2 March 2013, Saturday after the 2nd Sunday in Lent

2 March 2013, Saturday after the 2nd Sunday in Lent

For the Mass (Missa Cantata, EF) at noon:

Introit: Lex Domini, begin on G (as la), Graduale Romanum 1961, p. 122.

Gradual: Bonum est confiteri, begin on D (as fa) Graduale Romanum 1961, p. 360.

Offertory: Illumina, begin on G (as fa) Graduale Romanum 1961, p. 331.

Communion: Ex more docti mystico, begin on F (Cf. copy below.) Sing this during distribution.

Opportet te, begin on G (as sol), Graduale Romanum 1961, p. 122. Sing this during the ablutions.

Ps verses are in the Liber Psalmorum pro Communione. Cf. e-copy below.

Recessional: Ave Regina caelorum, PBC, p. 120, begin on F (as fa)

Ordinary from Mass XVIII

For the 3pm Vespers and Benediction, please see pdf at the end of these notes, pp. 21-27.

The Introit has two phrases:

  1. Lex Domini irreprehensibilis, convertens animas:
  2. testimonium Dei fidele, sapientiam praestans parvulis.
    V. Caeli enarrant gloriam Dei: et opera manuum ejus annuntiat firmamentum.
    Gloria Patri.

Translation: The law of the Lord is irreproachable, turning around lives: the testimony of God is faithful, giving wisdom to little ones. V. The heavens declare the glory of God: the firmament proclaims the works of His hands. (Ps. 18: 8, 2) Glory be.

Reflecting the first reading (Dt 26:16-19), the antiphon celebrates the pervasive power of God's fidelity, and the rewards for those who are faithful in return. We'll have a refresher on some of the subtleties of these short antiphons (Introit & Communion) at our practice.

The Gradual has five phrases (2 in the corpus + 3 in the verse)

  1. Bonum est confiteri Domino
  2. et psallere nomino tuo, Altissime.
  3. V. Ad annuntiandum mane
  4. misericordiam tuam,
  5. et veritatem tuam per noctem.

Translation: It is good to give thanks to the Lord and sing to Your name Most High. V. To announce Your mercy in the morning and your truth through the night.

Both parts of the Gradual have the same prolonged close: Altissime = per noctem, except that the unaccented syllable -si- in the first word has a clivis of its own. The beginning of the corpus and the ascent over confiteri with the cheerful major scale have a pleasant ring. From then on, however, the melody moves within the tetrachord a-d, and several times repeats d c b c. Here maintain a fluent presentation and a proper emphasis on the significant accents to avert monotony. Sing the text!

In the verse we have the melody we from Christus factus est. It is marked by the vigorous final cadence over mane. Any considerable pause after mane is incompatible with the text. The beginning of this verse alone is proper; the rest, as far as misericordiam inclusive, is sung on the fourth Sunday after Pentecost. Mane has an energetic final cadence, which in other pieces agrees with the divisions of the text. No lengthy pause is allowable here—one of the few instances in which the divisions of melody and text do not coincide. Tuam is known to us from the passage over Dominus in the Gradual for Easter Sunday and from tuam in the Gradual for the feast of the Assumption. Et veritatem tuam has been taken over from the Gradual Justus ut palma, both text and melody; an appropriation, consequently, from the second mode. In both Graduals the verses have the same wording, but up to this point the melody differs. Per noctem again veers back, rather abruptly, it must be admitted, to the fifth mode. In the psalms the mercy and fidelity of God are frequently combined. God does not exercise His mercy at particular moments; it accompanies us, as Psalm 22 says, all the days of our life. In Psalm 32 we read: ‘All his works are done with faithfulness.’ God's fidelity, however firm and unshakable it may be, has nothing about it that is either difficult or irksome. It is the fidelity of a merciful God. For this great favor we can never thank Him sufficiently. The hour of dawn drives home this truth most forcibly. For at that time particularly is God's mercy made manifest in the liturgical Sacrifice with special splendor. Throughout the entire day, and even during the night (per noctem), this song ought never to cease. Even when the night of bitter woe breaks in upon us we should hold fast to the mercy and fidelity of God, and thereby sublimate and transfigure all our sorrows.

The Offertory has two phrases:

  1. Illumina oculos meos, nequando obdormiam in morte:
  2. nequando dicat inimicus meus: praevalui adversus eum.

Translation: Enlighten my eyes, lest I ever sleep in death: lest my enemy say: I have prevailed over him.

