Wednesday, 25 December 2019

The Nativity of the LORD

The feast of the Nativity of the LORD is a Double feast of the First Class with a privileged Octave of the third order. The liturgical colour of the feast is white.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons Rex pacificus etc were sung, doubled, with psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116. The Office hymn was 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 None of the Vigil of the Epiphany. From this Vespers until Candlemas the Marian antiphon is Alma Redemptoris with the versicle Post partum etc and the collect Deus, qui salutis. Where resources permit six pluvialistae assist the Hebdomadarius. At Compline the Domincial psalms were sung, Te lucis had the Doxology of the Incarnation and the Dominical preces were omitted.

Mattins is ordinarily sung later in the evening than usual, so that the Mass which immediately follows can begin at midnight. The Caeremoniale Episcoporum gives special instructions, Lib.II, Cap. XIV, for Pontifical Mattins, but may be reasonably applied to other celebrations, for the arrangement of adequate candles to supply light for the service and talks of candelabris ferreis magnis to provide this. The invitatory is proper, Christus natus est nobis: * Venite adoremus. When intoning the Office hymn, Jesu, Redemptor omnium, the Hebdomadarius turns and bows to the altar. Mattins has three nocturns and the usual nine lessons. In the first nocturn the antiphons Dominus Dixit etc are sung, doubled, with psalms 2, 18 & 44. The lessons are from Isaiah but, interestingly, are sung without a title. In the second nocturn the antiphons Suscepimus etc are sung with psalms 47, 71 & 84. The lessons in the second nocturn are taken from a homily on the Nativity by St. Leo. In the third nocturn the antiphons Ipse invocabit etc are sung with psalms 88, 95 & 97. The lessons are three Gospel pericopes, two from St. Luke and the third from St. John. After the Te Deum the collect is sung followed by Benedicamus Domino.

Then the first of the three Masses for the Nativity is sung. The Gloria is sung (one theory of its origin in the Mass rite is from the song of the Angels on Christmas night to the shepherds) as is the Creed. The preface and communicantes are of the Nativity. After Communion at the first Mass, when the celebrant is to celebrate one or two of the other Masses, the ablutions are not taken but the unpurified chalice is placed on the corporal and covered with the purificator, pall and veil. (Ablutions are taken after the last Mass so as not to break the fast). Lauds immediately follow Mass and again, resources permitting, six pluvialistae assist. The antiphons Quem vidistis pastores etc are sung, doubled, with the Dominical psalms. The Office hymn is A solis ortus cardine.

Later in the morning Prime is sung. The first antiphon from Lauds, Quem vidistis pastores, is sung with the festal psalms (53, 118i & 118ii). In the short responsory the versicle Qui natus es de Maria Virgine is sung. The lectio brevis is Ipsi peribunt. Prime is followed by the second Mass, the Missa in aurora. In the second Mass the Gloria is sung, there is a second collect to commemorate St. Anastasia. The Creed is sung and the preface and communicantes are of the Nativity.

After Terce the third Mass is sung. This Mass too has the Gloria and Creed along with the preface and communicantes of the Nativity. As the Gospel pericope for this Mass is In principio the Gospel of the Epiphany, Cum natus esset Jesus, is read as a proper last Gospel.

Second Vespers has yet a third set of proper antiphons for the feast, Tecum principium etc., that are sung, doubled, with psalms 109, 110, 111, 129 and 131. These antiphons and psalms will be used through the Octave. The Office hymn is Jesu, Redemptor omnium. After the collect of the feast a commemoration is sung of the following feast of St. Stephen. At Compline the Dominical psalms are sung. Te lucis has the Doxology of the Incarnation.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' at Mattins in the third nocturn, and for the Octave, psalm 88, Misericordias Domini is cut from 51 to 36 verses. The verses from Tu vero repulisti et despexisti to the end are omitted. The Doxology in honour of the Nativity are not sung at the hymns of the Little Hours. In the third Mass the last Gospel is omitted and at Vespers no commemoration of St. Stephen.

A very happy Christmass to all customers and readers!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas.