unity, whose authority abides now and for eternal ages. Amen.

Ad Vesperas: Petrus Damianus

Excélsam Pauli glóriam
concélebret Ecclésia,
quem mire sibi apóstolum
ex hoste fecit Dóminus.

Quibus succénsus æstibus
in Christi nomen sæviit,
exársit his impénsius
amórem Christi prædicans.

O magnum Pauli méritum!
Cælum conscéndit tértium,
audit verba mystérii
quæ nullus audet éloqui.

Dum verbi spargit sémina,
seges surgit ubérrima;
sic cæli replent hórreum
bonórum fruges óperum.

Micántis more lámpadis
perfúndit orbem rádiis;
fugat errórum ténebras,
ut sola regnet véritas.

Christo sit omnis glória,
cum Patre et almo Spíritu,
qui dedit vas tam fúlgidum
electiónis géntibus. Amen.

The Church celebrates the most high glory of Paul, an enemy, whom the Lord wondrously made an apostle. Burning with zeal he savagely raged against the name of Christ; aroused by a more intense fire he preached the love of Christ. O great merit of Paul! He ascended to the third heaven, he hears the words of the mystery, which he dares not tell anyone. While he scattered the seed of the word, a very rich harvest arouse; thus he filled the granaries of heaven with the fruit of good works. As a bright lamp he poured rays of light upon the world; he put to flight the darkness of error that the truth alone should reign. To Christ be all glory, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, who gave to the Gentiles such resplendent vessel of election. Amen.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Sermon by S. Augustine, Bishop, Sermon 278, For the Conversion of S. Paul

The Lesson formerly read at Matins in the Monastic Office. The current reading from St. John Chrysostom is much tamer. With Augustine typology and allegory are running delightfully amok.

WE are told to-day in the Lesson from the Acts of the Apostles, how Paul the Apostle, from being the persecutor of Christians, became the messenger of Christ.  For Christ smote down his persecutor to make him his Doctor of the Church. He strikes him and heals him; he is dying, and behold, he lives. The Lamb was slain by the wolves, and behold, he makes the wolves into lambs. For what happened to Paul is clearly foretold by the Prophet, when Jacob the Patriarch blessed his sons: as he touched the son who was actually before him, he foresaw the son who was to come.

NOW Paul, as he himself declares, was of the tribe of Benjamin. So when Jacob, blessing each of his sons in turn, came to Benjamin, he said, Benjamin shall ravage as a wolf. What follows? Shall it always be thus? Far from it. Jacob added, In the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil. This was fulfilled in Paul the Apostle, just as it was prophesied of him.

NOW, let us see how in the morning he is ravenous, and how in the evening he divides the spoil. Morning and evening, applied to him, mean before and after his conversion. So we could put it thus: Before his conversion he was ravenous; afterwards, he divided the spoil. This is the fierce wolf: Saul went to the high priest and asked of him letters, that if he found any of the way, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem

HE went, Breathing out threats and slaughter: this is his morning of devouring the prey. Now when Stephen was stoned, he became the first martyr to lay down his life in Christ's Name; and most clearly Saul was present at the time. In fact, he was so confederate with those who were stoning that it was not enough for him to stone Stephen with his own hands. For it was as though his will moved the hands of all those who were casting the stones, while he held their clothes. He raged more fiercely by helping all of them, than by stoning with his own hands. Thus we see how in the morning he was ravenous. Now let us see how to the same degree in the evening he divided the spoil. The voice of Christ from heaven knocked  him to the earth, and at that decree from on high the ravenous wolf fell on his face, and he who was first smitten down was afterwards lifted up; he was first stricken, and then healed.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Tuesday: Weeks II & IV: Ira ne rixas próvocet

Lauds: 6th -7th Centuries

Walsh & Husch: Originally composed for Prime. But Walpole says that it was used at Matins oin Tuesdays and in the Mozarabic breviary on Saturdays at Lauds.

