Liturgical Texts: October 2006 Archives


I have fond memories of sitting in my parish church as a lad and reading the commentary on the liturgy of All Saints Day by Pius Parsch in The Church's Year of Grace, one of my favourite books at the time. Parsch described the glory of First Vespers of All Saints with reliquaries glistening on the altar amidst clouds of incense: a foretaste of the liturgy of heaven.

Later on, in Blessed Abbot Marmion's book, Christ in His Mysteries, I read the chapter entitled, "Christ the Crown of All the Saints." Listen to what Dom Marmion says: "When we celebrate the Feast of All Saints, we ought to repeat to ourselves the words that St. Augustine heard: Cur non poteris quod isti, quod istae? What reasons have we for not tending to holiness? Oh, I know well what each one is tempted to say: 'I have such or such a difficulty, I have such or such a trial to contend with, I cannot become saint.' But be sure that all the saints have met with such difficulties, such trials, and much greater ones than yours. Thus then none can say, 'Holiness is not for me.'"


Let us all rejoice in the Lord,
celebrating a festival day in honour of all the Saints:
at whose solemnity the Angels rejoice,
and give praise to the Son of God.
V. Rejoice in the Lord, you just:
praise befits the upright (Ps 32:1).



Let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice:
seek the Lord and he will strengthen you;
constantly seek his face.
V. Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his Name:
make known his deeds among the peoples (Ps 104: 3-4, 1).


Almighty and everlasting God,
give us the increase of faith, hope, and charity;
and, that we may worthily obtain what you promise,
make us love that which you command.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.

I returned last night from the Heaven on Earth Conference held at the Liturgical Institute at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois. It was a wonderful experience. I rejoiced in the presence of priests zealous for the beauty of the House of the Lord and in the participation of brilliant young Catholic architects, many of them from the University of Notre Dame.


Before doing anything else today, I want to post the Propers for the feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles. The painting of Saint Jude is found in a votive chapel dedicated to the Apostle in the Kirche St. Judas Thaddäus in Heisterbacherrott, Germany


These are holy men
chosen by the Lord for their unfeigned charity;
to them he gave everlasting glory.


O God, who,
through your holy Apostles,
granted that we should come to the knowledge of your Name;
at the intercession of Saints Simon and Jude,
graciously give constant growth to your Church
by the increase of peoples who believe.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.


We will be celebrating the Votive Mass of the Most Precious Blood today, without however forgetting Saint Paul of the Cross, founder of the Congregation of the Passion. In the following text, Saint Paul of the Cross is counseling a lady who, after having made her confession, was beset with doubts. He recommends confident recourse to the Blood of Christ over all else.

"You fear that you have not made good confessions because of lack of sorrow and purpose of amendment, and that you did not confess correctly. However, you tell me that you did what you could to confess your sins as they are in God’s sight. At least that was the way you wished to set them forth.

O true God! Do you not see that this fear has no foundation whatever, and that the devil is raising it to block your spiritual gain by making you stumble in the service of God? Cast out this empty fear and trust in your dear Savior, who has washed you in his Most Precious Blood, one drop of which is enough to wash away the stains of a thousand worlds, even of all possible worlds. Help yourself by ejaculatory prayers, with darts of love toward God, and words of childlike confidence: “O Jesus, love of my soul, I trust in you! In you I believe; you I love! O Dear Blood of Jesus! O Precious Blood! O Sweetest Blood! in you are my hopes! Ah, yes, my Dear Savior, you have washed me, you have made me clean in the sacrament of Penance. You have forgotten my sins. It were utter folly to doubt that! O Dear Wounds! Most Holy Wounds, Divine Wounds! you are the object of my hopes! I do hope, yes, my God. And were I even at the gates of hell, I would hope in you!”

I have given you these words as examples. They will serve to cast out these fears that come from little confidence in God. Use them with a gentle spirit."


"My confidence is placed in God who does not need our help for accomplishing his designs. Our single endeavor should be to give ourselves to the work and to be faithful to him, and not to spoil his work by our shortcomings" (from a letter of Isaac Jogues to a Jesuit friend in France, September 12, 1646, a month before he died).


These are they who are come out of great tribulation
and have washed their robes
and have made them white in the Blood the Lamb (Ap 7:14).
V. Praise the Lord, all you nations:
praise Him all you peoples (Ps 116:1).

The blood of the holy martyrs
was poured out upon the earth for Christ;
therefore they have won rewards everlasting.


O God, who, by the work
of Saints John, Isaac, and their companions,
and by the outpouring of their blood,
willed to manifest the blessed hope of your eternal kingdom,
mercifully grant through their intercession,
that, in our own day,
the faith of Christians may strengthened.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.

The image of the North American Martyrs is by Catholic illustrator Ted Schluenderfritz.



