13 February 2023

A longish Epistle?

A superb Epistle, for Sexagesima Sunday; S Paul's ironical force leaves one quite shaken. And perhaps makes one wonder to what extent ancient rhetorical models may stylistically have contributed to it.

But did you find yourself, Father, wondering if, for the ferias of the coming week, it might have been just a trifle long? 

If you did, you have quite a 'Sarum' mind.

In that rite (or use?) there is a rubric to the effect that, when the Mass is resumed in the week, the Epistle begins at Damasci praepositus ...

Curously, Cranmer shortened the lection by cutting out "Damasci praepositus" and what follows.

Could the reason possibly be that he felt that the full Epistle sounded a bit like accumulating Good Works? 


Moritz Gruber said...

Well, I am a layman. But if I were a priest, the many feriae this week would (and not for reason of the length of the Epistle) make me think: So, let's finally get to those Votive Masses which I have been wanting to say for a long time but which are never more than 4th class.

Interesting observation, though.

Joshua said...

I must second the first comment: nothing is more painful and disedifying than perforce hearing several ferial weekday Masses at which the Sunday propers are repeated, particularly if the Epistle and/or Gospel be lengthy; surely it is then time to dig into the Votive Masses, and even those pro aliquibus locis. MediƦval (and neo-Gallican) missals wisely provided proper Epistles and Gospels for ferial Wednesdays and Fridays, though unfortunately these were not included in the post-Tridentine Roman Missal.

Moritz Gruber said...

So, though the dear @Joshua seconded me, that was not what I meant. I do not find, in principle, the practice of repeating the Sunday Mass painful and disedifying; it does make sense.

What I mean was that one cannot have all good things in life, and that just as the Church does choose to have this good thing of repeating the Sunday Mass replaced so very often, almost always, by the even better thing of having a feast of the Saint of the day, so it would, to my (irrelevant - but I don't think I'm alone with it) taste at least, also be the better thing to use those Votives Mass, because they too are beautiful and there for use. If we'd live in the year 115 and had the fully-developed liturgy as it was (say) 1954, but almost no saints yet because they were yet to be born, that would be different; then the repeated Sunday Mass the basso continuo, and the Votive Masses the few occasional exceptions. But that is not our situation.

So, I meant it as a replacement of something good by something (in my irrelevant opinion) better, and I really did mean that; not something bad by something good.

Also, the abundance of feasts and the popularity of votive Masses for the few remaining days was (I'm no expert either but) almost certainly the reason why these ferial Wednesdays and Fridays were cut. They'd be Masses for days of no particular importance that normally wouldn't be said.