WDTPRS: Low Sunday – “in albis”

Here is an excerpt from my WDTPRS article in the current issue of The Wanderer.  The articles are available on line through The Wanderer’s subscription website.

What Does the Prayer Really Say?   “Low” Sunday – “in albis” (1962 Missale Romanum) - Roman Station: St. Mary Major

The Pope has something up his sleeve, so to speak.

As Anna Arco points out so well (emphases mine):

Pope Benedict’s renewed use of older forms of liturgical vestments is more than just a taste for showy clothes and is in keeping with his concept of the liturgy, which is informed not by a nostalgia for an older Church or by an elaborate "aestheticism" but by his profound understanding of the reforms instituted by Vatican II and what he sees as their place in both the long history of Church tradition and its philosophical and theological underpinnings.

As the Australian theologian and philosopher Dr Tracey Rowland argues in her excellent new book Ratzinger’s Faith; The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI, beauty plays an important role in Pope Benedict’s faith, not as an optional pedagogical tool or a "question of taste" but as an integral part of his understanding of Christ. While Dr Rowland does not write about vestments, she outlines Pope Benedict’s theology and how it informs his understanding of the liturgy. Beauty and God are inseparable and for Pope Benedict the liturgy is "a living network of tradition which had taken concrete form, which cannot be torn apart into little pieces, but has to be seen and experienced as a living whole".

Summing up Pope Benedict’s attitudes both to some of the liturgical malpractices which came out of certain interpretations of Vatican II and the need for beauty in the liturgy, Dr Rowland writes: "Beauty is not an optional extra or something contrary to a preferential option for the poor. It is not a scandal to clothe silken words in silken garments.  Catholics are not tone deaf philistines who will be intellectually challenged by the use of a liturgical language or put off by changeless ritual forms. However, banality can act as a repellent."

“It is not a scandal to clothe silken words in silken garments.” Well said!

We must “enflesh” the Word who seeks to act in our midst sacramentally.  All the words and gestures of Holy Mass are the dicta et acta of the Risen Lord.  He acts and speaks now as the Head of the Body, the Church, in the person of the priests who is alter Christus, now as the Body joined to the Head in the voices and gestures of the congregation, and then as Christ one and whole, Christus totus, when they both act and speak together.  It may be that the Novus Ordo manifests this reality somewhat more clearly.  The sacred words and deeds should reflect outwardly their inner beauty and power to transform.  They demand from us our very best and brightest.

Pope Benedict has given us a tremendous gift with Summorum Pontificum.  The use of the older form of Mass in more places will help us recover a sense of who we are as Catholics, how we worship, what reverence is.  His choices of vestments of historic cuts, both new and lifted from the too-long locked cupboards of the papal sacristy, his recovery of ad orientem worship and even small details like the seventh candle for papal Masses, all speak to the need for continuity with our deep Catholic tradition.

___________

What we have done in the first seven years of WDTPRS is try to show how we should clothe the “silken words” of the liturgy with…well… silken words and not the lame-duck ICEL sow’s ears. This year in this series we have turned our attention a bit more to the prayers of the older form of Holy Mass, in the 1962 Missale Romanum.  However, we have not lost sight of the need to keep hammering for good translations of the Novus Ordo.  We know that the translation revision is well underway, but it is taking a ridiculously long time

In the post-Conciliar calendar this is the “Second Sunday of Easter”.  In traditional parlance today is called “Low Sunday” or   sometimes “Thomas Sunday” because of the Gospel reading about the doubting Apostle.  It is called “Quasimodo Sunday” for the first word of the opening chant, the Introit (cf. 1 Peter 2:2-3).  According to the post-Conciliar way of speaking, it is often called “Mercy Sunday” because of the emphasis on the merciful dimension of God’s redemptive act celebrated at Easter: the new Collect (based on a prayer in the Missale Gothicum) for the begins by calling God merciful.  The newest, third edition of the Missale Romanum of 2002 specifically labels this Sunday: Dominica II Paschae seu de divina Misericordia

However, since ancient times this Sunday is called “Dominica in albis” or also “in albis depositis”… the Sunday of the “white robes having been taken off.”  1 Peter 2:2-3 says: “Like (Sicut modo (Vulgate) or Quasimodo (pre-Vulgate Latin) newborn babes (infantes), long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation; for you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.” Some of our antiphons for Mass, such as today’s which starts with the more ancient Quasimodo, reflect a Latin Scripture version predating St. Jerome’s (+420) Vulgate. 

In the ancient Latin Church the newly baptized were called infantes.  They wore their white baptismal robes for an “octave” period after Easter during which they received special instruction from the bishop about the sacred mysteries and Christian life to which they were not admitted before the Vigil rites.  On this Sunday they removed their robes, which were deposited (albis depositis) in the cathedral treasury as a perpetual witness to their vows.  They were then “out of the nest” of the bishop, as it were, on their own in living their Catholic lives daily.  St. Augustine of Hippo (+430) uses the imagery of spring and compares his newly baptized infantes to little birds trying to fly from the nest while he, the parent bird, flap around them and chirp noisily to encourage them (s. 376a).

The Collect found in the Extraordinary Use of the Roman Rite today comes at least from the 8th century and is found in the Liber sacramentorum Gellonensis.  The Gellonian Sacramentary … well… one of these days I’ll get into that. 

COLLECT (1962MR):
Praesta, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus:
ut, qui paschalia festa peregimus;
haec, te largiente, moribus et vita teneamus.

The first meaning of perago in our very much present Lewis & Short Dictionary, is “to thrust through, pierce through, transfix”, but it comes logically to mean also “to carry through, go through with, execute, finish, accomplish, complete”. This past tense drives home that are at the end of the Easter Octave.  This prayer survived into the Novus Ordo.  It is found on the Saturday after Ascension in the 7th Week of Easter.  In other words, peregimus points out that Easter season is over. 

SUPER LITERAL VERSION:
Grant, we beg You, Almighty God,
that we who have carried through the paschal feasts
may, You bestowing it, hold to them in morals and in life.

OTHERWISE A BIT LOOSER:
Almighty God, we beg You,
that we who have completed our observance of days of the paschal cycle,
may as You lavish this grace upon us, hold fast to them still in our life and outward conduct.

The Daily Missal and Liturgical Manual (Baronius Press):
Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God,
that we who have celebrated the Paschal Feast,
may, by Thy bounty, retain its fruits in our daily habits and behaviour.

ICEL (1973 translation of the 1970MR):
Almighty Father,
let the love we have celebrated in this Easter season
be put into practice in our daily lives.

What about the Collect for the Novus Ordo?

COLLECT (2002MR):
Deus misericordiae sempiternae,
qui in ipso paschalis festi recursu
fidem sacratae tibi plebis accendis,
auge gratiam quam dedisti,
ut digna omnes intellegentia comprehendant,
quo lavacro abluti, quo spiritu regenerati,
quo sanguine sunt redempti.

The use of those clauses starting with quo, having no conjunctions (a trope called asyndeton) gives this prayer a very forceful feeling.  I like that sole sunt (with abluti…regenerati…redempti) imbedded elegantly in the last phrase.

LITERAL TRANSLATION:
O God of eternal mercy,
who on this recurrence of the paschal feast
kindle the faith of a people sanctified for Yourself,
increase the grace which You have given,
so that all may comprehend with worthy understanding
by what laver they were washed,
by what Spirit they were regenerated,
by what Blood they were redeemed.

Recursus is “a running back, return, a returning path.”  In reference to sight it is something that has power to bring back an image.  Recursus harkens to the cyclical, “recurring” nature of the Paschal observance.  We have the opportunity to experience the Paschal mysteries each year.  This is more than a memorial or re-enactment.  These mysterious events, historically past, sacramentally take place again each year.  The vast verb comprehendo is too complex to treat here.  This is a profoundly interiorized “grasping” in the sense of true possession. 

A lavacrum is a bath.  In Titus 3:5 we have, “He saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy (misericordiam), by the washing of regeneration (lavacrum regenerationis) and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us rightly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life (vv. 5-7, RSV).”  This harks to both the process and effects of baptism.  In our Collect is abluo, “to wash off, wash away, cleanse, purify.”  In classical Latin, abluo is used by Cicero (+43 BC) to describe a calming of the passions coming from a religious rite of washing away of sin (Tusc 4, 28, 60) and even by the poet philosopher Lucretius (+ AD 55) in De rerum natura to describe the removal of darkness by the bringing in of light (4, 378).  Early Latin speaking Christians lacked vocabulary to express their faith.  Abluo was ready made to be adapted to describe the effects of baptism.  Accendo means “to kindle anything above so that it burns downward” and “to set on fire, to kindle, light to light up, illuminate, to inflame a person or thing, to incite, to round up.”  This word evokes the imagery of the fiery Easter Vigil!

In a sermon addressed to the catechumens before their baptism at the Easter Vigil, St. Augustine used images of light and fire to help them understand who they were to become (cf. s. 223 and s. 260c): “Keep the night Vigil humbly.  Pray humbly with devoted faith, solid hope, brightly burning charity, pondering what kind of day our splendor will be if our humility can turn night into day.  Thus, may God who ordered the light to blaze out of the dark make our hearts blaze brightly, that we may do on the inside something akin to what we have done with the lamps kindled within this house of prayer.  Let us furnish the true dwelling place of God, our consciences, with lamps of justice”.

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42 Responses to WDTPRS: Low Sunday – “in albis”

  1. Daniel Kirkland says:

    Fr. Z.,

    You said, “According to the post-Conciliar way of speaking, it is often called “Mercy Sunday” because of the emphasis on the merciful dimension of God’s redemptive act celebrated at Easter:”

    Was not the reason for naming the Second Sunday “Mercy” Sunday also based on the request that our Lord had made to St. Faustina for instituting the Feast of Divine Mercy? I am not quite secure with the history, but I always understood that the Divine Mercy had/has a significant place on this Sunday. Maybe you could elaborate. Thanks!

