Friday, October 25, 2013

First Vespers in the Dominican Rite - The Responsory

This is the second post on the differences between the Dominican and Roman Breviaries.  In a previous post, we talked about the Psalms used for 1st Vespers for a 1st Class feast.  Another difference between the Dominican and Roman Breviary is the responsory after the Little Chapter at 1st Vespers.

First Vespers for the Feast of St. Dominic (Breviarium S.O.P., 1962)

As noted in the "General Rubrics Of The Breviary - According To The Rite Of The Sacred Order Of Friars Preachers" (226):
"At 1st Vespers of every feast a responsory is said after the little chapter; similarly at 1st Vespers of Sunday when the Sunday sequence is started on its own first Sunday"
Each 1st Class Feast in the Breviary has a responsory at 1st Vespers.  The "sequence" noted above in the excerpt from the rubrics refers to the "historia", at Matins.  So on each Sunday when a new historical book is begun at Matins (see figure below for the first Sunday of August), there is a responsory.  On other Sundays there is not.

Fr, Bonniwell, O.P. (The History of the Dominican Liturgy) tells us that many of these responsories are from antiquity, and are carryovers from the ancient Roman office that the Dominicans adopted when they chose the basis of their Office in the mid 13th Century.  The practice is also part of the monastic breviary.  St Benedict, in his Rule, (How Many Psalms Are To Be Said At These Hours, Chapter 17), notes:
"Let the Vespers service consist of four psalms with antiphons.  After these psalms, let a lesson be recited; and then the responsory, hymn, versicle, canticle from the Gospels, Kyrie eleison, and the Lord's Prayer to conclude". [Emphasis added]

The First Sunday of August, where the Book of Solomon
is begun at Matins (Breviarium S.O.P., 1962).
This beautiful tradition, which preserves many of the magnificent elements of the Dominican Breviary that so many Dominican saints and blesseds prayed, is one of the reasons that I pray the 1962 Dominican Rite Office.

Some samples of these responsories, taken from throughout the Dominican liturgical year, are given below:

First Sunday of Advent:
.  The angel Gabriel was sent to Mary, a virgin betrothed to Joseph, to bring word to her; and the virgin feared very much at the light.  Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with the Lord.  Behold, you will conceive and give birth to a child, * and he will be called the Son of the Most High.  .  The Lord God will give to him the throne of his father, David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever. – And he will be called. – Glory. – And he will be called.

The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ:
.  Judea and Jerusalem, fear not; * tomorrow go out and the Lord will be with you.  .  Stand firm, you will see the victory of the Lord on your behalf. – Tomorrow go out. – Glory. – And the Lord will be with you.

Septuagesima Sunday:
℟.  Thus the heavens and the earth were finished and all the host of them; and on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done. * And he rested from all his work which he had done.  ℣.  And God saw all he had done, and it was very good. – And he rested. – Glory. – From all his work which he had done.

Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, C, D, O.P.
℟.  He is seen with a cloak embroidered with gems, and wearing a crown with a double circlet.  A heavenly radiance coming from a jeweled necklace is diffused through the world. * Augustine speaks to the brother in this way:  ℣. “Thomas is my equal in glory, but his is superior in virginal chastity.” – Augustine speaks. – Glory. – Augustine speaks.

1st Sunday of August
℟.  Alone I have made the circuit of the vault of heaven, and have walked in the waves of the sea; in every people and nation I have got a possession; * by my own power I trod on the neck of the proud and haughty. ℣.  I dwell in high places and my throne is in a pillar of cloud. – By my own. – Glory. – By my own.

Feast of Our Holy Father Dominic
℟.  O wonderful hope, which you gave to those who wept for you at the hour of your death, promising that after your decease you would be helpful to your brethren! * Fulfill, Father, what you have said, and help us by your prayers.  ℣.  You shone on the bodies of the sick by so many miracles.  Bring us the help of Christ to heal our sick souls. – Fulfill. – Glory. – Fulfill.

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
℟.  Blessed are you, Mary, who believed in the Lord.  Those things that were spoken to you are fulfilled in you.  Behold, you have been exalted above the choirs of angels. * Intercede for us with the Lord Jesus Christ. ℣.  You are blessed and worthy of veneration, O Virgin Mary, who, without any violation of purity, were found to be mother of the Savior. – Intercede. – Glory. – Intercede.

Feast of All Saints of the Order of Preachers

℟.  Who are these, clothed in white robes, and whence have they come?  These are they who have washed their robes and made them white * in the blood of the Lamb. ℣.  Therefore are they before the throne of God, and they serve him day and night within his temple. – In the blood of the Lamb. – Glory. – In the blood of the Lamb.