What’s better?

On Facebook I saw a traditional Roman Catholic challenge Cardinal Sarah’s assertion in this article that the three year lectionary is superior to the one year, and that this is a widely held position. The person involved obviously disagreed with the assertion that it was a widely held position. Now, after reading the article myself, it becomes clear that Cardinal Sarah did not directly make the assertion, but the author of the article. Further, the articles reads,

 

Sarah proposes that efforts be made to have a shared calendar and a shared lectionary, so that both the EF and OF would celebrate more feasts together and have the same Scripture readings at Mass.

That poses a twofold challenge. First, it requires the EF community to acknowledge that some aspects of the OF, particularly its reformed calendar and its lectionary – which includes far more Scripture than the EF one – are actual improvements and possible enrichments for the EF.

Not exactly the same thing. So, without letting this be a post without a point, let me discuss the question of the lectionary itself.

I use a single year lectionary in my parish. I am quite fine with this, as I feel that stretching it out over three years takes away from the formative aspect (as it takes longer to cycle through and I don’t buy the argument that throwing more scripture at people will make them learn more scripture), and a three year lectionary means that one would need to re-do the minor propers (not an issue if you don’t use them, but my parish does).

On the other hand, I like some aspects of the new lectionary. For instance, the inclusion of an old testament lesson. We get around this by having Morning Prayer immediately before one mass and just inserting the OT lesson from Morning Prayer before the Epistle at the second mass. I think that since both Testaments are critically important one ought to preach on both Testaments.

Regardless of which lectionary is used, however, we need to remember that both lectionaries are intended to teach the faith and therefore, to introduce people to Jesus.

 

As an aside, Cardinal Sarah is the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (Roman Catholic Church), and is the author of Christ’s New Homeland – AfricaGod or Nothing, and The Power of Silence- Against the Dictatorship of Noise.

 

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Ascensiontide hymns #7 and #8

The sixth in a series of seven posts on Ascensiontide music.

All Hail The Power Of Jesus’ Name was our processional hymn this past Sunday, the Sunday in the Octave of the Ascension as well as our opportunity for confirmations, of which we had 11. While it may be more immediately associated with the Feast of Christ the King, it is a good ascensiontide hymn  as well, for the mystery of Our Lord’s Kingship is very much a part of the ascension. N. T. Wright takes up this argument (and actually argues against a separate Feast of Christ the King) in his book, How God Became Kingand elsewhere. Aside from theological content, it was good for the occasion of a confirmation because it isn’t a hymn unknown to the general panoply of protestantism, and so many guests knew it as well.

All hail the power of Jesus’ name!
Let angels prostrate fall;
bring forth the royal diadem,
and crown Him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal diadem,
and crown Him Lord of all.

Ye chosen seed of Israel’s race,
ye ransomed from the Fall,
hail Him who saves you by His grace,
and crown Him Lord of all.
Hail Him who saves you by His grace,
and crown Him Lord of all.

….

Crown Him With Many Crowns is a similar hymn. 

1 Crown him with many crowns,
the Lamb upon his throne.
Hark! how the heavenly anthem drowns
all music but its own.
Awake, my soul, and sing
of him who died for thee,
and hail him as thy matchless king
through all eternity.

2 Crown him the Lord of life,
who triumphed o’er the grave,
and rose victorious in the strife
for those he came to save;
his glories now we sing
who died and rose on high,
who died eternal life to bring,
and lives that death may die.

3 Crown him the Lord of love;
behold his hands and side,
rich wounds, yet visible above,
in beauty glorified;
no angels in the sky
can fully bear that sight,
but downward bends their burning eye
at mysteries so bright.

4 Crown him the Lord of years,
the potentate of time,
creator of the rolling spheres,
ineffably sublime.
All hail, Redeemer, hail!
for thou hast died for me;
thy praise shall never, never fail
throughout eternity.

 

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Ascensiontide hymn #6

The fifth in a series of seven posts on Ascensiontide music.

The tune Salva Festa Dies is well known, and is attached to three hymns, all with the same title, Hail Thee, Festival Day, on each for Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost. It is a strong, triumphal tune, which could be sung a capella, though I would not recommend it.  I was once in a parish which did this, and it did not go well.

 

It is based on a latin text by  Venantius Honorius Fortunatus, author of such beloved texts as Sing My Tongue, The Glorious Battle and Thirty Years Among Us Dwelling. Fortunatus, for the record, wrote a body of poetry, which would should check out, if you haven’t previously. The music was composed by Ralph Vaughn Williams, Anglican musician extraordinaire.

 

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Ascensiontide hymn #5

The fourth in a series of seven posts on Ascensiontide music.

Yesterday morning at Mass we sang a well known hymn, Alleluia, Sing to Jesus. Most often sung to the tune Hyfrydol, it was written not by William Chatterton Dix, a surgeon from Bristol, England, in 1866. It is quite appropriate for Ascentiontide, as Hymnary notes:

 

When a friend moves away or leaves us for a long time, our first response is to feel sad and lonely. In this hymn, however, Dix reminds us that though Christ physically left earth in the ascension, he does not leave us “as orphans”, but rather remains with us always, all the while interceding for us to the Father. And so we raise our voices to cry “Alleluia!” to the ascended, yet ever-present Christ.

 

1 Alleluia! Sing to Jesus!
His the scepter, his the throne;
Alleluia! His the triumph,
his the victory alone.
Hark! The songs of peaceful Zion
thunder like a mighty flood.
Jesus, out of every nation,
has redeemed us by his blood.

2 Alleluia! Not as orphans
are we left in sorrow now;
Alleluia! He is near us;
faith believes nor questions how.
Though the cloud from sight received him
when the forty days were o’er,
shall our hearts forget his promise,
“I am with you evermore”?

3 Alleluia! Heavenly High Priest,
here on earth our help, our stay;
Alleluia! Hear the sinful
cry to you from day to day.
Intercessor, friend of sinners,
earth’s Redeemer, hear our plea,
where the songs of all the sinless
sweep across the crystal sea.

4 Alleluia! King eternal,
you the Lord of lords we own:
Alleluia! born of Mary,
earth your footstool, heaven your throne:
you within the veil, have entered,
robed in flesh, our great High Priest:
by your Spirit, left us heavenward,
in the Eucharistic feast!

Ascensiontide hymn #4

The third in a series of seven posts on Ascensiontide music.

The introit for the Feast of the Ascension has been a favorite of several priests I have known. I rather like it myself.

Viri Galilaei

Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? alleluia: in like manner as ye have seen him going up into heaven, so shall he come again, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. Psalm 47. O clap your hands together, all ye people: O sing unto God with the voice of melody.

Here it is in Latin.