    God bless.

  2. Daniel: I think it was convenient that there was already a “Mercy Sunday”, in the sense that there was convenient texts for the Sunday after Easter.

    On the other hand, I think the tradition of Sunday in albis is more important.

  3. Geoffrey says:

    It is interesting to note that in both forms of the Roman Rite, this Sunday’s Gospel reading (John 20:19-31) has to do with the institution of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, as well as “doubting Thomas,” though the latter seems to get more homily-time. It seems to me that Our Lord wanted to work with the existing Mass texts which highlighted the “Sacrament of Divine Mercy.”

    It is also that in the Ordinary Form, this Gospel was retained in full for this Sunday, and is read every year, no matter what year it is (A, B, or C).

  4. Larry Brooks says:

    I beg to differ Fr. Z,

    The devotion to Divine Mercy as proclaimed by Sr. (now Saint) Faustina was based on her , now approved, visions and locutions from the early 1930’s and supported in no small part by Pope John Paul II both by Encyclical Letter and Papal Decree for this universal Feast. It is interesting that while Jesus in the visions requested this particular Sunday for the Feast of Divine Mercy the Collect you mention did not exist in the Mass then current. It was only aafter the Council that this Collect appeared in the Latin Rite, and that was before Sr. Faustina’s work had gained public exposure. While the traditional form of Low Sunday or Sunday in albis have a historical meaning I think that the Lord is entitled to ask for something more current and far more important, i.e. MERCY.

  5. Geoffrey says:

    Is this Sunday the only one to have so many names? Octave Day of Easter, Low Sunday, “in albis”, Second Sunday of Easter, First Sunday after Easter (in some older hand-missals), Quasimodo Sunday, Divine Mercy Sunday… that must be a record!

  6. Larry:

    Without questioning the veracity of Saint Faustina’s account, the fact remains that the maximum “validation” or approval by the Church notwithstanding, it remains private revelation and can never be more than that. Very important to note here that our Lord does not have a parallel Magisterium, but rather, he has only one, which he has invested in his Church; when he, or his Mother, or his angels and saints, bear messages to earth, it never competes with, nor overrides, the Voice of the Church which is, after all, his own voice, for the Church is His Body, and therefore, Himself. (Note that Our Lady did not identify herself, nor did any other emissary of heaven name her, as “the Immaculate Conception” on earth until after the Magisterium had infallibly named her such; she waited 1,800 years!)

    Understand, I am entirely in favor of Divine Mercy Sunday, and the Magisterium has, in an ordinary, non infallible but prudential fashion, responded to this message: Pope John Paul of happy memory having instituted this feast.

    Father Z: I have a question…

    Does “Low” Sunday indicate that the Mass of this day was not celebrated in solemn fashion? I have tended to emphasize this Sunday as the conclusion of the “eight-day ‘day'” and therefore, celebrated it was a lot of solemnity, with gold vestments, lots of candles, incense and chanting, at least at principal Masses. I’m curious if “Low Sunday” indicates a different tradition? Comment, please?

  7. Fr. Fox: I suspect that the term “low” indicated that, though it is part of Easter as its Octave, it isn’t celebrated with the grandeur of Easter Sunday itself.

    I think it is far better to focus on the ancient title “in albis” or “in albis depositis”.

  8. Larry Brooks says:

    Fr. Fox,
    Bravo you have correctly identified not only the fact the St. Faustina’s revelations are in fact private. As well you have noted correctly that It is in the “ordinary magisterium” of the Church that Pope John Paul II instituted the Feast of Divine Mercy.
    My point was not to raise the issues of private vs public revelation nor to question by what method the Holy Father established the Feast. Rather my purpose was to call attention to the fact that in instituting this feast Pope John Paul II manifested his intention and will. By so doing his teaching that the Second Sunday of Easter is to be called “Divine Mercy Sunday” cf Homily of April 30th 2000 at the Canonization Mass of St. Faustina. Since it is a manifestaion of his heart, mind, will etc.it falls under the jurisdiction of Lumen Gentium 25. Hence we are to DO WHAT HE SAYS and call the Feast Divine Mercy Sunday in spite of what ever it was formerly called. It is really a shame that many Tradional as well as ordinary form priests simply refuse to do what the Pope says. Not only in this matter but others more dear to the hearts of those who read this blog.

  9. Geoffrey says:

    I’ve come across many a “traditionalist” who did not care for Saint Faustina or the Divine Mercy devotion. They found it somehow at odds with devotion to the Sacred Heart.

    Has anyone read Saint Faustina’s diary? It is an amazing read. I highly recommend it!

