Sunday, January 24, 2016

Septuagesima Sunday: The Wounds Of Sin

At 1st Vespers yesterday, the holy Season of Septuagesima begins...the pre-preparation for the Season of Lent.  At Pretiosa, the reading from the martyrology began "Septuagesima Sunday -- the Sunday on which is discontinued the Canticle of the Lord, the Alleluia."

As in the Roman Breviary, the Gospel reading is the parable of the householder who hires laborers to work in his vineyard.  At Matins, Lesson iii is an excerpt from St. Gregory the great's magnificent homily on this parable.  It is one of my favorite patristic homilies, and I return to it often during the year, reading bits and pieces of it now and again, for spiritual edification.  If you have a relative or loved one who has fallen away from the Church, and you are anxious for their eternal welfare, I highly recommend this homily.  You can find an English translation of it here.

In 2014, I did a post in which I noted the uniqueness of the Magnificat antiphon that is used in the Dominican Breviary for 1st Vespers of this Sunday.   What I didn't realize at the time, was that this antiphon is used at 1st Vespers from the 2nd Sunday after the Epiphany up to Septuagesima Sunday (inclusive).  I don't know anything about it's origin, but it is a brief and beautiful summary of the absolute necessity of humility and repentance for any healthy interior life.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

January 23: St. Raymond of Pennafort, C., O.P., II Class

Today, in the 1962 Dominican Rite Calendar, we celebrate the feast of St. Raymond of Pennafort, Confessor, of the Order of Preachers. At the time the 1962 Breviary was published, his feast was III Class and contained a full set of propers for the entire office. So the semi-festive office is prayed, according to the rubrics. Between then, and the printing of the 1967 English translation of the Breviary, the Order made his feast II Class. At Lauds, the Psalms of Sunday are prayed and a commemoration of St. Emerentiana, virgin and martyr is made.

From “Short Lives of the Dominican Saints” (London, Kegan Paul, Trench, and Trübner & Co., Ltd., 1901):

Monday, January 18, 2016

January 18: St. Margaret of Hungary, V., O.P., III Class

Today, in the 1962 Dominican Rite Calendar, we celebrate the feast of St. Margaret of Hungary, virgin, of the Order of Preachers.  The feast is III Class, and the office is prayed according to the rubrics.  All is taken from the Proper of the Saints, and at Lauds the Psalms of Sunday are prayed.  At Lauds and Vespers a commemoration is made of St.  Prisca, virgin and martyr.  In addition, a second commemoration is made at Lauds of the office of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday.  At Pretiosa, the obit of Barnabas of Vercelli, 15th Master General of the Order is read.

This is one of my favorite feasts on the Dominican calendar.  This saintly heir to the Hungarian throne is one of the numerous saints who adorn the liturgical calendar who sprang from royal blood.  We live in a time of political confusion and darkness.  We also live in an era in which there is great misunderstanding, akin to myth or even superstition, regarding the historical monarchical form of  government which is part of the glorious heritage of Christendom.  Saints like St. Margaret of Hungary, along with countless other examples of royalty being raised to the altars of the Church, attest to the fact that not all kings and queens were tyrants or scoundrels.   Indeed, the propers for today's feast are replete with examples of her sanctity from the accounts of her life, and attest to the level of sanctity that she achieved through her glorious union with Almighty God.

Friday, January 15, 2016

January 15: St. Francis de Capillas, O.P., St. Peter Sanz, B., O.P., Mm. III Class

Today, in the 1962 Dominican Rite Calendar, we celebrate the protomartyr of China, St. Francis de Capillas. The feast is III Class, so the Ordinary Office is prayed.  At the time of the 1962 calendar, Francis was a blessed. He was canonized by Pope St. John Paul II on October 1, 2000.  He was canonized along with Blessed Peter Sanz and his companions, all of whom are recognized as the Martyrs of China.   The traditional feast day for Bl. Peter Sanz and his companions was June 3.  Fr. Augustine Thompson, O.P.’s Dominican Rite Calendar (see sidebar) assigns this day as the date for celebrating all of these Dominican Saints who were martyred in China.

Since there is a traditional collect for each feast day, I pray the office as if the day were a II Class feast of many martyrs (psalms and antiphons from the day, with the remainder from the Common of Many Martyrs).  I then pray the two collects prayers under one conclusion, followed by the commemoration of St. Paul the Hermit and then St. Maurus).

