Thursday, April 19, 2018

Feast of St. Alphege of Canterbury

File:St. Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, is asked for advice.jpg
St. Alphege of Canterbury, King and Martyr, asked for advice. 15th century.

St. Alphege (+1012AD), was a monk of the monastery of Deerhurst who was served as both Bishop of Winchester and then Archbishop of Canterbury.  He guided the English Church during a troubled period of Danish intervention.  The Saxon King Aethelred "the unready" ruled from 983-1013, when the Dane, Sweyn Forkbeard managed to seize power (1013-1014).  A brief return of Saxon rule (1014-1016) would be followed by a couple Danish monarchs from 1016-1042, including Canute the Great (1016-1035).

The Danes in this period were often at least nominally Christian, but were far from adopting all of the moral expectations of Christian life.  St. Alphege bear witness to the fact that amongst the Danes a number of pagans remain -- he was executed by some of them in 1012AD.

The Saxon chronicle describes his death in this way:
"... the raiding-army became much stirred up against the bishop, because he did not want to offer them any money, and forbade that anything might be granted in return for him. Also they were very drunk, because there was wine brought from the south. Then they seized the bishop, led him to their "hustings" on the Saturday in the octave of Easter, and then pelted him there with bones and the heads of cattle; and one of them struck him on the head with the butt of an axe, so that with the blow he sank down and his holy blood fell on the earth, and sent forth his holy soul to God's kingdom."

He was the first Archbishop of Canterbury to die a violent death.

For more on St. Alphege, you might note:
Catholic Saints Info: St. Alphege of Canterbury

Live well!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Solemnity of the Annunciation

Annunciation by Lanfranco, 1616AD.  This image is found in the Church of San Carlo ai Catinari in Rome, Italy.

Typically, this great Feast of the Annunciation falls on 25 March, some nine months before Christmas.  It is on this day that the Blessed Virgin Mary received the message of the Archangel Gabriel, and "the Word was flesh and dwelt among us."

This year, of course, 25 March was Palm Sunday, and the observance of the feast was transferred to today, 9 April.

The Gospel of St. Luke recalls this profound moment of the Annunciation that this feast commemorates:
"Chapter 1:26 When the sixth month came, God sent the angel Gabriel to a city of Galilee called Nazareth, 27 where a virgin dwelt, betrothed to a man of David’s lineage; his name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 Into her presence the angel came, and said, Hail, thou who art full of grace; the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women.  29 She was much perplexed at hearing him speak so, and cast about in her mind, what she was to make of such a greeting. 30 Then the angel said to her, Mary, do not be afraid; thou hast found favour in the sight of God. 31 And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call him Jesus. 32 He shall be great, and men will know him for the Son of the most High; the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob eternally; 33 his kingdom shall never have an end.34 But Mary said to the angel, How can that be, since I have no knowledge of man? 35 And the angel answered her, The Holy Spirit will come upon thee, and the power of the most High will overshadow thee. Thus this holy offspring of thine shall be known for the Son of God. 36 See, moreover, how it fares with thy cousin Elizabeth; she is old, yet she too has conceived a son; she who was reproached with barrenness is now in her sixth month, 37 to prove that nothing can be impossible with God. 38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; let it be unto me according to thy word. And with that the angel left her."

Historically, until the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1751AD, the Annunciation, 25 March, was the first day of the New Year on the Civil calendar in the English world.

All the same, it is on this day that the Incarnation took place.  The Fiat, the "let it be," of the Blessed Virgin Mary, has begun the process of our salvation!

For more on the Feast, you might note:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Annunciation

Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Feast of the Annunciation

Fish Eaters: Annunciation

Live well!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Octave of Easter: Low & Divine Mercy Sunday

File:Caravaggio - The Incredulity of Saint Thomas.jpg
The Incredulity of St. Thomas, by Carravaggio (+1610AD)

This Sunday, the Octave day of Easter, probably has more names and designations than any other day in the Church calendar: the Octave of Easter, the Second Sunday of Easter, Quasimodo Sunday (from the Introit of the day), Dominica in Albis (recalling the white vestments of the newly Baptized), Low Sunday (compared to the high of Easter!), Thomas Sunday (recalling the Gospel), and, of course, Divine Mercy Sunday.

