Tuesday, April 30, 2019


Ad Officium lectionis: Evaristus antverpensis 1968

Te, pater Ioseph, ópifex colénde,
Názaræ felix látitans in umbra,
vócibus lætis humilíque cuncti
  corde canámus.

Régiam stirpem tenuémque victum
mente fers æqua tacitúsque portas,
sacra dum multo mánuum labóre
  pígnora nutris.

O faber, sanctum spéculum fabrórum,
quanta das plebi documénta vitæ,
ut labor sudans ut et officína

Qui carent escis, míseros fovéto;
témpera effrénos perimásque lites;
mýsticus Christus pátriæ sub umbræ
  tégmine crescat.

Qui Deus trinus simul unus exstas,
qui pater cunctis opiféxque rerum,
fac patrem Ioseph imitémur actu,
  morte imitémur. Amen.

O father Joseph, venerable worker, happily hidden in the shadows of Nazareth, we all sing to you with humble hearts and glad voices. With a mind at peace in poverty you kept your royal lineage secret, while with the great labor of your hands you nourished your family. O worker, holy example to all workers, by your life you give such great witness to the people that labor by sweat of the brow of a vocation made holy. Show your favor to those who lack food, the wretched, soften the unbridled and destroy strife; that the mystery of Christ may grow under the shade of a father’s roof. O God, both three and one, you who are the Father to all and craftsman of all things, grant that we may imitate Joseph in our deeds and in a holy death. Amen

Ad Laudes matutinas

Auróra solis núntia,
mundi labóres éxcitans,
fabri sonóram málleo
domum salútat Názaræ.

Salve, caput domésticum,
sub quo supérnus Artifex,
sudóre salso róridus,
exércet artem pátriam.

Altis locátus sédibus
celsæque Sponsæ próximus,
adésto nunc cliéntibus,
quos vexat indigéntia.

Absíntque vis et iúrgia,
fraus omnis a mercédibus,
victus cibíque cópiam
mensúret una párcitas.

Sit Trinitáti glória,
quæ, te precánte, iúgiter
in pace nostros ómnium
gressus viámque dírigat. Amen.

Dawn the herald of the sun arouses the workers of the world, the sound of the carpenter’s hammer greets in the house of Nazareth. Hail, O head of the family, who under the supreme Builder, drenched in salty sweat you exercises his father's craft. Raised to the highest abodes, next to the heavenly Bride, now assist your petitioners who are vexed with poverty. May violence and conflicts, all fraud in wages, be gone; may abstinence alone be the measure of the abundance of goods and food. To the Trinity be glory, who, by Joseph’s prayers, ever direct the steps of all in the way of peace. Amen.  

Ad Vesperas: Hieronymus Casanate

Te, Ioseph, célebrent ágmina cælitum,
te cuncti résonent christíanum chori,
qui, clarus méritis, iunctus es ínclitæ
  casto fœdere Vírgini.

Almo cum túmidam gérmine cóniugem
admírans, dúbio tángeris ánxius,
afflátu súperi Fláminis ángelus
  concéptum púerum docet.

Tu natum Dóminum stringis, ad éxteras
Ægýpti prófugum tu séqueris plagas;
amíssum Sólymis quæris et ínvenis,
  miscens gáudia flétibus.

Eléctos réliquos mors pia cónsecrat
palmámque eméritos glória súscipit;
tu vivens, súperis par, frúeris Deo,
  mira sorte beátior.

Nobis, summa Trias, parce precántibus;
da Ioseph méritis sídera scándere,
ut tandem líceat nos tibi pérpetim
  gratum prómere cánticum. Amen.

O Joseph, the heavenly hosts celebrate you, and all the choirs of Christendom resound your praise, you who with merits bright are joined in a chaste bound with the glorious Virgin. When you were surprised at your wife pregnant with her loving child, anxiously you were seized by doubt, an angel told you that the child was conceived by the breath of the heavenly Spirit.  You took the newborn Lord that you might follow him on the journey to the far-off land of Egypt; you searched for and found him, when he was lost in Jerusalem, your joy mingled with weeping.  A holy death consecrates other chosen men and glory and palms of victory greet the deserving; but you living had a more blessed and wondrous lot, you were here with God like those in heaven. Highest Trinity, grant to us by the merits of Joseph to reach the stars that at last we may sing forever to you a canticle of thanks. Amen.

