Normally, when commenting on a day's liturgy, the Prudent Blogger will have got his line sussed well beforehand. But it was only as I actually read yesterday's propers, for Epiphany IV, that I started wondering. Let me share with you my work-in-progress.
In the Gospel, we had the Disciples, poor poppets, panicking about the storm as they baled out the boat. Earlier, we had those words in the Collect " ... nos in in tantis periculis constitutos ...".
You see, those dangers facing the Boat ... they reminded me of Boats in Danger in Classical Greek literature ... Homer ... OK ... but, more in particular, Alcaeus, a symposiast/political poet on the island of Lesbos. For him, the endangered ship may symbolise the imperilled political community (see Page on Z 2). Commentators here sometimes reach for the cliche 'Ship of State'. (There is an imitatio of this motif in Horace; Odes I xiv and see NH.)
Are we supposed to make a connection between Epiphany IV's "so great dangers" and this literary tradition? And what about those paintings of ships in the catacombs?
(1) It is rarely obvious that the mind which selected a Gospel was the same mind that provided the same day's Collect. But it is one of the characteritics of the Gesima Sundays ... what we now rather poshly seem to have been renamed the Pre-Lent Season ... that the two are related ... just as they are here on Epiphany IV. (2) And the theme of this Collect is strikingly similar to that of Gesima propers: that all these calamities are punishment for our sin; and we throw ourselves upon Divine Mercy. Compare, particularly, Epiphany IV Collect with that for Septuagesima.
I have found Sr Dr Haessly's pages suggestive here, especially 38-40 and 130sqq.
So, as far as Collect and Gospel are concerned, Epiphany IV has for me the curious appearance of a Gesima-outlier. As the 1970s blunderers and blusterers got to work, naturally it had to disappear so as to make the liturgy 'enriched' enough for Arthur Roche.
Anybody got a line on any of this, preferably rooted in the liturgical tradition?
Anyway, a most appropriate proper for the Church in temporibus his Bergoglianissimis.
I saw an interesting discussion somewhere, based on a famous painting of this biblical event, showing 3 groups of people in the boat - those who had given up hope and were just waiting to die, those who were frantically pulling on ropes etc. trying to save the vessel, and the third group around Jesus depending on Him to save them from the predicament. The analogy with the Church in the current storm is that there are those who have given up hope and basically abandoned the Church, those that are frantically trying to "do something" by their own efforts, not depending on God, and those who turn to Jesus.
Given the general attitude of the Consilium study groups, or rather the attitude of a certain Vincentian called Hannibal plus his boss the Pope, that the focus on sin was unsuitable for Modern Man, the notable thing is not that these pre-Gesimal collects of last Sunday disappeared, but that Lent survived in some fashion even it now means giving up the smokes for Modern Man and sweets for his son. There's no doubting that these mostly north European scholars were expert men, but nowadays their homelands are almost wholly de-Catholicised. Bad legacy.
As far as our documentation goes, the Gospel was in its place before the Collect. It is attested in the Wurzburg lectionary ca. 650 AD, and all subsequent lectionaries of the Roman Rite. The Old Gelasian Sacramentary, of about 100 years later, has no Masses at all for the season after Epiphany. Since they are in the Wurzburg lectionary, they must have existed, but we can't say what prayers were said at them. The oldest mixed-Gelasian sacramentary, the Gellone, skips the Mass of the fourth Sunday after Epiphany, presumably by accident. The next after that, Rheinau, has the same prayer as all subsequent Sacramentaries and Missal, from the Gregorian to John XXIII. It is a very reasonable guess, on the basis of our incomplete records, that the Collect was in fact inspired by the Gospel.
Dear Father. Did you know a recent conclave in Rome (held in a motel by an airport) elected Bergoglio?
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