  10. Andrew says:

    t is sad that certain traditional people have no time for the Divine Mercy devotion.

    They did not hear what Pope Benedict had to say in Rome today on Mercy Sunday, in drawing attention to the revelations of St Faustina said,

    “Mercy is in reality the central nucleus of the Gospel message; it is the very name of God, the face with which he has revealed himself in the old covenant and fully in Jesus Christ, the incarnation of creative and redeeming love. This merciful love also illumines the face of the Church, and is manifested, both by way of the sacraments, in particular that of reconciliation, and with works of communitarian and individual charity.”

    How about next week in Rome when there is the first ever Divine Mercy Conference held under the aegis of the Holy See (to promote the revelations given to Faustina) where Pope Benedict (so often quoted in this blog) will celebrate the opening Mass and be giving an address.

    Even Cardinal Francis Arinze will be giving a paper at it on “The Divine Mercy in the context of Liturgy”.

    So I think whatever “liturgical Marshall Plan” Benedict has in place, the message of Divine Mercy will be integral to this.

  11. Christa says:

    Father Z:

    I am a recent convert (2 years) and I have a question which no one in my RCIA class could answer. When did the English words in the mass change? When I was a young woman and attended mass with friends (this would be back in the late 60’s-early 70’s) the phrase was “Lotd, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof. Speak but the word and my soul shall be healed.” Now the phrase is “Lord I am not worthy to receive you. Say the word and I will be healed.” Also the phrase “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault” has disappeared, as well as the response “and with your spirit” (which I know was the correct translation of “et cum spiritu.” The instructors in my RCIA class didn’t seem to remember this, but I think I didn’t imagine that the English has changed.
    I read your blog daily, as it gives me an understanding of things that are not much discussed in my parish . Thank you for taking the time to reply.

  12. TNCath says:

    Yes, I too find it odd that some “traditionalists” take issue with a devotion such as Divine Mercy, a devotion that is new on the scene but is quite traditional in form. It makes one wonder if these same “traditionalists” think there are no new valid Catholic forms of devotion and liturgy after 1962. I wonder what they think about the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary? What about the revelation of the Third Secret of Fatima? What about the canonization of so many saints by Pope John Paul II, especially Padre Pio? Do they take issues with all these events as well?

  13. Jordan Potter says:

    TNCath said: I wonder what they think about the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary? What about the revelation of the Third Secret of Fatima? What about the canonization of so many saints by Pope John Paul II, especially Padre Pio? Do they take issues with all these events as well?

    Yes, I think there are many traditionalists who take issue with those things — and many non-traditionalists too.

  14. Henry Edwards says:

    TNCatholic: Yes, I too find it odd that some “traditionalists” take issue with a devotion such as Divine Mercy, a devotion that is new on the scene but is quite traditional in form. It makes one wonder if these same “traditionalists” think there are no new valid Catholic forms of devotion and liturgy after 1962. I wonder what they think about the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary? What about the revelation of the Third Secret of Fatima? What about the canonization of so many saints by Pope John Paul II, especially Padre Pio?

    (1) I have noticed, in occasional visits to the very traditionalist site Angelqueen, that the Divine Mercy devotion is endorsed by the moderators and leaders there as being eminently traditional (as indeed it is). I know one traditionally minded Catholic who prays the Divine Mercy chaplet before each new or old Mass he attends.

    (2) And prays the luminous mysteries each morning, immediately following the joyful-sorrowful-glorious mysteries of the day (in the traditional 3-day cycle).

    (3) I find discussion of the so-called third secret of Fatima a tedious bore.

    (4) I think virtually all traditional Catholics support enthusiastically the canonization of Padre Pio (definitely a traditionalist icon). Whereas many may have reservations about the plethora of new saints under John Paul II, allegedly shared by Benedict XVI who I understand recently tightened the procedures.

  15. RBrown says:

    Understand, I am entirely in favor of Divine Mercy Sunday, and the Magisterium has, in an ordinary, non infallible but prudential fashion, responded to this message: Pope John Paul of happy memory having instituted this feast.
    Comment by Fr Martin Fox

    Why do you say that Divine Mercy Sunday was instituted by the Magisterium?

  16. TNCath says:

    Well, like it or not, it’s all here to stay. Everybody has his or her favorite devotions and can pick the ones they feel most drawn towards praying. Just because I do not regularly pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy does not mean I disdain the devotion. However, I do think that a significant number in the “Catholicism a la carte crowd” do simply because it is a post-Vatican II occurrence.

  17. RBrown says:

    What about the revelation of the Third Secret of Fatima?
    Comment by TNCath

    I’m not a traditionalist, but here’s my opinion of it: If that’s all there is to it, why did they wait so long to make it public?

    The Third Secret has become the Church’s version of Area 51.

  18. TNCath says:

    I really have no opinion one way or the other about the Third Secret, but I do accept it for what it is. Here’s what was published about it by the Vatican:

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20000626_message-fatima_en.html

    My question was how groups such as the SSPX and/or the “sede vacante” folks looked at post-Vatican II devotions and developments that are traditional in nature.