Alcuin and Bede: Commentary on Revelation

Alcuin of York: Commentary on Revelation: Preface
According to blessed Bede,1 the Apocalypse consists of seven sections. In the first, after a salutation, the author mentions the sufferings and glories of the Lord in order to encourage the weak; then, after mentioning the things that have been done and must be done in the seven churches, he describes the fights and victories of the universal Church. In the second, he sees four beasts, twenty-four ancients, the Lamb standing, and a book sealed with seven seals; he also recounts fights and triumphs of the Church. In the third, under the appearance of seven angels sounding trumpets, he describes various events in the Church. In the fourth, under the symbol of a woman and a dragon, he recounts the fights and victories of the Church, and here he relates the things said and done by the seven angels, although not in the same way as previously. In the fifth, he strikes the earth with seven plagues through the seven angels. In the sixth, he recounts the damnation of the harlot. In the seventh, he says that the wife of the Lamb comes down adorned from heaven. About the seven rules of Tychonius, the first of which is concerning the Lord and his body, the second is concerning the true and simulated body of the Lord, the third is concerning the promises and the law, the fourth is concerning species and genus, the fifth is concerning times, the sixth is recapitulation, the seventh is concerning the Devil and his body, these seven rules are found not only in the Apocalypse but also in other books, though especially in the prophetic ones.
The first one to comment on the Apocalypse was martyr Victorinus. Following him, blessed Jerome, removing some things the former had interpreted literally and adding a few things of his own, composed one book on it, promising that working on the Apocalypse would be his priority if he lived long enough; but it is uncertain whether that work was completed. The Donatist Tychonius also published a manifold exposition on it, but he mingled it with the poison of perfidy. After him, Primasius, bishop of the African church, a man in all respects Catholic and learned in the divine Scriptures, explained it in five books, in which, as he himself affirms, he did not so much write his own ideas as those of others, selecting what the same Tychonius had interpreted correctly, but also adding a few chapters exposed by blessed Augustine. Although he explained the Apocalypse more fully than others did, he nonetheless composed his work in a very elevated language. Then, a few chapters (few in number, but treated in a most exquisite manner) were explained by Saint Gregory throughout his various works. Lastly, the blessed priest Ambrose Autpert very beautifully analyzed some of these writings, adding however many things of his own.

The Venerable Bede: On Revelation: Chapter 1
The revelation of Jesus Christ. The progress with which the Church that had been founded by the Apostles was to be extended, or the end with which it was to be perfected, had need to be revealed, in order to strengthen the preachers of the faith against the opposition of the world. And John, in his own manner, refers the glory of the Son to the Father, and testifies that Jesus Christ has received from God.
shortly. That is, which are to happen to the Church in the present time.
signified. He wrapped up this revelation in mystical words, that it might not be manifested to all, and become lightly esteemed.
angel. For an angel appeared to John in the form of Christ, as will be seen more clearly in that which follows.
John. That through John He might lay open to all His servants the things which he, by the privilege of a peculiar chastity, obtained above all others to behold.
testimony. That thou mayest not doubt of the person of John, he is the same who gave testimony to the eternal Word of God incarnate, according as he saw, saying, "Whose glory we saw, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father."
Blessed. Teachers and hearers are therefore blessed, because they who keep the Word of God find that a short time of labor is followed by everlasting joys.
seven. By these seven churches he writes to every church, for universality is wont to be denoted by the number seven, in that all the time of this age is evolved from seven days.
Grace. Grace he desires for us, and peace from God, the eternal Father, and from the sevenfold Spirit, and from Jesus Christ, Who gave testimony to the Father in His Incarnation. He names the Son in the third place, as he was to speak further of Him. He names Him also the last in order, as He is the first and the last; for He had already named Him in the Father by saying, "Who was to come."
the first-begotten. This is the same that the Apostle says, "We have seen Jesus Christ for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor." And in another place, in setting forth the reproach of the cross, he added, "Wherefore also God highly exalted Him, and gave Him the Name which is above every name."
priests. Because the King of kings and heavenly Priest united us unto His own body by offering Himself for us, there is not one of the saints who has not spiritually the office of priesthood, in that he is a member of the eternal Priest.
cometh. He Who was concealed, when at the first He came to be judged, will be manifested at the time when He shall come to judge. He mentions this, that the Church which is now oppressed by enemies, but is then to reign with Christ, may be strengthened for the endurance of sufferings.
pierced. When they see Him as a Judge with power, in the same form in which they pierced Him as the least of all, they will mourn for themselves with a repentance that is too late.
Amen. By interposing an Amen, he confirms that without doubt that will happen, which, by the revelation of God, he knows most surely is to come to pass.
 and . He is the beginning Whom no one precedes, the end Whom no one succeeds in His kingdom.
Who is. He had said this same thing of the Father, for God the Father came, as He also is to come, in the Son.
I John. He indicates the person, the place, and the reason of the vision; and he also testifies that he saw this in the spirit, lest he should be supposed to have been deluded by fleshly apparition.
Patmos. It is a well-known story that John was banished to this island by the Emperor Domitian for the Gospel's sake, and it was fitly given him to penetrate the secrets of heaven, at a time when it was denied him to go beyond a certain spot on earth.
the Lord's day. He indicates also a fit time for a spiritual vision, for Scripture is wont to express the reason of things in terms, as, frequently, of the place, or the body, or the air, and in like manner, the time. The Angels, namely, visit Abraham at noon, Sodom in the evening; Adam after midday was afraid at the voice of the Lord, walking up and down; and Solomon received at night the wisdom which it was not to be his to retain.
heard. He is first admonished by a voice, that he may direct his attention to the vision.
seven churches. The Church of Christ was not at the time in these places alone, but all fulness is comprised in the number seven. Asia, which is interpreted elevation, denotes the proud exaltation of the world in which the Church is sojourning, and, as is the method of the divine mystery, the genus is contained in the species. For the Apostle Paul also writes to seven churches, but not to the same as St. John. And although these seven churches are a sevenfold figure of the whole Church, still the things which he blames, or praises, came to pass in them one by one.
turned. Here the figure of the Church is beautifully represented, as holding forth the light of divine love in the brightness of a chaste breast, according to that which the Lord saith, "Let your loins be girt, and your lamps burning." And he denotes its perfection within and without by the two parts of the number seven; and the individual members of it, consisting of the four qualities of the body, "love the Lord their God with all their heart, with all their soul, and with all their strength."