How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him
who publishes peace, who announces good,
who preaches salvation (Is 52:7).


Lord God, who chose Saint Luke
to reveal the mystery of your special love for the poor
by preaching and by writing,
grant, that those who, even now, glory in your name,
may continue to be of one heart and one mind,
and that all nations may come to see your salvation.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.


I feel now that I am beginning to be Christ's disciple;
I desire none of those things which are seen,
if so be I may find Christ Jesus.

I care not that there come upon me fire, or cross,
or wild beasts, or breaking of my bones,
or sundering of my members,
or destruction of my whole body,
yes, and all the torments of the devil,
if only so be I may win Christ.

Saint Ignatius of Antioch


With Christ I am nailed to the cross
and I live, now not I;
but Christ lives in me.
I live by faith in the Son of God
who loved me, and gave himself for me (Gal 2:19-20).


"Behold this Heart, which, not withstanding the burning love for man with which it is consumed and exhausted, meets with no other return from the generality of Christians than sacrilege, contempt, indifference, and ingratitude, even in the Sacrament of my Love. But what pierces my Heart most deeply is, that I am subjected to those insults by persons specially consecrated to my service."


The thoughts of His Heart stand from generation to generation:
that He might deliver their souls from death,
and feed them in times of famine (Ps 32:11, 19).
V. Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous;
praise befits those who are upright (Ps 32:1).





The canonization in Rome today of Blessed Rafael Guízar Valencia, Bishop; Blessed Filippo Smaldone, Priest; Blessed Theodore Guérin, Virgin; and Blessed Rosa Venerini, Virgin is an immense joy for the whole Church. Each of them illustrates today's splendid Collect; the grace of God went before and followed after them, making them at every moment intent on all good works. The Marquess of Bute translates the Collect as follows:

Lord, we pray Thee
that Thy grace may always prevent and follow us,
and make us continually to be given to all good works.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son,
Who liveth and reigneth with Thee,
in the unity of the Holy Ghost,
one God world without end.


From The Journals of Father Alexander Schmemann (+1983):

"Wednesday, October 3, 1979

The Pope of Rome is in New York. We watched him on television in Yankee Stadium. A mixed impression. On one hand, an unquestionably good man, and full of light. Wonderful smile. Very genuine—a man of God. But, on the other hand, there are some 'buts'!

First of all, the Mass itself. The first impression is how liturgically impoverished the Catholic Church has become. In 1965, I watched the service performed by Pope Paul VI in the same Yankee Stadium. Despite everything, it was the presence, the appearance on earth of the eternal, the 'super earthly.' Whereas yesterday, I had the feeling that the main thing was the 'message.' This message is, again and again, 'peace and justice,' 'human family,' 'social work,' etc.

An opportunity was given, a fantastic chance to tell millions and millions of people about God, to reveal to them that more than anything else they need God! But here, on the contrary, the whole goal, it seemed, consisted in proving that the Church also can speak the jargon of the United Nations.

All the symbols point the same way: the reading of the Scriptures by some lay people with bright ties, etc. And a horrible translation: I never suspected that a translation could be a heresy: Grace—'abiding love'!

Does one have to serve Mass in Yankee Stadium? But if it's possible and needed, shouldn't the Mass be, so to say, 'super earthly,' separated from the secular world, in order to show in the world—the Kingdom of God?"

The emphases are my own.


The Blessed Virgin Mary, Pillar of Faith, is celebrated in Spain and in other places on October 12th. It seemed fitting to celebrate on the Saturday nearest her feast the Mass given for that title in the Collection of Masses of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Honoured as the Pillar of Faith for having sustained the Apostle Saint James in a moment of weariness and discouragement at Saragossa in Spain, the Blessed Virgin Mary is also the Destroyer of All Heresies and the Succour of Christians in distress.

In this particular image of the Madonna del Soccorso di Sciacca the Blessed Virgin is shown brandishing a club to save a small boy from the clutches of the devil. The boy, filled with a surplus of energy, had driven his mother around the bend. In a moment of classic Mediterranean exasperation, the little one's mother had exclaimed, "Oh, let the devil take you!" To her horror, the devil showed up, set on doing just that. The poor mother cried out to the Madonna to save her little boy. Clobbering the devil over the head and driving him away, the Blessed Virgin welcomed the child under her mantle and then released him to his mother, saying, "Fear not, my children, for I shall never abandon you."

The Blessed Virgin offers a pillar of stability in our inconstancy and, when necessary, she comes to our rescue, brandishing a club against the powers of darkness.


The 2002 Editio Typica Tertia of the Roman Missal includes a Votive Mass of the Mercy of God. The Collect for this new Mass formulary is derived in part from the oration that traditionally follows the Te Deum, and in part from the Collect of the Second Sunday of Pascha. The Prayer Over the Offerings contains, in the phrase, Christo iugiter confidentes, a subtle but unmistakable allusion to the invocation of Saint Faustina, "Jesus, I trust in you." The Postcommunion expresses Saint Faustina's two fold message: confidence in the mercy of God, and the practice of mercy toward one another.


God has loved us with an everlasting charity:
he sent his Only–begotten Son as the expiation for our sins,
and not for ours only
but also for the sins of the whole world (cf. Jer 31:3; 1 Jn 2:2).


The mercies of the Lord I will sing forever;
from generation to generation
my mouth will proclaim your truth (Ps 88:2).


O God, Who under a wonderful Sacrament,
hast left unto us whereby to show forth Thy Suffering Death,
grant unto us, we beseech Thee,
so reverently to handle the Sacred Mysteries of Thy Body and Thy Blood
that we may always feel within ourselves
the fruit of Thy Redeeming Work.
Who livest and reignest with God the Father,
in the unity of the Holy Ghost,
one God, world without end.

Translation of the Collect of Corpus Christi by the Marquess of Bute

Already in the mystical invasion of 17th century France, Catherine de Bar (Mère Mechthilde du Saint–Sacrement, 1614–1698), foundress of the Benedictines of the Most Holy Sacrament, initiated a weekly rememoration of both Maundy Thursday and the festival of Corpus Christi. Whenever the rubrics allowed, Thursdays were marked by a Votive Mass and Office of the Most Holy Eucharist and by adoration of the Blessed Sacrament exposed in the monstrance, a rare privilege at the time. The Cistercians too marked Thursdays in the same way; Cistercian liturgical books contain a Votive Office of the Blessed Sacrament.
During the Year of the Eucharist, I proposed a weekly Votive Mass of the Most Holy Eucharist whenever a free Thursday occurred in the calendar. It is a practice that I am continuing now that the Year of the Eucharist has come and gone, a way of recalling the Gift and Mystery of the Cenacle, and of stirring up that eucharistic amazement that Pope John Paul II so desired to revive in the Church.



The Lord chose him to be a high priest unto Himself,
and opening His treasury,
made him abound in every good.


Almighty and eternal God,
who in the Pope Blessed John,
gave to the whole world
the shining example of a good shepherd,
grant that, through his intercession,
we may with joy spread abroad the fullness of Christian charity.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.


On May 18, 1874, the Carmelite Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified (1846–1878) beheld a chalice streaming with light and a dove. From the light she heard a voice saying,

I ardently desire that priests say a Mass each month in honour of the Holy Spirit. Whoever will say it or hear it will be honoured by the Holy Spirit Himself. He will have light, he will have peace. He will cure the sick. He will awaken those who are asleep.

In June 1877, through the intermediary of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, she sent a message to Blessed Pope Pius IX, saying:

The world and religious communities are seeking novelties in devotions, and they are neglecting true devotion to the Paraclete. That is why there is error and disunion, and why there is no peace or light. They do not invoke the light as it should be invoked, and it is this light that gives knowledge of truth. It is neglected even in seminaries. . . .

Every person in the world that will invoke the Holy Spirit and have devotion to Him will not die in error. Every priest that preaches this devotion will receive light while he is speaking of it to others.

I was told that each priest in the whole world should be required to say one Mass of the Holy Spirit each month, and all those who assist at it will receive very special grace and light.

I have tried, since my own ordination, to celebrate a Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit on the first available ferial day of each month. The Roman Missal contains a wealth of texts for the Mass of the Holy Spirit. See the Liturgical Texts archive.


Today's memorial takes us to Montmartre, the Mount of Martyrs in Paris. Malouel's painting of the martyrdom of Saint Denis (1416) depicts the sacrifice of Christ, the King of Martyrs, at the center. The outstretched arms of the Eternal Father, partially hidden behind the cross, suggest that one can know the embrace of the Father only in the arms of the Crucified. At the same time, the arms of the Father receive the offering of the Son.

Blood and water are gushing abundantly from the pierced side of the Son, the hands, and the feet of Jesus. His Precious Blood runs onto the earth where it mingles with blood of Saint Denis to sanctify the hill that will come to be known as Montmartre, the Mount of the Martyrs.

On the left, Our Lord Himself brings Holy Communion as Viaticum to Saint Denis in prison. On the right, we see the cruel beheading of Saint Denis while his deacon Eleutherius looks on in sorrow.

It is recounted that, after his martyrdom, Saint Denis continued to preach, holding his head in his hands. The martyrs do, in fact, continue to preach the mystery of the Cross so often as the Church remembers them in the liturgy.


Today's Collect is, to my mind, one of the most beautiful of the whole liturgical year. What are "those things of which our conscience is afraid"? They have to do I think, with the bitter relics left behind by our sins, even when these sins have been forgiven. