Thursday, March 8, 2012

Blessed in name...pars prior.

It's still some days away, but the traditional feast day of Saint Benedict (March 21st) inspires a variety of reflections. For the moment, the reflections are entirely liturgical.

Saint Benedict's liturgical observance went through a rebirth of sorts in course of the twentieth century. Since the promulgation of Missale Romanum of 1570 until the greater pian liturgical reforms, Benedict's feast was only scantly observed in the Roman Rite. A typical Missale Romanum prior to the pian liturgical reforms will read: Missa. Os Justi. de Communi Abbatum. There was no proper selection of readings nor proper orations for Benedict's observance.

Benedict's feast is eventually receives proper orations in the Missale Romanum. They are as follows:

Oratio


Intercessio nos, quaesumus, Domine, beati Benedicti Abbatis commendet: ut, quod nostris meritis non valemus, eius patrocinio assequamur.


Secreta


Sacris altaribus, Domine, hostias superpositas sanctus Benedictus Abbas, quaesumus, in salutem nobis provenire deposcat.

Postcommunio


Protegat nos, Domine, cum tui perceptione sacramenti beatus Benedictus Abbas, pro nobis intercedendo: ut et conversationis eius experiamus insignia, et intercessionis percipiamus suffragia.

There was also a proper set of orations for a more solemn Mass in certain locations (taken from the Sacramentary of 1968)


Oratio


Omnipotens sempiterne Dues, qui hodierna die carnis eductum ergastulo sanctum Confessorem tuum Benedictum sublevasti ad caelum: concede, quaesumus, haec festa tuis famulis celebrantibus cunctorum veniam delictorum; ut, qui exsultantibus animis eius claritati congaudent, ipso apud te interveniente consocientur et meritis.

Secreta


Oblatis Domine ad honorem sancti Confessoris tui Benedicti placare muneribus; et ipsius interventu famulis tuis tribue indulgentium peccatorum.

Postcommunio

Perceptis, Domine Deus noster, salutaribus sacramentis, humiliter deprecamur: ut intercedente sancto Benedicto Confessore tuo, quae pro illius veneranda gerimus solemnitate, nobis proficiant ad salutem.

There are few times when what is now Roman prayer ever gets particularly ornate in its style. The prayer  (collect) from the more solemn Mass of St. Benedict is about as close the Roman rite gets. This prayer has some great rythm as well: sanctum Confessorem tuum Benedictum. The standard orations from the Missale Romanum of 1962 retain the typical Roman severity, a trait stretching back to the Veronese and Gelasian sacramentaries. If you're familiar with the Latin text of the Roman rite, old or new, you should detect a slight parallel between the collect from the typical Mass set and the Roman Canon. Hint: focus on ut, quod nostris meritis non valemus, eius patrocinio assequamur. My personal preference is for the typical prayers of the Missale Romanum, though this is largely because I learned Latin off of the terse style of Roman collects.