Ad libitum in feriis post octavam Paschae

Vespers: (saec. V-VI)

O rex ætérne, Dómine,
semper cum Patre Fílius,
iuxta tuam imáginem
Adam plasmásti hóminem.

Quem diábolus decéperat
hostis humáni géneris,
eius et formam córporis
sumpsísti tu de Vírgine,

Ut nos Deo coniúngeres
per carnis contubérnium,
datúrus in baptísmate,
Redémptor, indulgéntiam.

Tu crucem propter hóminem
suscípere dignátus es;
dedísti tuum sánguinem
nostræ salútis prétium.

Tu surrexísti, glóriam
a Patre sumens débitam;
per te et nos resúrgere
devóta mente crédimus.

Esto perénne méntibus
paschále, Iesu, gáudium,
et nos renátos grátiæ
tuis triúmphis ággrega.

Iesu, tibi sit glória,
qui morte victa prænites,
cum Patre et almo Spíritu,
in sempitérna sæcula. Amen.

O King eternal, O Lord, Son ever with the Father, you created the man Adam according to your own image.  Whom the devil, the enemy of the human race, deceived, but you took the form of the body from the Virgin, that you might join us to God through a community of flesh, O Redeemer, to be given pardon in baptism. You did vouchsafe to undergo the cross for the sake of man; you gave your blood, the price of our salvation. You did rise, receiving due glory from the Father; through you we devoutly believe that we will rise.

Office of Readings

Lætáre, cælum, désuper,
appláude, tellus ac mare:
Christus resúrgens post crucem
vitam dedit mortálibus.

Iam tempus accéptum redit,
dies salútis cérnitur,
quo mundus Agni sánguine
refúlsit a calígine.

Mors illa, mortis pássio,
est críminis remíssio;
illæsa virtus pérmanet,
victus dedit victóriam.

Nostræ fuit gustus spei
hic, ut fidéles créderent
se posse post resúrgere,
vitam beátam súmere.

Nunc ergo pascha cándidum
causa bonórum tálium
colámus omnes strénue
tanto repléti múnere.

Esto perénne méntibus
paschále, Iesu, gáudium,
et nos renátos grátiæ
tuis triúmphis ággrega.

Iesu, tibi sit glória,
qui morte victa prænites,
cum Patre et almo Spíritu,
in sempitérna sæcula. Amen.

