31 May 2015, Trinity Sunday (Year B)

31 May 2015, Trinity Sunday (Year B)

Introit (Years A & B): Benedicta sit, begin on F (as sol)

Introit (Year C): Caritas Dei, begin on G (as sol)

Offertory: Come down O Love divine, p. 364, begin on D

Communion (Years A & C): Benedicimus Deum, begin on A (as la)

Communion (Year B): Data est mihi, begin on G (as fa)

Recessional: O God almighty Father, p. 365, begin on C

Mass VIII, PBC, p. 52. Credo III, PBC, p. 77.

For several centuries the Popes refused to put a feast dedicated to the Holy Trinity on the Roman calendar. They considered the frequent veneration of the mystery every day in the existing texts of the Mass and the Divine Office, especially the singing of the minor doxology (Gloria Patri) after every psalm and canticle and the bow that accompanies it, were more than sufficient to draw the attention of the faithful to the glories of the inner life of God that have been revealed to us. But the monastic orders, the Cistercians in particular, pushed for the feast—long on their own monastic calendars—to be made universal. Pope John XXII finally agreed and put it on the calendar in 1334. (But it just barely survived the calendar revisions of 1969!) So with such a late entry date, and less than universal popularity, its not surprising that the chants of the Vatican Graduale seem to be an afterthought. Although they appear in some early manuscripts, the melodies are adaptations from other chants. The Introit is a—to put it mildly—poor adaptation of the great melody of Invocabit me, from the 1st Sunday of Lent. The Gradual and the Offertory are from the feast of SS. Peter and Paul, and the Communion is a somewhat less than successful adaptation of the Communion Feci judicium from the Commons. (Now found in the Common of Holy Men and Women; formerly in the second Common of a Virgin Martyr). The 1974 Graduale offers some alternatives: an Introit in Year C, a Hymn in place of the the Gradual, and a Communion in Year B.

(Years A & B) The Introit has two phrases:

  1. Benedicta sit sancta Trinitas, atque indivisa Unitas
  2. confitebimur ei, quia fecit nobiscum misericordiam suam.

As noted above, the melody was (poorly) adapted from that of the first Sunday of Lent. Particularly unfortunate is the fact that the ascending melody over the accented syllable of glorificabo eum is here fitted to the unaccented syllable (confite)-bi-(mur ei). It seems that the seven syllables of this text were parcelled out to the seven groups of notes which are carried by the seven syllables of the original with no reference to the Latin word-accent. Furthermore the second half of the first phrase begins with the motif which in the original brings the first phrase to a close. Nevertheless, the entire feeling of the original melody is well suited to that of our present Introit: it is a joyously moving song of thanksgiving.

(Year B) The Communion has two phrases:

  1. Data est mihi omnis potestas in caelo et in terra, alleluia
  2. Euntes, docete omnes gentes, baptizantes eos in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti

The assigned psalm, 77 (78) brings us back again to the baptismal reference there. As our attention to the newly baptized during Paschaltide should remind us, baptism is for all of us the real gateway to salvation if we live out the baptismal promises that we have made or renewed in this season. The melody conveys clearly and calmly the import of the Lord’s command to the Apostles and their followers: He has the saving power, and is willing to impart it to all who will receive it and live their lives accordingly. We have that same mission now. 

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