Ætérne lucis cónditor, (1)
lux ipse totus et dies,
noctem nec ullam séntiens (2)
natúra lucis pérpeti,

Iam cedit pallens próximo (3)
diéi nox advéntui,
obtúndens lumen síderum
adest et clarus lúcifer.

Iam stratis læti súrgimus
grates canéntes et tuas,
quod cæcam noctem vícerit
revéctans rursus sol diem.

Te nunc, ne carnis gáudia
blandis subrépant ǽstibus, (4)
dolis ne cedat sǽculi
mens nostra, sancte, quǽsumus.

Ira ne rixas próvocet,
gulam ne venter íncitet,
opum pervértat ne famis,
turpis ne luxus óccupet,

Sed firma mente sóbrii,
casto manéntes córpore
totum fidéli spíritu
Christo ducámus hunc diem.(5)

1.       W&H: clearly exploits Ambrose, Aeterne rerum conditor; 2. Walpole: 1 John 15: there is no darkness in God’s everlasting nature of light; 3. Walpole: pallens = colorless; 4. blandis = alluring; subrepant = evil sneaking up upon us; ǽstibus = heat of passion; 5. Walpole prefers
Christe to Christo.

Eternal Creator of light, light itself and wholly day, you know nothing of night, by virtue of being perpetual light. Now pale night surrenders to coming day, the bright morning star is here and dulls the light of the stars. Now we rise joyfully from our beds and sing our thanks to you, for the sun returns again the day, which conquers blind night. Now we pray you, O holy One, that joys of the flesh not subvert us with worldly flattery and our minds not fall to secular deceits. That anger not provoke strife, that the stomach not incite the throat lest hunger pervert our work and base wealth consume us. But sober and with firm intent, our bodies chaste, let us pass this whole day faithful to the spirit of Christ.

When the Office of Readings is said in the daytime: 10th Century

Ad preces nostras deitátis aures,
Deus, inclína pietáte sola;
súpplicum vota súscipe, precámur
fámuli tui.

Réspice clemens sólio de sancto
vultu seréno, lámpadas illústra
ólei nostri, ténebras depélle
péctore cunctas.

Crímina laxa pietáte multa,
áblue sordes, víncula disrúmpe,
parce peccátis, réleva iacéntes
déxtera tua.

By your singular love. O God, incline your ears to our prayers; we ask you to receive the humble petitions of thy Servants. Mercifully look down from your heavenly throne with a peaceful countenance: light our lamps with oil and drive away darkness from all hearts. Of your love loosen us from our many sins, wash our uncleanness, break our chains, spare sinners, and lift up with your right hand the fallen.

Vespers: 7th – 8th Centuries

W&H: Traditional Vespers Hymn but stanzas 3 and 5 dropped.

Sator princépsque témporum, (1)
clarum diem labóribus
noctémque qui sopóribus
fixo distínguis órdine,

Mentem tu castam dírige,
obscúra ne siléntia (2)
ad dira cordis vúlnera
telis patéscant ínvidi.

Vacent ardóre péctora,
faces nec ullas pérferant,
quæ nostro hæréntes sénsui
mentis vigórem sáucient.

1.       Sator = creator or father; 2. Walpole: ‘lest the dark silence be exposed to the darts of the enemy’.

O Sower and Ruler of time, in set  order, you designate the bright day for work and the night for sleep. Direct the chaste mind that the silent darkness not open harsh wounds of the heart to the attacks of the Invidious One. May hearts be free from the passions that they may not have to endure any dangerous heat, which clinging to our senses wounds strength of mind.

Monday, January 21, 2019

The Octave of Unity

Legatine address of Reginald Cardinal Pole at the opening of the Council of Trent, 1546.

