3 February 2023


Well, Thank You to those offered me help with my queries about the propers for the Fourth Sunday and Week after Epiphany. This morning was the last occasion many will have used Green in the Usus Intactus of the Roman Rite, until after Trinity Sunday.

I think this proper was overtly devised for the place it very often has: immediately before the Gesimas.

As it appears in our current Missal, it shares the psalmody of the III, V, and VI Sundays after Epiphany, just as (when it is used to supply a Mass for Sundays just before Advent) it shares the psalmody for that adjacent period. So Collect and Gospel are left to make its point (on Epiphany II, the chap who arranged the Epistles got us into Romans 12 sqq.)

The Collect, clearly, was designed for the penitential period which we enter around this time of the year; ideology and phraseology closely follow the euchology of Gesimatide and Lent. Indeed, in some sources it is offered for use on the Lenten Ember Saturday.

The Collect teaches that Sufferings of body and soul are condign punishments for our sins ... but, O Lord .... Hence the Gospel reading about the Ship (to ploion) which would have sunk ... but the Lord intervened.

Here is Cranmer's translation from 1549:

God, whiche knoweste us to bee set in the middest of so many and great daungers, that for mannes fraylnes we cannot alwayes stande uprightly; Graunt to us the health of body and soule that al those thinges which we suffer for sinne, by thy helpe we may wel passe and ouercome.

I have marked in red phrases additions (very characteristically) made by Cranmer ... my suspicion is that he feared lest the naked concision of Latin originals might often hurry past the ears of congregations before they had properly woken up!

In 1662, somebody (one naturally suspects Bishop Cosin) revised the text.

O God, who knowest us to be set in the midst of so many and great dangers, that by reason of the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright: Grant to us such strength and protection, as may support us in all dangers, and carry us through all temptations

I have marked in blue the alterations made in 1662. 

Unfortunately, these changes rather tend to obscure the 'Last Week before the Gesimas' spirit of the original

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