Friday, August 08, 2008

Liturgy: 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

(Soon I will get back to posting weekly Scripture reflections for each Sunday Mass. I think it's very therapeutic, and hey, it might have some spiritual benefit to you, my readers!)

Here's another post from a thread on CAF. The topic is "How can the collapse of the liturgy be reversed?" and the current flow of conversation is on the role of "liturgists" in the preparation and execution of the Mass. The first part of this is a quote from another user suggesting what it is the liturgist does: he takes care of the "practicals":


I don't know what the "practicals" are called in "Old Catholic language," but to me, it means which songs / hymns / Psalm / chant / meditation / prelude / Kyrie / etc., etc. will be done and what page they are on in the hymnals and who will actually play them and sing them.
Not to be a contrary voice, but the ideal is simply to sing what's Proper and Ordinary for that day! (This would require, of course, a choir that can sing Latin, and a congregation that has been taught to chant the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin... the way it should be.)

For example, we're approaching the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, year A. According to the Graduale Romanum, that means:

The introit (entrance antiphon and psalm) is Ps. 73:20,19,22,23,1. The antiphon is Respice, Domine, in testamentum tuum, et animas pauperum tuorum ne derelinquas in finem : exsurge Domine, et iudica causam tuam : et ne obliviscaris voces quaerentium te. The Psalm verse is Ut quid Deus repulisti in finem : iratus est furor tuus super oves pascuae tuae? In English, that's: "Have regard, Lord, to thy covenant, and forget not to the end the souls of thy poor : Arise, O God, judge thy own cause : and do not forget the voices that seek for You." and "O God, why hast thou cast us off unto the end: why is thy wrath enkindled against the sheep of thy pasture?"

Because we're in Ordinary Time, we use Missa Orbis Factor (XI), for Sundays throughout the year. The Graduale also recommends Stelliferi conditor orbis (Mass XIII) and Iesu Redemptor (Mass XIV) as alternate settings for Ordinary Time.

For the Gradual (a chanted replacement for the Responsorial Psalm, but using the same Psalm) we use Psalm 84:8,2. The antiphon is Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam : et salutare tuum da nobis. The Psalm verse is Benedixisti, Domine, terram tuam : avertisti captivitatem Iacob. Those are "Show us, O Lord, thy mercy : and grant us thy salvation" and "Lord, thou hast blessed thy land : thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob." That first one, Ps. 84:8, is actually used in one the Penitential Rite, Form B!

For the Alleluia verse, we hear Psalm 89:1: Domine, refugium factus es nobis a generatione et progenie. In English, that's "Lord, thou hast been our refuge from generation to generation."

The Offertory antiphon is Psalm 30:15,16. In Latin, In te speravi, Domine : dixi : Tu es Deus meus, in manibus tuis tempora mea. In English: "I have put my trust in thee, O Lord : I said : Thou art my God, my times are in Your hands."

The Communion chant takes its antiphon from John 6:52; this is sung with Psalm 110:1,2,3,4,5,6-7a,7b-8ab,9ab,9c-10a,10bc. (Each number N or range N-M is alternated with the antiphon, I believe.) The antiphon is Panis, quem ego dedero, caro mea est pro saeculi vita. ("The bread, which I will give, is my flesh for the life of the world.") The psalm verses... well, you can look up Psalm 110 (that's Psalm 111 for most English Bibles) for yourself. But let me share a key verse (in English)... "He hath given food to them that fear him. He will be mindful for ever of his covenant."

Have you sensed a theme in these chants?

"Have regard, Lord, to thy covenant, and forget not to the end the souls of thy poor : Arise, O God, judge thy own cause : and do not forget the voices that seek for You. / O God, why hast thou cast us off unto the end: why is thy wrath enkindled against the sheep of thy pasture?"

"Show us, O Lord, thy mercy : and grant us thy salvation. / Lord, thou hast blessed thy land : thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob."

"Lord, thou hast been our refuge from generation to generation."

"I have put my trust in thee, O Lord : I said : Thou art my God, my times are in Your hands."

"The bread, which I will give, is my flesh for the life of the world. / He hath given food to them that fear him. He will be mindful for ever of his covenant."

And, to top it all off... what are the readings for this Sunday? 1 Kings 19, where Elijah finds the presence (and voice) of God not in the wind, the earthquake, nor the fire, but in a still small voice. Romans 9, where Paul talks about how to his kinsfolk, the Israelites, are "the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Christ". And in Matthew 14, just after the feeding of the multitude with loaves and fishes, which was a prefiguring of the Eucharist, Jesus comes to his apostles who are in a boat being tossed by waves in the night, and Jesus calms the waves and the wind.