Before the tribunal of God's mercy we, the shepherds, should make ourselves responsible for all the evils now burdening the flock of Christ. The sins of all we should take upon ourselves, not in generosity but in justice; because the truth is that of these evils we are in great part the cause, and therefore we should implore the divine mercy through Jesus Christ.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Douglas Burton-Christie, The Word in the Desert

Simple practice of Scripture, then, was a necessary first step for deepening one's grasp of the meaning of the monastic life. It was also an incomparable means for learning the meaning of those texts. We see this in an encounter that Antony had with some visitors who came to ask for a word. He began by telling them in a general way simply to look to the Scriptures for guidance. But when they pressed him for more specific advice, he told them they should follow the words of the Gospel of Matthew: "If anyone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also (Mt 5:39). " The brothers protested: "We cannot do that " Antony then reduced the requirement somewhat, instructing them, ' 'If you cannot do that, at least allow one cheek to be struck." The brothers again replied, "We cannot do that. " So Antony revised his teaching a third time, saying "If you are not able to do that, [at least] do not return evil for evil [Mt 5:39]." But once again, the brothers complained: "We cannot do that either. " Antony, realizing the futility of this line of argument, refused to proceed any further. Instead, he instructed one of his disciples to "make . . . a little porridge," for the visitors—because "they are ill." Finally, he said to his visitors, "If you cannot do this, or that, what can I do for you? What you need is prayers”.

This episode reveals a great deal regarding the monks' attitude toward the practice of Scripture. There was obviously no question of proceeding further with discussion of the text or its meaning, for, as he says, there is nothing more he can do for them if they will not engage in practice themselves. The preparation of the porridge revealed in symbolic terms the enfeebled condition of the brothers, who were not able to take even the smallest steps of scriptural practice on their own. Yet there is no harshness here. The preparation of porridge also manifested Antony's compassion for the brothers in their frail condition. He not only recognized their need to recover their health in small measures but expressed his own willingness to aid in that recovery. One element of this story stands out clearly: to the extent that the Scriptures reveal the way to salvation, something must be done, if the meaning of salvation is to be realized.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Amalarius of Metz: On Compline

Compline (completorium)  is so-called because at that point our daily consumption of food and drink, which are necessarily consumed for the sustenance of the body, together with ordinary speech, is complete (completur). And thus monks, in accordance with Saint Benedict's rule, see to the closing of their mouths and keep them distant from ordinary conversation from the time of this office until they return to work again. And it is not inappropriate that this time of night, in which all things are silent, can be called quietude. Among those who divide the night into seven parts, the first part is called twilight, the second vespers, and the third quietude, which we are now discussing. And I think that it is so-called because, at this moment, all things are quiet.

In some sense this office corresponds to that commendation through which man commends himself to God when he leaves this world. Sleep is the image of death. And just as the mind of the dead man is withdrawn from mortal things and given over to forgetfulness of the suffering of this world, so in some sense is the spirit of the sleeping man withdrawn from its usual thoughts and from every temporal occupation.

In the four Psalms we commend the four elements of our body to the Lord, as the vesicle makes clear, saying: "Keep me, Lord, the apple of your eye. Protect me under the shadow of your wings." Everyone—even those with tenuous understanding—recognizes how many more external dangers can befall a man when he is asleep than when he is awake

Augustine, writing on a verse from the first Psalm that is sung during Compline, explains this: "'In peace in the selfsame I will sleep and I will take rest.' For it is right that such people hope for all manner of mental withdrawal from mortal affairs, and for forgetfulness of the miseries of this world.

The second Psalm continues up to the verse in which Christ laid down his spirit on the cross. In that verse, we desire that we be brought into conformity with his sleep — that is, that our members rest while our heart is vigilant.

The third Psalm is filled with words of prayers that request the Lord's protection. In Roman usage it is also sung on Good Friday after the reading, where (according to Hosea) our mortification after the example of Christ is revealed, together with our resurrection after two days. Through this Psalm, the author of the Office advises us, in accordance with its words, that our mind should be intent on beseeching God amid all our dangers and difficulties; and thus, because our sleep has some likeness to the sleep of those who have left this world under the Lord's protection, the same Psalm is recited at Compline.

