Sunday, 24 December 2017
Vigil of the Nativity - Fourth Sunday of Advent
At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons Canite tuba etc (of the fourth Sunday) were sung with the psalms of Saturday. The Office hymn was Creator alme siderum. The antiphon on the Magnificat was that appointed for the twenty-third day of December, the last in the 'Great O' series, O Emmanuel etc. This was sung doubled before and after the Canticle. The collect was of the fourth Sunday of Advent. Being Advent the Suffrage was omitted. At Compline the Dominical preces were sung.
At Mattins the invitatory is Hodie scietis (from the texts appointed for the Vigil) and the Office hymn is Verbum supernum. In the first nocturn the antiphons and psalms are of Sunday, Veniet ecce Rex etc with Pss 1, 2 & 3. The lessons continue to be read from Isaias. In the second nocturn the antiphons Gaude et laetare etc are sung with Pss. 8, 9i & 9ii and the lessons are from St. Leo on fasting. In the third nocturn the antiphons Gabriel Angelus etc are sung with Pss. 9iii, 9iv & 10. The versicle and response after the psalms is from the Vigil Hodie scietis etc. The lessons and their responsories are those appointed for the Vigil with a homily from St. Jerome on St. Matthew’s Gospel. The ninth lesson is not of the Sunday (c.f. specific rubric in the Breviary). At Lauds the antiphons, Judaea et Jerusalem nolite timere etc, are sung, doubled, with psalms 92, 99, 62, Benedicite and 148. The Office hymn is En clara vox. The chapter, antiphon on the Benedictus, and collect are proper to the Vigil. After the collect of the Vigil a commemoration of the Sunday is sung.
Prime is festal with the first antiphon from Lauds, as usual, and psalms 53, 118(i) and 118(ii). The Martyrology is sung with extra solemnity today. The Hebdomadarius dons a violet cope and preceded by acolytes bearing candles and a thurifer with incense enters the choir. After reverencing the choir and altar the Martyrology is censed, as a Gospel book, three times. The the choir rise and the Hebdomadarius chants Octavo Kalendas Januarii. Luna septima. Anno a creatione mundi, quando in principio Deus creavit coelum et terram, quinquies millesimo centesimo nonagesimonono: A diluvio etc., listing the years since the birth of Abraham, the Exodus from Egypt, the anointing of David, the time since Daniel the Prophet, since the founding of Rome and the conception of the LORD by the Holy Ghost. He continues until ...novemque post conceptionem decursis mensibus, then raising the pitch of the chant, whilst the choir kneel, he continues, in Bethlehem Judae nascitur ex Maria Virgine factus Homo. Then, in the tone of the Passion: Nativitas Domini nostri Jesu Christi secundem carnem. The choir then rise and sit whilst in the normal tone the Hebdomadarius (or a lector, depending on the custom of the place) continues with the entries for the day: Eodem die natalis santae Anastasiae etc. The lectio brevis, Per quem accepimus, is proper to the Vigil. The antiphons from Lauds are used in sequence at the rest of the Hours in the normal order.
Mass is sung after Terce. Today the ministers do not wear folded chasubles but violet dalmatic and tunicle. As always the absence of folded chasubles means the organ may be played. After the collect of the Vigil a commemoration of the Sunday is sung. The last Gospel is In principio. The dismissal, Benedicamus Domino, is sung by the deacon to a most beautiful and ornate tone reserved for today, the feast of the Holy Innocents and pro re gravi Masses.
In the afternoon first Vespers of the Nativity are sung. The antiphons Rex pacificus etc are sung, doubled, with psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116. The Office hymn is Jesu, Redemptor omnium. All hymns of Iambic metre have the Doxology Jesu, tibi sit gloria, qui natus es de Virgine for the Octave and up until the feast of the Epiphany. From this Vespers the until Candlemas the Marian antiphon is Alma Redemptoris with the versicle Post partum etc and the collect Deus, qui salutis. At Compline the Domincial psalms are sung, Te lucis has the Doxology of the Incarnation and the Dominical preces are omitted.
In the liturgical books of 1962 the Dominical preces are omitted at Compline. Mattins is cut down to a single nocturn with the three lessons of the Vigil. At Lauds there is no commemoration of the Sunday. At Mass there is no commemoration of the Sunday and the dismissal is Ite, missa est. At Compline Te lucis is sung without the Doxology of the Incarnation.
Main Image: Entry from an 1865 Ordo.