I know it's childish to have Special Feasts, but I do have a weakness for the Office Hymn which led us into today's superb Feast of the Seven Dolours of our Lady; Iam toto subitus. In our nice old [Anglican Catholic] English Catholic Hymn Book, our English version began Now over all the heavens.
(These propers have a Counter-Reformation Servite origin--1667--and were promulgated for the third Sunday in September in the Roman Calendar by Pius VII after his release by Buonaparte and his return to Rome.)
What appeals to me is the bold, vigorous oxymoron of the words Divinamque catastrophen. (ECHB "the wondrous tragedy of God"). It's not simply that I gullibly warm to those those hymnographers who fling the odd Graecism around; I also happen to feel that this is a virile assertion of the Truth that God Almighty and Incarnate, God Crucified, in a real sense subjected himself to a real reverse. It reminds me of the bold Eastern intuition that One of the Trinity Died On The Cross. God was not pretending. God was not 'just' fulfilling a role; just as in the next stanza, the groans uttered by the Hypostasis of the Incarnate Word were both deep and real expressions of agony.
And there is a fine poetic vividness in the notion that 'Day' was pretty astonished to be shoved unceremoniously out of the way so early.
And I like the way the self-same poet piles up the heavy, inexorable syllables of that other Graecism; the truth that our Lady's Heart should be adamantinum. Cor Adamantinum ora pro nobis!
Gueranger wrote: "On the mountain of Sacrifice, as Mother she gave her Son; as Bride she offered herself together with him; by her sufferings both as Bride and as as Mother, she was Co-redemptrix of the human race". Fr Faber, perhaps with an eye to the Miraculous Medal, observed that "The two things were one simultaneous oblation, interwoven each moment through the thickly crowded mysteries of that dread time, unto the Eternal Father, out of two sinless Hearts, that were the Hearts of Son and Mother ...".
(Three Asclepiads followed by a Glyconic. If the hymn is not in your Breviary, that is because of the sad mid-century campaign against First Vespers.)
BTW: today's lectio vi finds S Bernard describing Maria as compatiens; which reminds me of the fact that, at Bishop John de Grandisson's Exeter Cathedral in the 1320s, the Friday Votive in the Lady Chapel was called the Compatientia Mariae.