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The Liturgical Year

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Under this heading of Proper of the Time, we here comprise the movable Office of the Sundays and Ferias of Advent. Though anxious to give to the faithful the flowers of the Advent liturgy, yet were we to bring forward even those which might be considered as the choicest, four volumes would have barely sufficed. The fear of making our work too expensive to the faithful, persuaded us to limit it within much narrower bounds, and out of the abundant treasures before us, to give what we thought could be least dispensed with.

The plan we have adopted is this: We give the whole of the Mass and Vespers for the four Sundays of Advent. On the ferial days, we give one, at least, of the lessons from Isaias, which are read in the Office of Matins; adding to this a hymn or sequence, or some other poetic liturgical composition. All these have been taken from the gravest sources, for example, from the Roman and Mozarabic breviaries, from the Greek anthology and menæa, from the missals of the middle ages, &c. After this hymn or sequence, we have given a prayer from the Ambrosian, Gallican, or Mozarabic missal. So that the faithful will find in our collection an unprecedented abundance of liturgical formulæ, each of which carries authority with it, as being taken from ancient and approved sources.

We have not thought it desirable to give a commentary to each of the liturgical formulæ inserted in our work. It seemed to us that they would be rendered sufficiently intelligible by the general explanation which runs through our work, in which explanation we have endeavoured to excite the devotion of the reader, give unity to the several parts, and afford solid instruction. We shall thus avoid all those repetitions and commonplace remarks, which do little more than fatigue the reader.

We have inserted the Great Antiphons and the Office of Christmas Eve in the proper of the saints, because both of these have fixed days in the calendar, and to put them in the proper of the time, as they stand in the breviary and missal, would have required us to introduce into a book, destined for the laity, rubrics somewhat complicated, which would, perhaps, not have been understood.

For more information on the season of Advent, visit here.

We apply the name of Christmas to the forty days which begin with the Nativity of our Lord, December 25, and end with the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, February 2. It is a period which forms a distinct portion of the Liturgical Year, as distinct, by its own special spirit, from every other, as are Advent, Lent, Easter, or Pentecost. One same Mystery is celebrated and kept in view during the whole forty days. Neither the Feasts of the Saints, which so abound during this Season; nor the time of Septuagesima, with its mournful Purple, which often begins before Christmastide is over, seem able to distract our Holy Mother the Church from the immense joy of which she received the good tidings from the Angels[1] on that glorious Night for which the world had been longing four thousand years. The Faithful will remember that the Liturgy commemorates this long expectation by the four penitential weeks of Advent.
[1] St Luke ii 10.

(From Chapter 1: The History of Christmas)

For more information on the season of Christmas, visit here.

This third section of the liturgical year is much shorter than the two preceding ones; and yet it is one of real interest. The season of Septuagesima has only three weeks of the Proper of the Time, and the feasts of the saints are far less frequent than at other periods of the year. The volume we now offer to the faithful may be called one of transition, inasmuch as it includes the period between two important seasons—viz., Christmas and Lent. We have endeavoured to teach them how to spend these three weeks; and our instructions, we trust, will show them that, even in this the least interesting portion of the ecclesiastical year, there is much to be learned. They will find the Church persevering in carrying out the one sublime idea which pervades the whole of her liturgy; and, consequently, they must derive solid profit from imbibing the spirit peculiar to this season.

Were we, therefore, to keep aloof from the Church during Septuagesima, we should not have a complete idea of her year, of which these three weeks form an essential part. The three preliminary chapters of this volume will convince them of the truth of our observation; and we feel confident that, when they have once understood the ceremonies, and formulas, and instructions, offered them by the Church during this short season, they will value it as it deserves.

For more information on the season of Septuagesima, visit here.

We begin, with this volume, the holy season of Lent; but such is the richness of its liturgy, that we have found it impossible to take our readers beyond the Saturday of the fourth week. Passion-week and Holy Week, which complete the forty days of yearly penance, require to be treated at such length, that we could not have introduced them into this volume without making it inconveniently large.

The present volume is a very full one, although it only comprises the first four weeks of the season of Lent. We have called it Lent; and yet the two weeks of the next volume are also comprised in Lent; nay, they are its most important and sacred part. But, in giving the name of Lent to this first section, we have followed the liturgy itself, which applies this word to the first four weeks only; giving to the two that remain the names of Passion-week and Holy Week. Our next volume will, therefore, be called Passiontide and Holy Week.

