We are closing in on our goal. Let’s look at the Collect for 22 December in the 2002MR. The Roman Station today is the Basilica of the Twelve Apostles.
In the last days before Christmas, many of our Collects have been taken from the ancient Rotulus of Ravenna. They have featured imagery of light and glory. Today we are thrown a curve. The Collect is from the 9th century Sacrametarium Bergomense. It has a strikingly different tone from that which we have heard in the Collect for the last few days. We are firmly back on our more penitential footing here.
We will see the Collect. But, and here is the curve ball, the Post Communion is from the Rotulus! I’ll get to that below.
Deus, qui, hominem delapsum in mortem conspiciens,
Unigeniti tui adventu redimere voluisti,
ut, qui humili eius incarnationem devotione fatentur,
ipsius etiam Redemptoris consortia mereantur.
Consortium is a compound of the preposition cvm and sors, which has to do with “lot”, as in casting “lots” for determining something by chance. Thus it comes to mean “community of goods” and therefore “fellowship, participation, society”, according to the mighty Lewis & Short. If we look in Blaise/Dumas we find plural consortia having a meaning of “union” almost as if it were conjugal union.
O God, who, gazing upon man fallen into death,
desired to redeem him by the Coming of Your Only Begotten,
grant, we beseech You,
that, those who profess His incarnation in humble devotion,
may merit participation in Him also as Redeemer.
NEW CORRECTED ICEL (2011):
O God, who, seeing the human race fallen into death,
willed to redeem it by the coming
of your Only Begotten Son,
grant, we pray,
that those who confess his Incarnation with humble fervor
may merit his company as their Redeemer.
Once again we are seeing the “janus”-like backward/forward perspectives, looking back to the First Coming even as we look forward to the Second.
We look, simultaneously, back to the Fall and the First Adam, and forward to the summation of the cosmos by the Second Adam.
There is a development of thought from the fall, to death, to the Nativity, through humility and solidarity, to ultimate redemption.
The Lord came into the world at the fullness of time. We often associate Christmas with stillness. In these days before Christmas, it almost feels as if the Church, even as there is a sense of acceleration in the Coming, Christ to us, us toward Christ, there is at the same time a – how to put it – slowing of the pendulum. It is like a perfect and mysterious anti-entropy, which is perfect stillness and yet is not static.
There is a balance point in the fullness of time.
There was a before for His Coming and there is the after.
In that moment of His birth, all is still.
At the perfect point of stillness is His Mother.
Closest to the point is Joseph.
The angels and humble shepherds draw close, and all the nations represented by the Magi… nearer and nearer, they will come until they are still, close to God With Us.
Where are you?
The Church’s year acknowledges the stillness with an Octave, when liturgical time stops, the pendulum will not swing as we rest in the mystery which embraces past, present and future.
Now some brief points about the Post Communion today. This is from the Rotulus of Ravenna (Veronese Sacramentary 1341).
Roboret nos, Domine, tui sacramenti perceptio,
ut venienti Salvatori mereamur cum dignis operibus obviare,
et beatitudinis praemia promereri.
Doesn’t that have a different sound to it? Roboret is the lead off?
I found another Post Communion in the post-Conciliar Missale Romanum that begins this way, on the feast of St. Andrew. But this feast is proximate or just within Advent, right?
Roboret nos, Domine, sacramenti tui communio,
ut, exemplo beati Andreae apostoli,
Christi mortificationem ferentes,
cum ipso vivere mereamur in gloria.
This, however, is a new composition for the Novus Ordo, and it is mishmass of bits from various old prayers. Strange.