7th Sunday of Easter: Post Communion

What Does the Prayer Really Say? 7th Sunday of Easter & Ascension Thursday Sunday

ORIGINALLY PRINTED IN The Wanderer in 2003

I promised to report more about the recently reported “Rescript” obtained from His Holiness by His Eminence Darío Card. Castrillon-Hoyos, Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy and President of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, concerning the situation in the Vatican Basilica of St. Peter faced by a priest who wishes to celebrate Mass using the 1962 Missale Romanum. In the past, during the tenure of His (now retired) Eminence Virgilio Card. Noè, Archpriest of the Basilica, the sacristans would basically forbid priests, and not politely, to use that Mass even though the priest had the proper faculty and permission to use it. Some did anyway, and incurred even more impolite treatment. The Pope’s recent “Rescript” requires that priests be permitted to use the so-called “Tridentine” Mass in St. Peter’s. And so, one fine morning I went to the Basilica (where I used to say Mass nearly every day) and I let the sacristan know that I intended to use the older form of Mass. After a momentary pretense of not knowing anything about the older rite, he adjusted his demeanor and said that only priests with the proper document (a “celebret”) issued by the Holy See could do so. I produced mine. It was examined with a little surprise but not at all impolitely. Fully anticipating the answer I in fact received, I requested a 1962 Missale. They didn’t have one. Fine, I’d use my own. Then he said that the Archpriest of the Basilica, His Excellency Archbishop Francesco Marchisano, had restricted use of the 1962 Missale to one of the several chapels in the crypt of the Basilica, the “Hungarian Chapel”, and only there. Fine, I’ll go there. But, quoth he, alas, that chapel was reserved that morning, so sorry. (Altars in the crypt can be reserved ahead of time for individual priests or groups. The reservations are made in a book in the sacristy by phoning or having someone go personally to the Basilica’s sacristy, but only in the early morning from about 7-8:30am. The phone number of the sacristy (from the USA) is: 011-39-06-69883712 – be prepared to speak Italian.) Therefore, I could wait for the chapel to open up… if there was any time left in the schedule for priests’ Masses that morning. Now, that chapel does not have a traditionally oriented altar, but rather a little free-standing squarish affair clearly meant to require the priest to “face the people”. I suppose with rearranging you could use the other side, but they frown on rearranging there. As a matter of fact they of the Basilica are systematically eliminating all the ad orientem altars in the crypt, but I digress. Therefore, here is a handy vade mecum for any priest who wants to say the “old Mass” in St. Peter’s now. First, bring your own Missale (not too hard, just inconvenient). Second, be furnished with a “celebret” issued by the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” (not many of those). Third, unless you want to take your chances, manage ahead of time to have reserved the Hungarian Chapel for that specific time and day if someone hasn’t beaten you to it (plan in advance). Other than that, according to that “Rescript” given by the Pope to His Eminence Card. Castrillon-Hoyos it is now quite easy to say the older Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica.

I need to add a note about the speculation concerning the “disciplinary” document to be issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW) responding to the Holy Father’s call for such in his newest encyclical letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia. You will remember that Robert Moynighan of Inside The Vatican stirred up a great deal of guesswork when he published comments of His Eminence Francis Card. Arinze, Prefect of the CDW concerning the content of this document. In Mr. Moynighan’s article there was a report that this document would promote a more widespread use of the 1962MR and even a “universal indult”. Will all this rigmarole for priests and permissions be obsolete soon? I would point out several things. First, the comments about the old Mass were not quotations of Card. Arinze. Second, some people with whom I spoke in Rome recently, and who have seen the document in draft form, have said that there is nothing of this issue to be found in it. Third, this is such a delicate issue that, if there is or was any truth to the substance of the rumor, the “opposition” has now been alerted. In the past I have said that those of the more traditional or conservative stripe in the Church are so busy fighting amongst themselves over their miserable chunks of turf that they could not band together long to organize a cock fight. (And shame on you for that, by the way!) Those of the more liberal bent are fully capable of setting aside minor differences and working together quite well, so long as the result is a greater progressive and usually also deconstructing effect in the Church. So, given the publicity of this issue, I imagine that, if there was anything concerning the older form of Mass projected for the CDW’s document, there will now be terrifyingly fierce pressure to have it removed. Does the phrase “loose lips sink ships” ring a sanctuary bell?