  19. David Kubiak says:

    As I recall, the Holy Office was not impressed with St. Faustina
    and this devotion in the ’50’s. But of course many edifying things
    in the Church have faced original hostility from the authorities.

    I am not a fan of this devotion, because the prayer “I offer you
    the Body and Blood…” invites confusion of the respective roles of
    laity and clergy.

  20. Maureen says:

    “If that’s all there is to it, why did they wait so long to make it public?”

    Because some mentally ill people like to make revelations come true. Especially revelations that are all about killing.

  21. TNCath says:

    David Kubiak wrote: “As I recall, the Holy Office was not impressed with St. Faustina
    and this devotion in the ‘50’s. But of course many edifying things
    in the Church have faced original hostility from the authorities.
    I am not a fan of this devotion, because the prayer ‘I offer you
    the Body and Blood…’ invites confusion of the respective roles of
    laity and clergy.”

    Wellllll, I can remember many an older person mentioning that he or she had “offered up” his or her Communion for someone or something. I don’t think it so much invites confusion any more than Marian devotions might to those who do not understand the role of the Blessed Virgin in salvation history. Of course, this opens up another “rabbit hole” with the discussion of Mary as Co-Redemptrix. So, on that note, I’ll conclude! :)

  22. RBrown:

    The pope exercises magisterial authority.

  23. CK says:

    It is what it is!

    Without questioning the veracity of Saint Faustina’s account, the fact remains that the maximum “validation” or approval by the Church notwithstanding, it remains private revelation and can never be more than that.

    Huh? The Church now teaches through her holding of official special diocesan celebrations at particular churches, shrines (really, any who wish to do so) that formally teach through the ritual that “last chance” for the world. IOW, confessions are held for THE purpose of now teaching what was revealed through the revelations, now stamped by the Church with a Feast Day: That whoever confessions and receives communion on this day (those eligible) have complete remission of sins AS WELL AS ALL punishment due to them. Not only is this now a fact through the use of the sacraments, but it also is backed by the additional plenary indulgence one may gain, under the usual requirements, for another, outside of oneself (which wouldn’t be needed anyway then in this case).

    Now, either this is true, or you now have a Church-permitted and officially sanctioned massive attendance at such liturgies for just this purpose of gaining the extraordinary graces offered. Mother Angelica went out of her way to teach just this great promise with permission by the Church. Every homily on this day is to emphasize this Mercy whether or not the priest has kept up with the Ordinal of April 7, 2002.

    These papal acts represent the highest endorsement that the Church can give to a private revelation, an act of papal infallibility proclaiming the certain sanctity of the mystic, and the granting of a universal feast, as requested by Our Lord to St. Faustina.

    http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/mercy/feast.htm

    Now if traditionalists are so fearful of receiving graces meant just for these times and can somehow speak otherwise for how the Church has acted then the letter is disproportionately emphasized and grace goes wanting. And that does not join the Faith with Reason.

    David Kubiak wrote: “As I recall, the Holy Office was not impressed with St. Faustina
    and this devotion in the ‘50’s.”

    It had nothing to do with “being impressed”; rather it had to do with translations in error. The entire writing was ordered scrutinized with corrected translations and then thus approved by Pope John Paul II. If one remains prejudiced out of some fear then at least do the research that might alleviate those fears. As we know from this blog, correct translations are of utmost importance in discovering what is “really” intended!

  24. RBrown says:

    The pope exercises magisterial authority.
    Comment by Fr Martin Fox

    But not in this instance. The Magisterium is the Teaching Office of the Church. He simply re-named Low Sunday.

  25. RBrown: He simply re-named Low Sunday.

    Or rather, added a name to it.

  26. RBrown says:

    Wellllll, I can remember many an older person mentioning that he or she had “offered up” his or her Communion for someone or something. I don’t think it so much invites confusion any more than Marian devotions might to those who do not understand the role of the Blessed Virgin in salvation history. Of course, this opens up another “rabbit hole” with the discussion of Mary as Co-Redemptrix. So, on that note, I’ll conclude! :)
    Comment by TNCath

    Offering Communion is not the same as offering the Body and Blood. Strictly speaking, only the celebrant, acting in persona Christi, offers the Sacrifice of the Body and Blood: He does it–it is a metaphysical participation.

    When a layman attends mass, however, his participation in the Sacrifice is moral and intentional–uniting his will with that of the celebrant.

  27. RBrown says:

    Because some mentally ill people like to make revelations come true. Especially revelations that are all about killing.
    Comment by Maureen

    JPII was shot by someone probably hired by the KGB. I doubt that either the would-be assassin or the KGB had access to the Third Secret.

  28. TNCath says:

    RBrown: But not in this instance. The Magisterium is the Teaching Office of the Church. He simply re-named Low Sunday.