For more information on Lent, visit here.

After having proposed the forty-days’ fast of Jesus in the desert to the meditation of the faithful during the first four weeks of Lent, the holy Church gives the two weeks which still remain before Easter to the commemoration of the Passion. She would not have her children come to that great day of the immolation of the Lamb, without having prepared for it by compassionating with Him in the sufferings He endured in their stead.

(From Chapter 1: The History of Passiontide and Holy Week)

For more information on Passiontide and Holy Week, visit here.

WITH this volume we begin the season of Easter, wherein are accomplished the mysteries prepared for, and looked forward to, since Advent. Such are the liturgical riches of this portion of the Christian year, that we have found it necessary to devote three volumes to it.

The present volume is wholly taken up with Easter Week. A week is indeed a short period; but such a week as this, with the importance of the events it brings before us, and the grandeur of the mysteries it celebrates, is, at least, equivalent to any other section of our Liturgical Year. We have abridged our explanations as much as possible; and yet we have exceeded two-thirds of one of our ordinary volumes. Hence, it was out of the question to add the remaining weeks; the more so, as the saints’ feasts recommence on the Monday following the Easter Octave, and their insertion would have obliged us to have made our volume considerably more bulky than even that of Passiontide. We have, therefore, been satisfied with giving the Mass and Office of the Annunciation, already given in our volume for Lent, but which are needed for the Monday after Low Sunday, when Easter falls between March 22 and April 2, which is frequently the case.

For more information on Paschal Tide, visit here.

This volume opens to us the second part of the Liturgical Year, beginning the long period of the Time after Pentecost. It treats of the feasts of the most holy Trinity, of Corpus Christi, and of the sacred Heart of Jesus. These three feasts require to be explained apart. Their dates depend on that of Easter; and yet they are detached, if we consider their object, from the moveable cycle, whose aim is to bring before us, each year, the successive, and so to speak historic, memories of our Lord’s mysteries. After the sublime drama, which has, by gradually presenting to us the facts of our Redeemer’s history, shown us the divine economy of the redemption, these feasts immediately follow, and give us a deep and dogmatic teaching: a teaching which is a marvellous synthesis, taking in the whole body of Christian doctrine.

The Holy Ghost has come down upon the earth, in order to sanctify it. Faith being the one basis of all sanctification, and the source of love, the holy Spirit would make it the starting-point of His divine workings in the soul. To this end, He inspires the Church, which has sprung up into life under the influence of His impetuous breathing, to propose at once to the faithful that doctrinal summary, which is comprised in the three feasts immediately coming after Pentecost. The volumes following the present one will show us the holy Spirit continuing His work, and, on the solid foundations of the faith He established at the outset, building the entire superstructure of the Christian virtues.

This was the idea which the author of the Liturgical year was busy developing in the second part of his work, when death came upon him; and the pen that had begun this volume was put by obedience into the hands of one, who now comes before the faithful, asking their prayers for the arduous task he has undertaken, of continuing the not quite finished work of his beloved father and master. He begs of them to beseech our Lord, that He Himself will vouchsafe to bring to a successful termination an undertaking that was begun for His honour and glory, and that has already produced so much fruit in the souls of men.

Br. L.F. O.S.B.

Solesmes, May 10, 1879.

 

For more information on Time after Pentecost, visit here.

Introduction to the Season of advent

Introduction to the Season of CHRISTMAS

For more information on the season of Christmas, visit here.

Introduction to the Season of Septuagesima

Introduction to the Season of Lent

Introduction to passiontide and holy week

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

This Office, which concludes the day, commences by a warning of the dangers of the night; then immediately follows the public confession of our sine, as a powerful means of propitiating the divine justice, and of obtaining God’s help, now that we are going to spend so many hours in the unconscious, and therefore dangerous, state of sleep, which is also such an image of death.

The lector, addressing the priest, says to him:

℣. Jube, domne, benedicere.
℣. Pray, father, give thy blessing.

The priest answers:

Noctem quietam, et finem perfectum concedat nobis Dominus omnipotens. ℟. Amen.

May the almighty Lord grant us a quiet night, and a perfect end. ℟. Amen.


