Today is the feast of the Annunciation of the BVM. It is a double of the first class. Today is also 'old' New Year's Day, the Good News that the Archangel Gabriel brought to the Virgin was considered the dawn of the age of Redemption and a fitting date on which to celebrate the New Year. The English tax year, beginning on April 6th, represents the 'old' New Year's Day of March 25th with the difference between the Gregorian and Julian Calendars when England, rather sadly in my view, adopted the former in 1752.
This great feast began with first Vespers yesterday morning. The liturgical colour of the day is white. Where resources permit six pluvialistae assist the Hebdomadarius at both Vespers and Lauds. At Vespers the antiphons are proper, beginning with Missus est Gabriel Angelus ad Mariam etc. The psalms are those from the Common of the BVM (Pss.109, 112, 121, 126 & 147). The chapter is proper to the feast, the beautiful Office hymn, Ave Maris stella, from the Common. The antiphon on the Magnificat and collect are proper. After the collect of the feast Wednesday in Passion week was commemorated with the antiphon Multa bona opera, V&R and collect Adesto supplicationibus nostris. At Compline the Dominical psalms were sung. The hymn, Te lucis, was sung with the Doxology in honour of the Incarnation, Jesu tibi sit gloria etc, with the hymn sung to the special tone used with that Doxology.
At Mattins the invitatory is Ave Maria gratia plena * Dominus tecum. The hymn, antiphons and psalms (with the exception of the ninth antiphon) are from the Common. In the first nocturn the lessons are from the Prophet Isaiah. The responsories are proper to the feast and are paricularly beautiful. In the second nocturn the lessons are taken from a sermon by St. Leon on the Nativity of the LORD. In the third nocturn the ninth antiphon is Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae etc. The lessons are from a homily by St. Ambrose's second book on Luke. The ninth lesson may be read as one with the eighth. The ninth lesson is of the commemorated Passiontide ferial day, a homily of St. Gregory: its three lessons may be joined and read as the ninth lesson. The Te Deum is sung. At Lauds the antiphons are those used before at Vespers. These are sung with the Dominical psalms. Again the chapter and antiphon on the Benedictus are proper, the Office hymn is from the Common. A commemoration of Thursday in Passion week is sung after the collect of the day.
At Prime the hymn is sung to the tone and Doxology of the Incarnation. In the short responsory the verse Qui natus es is sung and the short lesson is proper to the feast, Egredietur virga de radice Jesse etc. The antiphons of Lauds are used throughout the Little Hours. At all the Little Hours the hymns are sung to the tone and Doxology of the Incarnation.
Mass is sung after Terce. At Mass the Gloria is sung, the Passiontide feria is commemorated by the second collect. The Gospel pericope is from St. Luke and the account of the Angel Gabriel's visit to the Virgin. The Creed is sung, the preface is of the BVM, with the clause Et te in Annuntiatione, the last Gospel is that of the commemorated Passiontide feria, also from St. Luke, Rogabat Jesum quidam de pharisaeis etc.
Vespers, even of this great feast, are sung before midday. The antiphons and psalms are sung as at first Vespers. The antiphon on the Magnificat is proper. A commemoration of Thursday in Passion week is sung. Tomorrow's feast of the Seven Sorrows is not commemorated at Vespers as it is considered, rubrically speaking, to be the same mystery. At Compline again the Dominical psalms are sung and Te lucis is sung to the tone and Doxology of the Incarnation.
In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the hymns of the Little Hours do not have the Doxology or tone of the Incarnation. At Prime the short lesson is of the season not proper to the feast. At Mass there is no last Gospel of the Passiontide feria.