Was there a good point in the sermon you heard for this LAST Sunday of the Church’s sacred year of grace?
Let us know.
Was there a good point in the sermon you heard for this LAST Sunday of the Church’s sacred year of grace?
Let us know.
This is the Last Sunday of the liturgical year. In the traditional Roman calendar, we use the texts from the 24th Sunday, which is always the Last Sunday of the liturgical year … even when it isn’t.
It is a little odd that the last Sunday of the year doesn’t have a special formulary. This is probably because Advent was once longer than it is now, and this time of the year dovetails with Advent. Thus the Church’s strong reflection on the Second Coming of the Lord all through this period.
We also call today “Stir Up” Sunday, because of the first words of the Collect. This is the day when families in England would stir up the ingredients for the Christmas Pudding, so that it could season a while against the day of its coming.
Excita, quaesumus, Domine, tuorum fidelium voluntates: ut, divini operis fructum propensius exsequentes; pietatis tuae remedia maiora percipiant.
This is an ancient prayer, occurring in the Liber sacramentorum Augustodunensis a 9th century manuscript variation of the Gelasian Sacramentary. This prayer survived in the tender ministrations of Bugnini’s Consilium as the Collect for the 34th Week of Ordinary Time, in the Novus Ordo, used during the week after the Sunday celebration of the Solemnity of Christ the King. Thus, it stays in the same place in the liturgical year that it occupied before the changes.
Our rousing Lewis & Short Dictionary says excito means “to raise up, comfort; to arouse, awaken, excite, incite, stimulate, enliven”. Propensius is a comparative adverb of propendeo, which thus means “more willingly, readily, with inclination”. As we have seen many times before, pietas when attributed to God is less “piety, duty” than it is “mercy”. Exsequor is “to follow to the end, to pursue, follow; to execute, accomplish, fulfill”. Percipio is “to get, obtain, and receive”.
The two comparatives, propensius and maiora, set up a proportional relation between the grace-filled pursuit, on our part, and the extent of the effects of the remedy. The greater our earnestness, which is itself prompted by God’s work in us, the more will we receive His mercy.
Rouse up, we beseech You, O Lord, the wills of Your faithful, that they, pursuing more earnestly the fruit of the divine work, may obtain the more greatly the remedies of Your mercy.
A SMOOTHER TRANSLATION:
Stir up the will of your faithful, we pray, O Lord, that, seeking more eagerly the fruit of your divine work, they may find in greater measure the healing effects of your mercy.
OBSOLETE ICEL (1973):
increase our eagerness to do your will
and help us to know the saving power of your love.
Noooo… I didn’t make that up or get the wrong day.
NEW CORRECTED ICEL (2011):
Stir up the will of your faithful, we pray, O Lord, that, striving more eagerly to bring your divine work to fruitful completion, they may receive in greater measure the healing remedies your kindness bestows.
You can see from this the difference between a formal equivalence approach and a dynamic equivalence. Which do you prefer?
Keep in mind that this is for the last Sunday of the liturgical year.
This is a threshold for crossing into a new Advent.
Advent is more than a preparation for the coming of the Christ Child at Bethlehem. It really points to the Second Coming of the Lord at the end of the world, when all will be laid bare and the cosmos will be unmade in fire. In the Epistle for this Mass Paul tells the Colossians to persevere in every fruitful good work (in omni opera bono fructificantes).
In the Gospel from Matthew 24, Jesus describes the “abomination of desolation” from Daniel and the antichrists and the end times, the hour of which we do not know. This is the pericope in which Christ says He will appear like lightening in the East. The Secret asks God to free us from earthly desires (cupiditates) and the Postcommunion asks for healing of whatever is directed to vices (medicatio). This is a fitting theme for the end of the year and the threshold of the new.
Making connections within the texts for Mass helps me drill into a possible source for this prayer’s imagery.
There is a sermon of St. Pope Gregory I “the Great” (+604) on Matthew 20:1-16 about the man who hires day-laborers at different hours of the day. Gregory uses an allegorical key to interpret the different hours the man came to hire workers as being the ages of a man’s life. The parable of the Lord is also eschatological. It describes the reward the Lord gives for doing His work, regardless of the moment of the calling in history. The work to be done is more than likely harvest work, bringing in the fruits of the growing season. This parable applies to the late-coming Gentiles as well as the early-coming Jews, just as it is meant for individuals who experience conversion even late in life.