In some sense the fourth Psalm also recalls the intention of those who are in difficulty and nevertheless pass from this difficulty to peace, saying: "In the nights lift up your hands to the holy places." Thus Augustine in his treatise on the same Psalm: "For the night is a sorrowful thing, and the day is a joyful thing." And after a little: "Therefore, 'Bless the Lord.' When? At night. When Job blessed him, what a sorrowful night it was! All his possessions were taken away; the sons who had kept them were taken away. What a sorrowful night! But let us see if he does not give his blessing during the night: 'The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. As it has pleased the Lord, so was it done. Blessed be the name of the Lord. '"+

The vesicle that follows, as we said above, clarifies the full task of the office—namely, a request for the Lord's protection amid the dangers of the night. And the subsequent hymn of Saint Simeon reveals the peace that the soul of the one praying desires—namely, that it may rest without any disturbance from this world. This is what Simeon prayed for when he wished to pass from this life to the other life, and said: "Now dismiss your servant in peace, Lord, according to your word."

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Monday: Weeks 1 & 3:

Lauds: St. Ambrose

In a general audience (October 24, 2007), Pope Benedict XVI referred to Ambrose: “Dear brothers and sisters, I would like further to propose to you a sort of ‘patristic icon,’ which, interpreted in the light of what we have said, effectively represents ‘the heart’ of Ambrosian doctrine. In the sixth book of the Confessions, Augustine tells of his meeting with Ambrose, an encounter that was indisputably of great importance in the history of the Church. He writes in his text that whenever he went to see the Bishop of Milan, he would regularly find him taken up with catervae of people full of problems for whose needs he did his utmost. There was always a long queue waiting to talk to Ambrose, seeking in him consolation and hope. When Ambrose was not with them, with the people (and this happened for the space of the briefest of moments), he was either restoring his body with the necessary food or nourishing his spirit with reading. Here Augustine marvels because Ambrose read the Scriptures with his mouth shut, only with his eyes (cf. Confessions, 6, 3). Indeed, in the early Christian centuries reading was conceived of strictly for proclamation, and reading aloud also facilitated the reader’s understanding. That Ambrose could scan the pages with his eyes alone suggested to the admiring Augustine a rare ability for reading and familiarity with the Scriptures. Well, in that ‘reading under one’s breath,’ where the heart is committed to achieving knowledge of the Word of God – this is the ‘icon’ to which we are referring -, one can glimpse the method of Ambrosian catechesis; it is Scripture itself, intimately assimilated, which suggests the content to proclaim that will lead to the conversion of hearts. Thus, with regard to the magisterium of Ambrose and of Augustine, catechesis is inseparable from witness of life. What I wrote on the theologian in the Introduction to Christianity might also be useful to the catechist. An educator in the faith cannot risk appearing like a sort of clown who recites a part ‘by profession.’ Rather – to use an image dear to Origen, a writer who was particularly appreciated by Ambrose -, he must be like the beloved disciple who rested his head against his Master’s heart and there learned the way to think, speak and act. The true disciple is ultimately the one whose proclamation of the Gospel is the most credible and effective.”

 “It will be asked: ‘In what sort was the Son begotten?’ As one who is forever, as the Word, as the brightness of eternal light, (Hebrews 1:3)  for brightness takes effect in the instant of its coming into existence.” Ambrose de Fid. 1:79

Splendor patérnæ glóriæ, (1)
de luce lucem próferens, (2)
lux lucis et fons lúminis,
diem dies illúminans,

Verúsque sol, illábere
micans nitóre pérpeti,
iubárque Sancti Spíritus
infúnde nostris sénsibus.

Votis vocémus et Patrem,
Patrem perénnis glóriæ,
Patrem poténtis grátiæ,
culpam reléget lúbricam.

Infórmet actus strénuos,
dentem retúndat ínvidi,
casus secúndet ásperos,
donet geréndi grátiam.

Mentem gubérnet et regat
casto, fidéli córpore;
fides calóre férveat,
fraudis venéna nésciat. (3)

Christúsque nobis sit cibus,
potúsque noster sit fides; (4)
læti bibámus sóbriam
ebrietátem Spíritus.