Be glad, heaven above, clap your hands, earth and sea, Christ rising after the cross, gives life to mortal men. Now he has restored the appointed time, we recognize the day of salvation, when through the blood of the Lamb, the world again shines from out of the darkness.  That death, the passion of that death is the remission of sin; his might abides undiminished, the victor grants us victory.  This taste of hope causes the faithful to trust that they too will be able to rise after death and receive a blessed life. Now therefore clothed in paschal white we all powerfully celebrate such great good to be filled with such a great gift.


Chorus novæ Ierúsalem
hymni novam dulcédinem
promat, colens cum sóbriis
paschále festum gáudiis,

Quo Christus invíctus leo,
dracóne surgens óbruto,
dum voce viva pérsonat,
a morte functos éxcitat.

Quam devorárat ímprobus,
prædam refúndit tártarus;
captivitáte líbera
Iesum sequúntur ágmina.

Triúmphat ille spléndide
et dignus amplitúdine,
soli políque pátriam
unam facit rem públicam.

Ipsum canéndo súpplices
Regem precémur mílites,
ut in suo claríssimo
nos órdinet palátio.

Esto perénne méntibus
paschále, Iesu, gáudium,
et nos renátos grátiæ
tuis triúmphis ággrega.

Iesu, tibi sit glória,
qui morte victa prænites,
cum Patre et almo Spíritu,
in sempitérna sæcula. Amen.

May the choir of the new Jerusalem sing a new sweet hymn, celebrating the feast of Easter with sober joys. When Christ the unconquered lion rises, the serpent destroyed, and cries with a living voice and wakes the departed from death. Greedy hell surrenders the prey it has devoured, delivered from captivity, the crowds follow Jesus.  Christ triumphs marvelously and with worthy strength, of heaven and earth he makes one republic. Let us in song as lowly soldiers beseech the King, that he command us to serve in his most glorious palace.

Monday, April 29, 2019

'The Happy Birds Te Deum Sing ..." Tis Mary's Month of May!

The author is an Anglican priest Fr.  Alfred Gurney (1843-98), Vicar of St Barnabas, Pimlico. It is in his book "Verses" of 1870.

The happy birds Te Deum sing,
'Tis Mary's month of May;
Her smile turns winter into spring,
And darkness into day;
And there's a fragrance in the air,
The bells their music make,
And O the world is bright and fair,
And all for Mary's sake.

Where'er we seek the holy Child,
At every sacred spot,
We meet the Mother undefiled;
Who shun her seek him not:
At cloistered Nazareth we see.
At haunted Bethlehem,
The throne of Jesus, Mary's knee,
Her smile, his diadem.

The Daughter, Mother, Spouse of God,
None silence her appeal
Who long to tread where Jesus trod,
What Jesus felt to feel.
O, Virgin-born, from thee we learn
To love thy Mother dear;
Her teach us duly to discern.
And rightly to revere.

To love the Mother, people say,
Is to defraud the Son.
For them, alas, there dawns no May,
Until their hearts are won:
Then, when their hearts begin to burn.
Ah, then, to Jesus true,
And loving whom he loves, they learn
To love Saint Mary too.

How many are the thoughts that throng
On faithful souls to-day!
All year we sing our Lady's song,
'Tis still the song of May:
Magnificat! O may we feel
That rapture more and more;
And chiefly, Lord, what time we kneel
Thine altar-throne before.

'Tis then, when at thy feet we pray,
We share our Lady's mirth;
Her joy we know who hail to-day
Thy Eucharistic birth;
That trembling joy to Mary sent,
Ah, Christians know it well,
With whom in his dear sacrament
Their Saviour deigns to dwell.

Yes, Mary's month has come again,
The merry month of May;
And sufferers forget their pain,
And sorrows flee away,
And joys return, the hearts whose moan
Was desolate erewhile
Are blithe and gay - once more they own
The charm of Mary's smile.

Thy Son our Brother is, and we,
Whatever may betide,
A Mother, Mary, have in thee,
A guardian and a guide;
Thy smiles a tale of gladness tell
No words can ever say?
If but, like thee, we love him well,
The year will all be May.

All hail! An angel spake the words
We lovingly repeat;
The song-notes of the singing birds
They are not half so sweet:
This is a music that endures,
It cannot pass away,
For Mary's children it ensures
A never-ending May.

St. Augustine: The Two Cities; On the Psalms: 64:2

There are two cities; the one called Babylon, the other Jerusalem. Babylon means "confusion"; Jerusalem, "the vision of peace". Look well at the city of confusion and you will understand better the vision of peace; endure the first, long for the second.

