WDTPRS: Pentecost Monday – bondage to freedom, anxiety to peace

Today is Pentecost Monday during the Octave of Pentecost.  It is also called Whit Monday, a reference to the white garments of the newly baptized.

We observe the Octave in the Traditional Roman calendar.  It was tragically eliminated in the post-Conciliar calendar.

The Roman Station is S. Peter in Chains.

Listen to a PODCAzT for the days of the Octave of Pentecost which I made a few years ago.

Octaves are mysterious times during which the liturgical clock stops.

We have an opportunity to rest in the mystery, reflect on it during the 8th day – an echo of God’s rest continuing after the Creation and foreshadowing of the eschatological rest we will have in the Beatific Vision.

For Mass we sing the Pentecost Sequence, and use the Preface of the Holy Spirit, as well as a proper Communicantes and also Hanc igitur, as for Easter since Pentecost was also a time of baptism.

Many years ago, as a seminarian in Rome, I was told a story by one of the papal masters of ceremony for Paul VI.  This story has gotten around the web a bit, but I am the original teller in English.   I included it in The Wanderer and in the original Catholic Online Forum years ago, but it is worthy offering again. The Novus Ordo – with so many changes to the liturgical calendar – went into effect with Advent in 1969.  When Pentecost of 1970 rolled around, Paul VI was surprised to find green vestments laid out for his morning Mass instead of the traditional red for the Octave of Pentecost.  When he asked about the unthinkable green vestments, he was told that it was now Ordinary Time.  The Pope responded “This is the Octave of Pentecost.”  The reply came back that the Octave of Pentecost was abolished in the new calendar.  “Who did that?”, asked the Pope.  “You did, Your Holiness.  And Paul VI wept.

As the old song says, “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone…”

Well…. I know what we’ve lost, at least in the Novus Ordo.   People will make the observation that in the modern Ordo there is a reference to options to observe something like an Octave… but…

Let’s have a look at the Collect for today’s Mass of Pentecost Monday.

COLLECT (1962MR):
Deus, qui Apostolis tuis
Sanctum dedisti Spiritum:
concede plebi tuae piae petitionis effectum;
ut, quibus dedisti fidem, largiaris et pacem
.

I found this prayer in the 8th c. Liber sacramentorum Gellonensis.

I like that elegant splitting of Spiritum Sanctum with dedisti.

Our trusty Lewis & Short reminds us that effectus, us, (efficio) means basically “a doing, effecting; execution, accomplishment, performance; with reference to the result of an action, an operation, effect, tendency, purpose”.  Blaise & Dumas offers that effectus has to do with the “realization of a prayer”.

LITERAL VERSION:
O God, who gave the Holy Spirit to Your Apostles,
grant to Your people the realization of their dutiful petition,
that you may bestow also peace
upon those whom you have given faith
.

What immediately jumps into my mind are the references to peace in the ordinary of the Mass and also in the moderm form for sacramental absolution.

Allow me to stretch to a connection, in view of the Roman Station.

Christ is our Lord and Liberator.  After His Ascension he sent our Counselor and Comforter.

Together, under the eternal aegis of the Father, the Son and the Spirit bring us from bondage to freedom, anxiety to peace.  We need not fear our judgment.

This is accomplished through the ministry and mediation of the Church.

As a People who are members of Christ’s Body the Church we approach God’s mercy with a sense of filial duty, petitioning both the immediate effect of Christ’s merits and also the long-term effect of heavenly peace.

In the words of the Church’s worship, Christ Himself strikes from our limbs the heavy chains of our oppression.

There was a gathering of mostly old dissidents in Detroit this last weekend.  We had some fun at their expense.  They, as a group, or a group of groups, should not be taken very seriously.  But there is a more serious side to their message, which focused mainly on whining about how oppressed they are because they cannot simply do as they please.

True oppression is from sin.  True freedom comes from grace.

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9 Responses to WDTPRS: Pentecost Monday – bondage to freedom, anxiety to peace

  1. Centristian says:

    “And Paul VI wept.”

    Probably at the price tag of the new set of green papal vestments he had to acquire for himself and all his ministers and concelebrants. Unless I am mistaken, the pre-Conciliar papal tradition was to wear only red or white vestments. Red for Pentecost, Lent, Advent, feasts of martyrs, funerals (or any occasion that would typically call for red, purple, rose, or black vestments), and white in place of green.

  2. gloriainexcelsis says:

    Observing the old calendar, the Pentecost red is worn all week. This Monday, June 13, is also the feast of St. Anthony of Padua, to whom God definitely gave the Holy Ghost, though this year the Octave preempts him. Then, too, it is the date of the second apparition at Fatima. I miss St. Stephen’s and the monthly procession, Rosary and Benediction May through October.

  3. q7swallows says:

    Fortunately, the green vestments ARE appropriate (and traditional) this octave week in our Byzantine Catholic parish since green IS the color for Pentecost (new life) and a change from the Easter white. So Father wore green again this morning, as he did yesterday.

  4. Laura R. says:

    Thank you, Father, for this post. It had struck me as odd that Pentecost, instead of having an octave of its own, should serve merely as the concluding day of the Easter season. I had intended to focus on the Holy Spirit for awhile anyway, and am glad to know that my instinct was correct, according to the Traditional Roman calendar.

    That is a poignant story about Pope Paul. Did he not realize that he had authorized such a change?

  5. Norah says:

    What was the rationale for doing away with the Pentecost Octave?

    I think that the Pope Paul VI anecdote is apocryphal.

  6. Geoffrey says:

    At the daily Mass (Ordinary Form) for the memorial of St. Antony of Lisbon that I attended today, the opening hymn was “Come, Holy Ghost”… I thought that was highly appropriate!

    Over the years prior to the Second Vatican Council, the Church removed several octaves (Assumption, etc.). Pentecost probably seemed like the next “logical” step, thereby retaining only Christmas and Easter. Perhaps the Church didn’t want Pentecost, as important as it is, to appear to equal Christmas and Easter? Or should it equal them?

    And if an octave is a continuation of the feast, is this still the Season of Easter in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite?

  7. Imrahil says:

    Well the rationale was… that Pentecost itself is supposed to be a sort of mega-octave-day of a fifty days mega-octave of Easter, and a concluding feast doesn’t itself start a time to end with a concluding feast.

    And the problem was… well, while the notion of a fifty-days Easter isn’t directly incorrect, though, excuse me, not all to be said about Pentecost… it has clearly the marks of a thing that originated in theoretization. And I can’t see why we should celebrate the Downsending of the Holy Spirit with its own octave even though its feast be the end of Easter; and the only result in liturgical feeling would be that Pentecost isn’t important.

    Anyway, in Germany yesterday was “Monday of Ordinary Time, The Day of The Compulsory Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit, holiday of obligation”, in short Pentecost Monday. Not kidding (though the name pulled-together way, afaik, my invention).

  8. Imrahil says:

    I mean, of course: why we should not celebrate.

  9. Andreas says:

    Yes, as Irmahil notes, in Bavaria and here in Austria yesterday we celebrated Pfingstmontag (Pentecost Monday) as well with a beautiful Mass at our Church here in Pinswang. Pfingstmontag is celebrated throughout Austria as a national holiday. The white and gold flags of The Church flew from steeples and the Churches were filled. Here in Pinswang, our Bishop (from Innsbruck) conducted the Holy Mass. Indeed, Pfingstmontag is celebrated here in the Tirol.

    An added note, Father’s Podcast of the Pfingstsonntag Mass clearly showed how the glories of both Chant and Orchestral Masses can complement one another so well in the beauties of the Liturgy.