It is time now to dig into the prayer for Ascension Thursday… er um.. Ascension Sunday, ehem, Ascension Thursday Sunday. By the way, the feast of the Ascension now has a Vigil Mass, which it did not have in the 1970/75MR. Here are the prayers for your priests who may desire to use them and do not have the newest Latin Missal: Ant. ad introitum: Regna terrae cantata Deo, psallite Domino, qui ascendit super caelum caeli; magnificentia et virtus eius in nubibus, alleluia. (Ps 67, 33.35) Collect: Deus, cuius Filus hodie in caelos,/ Apostolis astantibus, ascendit,/ concede nobis, quaesumus,/ ut secundum eius promissionem/ et ille nobiscum semper in terris/ et nos cum eo in caelo vivere mereamur. Super oblata: Deus, cuius Unigenitus, Pontifex noster,/ semper vivens sedet ad dexteram tuam/ ad interpellandum pro nobis,/ concede nos adire cum fiducia ad thronum gratiae,/ ut misericordiam tuam consequamur. Ant. ad communionem: Christus, unam pro peccatis offerens hostiam, in sempiterum sedet in dextera Dei, alleluia. (cf. Heb 10, 12) Post communionem: Quae ex altari tuo, Domine, dona percepimus,/ accendunt in cordibus nostris caelestis patriae desiderium,/ et quo praecursor pro nobis introivit Salvator,/ faciant nos, eius vestigia sectantes, contendere.


LATIN (2002 Missale Romanum – Ad Missam in die):
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus,
qui in terra constitutos divina tractare concedis,
praesta, quaesumus,
ut illuc tendat christianae devotionis affectus,
quo tecum est nostra substantia.

This was not in the 1962MR but it was, at least in part, in other ancient books such as the Gelasian and Veronese Sacramentaries.

ICEL (1973 translation of the 1970MR):
in this eucharist
we touch the divine life you give to the world.
Help us to follow Christ with love
to eternal life where he is Lord…

I think we WDTPRS veterans know about our wonderful term devotio. The WDPTRS neophytes, however, need to know that devotio carries with it a meaning of a singular focus on fulfilling the duties of your state in life such that, because you are playing the part which God allotted for you in His eternal plan, He will give you every actual grace you need to carry out His will. The celebrated Lewis & Short Dictionary will provide opportune knowledge about the verb tracto, which means “to draw violently, to drag, tug, haul” and also “to touch, take in hand, handle, manage, wield; to exercise, practise, transact, perform”. Thus this polyvalent word also means, “to treat, use, or conduct one’s self towards a person in any manner” and “to handle, treat, investigate, discuss any thing, mentally, orally, or in writing”. Tendo connotes, “to stretch, stretch out, distend, extend” and by extension it tends to mean, “to direct one’s self or one’s course; to aim, strive, go, travel, march, tend, bend one’s course in any direction”. Affectus is “a state of body, and esp. of mind produced in one by some influence, a state or disposition of mind, affection, mood.” Thus, it is “love, desire, fondness, good-will, compassion, sympathy”. Substantia is going to be tricky, for it carries the weight of philosophical terminology and a long history of fights in the early Church in the context of the Christological controversies (was Christ “God”, that is of the same “substance” as the Father, or of “like” substance, etc.). The philosophical term “substance” also comes up in “transubstantiation” in which bread and wine are changed such that they are no longer the substances bread and wine but are now rather the substances of Christ’s Body or flesh and His Blood even thought the “accidents” or outward sensible characteristics remain the same. Substantia is therefore, as far as the L&S is concerned “that of which a thing consists, the being, essence, contents, material, substance”, though there is a lot more to the word than that in Catholic contexts.

Almighty eternal God,
who allow those established upon earth to treat of divine things,
grant, we beseech,
that the disposition of Christian devotion may bend our course to that place
where our substance is now with you.

In the Incarnation, God the Son, the Second Person, took our humanity, our substantia into an indestructible bond with His divinity, His substantia. In the Resurrection, our substantia rose from death in Christ. In His Ascension, the God Man took our human nature to be seated at the right hand of the Father. Our humanity is at this very moment already seated in bliss with the Father in the Person of the risen Christ. By living in friendship with Him in the state of grace and striving with real single-minded focus (devotio) to bend all that we say, do, think and desire toward that final end of heaven, God will give us the help we need to get there. He already gives us, in anticipation of that great homecoming in heaven (for our humanity is already home in Him), the greatest help of all: spiritual nourishment in the Eucharist. He permits us here in this fading and passing vale of tears to make loving use of unfading and eternal mysteries.

For those of you who may not have the transferred feast of Ascension Thursday Sunday…

LATIN (2002 Missale Romanum 7th Sunday of Easter):
Exaudi nos, Deus, salutaris noster,
ut per haec sacrosancta mysteria
in totius Ecclesiae confidamus corpore faciendum,
quod eius praecessit in capite.

This is new to the 1970MR though it is inspired by a prayer in the Veronese Sacramentary.

ICEL (1973 translation of the 1970MR):
God our Savior,
hear us,
and through this holy mystery give up hope
that the glory you have given Christ
will be given to the Church, his body.

Graciously hear us, O God, our salvation,
so that through these most sacred sacramental mysteries,
we may be confident that what has a forehand taken place in His Head
is to be done in the Body of the whole Church.

Clearly this is a reference to the mystery of the Ascension, since this (7th) Sunday is within the nine day period before Pentecost. This was the time of the “original” novena, as it were. The Lord Himself exhorted His disciples to pray and prepare themselves for what was to come: “Wait for the promise of the Father!” (Acts 1:4)

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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