The lector then reads these words, from the first Epistle of St. Peter:

Fratres: Sobrii estote et vigilate: quia adversarius vester diabolus tamquam leo rugiens circuit, quærens quem devoret: cui resistite fortes in fide. Tu autem, Domine, miserere nobis.

Brethren, be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour: whom resist ye, strong in faith. But thou, O Lord, have mercy on us.


The choir answers:

℟. Deo gratias.

℟. Thanks be to God.


Then the priest:

℣. Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini.

℣. Our help is in the name of the Lord.


The choir:

℟. Qui fecit cœlum et terram.

℟. Who hath made heaven and earth.


Then the Lord’s Prayer is recited in secret; after which the priest says the Confiteor, and when he has finished, the choir repeats it. The priest, having pronounced the general form of absolution, says:

℣. Converte nos, Deus, Salutaris noster.
℟. Et averte iram tuam a nobis.

℣. Deus, in adjutorium meum intende.
℟. Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina.

Gloria Patri.

Ant. Miserere.
℣. Convert us, O God our Saviour.
℟. And turn away thine anger from us.

℣. Incline unto mine aid, O God.
℟. O Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory, &c.

Ant. Have mercy.

The first psalm expresses the confidence with which the just man sleeps in peace; but the wicked know not what calm rest is.

Psalm 4

Cum invocarem exaudivit me Deus justitiæ meæ: in tribulatione dilatasti mihi.
Miserere mei: et exaudi orationem meam.
Filii hominum, usquequo gravi corde? ut quid diligitie vanitatem, et quæritis mendacium?
Et scitote quoniam mirificavit Dominus sanctum suum; Dominus exaudiet me, cum clamavero ad eum.
Irascimini, et nolite peccare: quæ dicitis in cordibus vestris, in cubilibus vestris compungimini.
Sacrificate sacrificium justitiæ, et sperate in Domino: multi dicunt: Quis ostendit nobis bona?
Signatum est super nos lumen vultus tui, Domine: dedisti lætitiam in corde meo.
A fructu frumenti, vini et olei sui: raultiplicati sunt.
In pace in idipsum: dormiam et requiescam.
Quoniam tu, Domine, singulariter in spe: constituisti me.
When I called upon him, the God of my justice heard me: when I was in distress thou hast enlarged me.
Have mercy on me: and hear my prayer.
O ye sons of men, how long will ye be dull of heart? why do ye love vanity, and seek after lying?
Know ye, also, that the Lord hath made his holy One wonderful: the Lord will hear me, when I shall cry unto him.
Be ye angry, and sin not: the things ye say in your hearts, be sorry for them upon your beds.
Offer up the sacrifice of justice, and trust in the Lord: many say, Who showeth us good things?
The light of thy countenance, O Lord, is signed upon us: thou hast given gladness in my heart.
By the fruit of their corn, their wine, and oil, they are multiplied.
In peace, in the self-same, I will sleep, and I will rest.
For thou, O Lord, singularly hast settled me in hope.

The second psalm gives the motives of the just man’s confidence, even during the dangers of the night. There is no snare neglected by the demons; but the good angels watch over us, with brotherly solicitude. Then we have God Himself speaking, and promising to send us a Saviour.