Lætus dies hic tránseat;
pudor sit ut dilúculum, (50
fides velut merídies,
crepúsculum mens nésciat.

Auróra cursus próvehit;
Auróra totus pródeat,
in Patre totus Fílius
et totus in Verbo Pater. Amen.

1)      Heb. 1:3: the brightness of God’s glory;
2)     Nicene Creed: Lumen de lumine; 
3)     the Arian heresy; 
4)     Eucharistic reference;
5)     Faith as pure or modest as the dawn;
Hope as the heat of noon; mind know no darkness.
6)     Totus = dawn, totus = the Son, totus = the Father. 

Radiance of the Father’s glory, bring forth light from light, Light of light and Source of light, Day illuminating day. And true Sun descend upon us, glittering with perpetual glow, ray of the Holy Spirit, pour out upon our thoughts. In prayer we call upon the Father, the Father of endless glory, the Father of powerful glory, take away our devious sin.  Shape our manly deeds, blunt the teeth of the envious one, turn to good our difficulties, grant us the gift to act. May he direct and rule our minds, our bodies keep chaste and faithful, may faith burn bright, and know no venomous deceit. May Christ be our food, faith our drink; let us joyfully drink the Spirit’s sober drunkenness. May this day pass happily; our modesty like dawn, faith enkindled as noonday, the mind ignorant of nightfall.  Dawn in its course advances, may full dawn come: the Son wholly in the Father, the Father wholly in his Word. Amen.

When the Office of Readings is said in the daytime: 18th Century

Ætérna lux, divínitas,
in unitáte Trínitas,
te confitémur débiles,
te deprecámur súpplices.

Summum Paréntem crédimus
Natúmque Patris únicum,
et caritátis vínculum
qui iungit illos Spíritum.

O véritas, o cáritas,
o finis et felícitas,
speráre fac et crédere,
amáre fac et cónsequi.

Qui finis et exórdium
rerúmque fons es ómnium,
tu solus es solácium,
tu certa spes credéntium.

Qui cuncta solus éfficis
cunctísque solus súfficis,
tu sola lux es ómnibus
et præmium sperántibus.

Christum rogámus et Patrem,
Christi Patrísque Spíritum;
unum potens per ómnia,
fove precántes, Trínitas. Amen.

Eternal light, Divinity, Trinity in unity, weak as we are we give you thanks, humbly we pray to you. We believe in the highest Father, the only Son of the Father, and the Spirit, the bond of love which joins them. O truth, O Love, O end of all and happiness, teach us to hope and believe, to love and follow you.  The end and the beginning, you are the source of all things, you alone our consolation, you the certain hope of those who trust in you.  You alone do all things, you alone are sufficient for all things, you the only light for all and only hope for those who hope in you. We ask Christ and the Father and the Spirit of both Christ and the Father, the single power behind all things, assist us as we pray. Amen.

Vespers: St. Gregory the Great?

Imménse cæli cónditor,
qui, mixta ne confúnderent, (1)
aquæ fluénta dívidens,
cælum dedísti límitem,

Firmans locum cæléstibus
simúlque terræ rívulis,
ut unda flammas témperet,
terræ solum ne díssipet:

Infúnde nunc, piíssime,
donum perénnis grátiæ,
fraudis novæ ne cásibus (2)
nos error átterat vetus.

Lucem fides invéniat,
sic lúminis iubar ferat;
hæc vana cuncta térreat,
hanc falsa nulla cómprimant.

1)      Gen.1:7: God divides the waters above and below;
2)     The new fraud is also old =the temptation of Adam;
3)     Lux brings not just physical light but also grace;

Infinite Creator of heaven, you who separated the flowing waters and set a limit to the sky, so that the two not be mixed and confused. Fortifying a place for the heavens and also for the rivers of the earth,  that water might temper heat and the soil of earth not be dried up. Pour now, most holy, into us the gift of endless grace, that no occasions of new deceit or ancient deception destroy us. May light find faith, thus be supported by the beam of light; so may all vanities be removed, and no falsehood compromise our faith.