In the parable Jesus has a man identify those sitting idle without work: they will obviously receive no good wage at the end of the day. Without work, they will be poor, in straights. In the sermon there is a phrase which is echoed in the Collect:
“For whoever lives for himself and is sated by his own pleasures of the flesh, is rightly called ‘idle’ (otiosus), because he is not pursuing the fruit of the divine work (quia fructum diuini operis non sectatur).” (Hom. XL in Evangelia, I, 19, 2)
The verb sector is “to follow continually or eagerly”. In the Collect the priest prays that we will with God’s help be the opposite of “idle”, namely, that we will be not merely earnest or intent, but even more eager (propensius). The references to “fruits” and “work” in the Mass texts and the parallel of concepts in the sermon with those of the Collect, suggest to me a connection. We know that many of our ancient Latin prayers were authored at the time of Pope Gregory and before.
We are in need of healing and actual graces. Baptism gives us an initial healing and justification, but wounds of Original Sin remain in our body, mind and will. God gives us grace to move and strengthens us to do His will, which has healing and saving consequences. To the extent that God gives us grace and to the extent we cooperate with His guidance and helps, the greater will be our present healing and consolation and our reward when the Lord comes like lightening from the East.
Beg His help. Beg His mercy. Praise Him for His gifts.
We approach the last Sunday of the liturgical year.
In the post-Conciliar calendar of the Roman Church this is the Solemnity of Christ the King. In the older calendar, this is celebrated (with a rather different meaning!) at the end of October.
Each year Holy Church presents to us the history of salvation, from Creation to the Lord’s Coming (the First and also the Final).
Sunday’s Solemnity is an anticipation of the season of Advent, which focuses on the different ways in which the Lord comes to us, especially in the Second Coming.
At this time of year (November) we are also considering the Four Last Things: death, judgment, heaven and hell. We are praying for the Poor Souls in Purgatory in a special way this month.
The Solemnity of Christ the King brings to our attention the fact that the Lord is coming precisely as King and Judge not merely as friend or brother or favorite role-model.
In the great Dies Irae prayed at Requiem Masses for so long (and still today), Christ is identified as “King of Fearful Majesty” and “Just Judge”.
Consider today’s feast in light of what we read in 2 Peter 3: 10-12:
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire!”
Not exactly hugs and fluffy lambs for everyone.
Christ Jesus will judge us all, dear friends, and submit all things to the Father (cf. 1 Cor 15:28). Having excluded some from His presence, our King, Christ Jesus, will reign in majestic glory with the many who accepted His gifts and thereby merited eternal bliss.
COLLECT – (2002MR):
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui in dilecto Filio tuo, universorum Rege, omnia instaurare voluisti, concede propitius, ut tota creatura, a servitute liberata, tuae maiestati deserviat ac te sine fine collaudet.
While this Collect is of new composition for the Novus Ordo, it is similar to what was in the 1962 Missale Romanum for this feast with variations in the second part: Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui dilecto Filio tuo universorum Rege, omnia instaurare voluisti: concede propitius; ut cunctae familiae gentium, peccati vulnere disgregatae, eius suavissimo subdantur imperio… “so that all the families of peoples, torn apart by the wound of sin, may be subject to His most gentle rule.” That’s a different message by far. Christ isn’t just the eschatological King who will reign over all things at the end of the World. He is King here and now, of all peoples and nations… now.
Today’s Collect demonstrates the theological shift in many of the Latin prayers in the Novus Ordo.
Universus is an adjective and universorum a neuter plural, “all things.” Since we have another “all things” in omnia I will make universorum into “the whole universe.” Our Latin ears perk up when we hear compound verbs (verbs with an attached preposition like sub or de or cvm).
In our own copies of A Latin Dictionary. Founded on Andrews’ edition of Freund’s Latin dictionary. revised, enlarged, and in great part rewritten by. Charlton T. Lewis, Ph.D. and. Charles Short, LL.D. – (aka Lewis & Short or L&S) we find that de-servio expands the meaning of servio to mean “serve zealously, be devoted to, subject to.” Col-laudo, more emphatic than simple laudo, means “to praise or commend very much, extol highly.”
You veterans of WDTPRS know how maiestas is synonymous with gloria which in early Latin writers such as Hilary of Poitiers, Ambrose and in early liturgical texts, the equivalent of biblical Greek doxa and Hebrew kabod. This “glory” and “majesty” is God’s own transforming power, a sharing of His life, that transforms us into what He is in an everlasting “deification”.
Instauro is a wonderful word which deserves more attention: “to renew, repeat, celebrate anew; to repair, restore; to erect, make”. It is synonymous with renovo. Etymologically instauro is related to Greek stauros. Turning to a different L&S, the immensely valuable Liddell & Scott Greek Dictionary, we find that stauros is “an upright pale or stake.” Stauros is the word used in the Greek New Testament for the Cross of Jesus. Also the word immediately makes us think not only of the motto on the coat-of-arms of Pope St. Pius X, but also the origin of that motto Ephesians 1:10: “For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” (Eph 1:9-10 RSV). There have been, by the way, some changes in the Latin texts of this passage. The older Vulgate says “instaurare omnia in Christo” while the New Vulgate says “recapitulare omnia in Christo”.