Psalm 90

Qui habitat in adjutorio Altissimi: in protectione Dei cœli commorabitur.
Dicet Domino: Susceptor meus es tu, et refugium meum, Deus meus, sperabo in eum.
Quoniam ipse liberavit me de laqueo venantium: et a verbo aspero.
Scapulis suis obumbrabit tibi: et sub pennis ejus sperabie.
Scuto circumdabit te veritas ejus: non timebis a timore nocturno.
A sagitta volante in die, a negotio perambulante in tenebris: ab incursu, et dæmonio meridiano.
Cadent a latere tuo mille, et decem millia a dextris tuis: ad te autem non appropinquabit.
Verumtamen oculis tuis considerable: et retributionem peccatorum videbis.
Quoniam tu es, Domine, spes mea: Altissimum posuisti refugium tuum.
Non accedet ad te malum: et flagellum non appropinquabit tabernaculo tuo.
Quoniam angelis suis mandavit de te: ut custodiant te in omnibus viis tuis.
In manibus portabunt te: ne forte offendas ad lapidem pedem tuum.
Super aspidem et basiliscum ambulabis: et conculcabis leonem et draconem.
Quoniam in me speravit, liberabo eum: protegam eum, quoniam cognovit nomen meum.
Clamabit ad me, et ego exaudiam eum: cum ipso sum in tribulatione, eripiam eum, et glorificabo eum.
Longitudine dierum replebo eum: et ostendam illi salutare meum.
He that dwelleth in the aid of the Most High, shall abide under the protection of the God of heaven.
He shall say unto the Lord: Thou art my protector, and my refuge: my God, in him will I trust.
For he hath delivered me from the snare of the hunters: and from the sharp word.
He will overshadow thee with his shoulders: and under his wings thou shalt trust.
His truth shall compass thee with a shield: thou shalt not be afraid of the terror of the night.
Of the arrow that flieth in the day: of the business that walketh about in the dark: of invasion, or of the noonday devil.
A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
But thou shalt consider with thine eyes: and shalt see the reward of the wicked.
Because thou hast said: Thou, O Lord, art my hope: thou hast made the Most High thy refuge.
There shall no evil come unto thee, nor shall the scourge come near thy dwelling.
For he hath given his angels charge over thee: to keep thee in all thy ways.
In their hands they shall bear thee up: lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Thou shalt walk upon the asp and basilisk: and thou shalt trample under foot the lion and the dragon.
God will say of thee: Because he hoped in me, I will deliver him: I will protect him, because he hath known my name.
He will cry unto me, and I will hear him: I am with him in tribulation, I will deliver him, and I will glorify him.
I will fill him with length of days: and I will show him my salvation.

The third psalm invites the servants of God to persevere, with fervour, in the prayers they offer during the night. The faithful should say this psalm in a spirit of gratitude to God, for raising up in the Church adorers of His holy name, whose grand vocation is to lift up their hands, day and night, for the safety of Israel. On such prayers depend the happiness and the destinies of the world.

Psalm 133

Ecce nunc benedicite Dominum: omnes servi Domini.
Qui statis in domo Domini: in atriis domus Dei nostri.
In noctibus extollite manus vestras in sancta: et benedicite Dominum.
Benedicat te Dominus ex Sion: qui fecit cœlum et terrain.

Ant. Miserere mihi, Domine, et exaudi orationem meam.
Behold! now bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord.
Who stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God.
In the nights, lift up your hands to the holy places, and bless ye the Lord.
Say to Israel: May the Lord, out of Sion, bless thee, he that made heaven and earth.

Ant. Have mercy on me, O Lord, and hear my prayer.

Hymn[1]

Te lucis ante terminum,
Rerum Creator, poscimus,
Ut pro tua dementia,
Sis præsul et custodia.

Procul recedant somnia,
Et noctium phantasmata;
Hostemque nostrum comprime,
Ne polluantur corpora.

Præsta, Pater piissime,
Patrique compar Unice,
Cum Spiritu Paraclito
Regnans per omne sæculum.

Amen.
Before the closing of the light,
we beseech thee, Creator of all things!
that, in thy clemency,
thou be our protector and our guard.

May the dreams and phantoms
of the night depart from us;
and do thou repress our enemy,
lest our bodies be profaned.

Most merciful Father!
and thou, his only-begotten Son, co-equal
with him reigning for ever,
with the holy Paraclete, grant this our prayer!

Amen.

Capitulum
(Jeremias xiv.)

Tu autem in nobis es, Domine, et nomen sanctum tuum invocatum est super nos: ne derelinquas nos, Domine, Deus noster.

℟. In manus tuas, Domine: * Commendo spiritum meum. In manus tuas.
℣. Redemisti nos, Domine Deus veritatis. * Commendo.
Gloria. In manus tuas.

℣. Custodi nos, Domine, ut pupillam oculi.
℟. Sub umbra alarum tuarum protege nos.
But thou art in us, O Lord, and thy holy name hath been invoked upon us: forsake us not, O Lord, our God.

℟. Into thy hands, O Lord: * I commend my spirit. Into thy hands.
℣. Thou hast redeemed us, O Lord God of truth. * I commend.
Glory. Into thy hands.

℣. Preserve us, O Lord, as the apple of thine eye.
℟. Protect us under the shadow of thy wings.