Whereby can these two cities be distinguished? Can we now separate the one from the other? They have been mingled together since the beginning of mankind and they will continue so until the end of time. Jerusalem received its beginning through Abel, Babylon through Cain. The towns of stone called Jerusalem and Babylon were built later and it was only to provide a striking image of these two cities, begun long before, destined to remain even to the end of the world and not to be separated till then. How then can we distinguish them now, since they are still mingled?

The Lord himself will show which is which at the day of judgement, by placing one on his right and the other on his left. Jerusalem on the right, Babylon on the left. To Jerusalem he will say: Come, you that have received a blessing from my Father, take possession of the kingdom which has been prepared for you since the foundation of the world; to Babylon, Go far from me, you that are accursed, into that eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels. However, with the help of God, we can suggest a sign by which to distinguish good Christians, citizens of Jerusalem, from the citizens of Babylon even now. What are the two cities? They are two loves. The love of God makes Jerusalem, the love of the world makes Babylon. Ask yourself which you love and you will know to which you belong. If you find yourself a citizen of Babylon, root out lust, implant charity; if you find yourself a citizen of Jerusalem, endure captivity patiently, hoping for your liberty.

How, indeed, do men go forth from this Babylon, which is confusion? That which mingles us with it is to have the same lusts, and by charity we begin to separate ourselves from it; to be separated is not to be mingled any more. We may be mingled with it physically, but holy desire distinguishes us from the others; by the bodily proximity we are yet in Babylon, by the longing of the heart we are already partly separated.

Therefore, my brethren, let us long for this city which is our true country. But how are we to arouse in ourselves the love of this country, of which our long exile has made us forgetful? The Father himself writes to us from there and, though we have taken a liking to our exile, gone over to the enemy and turned our backs on our fatherland, by his letters, which are the holy scriptures, makes us long for home.

Saturday, April 27, 2019


Ad Officium lectionis: saec. XIV (altered)

Virgo prudéntum comitáta cœtum
óbviam sponso véniens paráta,
noctis horréndæ rémovet tenébras
  lámpade pura.

Ille fulgéntem nítidis lapíllis
ánulum miri tríbuit decóris
vírgini dicens: «Tibi trado sancti
  pignus amóris».

Mota flagrántis stímulo calóris
mentis excéssu rápitur frequénti,
fixa dum portat Catharína membris
  vúlnera Christi.

Unde ter felix quater et beáta
in sinu sponsi requiévit almi,
inter illústres ánimas reláta
  lux nova cæli.

Sit Deus cæli résidens in arce,
trinus et simplex benedíctus ille,
qui potens totum stábili gubérnat
  órdine mundum. Amen.

A virgin in the company of the wise virgins comes prepared to meet the bridegroom and removes the fearful darkness of night with an unsullied lamp. A bright glittering with shining stones, wondrous in beauty, he gives to the virgin, saying “I handover to you a pledge of my holy love.” Moved by a prick of burning heat Catherine is caught up in rapture beyond human thought, while she carries fixed in her body the wounds of Christ.  Whence three times happy and four times blessed she rested on the breast of her nourishing spouse, she is now a new light brought among the illustrious souls of heaven.  Blessed be God triune and simple residing in the height of heaven who powerfully governs the world in a certain order. Amen.

Ad Laudes matutinas & Ad Vesperas (saec. XIV) (altered)

Te, Catharína, máximis
nunc venerámur láudibus,
cunctæ lumen Ecclésiæ,
sertis ornáta plúrimis.

Magnis aucta virtútibus
et vita florens ínclita,
húmili mente ac strénua
per crucis pergis trámitem.

Stella vidéris pópulis
salúbris pacis núntia;
mores restáuras óptimos,
feróces mulces ánimos.

Sancto compúlsa Spíritu,
igníta verba lóqueris,
quæ lucem sapiéntiæ,
æstus amóris íngerunt.

Tuis confísos précibus,
virgo dilécta Dómino,
nos caritáte cóncitos
fac Sponsi regna quærere.

You, O Catherine, now we venerate with the greatest praises, light of the whole Church, adorned with many garlands. Enriched with great virtues and a flourishing and noble life, with a humble and strong soul you trod the way of the cross. You appeared as a star to the people, a herald of saving peace; you restored the best ways of life and calmed angry souls. Driven by the Holy Spirit you spoke fiery words which engendered the light of wisdom and ardor of love. O virgin beloved by the Lord, make us, who trust in your prayers, aroused by love to seek the kingdom of your spouse.