    According to the USCCB calendar as well as the calendar on EWTN, it is now called the “Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday.” Magisterial or not, John Paul II renamed the Sunday on his own accord just as Benedict XVI did when he promulgated Summorum Pontificum. Moreover Benedict XVI made quite a to do over it at the Angelus yesterday.

    See the following: http://www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=57526

  29. This is going nowhere.

    Let’s review the substance of the main entry:

    In the post-Conciliar calendar this is the “Second Sunday of Easter”.  In traditional parlance today is called “Low Sunday” or   sometimes “Thomas Sunday” because of the Gospel reading about the doubting Apostle.  It is called “Quasimodo Sunday” for the first word of the opening chant, the Introit (cf. 1 Peter 2:2-3).  According to the post-Conciliar way of speaking, it is often called “Mercy Sunday” because of the emphasis on the merciful dimension of God’s redemptive act celebrated at Easter: the new Collect (based on a prayer in the Missale Gothicum) for the begins by calling God merciful.  The newest, third edition of the Missale Romanum of 2002 specifically labels this Sunday: Dominica II Paschae seu de divina Misericordia

    However, since ancient times this Sunday is called “Dominica in albis” or also “in albis depositis”… the Sunday of the “white robes having been taken off.”  1 Peter 2:2-3 says: “Like (Sicut modo (Vulgate) or Quasimodo (pre-Vulgate Latin) newborn babes (infantes), long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation; for you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.” Some of our antiphons for Mass, such as today’s which starts with the more ancient Quasimodo, reflect a Latin Scripture version predating St. Jerome’s (+420) Vulgate. 

    In the ancient Latin Church the newly baptized were called infantes.  They wore their white baptismal robes for an “octave” period after Easter during which they received special instruction from the bishop about the sacred mysteries and Christian life to which they were not admitted before the Vigil rites.  On this Sunday they removed their robes, which were deposited (albis depositis) in the cathedral treasury as a perpetual witness to their vows.  They were then “out of the nest” of the bishop, as it were, on their own in living their Catholic lives daily.  St. Augustine of Hippo (+430) uses the imagery of spring and compares his newly baptized infantes to little birds trying to fly from the nest while he, the parent bird, flap around them and chirp noisily to encourage them (s. 376a).

  30. TNCath says:

    RBrown wrote: “Offering Communion is not the same as offering the Body and Blood. Strictly speaking, only the celebrant, acting in persona Christi, offers the Sacrifice of the Body and Blood: He does it—it is a metaphysical participation. When a layman attends mass, however, his participation in the Sacrifice is moral and intentional—uniting his will with that of the celebrant.”

    When we receive Communion, we receive the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. How is “offering Communion” differing from “offering the Body and Blood”? I think we are engaging in semantics here, but nonetheless, I would find it hard to believe that most people who pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy think they are engaging in “metaphysical participation” a la a priest celebrant of the Mass. Regardless, the Church has told us it’s ok for people to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and is encouraging those who have a special devotion to it to continue to do so, and that’s fine with me. Let’s face it: we can use all the mercy we can get!

  31. RBrown says:

    According to the USCCB calendar as well as the calendar on EWTN, it is now called the “Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday.” Magisterial or not, John Paul II renamed the Sunday on his own accord just as Benedict XVI did when he promulgated Summorum Pontificum. Moreover Benedict XVI made quite a to do over it at the Angelus yesterday.
    Comment by TNCath

    I have no quarrel with the pope’s authority to add another name to it. Why would you assume otherwise?

    Once again, my point was that was not an act of the Magisterium.

  32. Larry Brooks says:

    The problem I see arising among some those responding to this blog is their willingness to yield to personel choice placing themselves as judges of the Magesterium. Whether it is all in good fun or just letting off steam it is very dangerous for anyone to presume to judge the teaching authority of the Church. I would urge you to read, PRAYERFULLY, the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium. Pay special attention to #25 of this document because it defines clearly how we are to listen to and obey all the teachings of the Church. When one sets himself up to judge to accept or not the teaching of a Roman Pontiff he or she is standing on shakey ground. Clearly not every teaching coming from the Pope is easy to understand but that in no way gives us freedom to reject it. Rather it invites us to explore why we feel as we do and discover the basis for the teaching. Rest assured the pope’s reasons can be learned and are correct in matters of faith and morals even when he is not teaching “ex cathedra”. If it were not for this truth it would be very hard to remain a Catholic during the past 40 years as we all witnessed priests and even some bishops preaching what can only be discribed as dubious if not downright error.
    On the issue of the prayer of the Divine Mercy being confusing, think about it for a minute. You receive the Body and Blood of the Lord in Holy Communion. You were baptised and hence entered the priesthood of all the faithful hence you can offer up your sacrifices your good works, deeds, “prayers works joys and sufferings of this day”, certainly you can offer back to God what He has given you. You do it every day you say at Mass,”Suscipiat Dominus sacrificium de manibus tuis ad laudem et gloriam nominis sui, ad utilitatem quoque nostram totiusque Ecclesiae suae sancte.” When I say the Divine Mercy Chaplet I certainly do recognize the relationship this prayer has to the Liturgy; but, I in no way am confused in thnking I have confected the Eucharist, first because I am not praying over bread and wine. Second, Jesus is in every tabernacle of the world and I can pray through Him in that tabernacle to God the Father and indeed to the whole Trinity. It is a spiritual offering not a physical one. It is as though I am aware of Jesus presence here among us and recognize that at every moment we can offer that Glorious Reality to the Father just as He does.
    We have a glorious Church that is alive. It did not die in 1962 or ’65 or 1970. If it had then Jesus words would be untrue and we would be as St. Paul said “the most pitiable of men.”

