Saturday, 18 December 2010

Ember Saturday in Advent

Today is the Ember Saturday in Advent. It ranks as a greater, non-privileged ferial day, of simple rite.

At Mattins the invitatory Prope est jam Dominus etc is sung and the hymn is Verbum supernum prodiens. The nocturn has three lessons from a homily of St. Gregory on St. Luke's Gospel. After the third responsory the second scheme of Lauds is sung (Pss. 50, 91, 63, the Canticle of Moses & 150) with the set of antiphons Intuemini etc. This set of antiphons for the Saturday before Christmas Eve is actually rather a modern introduction to the series of antiphons at Lauds and the Hours that are used from the 17th December. Prior to the 1911-13 reform on the Saturday before Christmas Eve the particular set of antiphons that fell on the day of the week of St. Thomas' feast were either anticipated or transferred to the Saturday. The hymn at Lauds is En clara vox. The antiphon on the Benedictus is Quomodo fiet istud etc. After the antiphon is sung in full after the canticle the choir kneels and the ferial preces are sung .

At the Hours the antiphons Intuemini etc are used in sequence. At Prime the fourth psalm is added (the one displaced by the Miserere in the schema of Lauds II, Ps. 149) and the chapter is Pacem et veritatem. The Dominical and ferial preces are sung with the choir kneeling. At the other Hours the short set of ferial preces are sung, again with the choir kneeling.

Mass is sung after None and has the usual, ancient, form, common to Ember Saturdays. The ministers wear folded chasubles. Four candles are on the altar. After the Kyrie there are a series of five structural units comprising of the invitation Oremus, followed by Flectamus genua, Levate, a collect, O.T. reading and gradual. Four of these readings are from Isaiah and the last from Daniel. After the pericope from Daniel instead of a gradual the hymn of the Three Men in fiery furnace is sung, Benedictus es, Domine, Deus patrum nostrorum and its collect Deus, qui tribus pueris. After this collect the second collect is of the BVM, Deus, qui de Beate and the third collect for the Church, Ecclesiae, or Deus omnium. Mass then continues as usual (with of course kneeling for the orations and from the Canon through to the Fraction as usual on penitential days) with Benedicamus Domino sung as the dismissal.

Vespers of the fourth Sunday in Advent are sung. The antiphons Canite tuba etc are sung with the Saturday psalms. The Office hymn is Creator alme siderum and the Great 'O' Antiphon O Adonai is sung. The Great 'O' Antiphons are sung from December 17th in the Roman rite (and from the previous evening in various Western variants on the Old Roman rite). These antiphons are 'doubled', i.e. they are sung entire both before and after the Magnificat even on days of simple rank. At Compline the Dominical preces are sung, standing.

Following the 'liturgical books of 1962' the Canticle of Moses at Lauds gets shortened from 65 to 27 verses. At Prime the fourth psalm is not added and the ferial chapter Pacem et veritatem is replaced by the festal (!) Regi saeculorum. The ferial preces are omitted at Prime and the Hours. The Mass has the option of the 'mini-Ember Day' consisting of just one additional unit of collect, pericope and gradual. There is no additional collect for the Blessed Virgin or for the Church. The dismissal is Ite, missa est and the ministers wear dalmatic and tunicle. The doubling of the Great 'O' antiphons is no different to all other antiphons throughout the year. The Dominical preces are omitted at Compline.


Xenophobic hobbledehoy said...


You wrote, "Prior to the 1911-13 reform on the Saturday before Christmas Eve the particular set of antiphons that fell on the day of the week of St. Thomas' feast were either anticipated or transferred to the Saturday."

Here's a fun fact. The Monastic Breviary has retained this rubric with its own rubrical peculiarities. On the Sabbath before the Vigil of Christmas, the Antiphon Exspectetur replaced the 3rd and 4th Antiphons of the Ferial Office displaced by the Feast of Saint Thomas. This was because the Canticle of Deuteronomy was parted into two divisions as directed by the Holy Rule (cap. xiii.). If memory serves aright, the above-mentioned Antiphon only replaced the 4th Antiphon in the old Roman Breviary.

The centenary of Divino afflatu falls next year. How are you to celebrate?

Rubricarius said...


Good to hear from you. Thank you for that interesting information. I should have added that the fourth antiphon is Exspectetur.

By pure coincidene I received an email on Saturday from a lady who uses the old Roman Breviary who needed a little clarification as to which set of antiphons to use.

I have a two-part article on the 1911-13 reform appearing in the journal 'Usus Antiquior': the first part appears in the next edition; the second part is still at the on the backs of envelopes stage, so I need to type away.

Wishing you, XH, the compliments of the season and every blessing from the Lord's Nativity.