Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Sunday within the Octave of the Nativity
Today is the Sunday within the Octave of the Nativity. It is of semi-double rite. The displaced Sunday's Mass and Office are transferred to today whenever the Nativity or the feasts of St. Stephen, St. John or the Holy Innocents fall on a Sunday.
At Mattins the incipit of the Epistle to the Romans was traditionally assigned to the 30th but was moved to the 29th in the 1911-13 reform, so today the first nocturn lessons are a continuation from Romans. In the second nocturn the lessons are from St. Leo on the Nativity. In the third nocturn the homily taken from St. Augustine's writings on the second chapter of St. Luke's Gospel. At Lauds the antiphons from the Nativity are sung with the Dominical psalms. The chapter and antiphon on the Benedictus are proper to the Sunday. A commemoration of the Octave of the Nativity is sung.
At the Hours the antiphons are from the Nativity and the psalmody is festal. At Prime Pss. 53, 118(i), 118(ii) are sung and the short lesson is proper to the Sunday. The hymns of the Little Hours are of course sung to the melody of the Doxology in honour of the Incarnation, Jesu tibi sit gloria etc.
The Mass, Dum medium, is proper, the Gloria is sung, a commemoration of the Octave is made, the Credo is sung and the preface and communicantes of the Nativity are sung.
Vespers of the Nativity are sung, from the chapter of the Sunday within the Octave with a commemoration of the following day's feast of St. Silvester and of the Octave of the Nativity.
In the 'liturgical books of 1962' today is a day within the Octave of the Nativity. Mattins has the antiphons and psalmody of the Nativity (with the shortened Ps. 88 ) and one nocturn of three lessons from occuring scripture, the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans. In the Old Rite when the sixth day within the Octave was celebrated there were second nocturn lessons again from St. Leo and third nocturn lessons from St. Ambrose, these of course just get excised. Festal Lauds are celebrated. At the Hours ferial antiphons and psalmody are used. There is no proper Doxology (or melody) at the hymns of the Little Hours in honour of the Incarnation and the short lesson at Prime is 'of the season'. Mass is celebrated of a day within the Octave, Puer natus with but one collect. Vespers are of the Nativity with no commemorations.
In pre-1911 practice there would have been commemorations of the Octaves of St. Thomas (in dioceses of England and Wales) St. Stephen, St. John the Evangelist and the Holy Innocents in addition to the commemoration of the Octave of the Nativity.