Thursday, February 02, 2006


[Unknown German Master. Via the Lion and the Cardinal]

St. Peter's church downtown (no, not this one) had a Solemn Vespers for the Feast of the Presentation today, to install their new director of music. The music was simply beautiful. Thomas Tallis (O Nata Lux). Stanford's Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis. One contemporary hymn and a couple of Spirituals thrown in. A wonderful and prayerful service, and it was nice to see the people come out in support of their new choirmaster. As Monsignor remarked in his homily, "he's turned things up a notch here."

The program had a beautiful old blockcut lithograph, probably taken from an old Tridentine Missal, "In festo purificationis BVM." Afterwards we had some fun poring over the blockcut to decipher the Latin inscriptions on the side of the image of the BVM being presented in the Temple. One was a quote from Gen. 46:30, Jacob's farewell words to Joseph, "Iam laetus moriar, quam vidi faciem tuam, et superstitem te ... [relinquo]. ["Now let me die, since I have seen your face and know that you are still alive." RSV]. On the left, from Hannah's hymn of praise at the birth of Samuel, apparently from 1 Kings 1: 28 --- i.e. 1`Samuel 1:28 in the modern reckoning, "Idcirco et commodavit eum Domino cunctis diebus [quibus fuerit accomodatus Domino]" ["Therefore I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he lives, he is lent to the LORD." RSV]

All that Latinitas aside, I was a little curious whether in a normal Solemn Vespers one completely omits the Psalmody and replaces it with the Liturgy of the Word from the Mass of the day (with the Magnificat being proclaimed prior to the proclamation of the Gospel). And what's up with praying the Nunc Dimittis at Vespers? I don't know if this was a legitimate option in the Liturgy of the Hours or not. My guess is it was adapted. Still beautiful and prayerful and glorifying the Lord. Just not, technically, Vespers. Yes, I nitpick. :)

I absolutely loved the Litany of St. Cecilia, though. Especially this line. "Saint Cecilia, who by thy pleadings moved the hearts of pagans and brought them into the true Church, pray for us." Apparently, Fr. McAfee [does he know he's named after a major anti-virus program?] in the Latin story below was onto something. Heh.

[Great info and links at the Lion and the Cardinal and Fish Eaters [Both via Don Jim]

And here is the prayer for the Feast of the Presentation:

Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine
Secundum verbum tuum in pace:
Quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum
Quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum:
Lumen ad revelationem gentium,
Et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.

[And. We're one month away from Lent. Less actually.]

1 comment:

assiniboine said...

Thank you for all this! I actually didn't know: and here was I stripping out the Christmas decorations on Twelfth Night (actually we always threw a party in my family). When we could have been waiting for Candlemas! Do take a look at the wonderful "The Stripping of the Altars" regarding English traditional religion. I would give you the publication details my copy is still making the rounds of my De La Salle Brothers acquaintance.