Recapitulare is related to Latin caput (“head”) and was deemed by the scholars behind the New Vulgate as a better translation of the Greek anakephalaioô, “to sum up the argument.” This harks to the headship of Christ over the Body of the Church and expresses that He is the Final Statement, the Conclusion of All Things. At any rate, in 1925 and in the 1960’s when the older version of Vulgate was in use, the Collect had instaurare and not recapitulare.
Why all this about recapitulare?
The phrase, “renew/reinstate all things in Christ” points to the Kingship of Jesus. In everything that Jesus said or did in His earthly life, He was actively drawing all things and peoples to Himself.
In the time to come, when His Majesty the King returns in gloria and maiestas this act of drawing-to-Himself (cf. John 12:32) will culminate in the exaltation of all creation in a perfect unending paean of praise. In the meantime, by virtue of baptism and our integration into Christus Venturus (Christ About-To-Come), we all share in His three-fold office of priest, prophet, and also king. We have the duty to proclaim His Kingship by all that we say and do. We are to offer all our good works back to Him for the sake of His glory and the expectation of His Coming. This glorious restoration (instaurare) is possible only through the Lord’s Cross (Greek stauros). The Cross is found subtly in the midst of this Collect, where it is revealed as the pivot point of all creation (creatura).
Almighty eternal God, who desired to renew all things in Your beloved Son, the King of the universe, graciously grant that the whole of creation, having been freed from servitude, may zealously serve Your majesty and praise You greatly without end.
The first objective of our participation in the Church’s sacred rites is to praise God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and give God glory. This is what we owe by the virtue of religion.
Liturgical and Biblical Latin is rich with words and phrases which exalt and express praise of God. In fact, the concepts of “glory” and “majesty” are nearly interchangeable in this light. We, on the one hand, render up honor and glory to God in a way external to God. On the other hand, glory and majesty are also divine attributes which we in no way give Him, which He has – or rather is – in Himself by His nature.
When we come into His presence, even in the contact we have with Him through the Church’s sacred mysteries, His divine attribute of splendor or glory or majesty, whatever you will, has the power to transform us. His majestic glory changes us. This MYSTERY changes us. So, it is right to translate these lofty sounding attributions for God when we raise our voices in the Church’s official cult.
OBSOLETE ICEL (1973):
Almighty and merciful God, you break the power of evil and make all things new in your Son Jesus Christ, the King of the universe. May all in heaven and earth acclaim your glory and never cease to praise you.
CURRENT ICEL (2011):
Almighty ever-living God, whose will is to restore all things in your beloved Son, the King of the universe, grant, we pray, that the whole creation, set free from slavery, may render your majesty service and ceaselessly proclaim your praise.
Never take for granted the love of a Good Woman.
Therefore, when one of my readers mentioned in the combox a recipe called Sole Bonne Femme, “Good Woman”, I determined to get me some o’ that love.
Since I was out and about when I read that comment on my phone, I pulled up Julia Child’s recipe to spot the ingredients before my routine stop at the grocer.
Fish on Friday, right?
Sole Bonne Femme is a way to poach fillets of fish and the creation of a sauce from the poaching liquid. Bonne Femme is made with mushrooms. There is a variation with the flesh of tomatoes. I don’t recall the name of the chef who concocted it. (Aside: “concoct”… from Latin concoquo – “boil or seeth together”.)
The portobello were on sale. Then, parsley, shallot, clam juice, white wine and, of course, the fillets of sole, not on sale, alas, but I only needed two.
Note… I had the green beans on the side. Nothing fancy. Quickly microwaved and dressed with lemon juice.
I used a combination of the larger slices of mushrooms and minced, with minced shallot and chopped parsley as my base in the glass casserole.
Lay the fillets over the base.
Meanwhile, I’m pre-heating my toaster oven to 350°F.
Because the poaching time is really short, lest you overcook, and because I don’t have a stove but only an induction hotplate, and since the container I had to use was glass… I preheated the poaching liquid.
My wine was Mâcon Village, which I used for the meal, and clam juice (because I had no fish stock) and, later, cream.
Adding the now hot poaching liquid.
Into the toaster oven. It took a little longer than I thought it might to get the liquid to a simmer, so I checked the fillets fairly often by touch and color. Do NOT over cook fish!
It would be easier to make this on a larger scale than for just one person.
Anyway, I pulled the fillets and kept them warm on a covered plate on top of the oven.
Working fast, I brutally reduced my filtered poaching liquid, and then whipped up a roux…
Added my reduction…
The thickening process was smooth and easy. I added some lemon juice to give it a little more pop.
I arranged the fillets on a pool of sauce with the large mushroom slices, spooning the minced mix into the center. Believe me, I went back for more sauce after this photo! It was really good, winey and mushroomy and shalloty and creamy.
Sole Bonne Femme!
It was nice to eat like a civilized person. I haven’t been, lately.
Now that I have made this once, I know better what to do the next time. I have a few ideas about how to improve my technique.
Cooking doesn’t have to be terribly complicated. You need a little conviction and imagination.
Tomorrow, 22 November, is the Last Sunday of the Church’s Liturgical Year. It is therefore…
The “stir up” comes from the first words of the traditional Collect in the Roman Rite. It also comes from the tradition of stirring up the ingredients of the Christmas Pudding!
What are your plans for Christmas Pudding?
The more important question is: What are MY plans for Christmas Pudding.
I must give this some thought.
Since I will be moving to a new dwelling in the near future, I have been going through things.
I found a Christmas Pudding from TWO YEARS AGO, tucked away for aging.
I would say that it is sufficiently seasoned.
Will it be lethal?
If not, maybe I won’t make one.
I invite input, especially from experts in Blighty.
On this Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I want to give a couple priest friends a plug.
Msgr. Charles Mangan I have know since the 80’s. He is a priest of Sioux Falls and he worked in Rome for some years. He recently did an audio interview with my good friend Fr. Gerald Murray, pastor of the UN parish in Manhattan.
If these two men are involved, it’s gotta be good.
Have a listen!
From a preist reader…
We recently began the Tridentine Mass in Santa Fe, at the oldest church building in the United States, San Miguel Chapel, built in 1610. [Kudos! It would be nice to visit sometime.] I have a new sacristan. He gave me a copy of a 2-page article put out by “sanctamissa.org.” I know nothing about this organization. [This is from the Canons at St. John Cantius in Chicago. Great men.]
The article quotes the Catholic Encyclopedia from 1907 and an article from A.J. Schulte that sets forth many requirements for the altar cloths, such as: they must be blessed by a bishop or a priest; there must be three on the altar; the bottom must be sealed with wax; they must be made of linen or hemp. The article also says that celebrating the Mass without these procedures would probably constitute a venial sin, since the rubric is prescriptive. My sacristan is a bit worried.
Can you please advise?
It is good to have a sacristan who is diligent. Now you can help him to relax a little.
Some of this might be unfamiliar to most of the readers. In the Extraordinary Form it was proper to have three altar cloths, as described. They are linen and, therefore, absorbent, in case of spills. The top cloth had to cover the whole of the altar top and then be long enough to reach the floor on either side.
Another cloth used (described in the Pontificale Romanum) was a wax-imbued “cere-cloth, also called a Chrismale. It is called a “Chrismale” because its primary purpose was, during the ceremony of consecrating the altar, to protect the other cloths from the Sacred Chrism that was poured on the altar top. Thereafter, during the ages before the evil air-conditioning denounced in a papal encyclical, the waxen cloth was useful to keep condensation from the colder marble altar top from wicking up through the other cloths, promoting mold, etc.
According to older legislation, the cere-cloth was not counted as one of the three altar cloths. After its use at the consecration of the altar, there was no legislation that required the use of the cere-cloth (as a 4th cloth) on the altar.
Beyond the rite of consecrating an altar, is the cere-cloth really useful? It could be. Is it cool to have? It sure is. Is it a sin not to have one? No.
Get a cere-cloth if you wish, but you might want to add it a little lower on the list of things to get amongst the things it would be nice to have but can wait.
The rubrics governing the linens required for Mass do seem to be prescriptive. Also, the “defects” in the way Mass was/is celebrated are described in the Praenotanda as often being sinful, at least venially in some cases. The lack of a cere-cloth doesn’t fall into that category.
The other day I posted a quote from With God in Russia by Fr. Walter Ciszek. HERE If the circumstances are not perfect, that’s no reason for foregoing the good of the Mass. Work towards getting the proper linens, the proper vestments, the proper candles, but if the choice is between not having Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form for lack of a proper cere-cloth, lack of maniples, lack of beeswax candles, or offering the Mass whilst one is still working on gathering the necessary gear, I’d say, offer the Mass.
Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
Some might wonder if this isn’t all a little persnickety. No, it really isn’t. Visit to a few churches where only the Ordinary Form is used and inspect the altar appointments, vessels and vestments. This can turn out pretty unedifying results. Regulation of these matters, to provide a practical minimum based on centuries of experience of what works, as well as consistent decorum, produced a knock-on effect in the way the priest celebrated Mass and in the way the lay faithful treated their sacred space.
Is there anyone out there I could put onto a project?
I need to find some fabric – gold silk – that matches a set of vestments I had made in Rome last year. During my last trip I went to the store where I bought the bolt. I was told that they couldn’t get it anymore.
I suspect more is out there.
I would be happy for some advice and help. I can send swatches if necessary.
The fabric. Click for larger.
Feel free to work together.