Peter needed to learn to put his trust in Jesus, the Lord. We need to trust in his mercy for our salvation. He is our refuge; it is he who frees us; he will hear us. We need to be faithful to the New Covenant, as God is faithful to it for ever and ever; otherwise, we will find ourselves cast off. But if we are faithful, God Himself will provide food for us... and, at Communion, we hear Jesus's words about the "bread" we are eating, which is really his flesh... and this, in close connection to the miracle of the fishes and loaves that had just occurred.

I've shown you Year A's selections. In Year B, the gradual psalm is the same as the introit psalm, Psalm 73:20-19 as the antiphon and Psalm 73:22-23 for the verse. In year C, it's Psalm 32:12 for the antiphon and Psalm 32:6 for the verse; these are "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord : the people whom he hath chosen for his inheritance." and "By the word of the Lord the heavens were established; and all the power of them by the spirit of his mouth." The Communion chant is the same for Year B as it is for Year A; in Year C, the antiphon is Matthew 24:46-47, "Blessed is that servant, whom when his lord shall come he shall find vigilant. Amen I say to you, he shall place him over all his goods" with verses taken from Psalm 33 (34 in English Bibles), which has verses such as "This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him: and saved him out of all his troubles" and "The Lord will redeem the souls of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall offend".

As you can see, the theme pretty much remains the same in all three years.

So, no liturgist required! No one needs to "put together" the Mass, choosing the right hymns... the Church has already provided for us! If only we would accept what She so graciously offers! This coming Sunday is "Respice Domine" Sunday; every 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time is "Respice Domine" Sunday, when we should be praying "Lord, remember your covenant!" That's what the Church should be praying in its chants on this day.

And, before you ask, I didn't know any of this until a couple months ago. It was a big secret. Nobody ever told it to me.

4 comments:

Aristotle A. Esguerra said...

As far as the Propers go, I read in the GIRM (or perhaps infer) a possible permission to sing them in the vernacular ("as found in the Graduale Romanum or another musical setting" - GIRM 47-48).

You may be interested in the multi-part study of the latest GIRM I did back in 2003, as well as a post I put together back in 2005 showing how a Gregorian communion antiphon could be paired with choral verses in the vernacular - audio file included. (You are correct in your belief that one or two psalm verses may be sung between iterations of the antiphon, btw.)

Too often with the proper antiphons people think it's Latin or nothing; this need not be so. Of course, it also means that one conceivably could have a folk Mass that used a faithful translation of the antiphons, but that's another argument for another time!

japhy said...

Yeah, I stumbled upon one of the posts in your series yesterday. I'll read the whole series, definitely. And I understand what you mean about the vernacular, and I didn't mean to exclude the possibility of it; although there are vernacular translations of some parts, I don't know of a complete English translation of the Graduale Romanum.

I still have this fanciful idea of a Gradual/Responsorial hybrid: the cantor/choir sings the antiphon, then the whole congregation sings the verses (or maybe alternates with the choir) all the way through, followed by a doxology and antiphon. The antiphon can be complex, the verses a simple psalm tone.

Thanks for reading and commenting! :)

japhy said...

By the way, where does the doxology come into these? Is it Ant - Verse - Ant - Dox - Ant, or Ant - Verse - Dox - Ant?

And what are good (and approved in the US, as I assume is necessary) translations of the Psalms? The Mundelein Psalter is one, right?

Aristotle A. Esguerra said...

Don't worry, I wasn't meaning to correct you specifically; it's just that I see so many Latin-or-nothing arguments regarding proper antiphons that the via media never seems to get a hearing.

There is no complete translation of the Graduale Romanum, and while the translations in the Gregorian Missal could be set, they aren't strictly speaking approved for liturgical use.

One idea that I have had regarding the Introit, Communion and their verses is the congregation singing of the minor doxology, where the choir/cantor intones "Gloria Patri" and the congregation comes in at "Sicut erat" and continues to the end. That way there's a certain familiarity - once the congregation learns all eight psalm tones and their various endings.

Again, strictly speaking, at the Introit in the 1970 Mass the Gloria Patri need not be sung (unfortunate, I think, though it can be added). It is mandated in most celebrations of Mass in the Extraordinary Form, however I don't know the exceptions off the top of my head.

Either order is fine for the Introit; in fact, if the Introit were used as a processional, there are additional verses for the Introit (though again, I don't have the name of the volume committed to memory).

As I've been away from singing the Responsorial Psalm for almost five years (having sung Graduals at the OF and EF Masses in that time), I don't know the correct answer to your last question, unfortunately. From what I've heard, the Mundelein Psalter is one, but don't take my word for it. :)