  33. RBrown says:

    When we receive Communion, we receive the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. How is “offering Communion” differing from “offering the Body and Blood”? I think we are engaging in semantics here, but nonetheless, I would find it hard to believe that most people who pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy think they are engaging in “metaphysical participation” a la a priest celebrant of the Mass. Regardless, the Church has told us it’s ok for people to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and is encouraging those who have a special devotion to it to continue to do so, and that’s fine with me. Let’s face it: we can use all the mercy we can get!
    Comment by TNCath

    Hardly semantics. It’s theology dealing directly with the nature of the Eucharist. If you say that the difference is merely semantics between the priest offering the Body and Blood and a layman doing it, then you’re saying that a layman can say mass.

    1. The priest offers the Sacrifice of the Body and Blood. He actually does offer it–he effects the Double Consecration, the Sacramental Separation of the Body and Blood which constitutes the Sacrifice.

    2. When a layman “offers” the Body and Blood, he does not do it actually, but rather by intending to unite his will with that of the celebrant (Moral Union).

  34. CK says:

    RBrown: He simply re-named Low Sunday.

    Or rather, added a name to it.

    But with the clothing of the “FEAST of Divine Mercy” which one, in truth, cannot just dismiss so cavalierly…as requested by our Lord in the writings (studied scrupulously by the Pope, deliberately so, after the attack on his life, as he saw his own mission of his pontificate to announce this great grace IN PREPARATION FOR COMING EVENTS) on Divine Mercy to His “secretary”. A little hard to miss…or to fudge on or attempt to dissemble the pope’s intention which, as I said, continues to this day through an intended act of papal infallibility.

    “In a decree dated 23 May 2000, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments stated that “throughout the world the Second Sunday of Easter will receive the name Divine Mercy Sunday, a perennial invitation to the Christian world to FACE, with confidence in divine benevolence, THE DIFFICULTIES AND TRIALS THAT MANKIND WILL EXPERIENCE IN THE YEARS TO COME.”

    Thus, intentionally meant for a specific purpose and time, not just some “ho hum” purposeless addition of an extra name to frill it up or something. Now then, would someone please explain the Pope intentionally honoring by this act of obedience what was requested by Jesus many times in the writings, that a Feast Day of Divine Mercy be established, and NOT include the entirety of just what was intended in that reasoning for the establishment of such a new Feast day: “Whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.” There may be a disingenuous disconnect in the minds of some here, but there was nothing frivilous in the intention of the Pope, if one is honest.

  35. Larry Brooks says:

    Fr. Z you note that: “In the Post-Conciliar calendar “this is the ‘Second Sunday of Easter'”. In the 2002 Missale Romanum it is titled: “DOMIICA II PASCHAE seu de divina Misericordia” Sunday Second Easter or of divine Mercy.

    In the Homily in which he decreed this title Pope John Paul II simply said that: “this Second Sunday of Easter, which from now on throughout the Church will be called “Divine Mercy Sunday”. It seems clear that his will was to re-name the day. While it is perfectly proper for you to share the historical names and meanings of those names so that we learn the richness of the Faith it is not correct to refer to it by other than the name the Pope has decreed. I doubt that this would apply in the case of the traditional form at least in terms of the printed pages of the Missal. But maybe Pope Benedict will change that just as he changed the Prayer for the Jews on Good Friday. Nevertheless it would seem only proper in speaking of thei Sunday to call it by the name John Paul II gave it and then go on to explain the other titles and their meanings. Pleas don’t try to make what has become an historical footnote into a doctrine. It can only confuse the faithful and hurt the entire tradional Mass movement.

  36. Larry: Pleas don’t try to make what has become an historical footnote into a doctrine. It can only confuse the faithful and hurt the entire tradional Mass movement.

    For pity’s sake.

    Even Pope Benedict yesterday reminded people at the Regina Coeli that yesterday is Sunday “in albis”.

    We don’t have to be “either/or” about this, you know. Think more broadly.