For more on Easter, in general, you should note:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Easter

Fish Eaters: Eastertide

The Introit for today is the origin of one of these names, and here is a recording of the same:

Today's Gospel, from that of St. John, reads:
"Chapter 20:19 And now it was evening on the same day, the first day of the week; for fear of the Jews, the disciples had locked the doors of the room in which they had assembled; and Jesus came, and stood there in their midst; Peace be upon you, he said. 20 And with that, he shewed them his hands and his side. Thus the disciples saw the Lord, and were glad. 21 Once more Jesus said to them, Peace be upon you; I came upon an errand from my Father, and now I am sending you out in my turn. 22 With that, he breathed on them, and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit; 23 when you forgive men’s sins, they are forgiven, when you hold them bound, they are held bound.

24 There was one of the twelve, Thomas, who is also called Didymus, who was not with them when Jesus came. 25 And when the other disciples told him, We have seen the Lord, he said to them, Until I have seen the mark of the nails on his hands, until I have put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into his side, you will never make me believe. 26 So, eight days afterwards, once more the disciples were within, and Thomas was with them; and the doors were locked. Jesus came and stood there in their midst; Peace be upon you, he said. 27 Then he said to Thomas, Let me have thy finger; see, here are my hands. Let me have thy hand; put it into my side. Cease thy doubting, and believe. 28 Thomas answered, Thou art my Lord and my God. 29 And Jesus said to him, Thou hast learned to believe, Thomas, because thou hast seen me. Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have learned to believe.

30 There are many other miracles Jesus did in the presence of his disciples, which are not written down in this book; 31 so much has been written down, that you may learn to believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and so believing find life through his name."

Hence, this day recalls the roll of St. Thomas -- the Apostle that doubted.  I prefer to recall St. Thomas having earlier noted in the Gospel of St. John: "11:16 Thereupon Thomas, who is also called Didymus, said to his fellow-disciples, Let us go too, and be killed along with him," and interpret his incredulity in this light: his love for Christ was such that it would not admit to allowing a hope that was not well-founded.  All the same, it is he that proclaims: "Thou art my Lord and my God."

Today is also, more recently, known as Divine Mercy Sunday.  This was a particular devotion and focus on the mercy of Almighty God made popular by the Polish Saint, St. Faustina, and approved by Pope Blessed John Paul II.

The Vatican promulgated a decree regarding the wonderful Indulgence available, under the usual conditions, on Divine Mercy Sunday:
Vatican Decree on Indulgence attached to devotion to Divine Mercy

For more on the devotion to the Divine Mercy, you should note:
EWTN: Divine Mercy Novena

Today, perhaps, we might review the Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy promulgated by Pope Francis for this year of Mercy.  You can find the full text here:

Happy Easter!

Surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia, et apparuit Simoni, alleluia!

Live well!

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Easter Saturday & the Regina Caeli

The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin by Diego Velazquez, ca. 1645AD.

Happy Easter!  We have now reached the 7th day of the Octave of Easter: Easter Saturday!  As our celebration of the Resurrection of Christ continues on this high feast, you might note these general details of this highest holy day in Christianity:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Easter

Fish Eaters: Eastertide

Today being Saturday, it seems fitting to note something of the Marian Antiphon for the Easter season: the Regina Caeli.

For the history of this antiphon, you might note:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia; Regina Caeli

The Latin text reads:

Regina cæli, lætare, alleluia:
Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia,
Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia,
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

V. Gaude et lætare, Virgo Maria, alleluia.
R. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.

In English, that is rendered:
Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
For He whom you deserved to bear in your womb, alleluia.
Has risen, as He promised, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.

V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
R. For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.
Here is the traditional plainchant setting of the Regina Caeli:

This is a setting by Tomas Luis de Victoria (+1611AD):

Finally, a setting by the rather famous Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (+1791AD):

Surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia, et apparuit Simoni, alleluia!

Live well!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Easter Wednesday & the Victimae Sequence

File:Resurrection of Christ and Women at the Tomb by Fra Angelico (San Marco cell 8).jpg
The Resurrection by Fra Angelico, 15th century.

Happy Easter, on this Easter Wednesday!  The great and glorious Octave of Easter continues.

Here is the introit for Mass on the day:

For more on the Feast of Easter in general, you might note:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Easter

Fish Eaters: Eastertide

Today I wanted to stop and note something of the sublime Sequence that is said of chanted during the 1st class Octave of Easter: the Victimae Paschali laudes.  This sequence, thought to be from the 11th century, was one of the few retained by the reforms of the Council of Trent.

The text reads thus in Latin:
Victimae paschali laudes
immolent Christiani.

Agnus redemit oves:
Christus innocens Patri
reconciliavit peccatores.

Mors et vita duello
conflixere mirando:
dux vitae mortuus,
regnat vivus.

Dic nobis Maria,
quid vidisti in via?

Sepulcrum Christi viventis,
et gloriam vidi resurgentis:

Angelicos testes,
sudarium, et vestes.

Surrexit Christus spes mea:
praecedet vos in Galilaeam.

Scimus Christum surrexisse
a mortuis vere:
tu nobis, victor Rex, miserere.
Amen. Alleluia.

Which, in English is:
Let Christians immolate
praises to the passover victim.

The lamb has redeemed the sheep:
Innocent Christ has reconciled
the sinners to the Father.

Death and life contended
in a miraculous battle:
the Prince of life, who died,
reigns alive.

Tell us, Mary, what did
you see on the road?

"I saw the tomb of the living Christ
and the glory of his rising,

The angelic witnesses, the
clothes and the shroud."

"Christ my hope is arisen;
into Galilee, he will go before his own."

We know Christ is truly risen from the dead!
To us, victorious King, have mercy!
Amen. Alleluia.

Here is the Chant for this great Sequence:

The great Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina has his own setting, too:

Finally, for more, you might note this article:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Victimae Paschali

Surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia, et apparuit Simoni, alleluia!

Live well!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Easter Tuesday & Resurrection Accounts

The Resurrection by Piero della Francesca, 15th century.

The Octave of Easter continues today, Easter Tuesday.  Each day this week is, of course, a solemnity or 1st Class Feast, as we continue to bask in the glory of the Resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.  For more on this wonderful feast, you might note:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Easter

Fish Eaters: Eastertide

Here is a recording of the Alleluia verse for Easter Tuesday:

Today, I wished to take a look at the Resurrection account according to the various Gospels.  On Easter Sunday, I highlighted the account of St. Matthew.  Below are those of the other three Gospels:

St. Mark recounts, in chapter 16:
"Chapter 16:1 And when the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome had bought spices, to come and anoint Jesus. 2 So they came to the tomb very early on the day after the sabbath, at sunrise.  3 And they began to question among themselves, Who is to roll the stone away for us from the door of the tomb? 4 Then they looked up, and saw that the stone, great as it was, had been rolled away already. 5 And they went into the tomb, and saw there, on the right, a young man seated, wearing a white robe; and they were dismayed.  6 But he said to them, No need to be dismayed; you have come to look for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified; he has risen again, he is not here. Here is the place where they laid him. 7 Go and tell Peter and the rest of his disciples that he is going before you into Galilee. There you shall have sight of him, as he promised you. 8 So they came out and ran away from the tomb, trembling and awe-struck, and said nothing to anyone, out of fear.  9 But he had risen again, at dawn on the first day of the week, and shewed himself first of all to Mary Magdalen, the woman out of whom he had cast seven devils. 10 She went and gave the news to those who had been of his company, where they mourned and wept; 11 and they, when they were told that he was alive and that she had seen him, could not believe it.  12 After that, he appeared in the form of a stranger to two of them as they were walking together, going out into the country;  13 these went back and gave the news to the rest, but they did not believe them either."

