Continuing our series on the unique features of the Dominican Breviary at Compline, we now come to the period between the Ascension and Pentecost.
Thursday, May 25, 2017
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Today, in the 1962 Dominican Rite Calendar, we celebrate the feast of the Translation of the Relics of Our Holy Father St. Dominic. Since today is the Vigil of the Ascension, only a commemoration of the feast is at Lauds. This is one of the three (3) traditional feast days in the Dominican calendar that were dedicated to our holy Father St. Dominic. The other two being his feast day (August 4) and the miraculous appearance of a painting attributed to him at the Convent of San Domenico in Soriano Calabria in 1530 (feast day September 15 in the 1909 calendar, and September 25 in later calendars).
This feast was the last of the “translation” feasts which used to glorify the liturgical calendar of the Order. In years past, the calendar included feasts for the translation of St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Peter Martyr.
Monday, May 22, 2017
One of the feasts removed from the Dominican calendar during the early 20th Century was that of St. Servatius, a 4th Century bishop who lived in Gaul. He was an unofficial protector of the Order of Preachers. In the 1909 Dominican Breviary, his feast is a totum duplex. In his book, "The History of the Dominican Liturgy", Fr. William Bonniwell, O.P., disputes the circumstances surrounding the legendary intervention by St. Servatius at the Chapter at Cologne. You can find his argument here (beginning on p. 242).
Saturday, May 13, 2017
Today, in the 1962 Dominican Rite Calendar, we celebrate the feast of Blessed Imelda Lambertini, virgin, of the Order of Preachers. Since today is the 100th anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima, we may pray the II Class office from the Common of the Saints, or the Saturday office of the B.V.M. A commemoration is made of Blessed Imelda at Lauds only.
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Today, in the 1962 Dominican Rite Calendar, we celebrate the feast of the beloved archbishop of Florence, St. Antonius, bishop, confessor, of the Order of Preachers. The feast is II Class and the semi-festive office is prayed according to the rubrics. At Lauds and Vespers, a commemoration is made of SS. Gordian and Epimachus, martyrs.
From the Martyrology:
At Florence, St. Antoninus, archbishop of the same city and a member of the Order of Preachers. On account of the excellence of his doctrine and his holiness, he was compelled to become bishop, although he was unwilling. He was illustrious for his mercy and his piety. He likewise excelled to a remarkable degree in sacerdotal zeal. He was so celebrated for his prudence and good counsel, that he was justly called "Antoninus the Counsellor." Famous for his virtues and his miracles, he departed for Heaven in the seventieth year of his life, on May 2. He lies buried in the Church of San Marco where he is held in high veneration by the people.
Monday, May 8, 2017
Today, in the 1962 Dominican Rite Calendar, we celebrate the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Mediatrix of All Graces. The feast is III Class, so the Ordinary Office is prayed. Like many III Class feasts in the Dominican Breviary, this office contains the full propers as if the feast were II Class. At Lauds, the Psalms of Sunday are prayed.
May is the month of Mary, our blessed Lady and Mother of God. Today we celebrate a wonderful Marian feast, with a beautiful Office. It honors our Blessed Lady's role in the salvation of mankind as mother of our Savior, and recognizes her universal mediation in the dispensing of all graces that come to us from Our Lord Jesus Christ. In his encyclical Octobri Mense (On the Rosary, September 22, 1891), Pope Leo XIII declared "We may affirm that nothing, by the will of God, is given to us without Mary's mediation, in such way that just as no one can approach the almighty Father but through His Son, like wise no one, so to speak, can approach Christ but through His Mother".
Sunday, May 7, 2017
Prior to the revision of the Breviary instituted by Pope St. Pius X, the Octave of St. Catherine of Siena would be celebrated today. This is one of the many octaves of the Dominican saints that were casualties of the revision of St. Pius X. Not all of the Dominican saints had octaves after their feast day, but the major ones like St. Catherine did. I think this is something that could have been retained, particularly as it was merely a commemoration at Lauds and Vespers. For the life of me, I do not see the harm in adding a commemoration, particularly of a saint that exemplifies so much of what the Order stands for.
In the 1909 Breviarium S.O.P., the octave was a solemn one, meaning that it ranked with other great octaves like that of St. Dominic and St. Thomas Aquinas. According to the Proper of the Saints, all was taken from the saints feast day, with the exception of Lessons i, ii, and iii at Matins, which were proper. These Lessons are extracts from the Bull of her Canonization. So today, we conclude our octave of St. Catherine of Siena.
O God, you enabled the blessed Catherine, graced with a special privilege of virginity and patience, to overcome the attacks of evil spirits and to remain unshaken in your love; grant, we beseech you, that following her example by treading underfoot the wickedness of the world, and overcoming the wiles of our enemies, we may pass tin safety to your glory. Through our Lord…