  37. Stephen says:

    Pope John Paul stated this in 2002:
    “Today, therefore, in this Shine, I wish solemnly to entrust the world to Divine Mercy. I do so with the burning desire that the message of God’s merciful love, proclaimed here through Saint Faustina, may be made known to all the peoples of the earth and fill their hearts with hope. May this message radiate from this place to our beloved homeland and throughout the world. May the binding promise of the Lord Jesus be fulfilled: from here there must go forth “the spark which will prepare the world for his final coming” (cf. Diary, 1732).”
    Father Z,I can see why people have written what they have in these comments. Traditionalists are always critical of liberals who do not follow the Pope and yet on this issue there seems to be a very lukewarm response to both the recent popes wishes concerning Divine Mercy.What can be more important than preaching especially in this day and age the mercy of God? For people stuck in the swamp of sin the message that Jesus forgives all repentant sinners needs to be proclaimed by all, especially priests and not just those who are willing to accept private(approved) revelations. IS it perhaps the eschatological dimension of these revelations that is uncomfortable for some?

  38. Larry Brooks says:

    Fr. Z.
    Really! You ask me or all of us to think broadly. Then you go and point to Pope Benedict’s comment that yesterday was “Sunday ‘in albis'”, which ihe did; but then you fail to acknowledge that his message was devoted not only to the name “Divine Mercy Sunday” but to a discourse on the program both of the St. Faustina and John Paul II on the meaning of the Feast. I agree it is not either/or but both and I see no reason you cannot acknowledge that fact. In truth I believe this would be one of those feasts which Pope Benedict mentioned in “Summorum Pontificum” which might have to be brought into the EM at some point. That does not mean that we forget about “in albis”. In fact I think it would be great to bring back the whole concept of the newly baptized being given an alb at baptism instead of the scarf that we use today. In fact I’d like that to be the burial garment of all Christians as well. We tell the newly baptised to bring it unstained to his/her judgemnt, don’t we? A little more literalism might make things more real in the minds of people.

    On the subject of the Prayers of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy I am told that a very old prayer of St. Gertrude is very similar and I discovered also the “Prayer of the Angel at Fatima” in 1916 while more elaborate is quite similar. It is a prayer of reparation. Yes I know this is private revelation; but, it is prudent to give some thought to it. Finis. Pax et Bonum

  39. CK says:

    The first-ever World Apostolic Congress on Divine Mercy will be held in Rome on April 2-6, 2008. It will be modeled on the Eucharistic Congresses! Not such small potatoes this.

    This is going nowhere.

    Grrr! Sounds just like the dismissive line my husband likes to sum things up with when the “this” isn’t necessarily going HIS way!!

    Rather, I think we made available the background and Church emphasis on this “new” title of the second Sunday…to be used from now on and since the great Jubilee year, according to the words of JPII. As we have seen here, the importance granted by the Church to this Sunday, has gone greatly misunderstood, and like Summorum, not complied with by many priests as intended.

    A good read from NCRegister re: Pope Benedict’s embrace of Divine Mercy:

    http://ncregister.com/site/article/2222

    “Seven years after Pope John Paul II first announced the creation of Mercy Sunday, many priests are still wary of the feast. Why do they hold back? There is a certain assumption that the Divine Mercy is a private devotion that had a personal meaning to a particular Polish man who happened to also be Pope, but that it is not for everyone.

    Reading Pope Benedict’s words about Divine Mercy should dispel that notion. Rather than attributing the popularity of the Divine Mercy devotion to Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI seems more likely to attribute the greatness of Pope John Paul II to his devotion to Divine Mercy.”

  40. RBrown:

    I think if you read my original post, I was contrasting the teaching office, in regard to public revelation, to what some treat as a parallel magisterium, private revelation. My point, I think was clear enough, that I was not getting into a fine point about how the pope exercises his magisterial office, but if you want to get into such a fine point, it seems to me that anytime the pope teaches, he’s is being “magisterial” even if it doesn’t involve the exercise of his gift of infallibility.

    When Pope John Paul proposed this past Sunday as Divine Mercy Sunday, his “renaming” also involved teaching.

  41. Larry Brooks says:

    Fr. Fox,

    You are quite correct and that is the point of all this discussion. The Pope is a valid teacher whether he is teaching something we want to hear or somethng we don’t want to hear. Truth.

    CK, right on! This is how a blog becomes a source of information and teaching and not merely a forum for discontent and griping, though both have a place. Life is not meant to be lived in frustration and anger; but in the search for Truth to be lived in Joy. Nothing is as joyful as Divine Mercy and those who are newly baptised know this better than most.

  42. Folks: I didn’t fail to acknowledge anything about “Divine Mercy Sunday” which I hope you all pondered deeply. I simply chose to talk about something that informed Catholics really oughta know about this Sunday, the profound history behind this Sunday “in albis” which, given the contemporary focus placed on it, has been pushed into near oblivion, as this thread demonstrates in some ways.

    If you want to be knowledgeable about the Church’s liturgy, this is stuff you need to know. There it is.