The canticle of the venerable Simeon—who, while holding the divine Infant in his arms, proclaimed Him to be the light of the Gentiles, and then slept the sleep of the just—is admirably appropriate to the Office of Compline. Holy Church blesses God for having dispelled the darkness of night by the rising of the Sun of justice; it is for love of Him, that she toils the whole day through, and rests during the night, saying: ‘I sleep, but my heart watcheth.’[2]

Canticle Of Simeon
(St. Luke ii.)

Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine: secundum verbum tuum in pace.
Quia viderunt oculi mei: salutare tuum.
Quod parasti: ante faciem omnium populorum.
Lumen ad revelationem Gentium: et gloriam plebis tuæ Israel.
Gloria.

Ant. Salva nos, Domine, vigilantes; custodi nos dormientes, ut vigilemus cum Christo, et requiescamus in pace.

Oremus.

Visita, quæsumus, Domine, habitationem istam, et omnes insidias inimici ab ea
longe repelle: angeli tui sancti habitent in ea, qui nos in pace custodiant: et benedictio tua sit super nos semper. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum.

℟. Amen.

℣. Dominus vobiscum.
℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

℣. Benedicamus Domino.
℟. Deo gratias.

Benedicatet custodiat nos omnipotens et misericors Dominus, Pater et Filius, et Spiritus sanctus.
℟. Amen.
Now dost thou dismiss thy servant O Lord, according to thy word, in peace.
Because mine eyes have seen thy salvation.
Which thou hast prepared; before the face of all peoples.
A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
Glory, &c.

Ant. Save us, O Lord, while awake, and watch us as we sleep, that we may watch with Christ, and rest in peace.

Let us Pray.

Visit, we beseech thee, O Lord, this house and family, and drive from it all snares of the enemy: let thy holy angels dwell herein, who may keep us in peace, and may thy blessing be always upon us. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.

℟. Amen.

℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.

℣. Let us bless the Lord.
℟. Thanks be to God.

May the almighty and merciful Lord, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, bless and preserve us.
℟. Amen.

Anthem to the Blessed Virgin

Salve, Regina, mater misericordiæ.
Vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamamus, exsules filii Hevæ;
Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes in hac lacrymarum valle.

Eia, ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte;
Et Jesum benedictum fructum ventris tui, nobis post hoc exilium ostende;
O clemens,
O pia,
O dulcis Virgo Maria.

℣. Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei Genitrix.
℟. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.

Oremus.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui gloriosæ Virginis Matris Mariæ corpus et animam, ut dignum Filii tui habitaculum effici mereretur, Spiritu sancto cooperante, præparasti: da ut cujus commemoratione lætamur, ejus pia intercessione ab instantibus malis et a morte perpetua liberemur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum.

℟. Amen.

℣. Divinum auxilium maneat semper nobiscum.
℟. Amen.
Hail, holy Queen, mother of mercy.
Our life, our sweetness, and our hope, all hail!
To thee we cry, poor banished children of Eve:
To thee we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears.

Turn, then, most gracious advocate! thine eyes of mercy towards us.
And, after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus;
O merciful,
O kind,
O sweet Virgin Mary!

℣. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,
℟. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us Pray.

O almighty and everlasting God, who by the co-operation of the Holy Ghost, didst prepare the body and soul of Mary, glorious Virgin and Mother, to become the worthy habitation of thy Son: grant that we may be delivered from present evils, and from everlasting death, by her gracious intercession, in whose commemoration we rejoice. Through the same Christ our Lord.

℟. Amen.

℣. May the divine assistance remain always with us.
℟. Amen.

Then in secret Pater, Ave, and Credo; page 12.


[1] According to the monastic rite, as follows: Te lucis ante terminum, Rerum Creator, poscimus, Ut solita dementia Sis præsul ad custodiam. Procul recedant somnia Et noctium phantasmata; Hostemque nostrum comprime, Ne polluantur corpora. Præsta Pater omnipotens, Per Jesum Christum Dominum, Qui tecum in perpetuum Regnat cum sancto Spiritu. Amen.
[2] Cant. v. 2.
[3] In the monastic rite this response is as follows: ℟. Et cum fratribus nostris absentibus. Amen. ℟. And with our absent brethren. Amen.

 

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