19 August 2018, 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
Introit: Protector noster
(Year B) Alleluia: Caro mea
Offertory: Lead kindly Light, p. 298.
Communion (Year B): Qui manducat
Recessional: Love divine all loves excelling, p. 276.
Mass XI, PBC p. 58. Credo III, PBC p. 77
The phrasing in the Introit antiphon is clear; but the two phrases are long. So despite the ideal phrasing, we'll grab a quick breath after Deus and tuis.
- (a) Protector noster aspice Deus (b) et respice in faciem Christi tui
- (a) quia melior est dies una in atriis tuis (b) super milia.
The first phrase has a middle cadence on the finale and a final cadence on the dominant after an emphatic b. It is dominated by the petitions aspice and respice. Aspice is not an outcry, as it is in the Introit for Palm Sunday; nevertheless the fourth and the accented c make it quite insistent. Without God the weakness of man is indeed wont to fall. Assistance from above is absolutely necessary if we would folllow the dictates of the spirit always and in all things. Hence this aspice and respice. But Christi tui receives still greater stress. When we have congregated in the house of God (atriis tuis), we may pray to Him: We are Your anointed, Your Christ; we belong to the mystic body of Christ, having become conformable to the image of Christ through sanctifying grace. Hence we may expect Your special protection. The love which You bear to Your Son Christ overflows upon Your children, the Christ-ians, Your anointed ones.
In singing this piece be careful not to slight the low d over (Pro)-te-(ctor). It is the beginning of a crescendo that must increase till it reaches c. Perhaps this d e f g a served as a model for the f g a c d c over (faci)-em Christi; it is heard again over super mil-(lia). The beginning of the second phrase on b♭ tends to make the closing melisma of the preceding tui mellow and tender. For here we are speaking of the consolation that our soul so eagerly receives in church, in the house of God. Here we ever become more conformable to the image of Christ; here our soul finds its true home in the heart of God. Were it to taste all the joy of the world for a thousand days or a thousand years, it would still be homesick and would long for its true happiness—union with God. The b♭ over quia and over the similar melior is influenced by the following f, just as later c over una calls for b. Una is emphasized, but millia has the richest melisma of the entire composition. But the treasures of grace which are available in God's holy place deepen our yearning for that great day which shall know no evening, for the contemplation of Christ (in faciem Christi).
The Alleluia verse is that of Corpus Christi, placed here because the Gospel pericope today is from the 6th chapter of St John’s Gospel, the great ‘Eucharistic discourse.’
The Alleluia verse has two long phrases that we will subdivide:
- (a) Caro mea vere est cibus,
(b) et sanguis meus vere est potus
- (a) qui manducat meam carnem,
(b) et bibit meum sanguinem,
(c) in me manet et ego in eo
The disciples on the way to Emmaus earnestly begged the Lord to remain with them, for the night was approaching. Here our Saviour not only gives us the assurance that He will remain with us, but that He will remain in us when we are united with Him in Holy Communion. Thus the indefectible Light itself, the Light which can never be dimmed, is within us. We will be filled with the life and strength from which all the saints have drawn. He truly is what our hungering and thirsting soul needs in life and still more in death. This chant expresses thanks for these graces.
Alleluia with its jubilus has the form abc; no inner relationship exists between it and the melody of the verse. Several times during the year we meet this verse melody: on Corpus Christi, on the feast of the Transfiguration, on the feast of St. Lawrence, on the feast of St. Michael (second Alleluia), and on the feast of the Holy Rosary. In the most ancient manuscripts it is found with the text Laetabitur justus: ‘The just shall rejoice in the Lord, and shall hope in Him: and all the upright in heart shall be praised.’ The melody is truly born of the text, an energetic song of exultation, which leaves this earth far below it and soars upward—describing the joy and the delight of the singer. The original, sadly, is no longer sung. In it, the beauty and clarity of the structure, which is psalmodic in character, is better revealed. Two phrases begin with an intonation and then have a florid middle cadence. In the first phrase there follows not a mere recitation on the tenor, but a very ornate melisma with a repetition; finally comes the closing cadence. The melody of alleluia with its jubilus is joined to the last words of the verse to form the third phrase. The first part of the original expresses an independent thought, ‘The just shall rejoice in the Lord,’ whence the pause on the dominant after the middle cadence. But b towers above the two a parts. A brief survey will show the relation between the original composition and the adaptations mentioned above.
Intonation Middle Cadence
Laetabitur justus in Domino
- Cam mea vereest cibus et sanguis meus
- Candor est lucis aeternae
- Levita Laurentius bonum opus
- Concussum est mare et contremuit
- Solemnitas gloriosae Virginis
Florid Melisma Closing Cadence
Et spera- -bit in eo
- vere est potus, qui manducat meam carnem
- et speculum sine ma- -cu-la
- opera- -tus est
- terra [without closing cadence]
- Mariaeex semine Abrahae
Intonation Middle Cadence Closing Cadence
et lauda- buntur omnes
- et bibit meum sanguinem
- et imago bonitatis
- qui per signum crucis caecos
- [irregular] ubi Archangelus Michael descende-
- ortae de tribu Juda
- in me manet et ego in eo
- -bat de caelo.
- clara ex stirpe David.
The structure is clearest in the verse Laetabitur. Of the others, verse 2, that is, that of the feast of the Transfiguration, bears the closest resemblance. The third also is good. In 1, a new thought begins with the melisma that is repeated, thus handicapping the effectiveness of the melody; for its upward surge, about which there can be no doubt in this type of Alleluia, is thereby weakened. The third part, whose melody is formed somewhat differently, does not give the feeling of a finished organic whole in which all parts are attuned to one another.
(Year B) The Communion antiphon is sung also on the Saturday of the third week of Easter and on Corpus Christi (OF), and on Thursday of the 2nd week of Lent (EF). It has two phrases:
- Qui manducat carnem meam et bibit sanguinem meum in me manet
- et ego in eo, dicit Dominus.
The melody begins with a sublime simplicity. In the second half-phrase the first half-phrase is given a more elaborate form. The endings of the parts of the phrase (meam and meum) are characterized by corresponding formulas. No doubt this is the technical reason why the more important words carnem and sanguinem do not stand out so prominently. Now follows the expressive in me manet with a descending fourth, which must be given special warmth. It is answered by a rising fourth in ego in eo. Thus both thoughts are placed in strong relief: You in me and I in You. The prolonged b♭ at the beginning of dicit, which has been avoided so far, is to impress upon us that the word of God is of unfailing efficacy and harbors in itself the fullness of consolation.