Sunday, 6 December 2009

The Second Sunday of Advent

The second Sunday of Advent, and the third and fourth, are semi-doubles of the second class in rank. The Gospel pericopes, from St. Matthew, concern St. John the Baptist in prison sending two of his followers to meet the LORD. St. Nicholas of Myra is commemorated at Vespers, Lauds and Mass. He is of course one of the antecedants of 'Santa Claus'.

At Vespers on Saturday the proper antiphons from Lauds are used, Ecce in nubibus caeli etc, with the psalms of Saturday. A commemoration is sung of St. Nicholas. At Compline the Dominical preces are omitted because of the occurring double feast.

At Mattins in the first nocturn the lessons are a continuation of Isaiah and today contain the beautiful symbolism of the Rod of Jesse. In the second nocturn this them is continued as the lessons are taken from Expositon on Isaias the Prophet by St. Jerome. Like so much of the Advent liturgy these readings are exquisite:
Therefore upon this flower, which shall suddenly come forth from the stock and root of Jesse through the Virgin Mary, the Spirit of the LORD shall rest: for truly in him all the fulness of the Godhead was pleased to dwell corporeally: the spirit was not poured out upon him by measure, as it was upon the other Saints: but as we read in the Hebrew Gospel used by the Zazarenes: The whole fountain of the Holy Ghost shall be poured forth upon him. For the LORD is a Spirit; and where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty.

(Lesson VI, Stanbrooke Abbey translation.) In the third nocturn the homily is from St. Gregory.

At Lauds the antiphons are proper. A commemoration is sung of St. Nicholas. At Prime the Dominical preces are omitted because of the occurring double feast.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is not sung in the seasonal liturgy of Advent. A commemoration of St. Nicholas is sung, the Creed is sung and the preface that of the Trinity. The dismissal is Benedicamus Domino. The deacon and subdeacon wear folded chasubles.

At Vespers the antiphons from Lauds are used. Commemorations are sung of tomorrow's feast of St. Ambrose and St. Nicholas.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' there are no commemorations at either Vespers, Lauds or Mass. Mattins is cut down to one nocturn of three lessons. At Mass the ministers wear dalmatic and tunicle and the dismissal is Ite, missa est.

Art: Jerome Nadal


Fr Michael Brown said...

I quite agree that the loss of the patistic readings on Sundays in the 1962 breviary is a great sahme. It also feels strange that there is no octave of the Immaculate Conception and that tomorrow we have a feria.

Rubricarius said...

Of course, the principles employed by the time of the 1961 edition of the breviary were to reduce the 'burden' of the Office whilst the radical overhaul, promised since 1911, was prepared. In practice this of course meant chunks of patristics were just cut with the simplification of the calendar and general reduction of the number of feasts of nine lessons. The late Fr. Michael Crowdy used to point out that many of the third nocturn homilies (themselves also of cut by two-thirds on most Sundays and feasts) had to be read in conjuction the the second nocturn lessons to full appreciate them.

To be fair one good point about Liturgia Horarum is its use of patristic lessons, much better IMHO than the 1962 breviary.

Today is a day within the Octave in the traditional use. Dr. Thomas Glover was keen on referring to the principle that "officium pro officio valet". Perhaps on that basis you should try the older form?