Two voices are discernible in this Offertory. One proceeds from a soul in the most dire need, abandoned and persecuted. Its prayer is as fervent and as urgent as can be. In the oldest manuscripts this Offertory is assigned to the Saturday before the third Sunday in Lent, and still is sung on that day. The Gospel story of the Prodigal Son immediately precedes it. Hence the prayer seems to proceed from the soul of the Prodigal. Surely moments and hours were not lacking when in his soul almost all the light was extinguished, when the frightful darkness of the night, of despondency even, seemed to overpower him, when the mocking laugh of his enemies already rang in his ears: Praevdlui-—"Now I have Thee in my power. All attempt to escape is futile." But far greater than the strength of the enemy was the omnipotence of divine love and of divine mercy. We may also think of those who are walking along the edge of a precipice and who, when the light fails, are dashed down the abyss, beyond all hope of salvation; of those who, caught in a complexity of temptations, do not even realize their situation. For them also the Offertory prays: Illumina. A note of melancholy is apparent in the melody. The singer is conscious of his condition and it makes his prayer ever more intense. Over me-(os) we have g b a b g f, proceeding from f a g d f d over Illu-(mina); ne-(quando) is then added as a development. Now the melody recedes as if exhausted. But with morte it receives new strength. Their very importance causes the three c's to be heard. Hence the rhythmic markings of the manuscripts emphasize the fact that the four succeeding low tones be given a broad rendition. This makes the passage very effective. After the f over me-(os) breath may be taken, and a new start made with the second f.

The second phrase corresponds almost exactly to the first, with the twofold division and subdivision of each member into two parts, and has practically the same length. Because of its position at the beginning of the second phrase, the second nequando is given a different melodic treatment. The repetition of the same motive over dicat and inimicus, with the heavy accent upon the high c, is evidence of the keen feeling in the heart of the singer. As often as the following phrase begins with d, a concluding f as over me-(us), is the general rule. But now, in the stirring praevalui, a second voice is heard. It comes as a call from hell, as a precipitate dash upon the victim, a horrible entwining in the tentacles of some frightful monster, a descent into the eternal night of death. Here a g c c c g e over morte in the first phrase occurs a fifth lower with the notes d e c f fff d e c. A cold shiver seizes us. Here drama and realism are portrayed as one would scarcely expect to find them in plainsong. The passage might have a paralyzing effect upon us, did we not know that in the holy Sacrifice God's power will be made evident, mightily overcoming every enemy of our soul, and bringing us every needed grace. Of this divine strength we become partakers in Holy Communion. In the ancient manuscripts this Offertory has the following conclusion: "Look upon me and hear me. I will praise the Lord, who has bestowed His graces (bona) upon me." Praevalui seems in a certain sense an allusion to yesterday's Magnificat antiphon: Praevaluit David in Philistaeum. David conquered the Philistine with a sling and a pebble from the brook. But it also mentions the source of this heroic strength when it adds: in nomine Domine—"in the name of the Lord."

The similarity of ending over morte and eum is still more accentuated in the old manuscripts, since morte as well as eum has a virga and a climacus (not a pes subbipunctis in the one case). Over eum in the motive of meus, (e g f e f f f) expands into g a g d f f f.

Hymn: Ex more docti mystico, attributed to St Gregory the Great
Literal translation (from Wiki Liber Hymnarius):

Having been taught by mystical custom,

may we keep abstinence,

being led in the very well known cycle of

ten times four days.

The Law and the Prophets first

demonstrated this, later

Christ consecrated it, [He] of all things

King and also the Maker of time.

May we, therefore, find joy sparingly

in words, food and drink,

sleep, fun, and may we

strictly persevere with care.

May we avoid, moreover, the worst

things that undermine the wandering mind,

and not may we give to the cunning

enemy a position of tyranny.

Grant, O Blessed Trinity,

Vouchsafe, O Simple Unity,

that these offerings of frugality may be

fruitful in the things of Yours. Amen.

The Communion antiphon text is from Lk 15:32; it has three short phrases:

1.Opportet te fili gaudere

2.quia frater tuus mortuus fuerat et revixit

3.perierat et inventus est

In the Ordinary Form, we now sing this antiphon on the 4th Sunday of Lent in Year C when the Gospel of the Prodigal Son is read. The antiphon is taken from the words in today's Gospel of the father’s admonition to his son about what our reaction should be to those who repent. This and the handful of other Communion antiphons that have a gospel text rather than a psalm have been the subject of much scholarly scrutiny. They appear in a large number of manuscripts, and appear to have entered the repertory earlier rather than later. Given the simplicity of the melodies, they were probably Office antiphons—perhaps for the Magnificat, though one manuscript assigns this antiphon to Sext—that were taken into the Mass formulary to reflect the day’s pericope.



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