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Ferial Office During Epiphanytide

This year, during the season of the Epiphany (January 6 through January 12), we will pray the ferial office 4 times.  In the Dominican Breviary, the ferial office in Epiphany season is similar to that of the Roman Breviary, with slight differences.  The hymn at Lauds is different, as are some of the versicles.

The ferial days in Epiphany-tide are IV Class, so when a III Class feast occurs on the calendar, no commemoration is made of the ferial office.

January is a nice month in the Dominican sanctorale, even in the 1962 calendar.  The month starts off with St. Zedislavae Berkianae, Mat., O.P. on January 3 (although her feast was impeded by a Sunday this year).  Next up is St. Francis de Capillis and St. Peter Sanz and Companions on January 15.  Traditionally, January 15 was the feast of Bl. Francis de Capillis.  However, when St. Peter Sanz and his companions were canonized in 2000, being martyrs of China they were grouped together with St. Francis, who is considered the protomartyr of China.  Next comes St. Margaret of Hungary on January 18, one of the numerous saints of the Hungarian nobility, and a personal favorite of mine.  Finally, on January 23, we have the feast of St. Raymond of Pennafort, patron saint of canon lawyers.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Ad Pretiosa (Part I)

If you are coming to the Dominican Breviary from the Roman Breviary, as I did back in 2010, one of the biggest differences that you will notice between the two breviaries is that of the office of Prime.  The first thing you will notice in the Ordinary of the Dominican breviary is the brevity of the hour of Prime.  The next thing you will notice is what appears to be the existence of an other hour, entitled Pretiosa.

There is little information on the internet about this hour, if that is indeed what it is.  In the Ordinary, it certainly appears as a distinct hour of the Office.   However, in content, it is a mix of prayers and devotions from Prime, as well as additional prayers and devotions.  In "The History of the Dominican Liturgy", where he is describing the liturgical practices according to the original Dominican Office, Fr. Bonniwell treats of it briefly in his description of the Office of Lauds:
"While the Laudate was being said, the friar appointed to read the martyrology approached the prior and inquired in a low voice: "Chapter?"  If he replied: "No," the martyrology was read in choir; if he said, "After Prime," it was deferred until this time; but if he answered, "Yes," then the reading was to take place in the chapter-room as soon as lauds ends.
Accordingly the friars left the chapel and entered the chapter-room where the martyrology was read and pretiosa was recited.  The reading of the martyrology and the recitation of pretiosa in the chapter-room, especially after prime, was the common practice of the monastic Orders in the Middle Ages.  On the feasts of nine lessons, Ash Wednesday, and the vigil of Christmas, it was customary to have a sermon after pretiosa."
So it appears as though the practice of splitting off some of what is considered part of Prime (the martyrology and versicles and prayers that go with it) and reciting them separately in choir or in the chapter-room is not unique to the Dominicans.  The other thing he notes is that the form of pretiosa found in the oldest Dominican Breviary known to exist (the "breviary-antiphonary found in the archives of the Order), and that found in the 1962 Breviarium S.O.P., are virtually identical:
The only difference between the pretiosa of the breviary-antiphonary and that of today is that the reading from the Gospel or from the Constitutions (not from the Rule of St. Augustine as at present) continued until the officiant gave the signal to stop.  Those absent from the office recited the prologue to the Rule of St. Augustine in lace of the reading from the Gospel or the Constitutions.
The rubrics for the Dominican office state that Pretiosa is said after Lauds or after Prime.  It begins immediately with the reading from the Martyrology (for the following day of course), followed by the versicle and response:

.  Pretiósa in conspéctu Dómini.
.  Mors Sanctórum eius.
.  Precious in the eyes of the Lord.
.  Is the death of his saints.

The hour draws its name from this opening prayer.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Ferial Office During Christmastide

In the 1962 Breviarium S.O.P., the ferial days of Christmastide (January 2-5) contained no feast days of saints or blesseds, so the ferial day was prayed on each of those days, unless one of them fell on Sunday.  The liturgical rank of these ferial days was IV Class.  Of course, in previous editions of the Breiary, January 2 was the feast of Blessed Stephana Quinzani and January 3 was the feast of St. (then blessed) Zedislavae Berkianae.  On my calendar, I follow Fr. Augustine Thompson rule of including the Dominican saints who were merely blessed in the older calendar.  

So I add St. Zedislavae back into the calendar, even though she was removed in the 1962 revision.  Unfortunately this year, her feast is impeded by the feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus.

The Christmastide ferial office is is prayed as follows: