14 August 2016

Evening Prayer today

August 14 is a day to say Vespers from any form of the Roman Rite which precedes the post-Conciliar 'reforms'. So as to have the magical experience of actually beginning the Office with that great shout of triumph and joy suddenly going forth: Assumpta est Maria in caelum gaudent Angeli laudantes benedicunt Dominum. Imagine the day of Mary's Transitus and that cry re-echoing ever outwards among the innumerable circles of the oyeresu to the uttermost extremes of the Universe! Compare that with the pedantic Marian minimalism of the Liturgy of the Hours. You can just imagine those grim committee-men sitting round their table ... "We really had better begin the Assumption by setting it in the theological context of the Ascension of Christ". I gather, incidentally, that the Antiphonale offers as the first antiphon at first Vespers Quae est ista, which at least shows a decent liturgical sense still surviving somewhere!

Even the Pius XII forms still have Ave Maris Stella at II Vespers, despite Fr Genovesi's dominance of the rest of the Hymnody. In Pius XII's time they at least kept Ave Maris Stella for II Vespers on most Marian Festivals. The 'reformers' knew better and they knew wrong.

The real loss in 1951 was of the Collect for the Assmption. We beseech thee O Lord forgive the offences of thy servants: that we who are not able to please thee by our own deserts; may by the intercession of the Mother of thy Son our Lord be saved. (Happily, it survives as an optional collect for our Lady in the Liturgia Horarum.) It was replaced by a modern composition which I must confess to finding inferior to the older one. The older collect emphasises the ancient conviction of East and West that the purpose of the Assumption is that our Lady might intercede for us; it reminds us that only through the Mediatrix of All Graces, reigning body and soul in heavenly glory, can we attain Salvation; it always reminds me of the homilies of the Greek Fathers, culminating in S Gregory Palamas, about the Mediation of our Lady. And of the plea one hears in the Byzantine Rite Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Indeed ... soson hemas ...

9 comments:

alwelborn said...

I really enjoy your emphasis on connecting the Assumption with Our Lady being the Mediatress of All Graces, but I do have a question. Why was her bodily Assumption needed for her office of mediator? Other saints intercede for us without a body.

Bailey Walker said...

Well, at least the Assumpta est Maria, survives in the Responsorium breve of First Vespers for the Assumption in the Liturgia Horarum. Not really the same, of course, but at least it's there.

vetusta ecclesia said...


The ugliness of the current collect is attributable largely to its convoluted nature both in Latin and English.

Banshee said...

Jesus is in Heaven in His Body.

His enthroned gebirah (queen mother) should also have a body. It's just fitting. And the most important part of a gebirah's job was to counsel and support her son, while interceding with him for the people.

I don't know if there are more reasons than that.

geneticallycatholic said...

l always understood that Mary's bodily Assumption into heaven was because she was sinless. As such,she was not subject to death as she did not have original sin.

It is so wonderful to think of Our Lady as Mediatrix of all Graces. Through her yes to the Incarnation, she was the conduit of our Lord who took upon Himself our sin. It makes total sense too that Our Lady would be the conduit of all graces through her 'yes'. She is intercessor par excellence. Hail Mary, full of grace. ...

Jaroslav Bublinec said...

True, the saints are mediators, but not of all graces. It is only the Deipara who is full of grace (and fascinatingly has ever been: Ab initio et ante sæcula creata sum, et usque ad futurum sæculum non desinam: et in habitatione sancta coram ipso ministravi), immeasurably more than all the angels and saints combined, and as such She is able to mediate all graces (which is again more than the rest combined). Meanwhile, in order to serve as a fitting channel for distributing all graces, the fullness of grace in Herself must be complete: concerning both the soul and body (Ierusalem, quæ ædificatur ut civitas, cuius participatio eius in idipsum). As it was necessary that She would be integrally (body and soul) full of grace for containing the One whom it is impossible to contain and bearing for the world its salvation and the very Source of all graces, the same applies for Her distribution of graces (including salvation) from Her heavenly throne. Indeed: Υπεραγία Θεοτόκε, σώσον ημάς.

Fr PJM said...

As the Prior of Silverstream would point out, or used to point out, the Missal of Paul VI offers a way of restoration: use the beautiful old collect to conclude the Bidding Prayers or General Intercessions.

Richard Down said...

The old collect was used this evening at Solemn Mass on the feast of the Assumption and Patronal Festival at the Parish Church of St Mary Steps in Exeter

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

Imagine the day of Mary's Transitus and that cry re-echoing ever outwards among the innumerable circles of the oyeresu to the uttermost extremes of the Universe!

Speaking of which ... was she above the fix stars August 15 itself, or did she travel only by light speed and arrive August 16?

I hope you agree Universe is 1 light day from "centre" (= 4500 or so miles above Hell, where the centre of the centre is) to this bright but still visible periphery, the stellatum?

I wonder how much similarity there was between their waving their stars back then and that of Sun doing so over Fatima and ... St John doing so in the womb of St Elizabeth.