Sunday, July 14, 2013

Preface for Saint Benedict (from Angelus Press's 1962 Daily Missal)

One of the joys of studying liturgical books is the ability to track the development of a given saint's cultus. Before roughly 1960, there were no actual propers for Saint Benedict in the Roman Missal. One would have to consult the monastic editions or, if available, the Benedictine churches. Of course, by 1962, the Saint Benedict's feast seems to have undergone a popular revival of sorts. We have numerous examples of Saint Benedict's feast in the sacramentaries of the early medieval period, in a wide variety of formulas, including prefaces.

For the non-specialist, accessing contemporary critical editions of these texts is highly unlikely due to both availability and affordability. Angelus Press's very fine 1962 Daily Missal contains a proper preface for Saint Benedict. You can purchase that extremely well made volume here.

Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere, Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus. Qui beatissimum confessorem tuum Benedictum, ducem et magisterum coelitus edoctum, innumerabili multitudini filiorum statuisti. Quem et omnium justorum spiritu repletum, et extra se raptum, luminis tui splendore collustrasti. Ut in ipsa luce visionis intimae mentis laxato sinu, quam angusta essent omnia inferiora deprehenderet. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Quapropter profusis gaudiis totus in orbe terrarum monachorum coetus exsultat. Sed et supernae virtutes atque angelicae potestates hymnum gloriae tuae concinunt sine dicentes. 

It's things like the above preface that should have made it into the reform of the Roman Missal.

It would be nice to see more use made of this preface. Hopefully it hasn't fallen into obscurity - maybe some monastery somewhere applied it to good use.