Here is that of St. Luke:
"Chapter 24:1 And at very early dawn on the first day of the week they came to the tomb, bringing the spices they had prepared: 2 and found the stone already rolled away from the door of the tomb. 3 They went into it, and could not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 They were still puzzling over this, when two men came and stood by them, in shining garments. 5 These said to them, as they bowed their faces to the earth in fear, Why are you seeking one who is alive, here among the dead? 6 He is not here, he has risen again; remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 The Son of Man is to be given up into the hands of sinners, and to be crucified, and to rise again the third day. 8 Then they remembered what he had said, 9 and returned from the tomb bringing news of all this to the eleven apostles and to all the rest.  10 It was Mary Magdalen, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, who told the apostles this; 11 but to their minds the story seemed madness, and they could not believe it. 12 Only Peter rose up and ran to the tomb, where he looked in, and saw the grave-clothes lying by themselves, and went away full of surmise over what had befallen."

Finally, that of St. John:
"Chapter 20:1 Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalen went to the tomb, and found the stone moved away from the tomb door.  2 So she came running to Simon Peter, and that other disciple, whom Jesus loved; They have carried the Lord away from the tomb, she said to them, and we cannot tell where they have taken him. 3 Upon this, Peter and the other disciple both set out, and made their way to the tomb; 4 they began running side by side, but the other disciple outran Peter, and reached the tomb first. 5 He looked in and saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Simon Peter, coming up after him, went into the tomb and saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and also the veil which had been put over Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths, but still wrapped round and round in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and saw this, and learned to believe. 9 They had not yet mastered what was written of him, that he was to rise from the dead. 10 The disciples went back home; 11 but Mary stood without before the tomb, weeping. And she bent down, still weeping, and looked into the tomb; 12 and saw two angels clothed in white sitting there, one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 They said to her, Woman, why art thou weeping? Because they have carried away my Lord, she said, and I cannot tell where they have taken him.14 Saying this, she turned round, and saw Jesus standing there, without knowing that it was Jesus.  15 Woman, Jesus said to her, why art thou weeping? For whom art thou searching? She supposed that it must be the gardener, and said to him, If it is thou, Sir, that hast carried him off, tell me where thou hast put him, and I will take him away. 16 Jesus said to her, Mary. And she turned and said to him, Rabboni (which is the Hebrew for Master). 17 Then Jesus said, Do not cling to me thus; I have not yet gone up to my Father’s side. Return to my brethren, and tell them this; I am going up to him who is my Father and your Father, who is my God and your God.

18 So Mary Magdalen brought news to the disciples, of how she had seen the Lord, and he had spoken thus to her. 19 And now it was evening on the same day, the first day of the week; for fear of the Jews, the disciples had locked the doors of the room in which they had assembled; and Jesus came, and stood there in their midst; Peace be upon you, he said. 20 And with that, he shewed them his hands and his side. Thus the disciples saw the Lord, and were glad. 21 Once more Jesus said to them, Peace be upon you; I came upon an errand from my Father, and now I am sending you out in my turn. 22 With that, he breathed on them, and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit; 23 when you forgive men’s sins, they are forgiven, when you hold them bound, they are held bound."

Surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia, et apparuit Simoni, alleluia!

Live well!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Easter Monday & the Octave

File:Rafael - ressureicaocristo01.jpg
Resurrection of Christ, by Raphael, ca. 1500AD.

Yesterday, Easter Sunday, was really on the first day of Easter -- as this highest of Feasts has a 1st Class Octave -- eight days, all of which are 1st Class Feasts, or Solemnities.  This is the holiest and most celebratory week of the year -- each of these days is like another Easter!  As such, this blog will continue with the Easter day theme throughout the week.  Of course, the full Easter Season lasts fifty days, until Pentecost.

Here is the Alleluia verse from Easter Monday:

For more on Easter and Eastertide, you might consult:

Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Easter

Fish Eaters: Eastertide

It is worth noting something, too, of the idea of an Octave:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Octave

Check back later this week, as I continue to present various aspects of this glorious feast!

Surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia, et apparuit Simoni, alleluia!

Live well!