Saturday, 9 February 2013

Propers for Quinquagesima Sunday

Dom Prosper Gueranger

Here are the Traditional propers for Quinquagesima Sunday, in which we encounter the famous passage from St. Paul on the virtue of Charity. This is taken from The Liturgical Year, and again includes some of Dom Gueranger's ever-insightful commentary. 


The Station is in the Church of St. Peter, on the Vatican. The choice was suggested, as we learn from the Abbot Rupert’s Treatise on the Divine Offices, by the Lesson of the Law given to Moses, which used then to be read in this Sunday’s Office. Moses was looked upon, by the early Christians of Rome, as a type of St. Peter. The Church having, since that time, substituted the Vocation of Abraham for the passage from Exodus, (which is now deferred till Lent), - the Station for this Sunday is still in the Basilica of the Prince of the Apostles, who was prefigured also by Abraham, the Father of believers.
The Introit is the prayer of mankind, blind and wretched as the poor man of Jericho; it asks for pity from its Redeemer, and beseeches him to guide and feed it.

Esto mihi in Deum protectorem, et in locum refugii, ut salvum me facias: quoniam firmamentum meum, et refugium meum es tu: et propter Nomen tuum dux mihi eris et enutries me.
Ps. In te, Domine, speravi, non confundar in aeternum: in justitia tua libera me, et eripe me. Gloria Patri. Esto.
 Be thou unto me a God, a protector, and a house of refuge, to save me; for thou art my strength, and my refuge; and for thy name’s sake thou wilt lead me, and nourish me.
Ps. In thee, O Lord, have I hoped, let me never be confounded; deliver me in thy justice, and rescue me.
Glory. Be thou.

Preces nostras, quaesumus, Domine, clementer exaudi: atque a peccatorum vinculis absolutos, ab omni nos adversitate custodi. Per Dominum.
Mercifully hear our prayers, we beseech thee, O Lord, and being freed from the chains of our sins, preserve us from all adversity. Through, &c.

Then are added two other Collects, as in the Mass for Septuagesima Sunday, above.

Lectio Epistolae beati Pauli Apostoli ad Corinthios.
I. Cap. XIII.
Fratres, si linguis hominum loquar, et Angelorum, charitatem autem non ha beam, factns sum velut aes sonans, aut cymbalum tinniens. Et si habuero prophetiam, et noverim mysteria omnia, et omnem scientiam: et si habuero omnem fidem, ita ut montes transferam, charitatem autem non habuero, nihil sum. Et si distribuero in cibos pauperum omnes facultates meas; et si tradidero corpus meum ita ut ardeam, charitatem autem non habuero, nihil mihi prodest. Charitas patiens est, benigna est: charitas non aemulatur, non agit perperam, non inflatur, non est ambitiosa, non quaerit quae sua sunt, non irritatur, non cogitat malum, non gaudet super iniquitate, congaudet autem veritati: omnia suffert, omnia credit, omnia sperat, omnia sustinet. Charitas nunquam excidit: sive prophetiae evacuabuntur, sive linguae cessabunt, sive scientia destruetur. Ex parte enim cognoscimus, et ex parte prophetamus. Cum autem venerit quod perfectum est, evacuabitur quod ex parte est. Cum essem parvulus, loquebar ut parvulus, sapiebam ut parvulus, cogitabam ut parvulus. Quando autem factus sum vir, evacuavi quae erant parvuli. Videmus nunc per speculum in aenigmate: tunc autem facie ad faciem. Nunc cognosco ex parte: tunc autem cognoscam sicut et cognitus sum. Nunc autem manent fides, spes, charitas, tria haec: major autem horum est charitas.
Lesson of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.
Brethren, if I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity. I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy, and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity is patient, is kind, charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely; it is not puffed up, it is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never fadeth away; whether prophecies shall be made void, or tongues shall cease, or knowledge shall be destroyed. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away the things of a child. We now see through a glass in a dark manner; but then, face to face. Now I know in part; but then I shall know, even as I am known. And now there remain faith, hope, charity, these three but the greatest of these is charity.

How appropriate for this Sunday is the magnificent eulogy of Charity, here given by our Apostle! This virtue, which comprises the love both of God and our Neighbour, is the light of our souls. With out Charity, we are in darkness, and all our works are profitless. The very power of working miracles cannot give hope of salvation, unless he who does them have Charity. Unless we are in Charity, the most heroic acts of other virtues are but one snare more for our souls. Let us beseech our Lord to give us this light. But, let us not forget, that however richly he may bless us with it here below, the fulness of its brightness is reserved for when we are in heaven; and that the sunniest day we can have in this world, is but darkness when compared with tile splendour of our eternal charity. Faith will then give place, for we shall be face-to-face with all Truth; Hope will have no object, for we shall possess all Good; charity alone will continue, and, for this reason, is greater than Faith and Hope, which must needs accompany her in this present life. This being the glorious destiny reserved for man, when redeemed and enlightened by Jesus, is it to be wondered at, that we should leave all things, in order to follow such a Master? What should surprise us, and what proves how degraded is our nature by sin, is to see Christians, who have been baptised in this Faith and this Hope, and have received the first-fruits of this Love, indulging, during these days, in every sort of worldliness, which is only the more dangerous because it is fashionable. It would seem as though they were making it their occupation to extinguish within their souls the last ray of heavenly light, like men that had made a covenant with darkness. If there be Charity within our souls, it will make us feel these offences that are committed against our God, and inspire us to pray to him to have mercy on these poor blind sinners, hoc they are our brethren.

In the Gradual and Tract, the Church sings the praises of God’s goodness towards his elect. He has set them free from the slavish yoke of the world, by enlightening them with his grace; they are his own children, the favoured sheep of his pasture.

Tu es Deus qui facis mirabilia solus: notam fecisti in gentibus virtutem tuam.
V. Liberasti in brachio tuo populum tuum, filios Israel et Joseph.
Thou art God, thou alone dost wonders: thou hast made thy power known among the nations.
V. Thou hast delivered thy people, the children of Israel and Joseph, by the strength of thine arm.

Jubilate Deo omnis terra: servite Domino in laetitia.
V. Intrate in conspectu ejus, in exsultatione; scitote quoniam Dominus ipse est Deus.
V. Ipse fecit nos, et non ipsi nos: nos autem populus ejus et oves pascuae ejus.
Sing joyfully to God, all the earth: serve ye the Lord with gladness.
V. Come in before his presence with joy; know ye that the Lord he is God.
V. He made us, and not we ourselves: and we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam.
In illo tempore, assumpsit Jesus duodecim, et ait illis: Ecce ascendimus Jerosolymam, et consummabuntur omnia quae scripta sunt per Prophetas de Filio hominis. Tradetur enim gentibus, et illudetur, et flagellabitur, et conspuetur, et postquam flagellaverint, occident eum, et tertia die resurget. Et ipsi nihil horum intellexerunt, et erat verbum istud absconditum ab eis, et non intelligebant quae dicebantur. Factum est autem, cum appropinquaret Jericho, caecus quidam sedebat secus viam, mendicans. Et cum audisset turbam praetereuntem, interrogabat quid hoc esset. Dixerunt autem ei, quod Jesus Nazarenus transiret. Et clamavit dicens: Jesu, fili David, miserere mei. Et qui praeibant, increpabant eum ut taceret. Ipse vero magis clamabat: Fili David, miserere mei. Stans autem Jesus, jussit illum adduci ad se. Et cum appropinquasset, interrogavit illum dicens: Quid tibi vis faciam? At ille dixit: Domine, ut videam. Et Jesus dixit illi: Respice, fides tua te salvum fecit. Et confestim vidit, et sequebatur illum, magnificans Deum. Et omnis plebs ut vidit, dedit laudem Deo.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke.
At that time, Jesus took unto him the twelve, and said to them: Behold we go up to Jerusalem. and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man. For he shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and scourged, and spit upon and after they have scourged him, they will put him to death, and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things. And this word was hid from them, and they understood not the things that were said. Now it came to pass, that when he drew nigh to Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way-side, begging. And when he heard the multitude passing by, he asked what this meant. And they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out: Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me. And they that went before, rebuked him, that he should hold his peace. But he cried out much more: Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus standing, commanded him to be brought unto him. And when he was come near, he asked him, saying: What wilt thou that I do to thee? But he said: Lord, that I may see. And Jesus said to him: Receive thy sight; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he saw, and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people when they saw it, gave praise to God.

Jesus tells his Apostles, that his bitter Passion is at hand; it is a mark of his confidence in them but, they understand not what he says. They are as yet too carnal-minded to appreciate Our Saviour’s mission; still, they do not abandon him; they love him too much to think of separating from him. Greater by far than this, is the blindness of those false Christians, who, during these three days, not only do not think of the God, who shed his Blood and died for them, but are striving to efface from their souls every trace of the divine image! Let us adore that sweet Mercy, which has drawn us, as it did Abraham, from the midst of a sinful people; and let us, like the blind man of our Gospel, cry out to our Lord, beseeching him to grant us an increase of his holy light. This was his prayer: Lord that I may see. God has given us his light; but he gave it us, in order to excite within us the desire of seeing more and more clearly. He promised Abraham, that he would show him the place he had destined for him; may he grant us, also, to see the land of the living! But our first prayer must be, that he show us him self, as St. Augustine has so beautifully expressed it, that we may love him, and show us our own selves, that we may cease to love ourselves.

In the Offertory, the Church prays that her children may have the light of life, which consists in knowing the Law of God. She would have our lips pronounce his doctrine and the divine commandments, which he has brought us from heaven.

Benedictus es, Domine, doce me justificationes tuas: in labiis meis pronuntiavi omnia judicia oris tui.
Blessed art thou, O Lord, teach me thy justifications with my lips I have pronounced all the judgments of thy mouth.

Haec hostia, Domine, quaesumus, emundet nostra delicta; et ad sacrificium celebrandum, subditorum tibi corpora, mentesque sanctificet. Per Dominum.
May this offering, we beseech thee, O Lord, cleanse away our sins; and sanctify the bodies and souls of thy servants, to prepare them for worthily celebrating this sacrifice. Through, &c.

Then are added two other Secrets, as given in the Mass of Septuagesima Sunday, above.
The Communion-Antiphon commemorates the miracle of the Manna, which fed, in the desert, the descendants of Ahraham; and yet, this food, though it came from heaven, did not preserve them from death. The living Bread, which we have had given to us from heaven, gives eternal light to the soul: and be who eats it worthily, shall never die.

Munducaverunt et saturati sunt nimis, et desiderium eorum attulit eis Dominus: non sunt fraudati a desiderio suo.
They did eat and were filled exceedingly, and the Lord gave them their desire: they were not defrauded of that which they craved. 

Quaesumus, omnipotens Deus; ut qui coelestia alimenta percepimus, per haec contra omnia adversa muniamur. Per Dominum.
We beseech thee, O Almighty God, that we who have taken this heavenly food, may be defended by it from all adversity. Through, &c.

Then are added two other Postcommunions, as on Septuagesima Sunday, above.

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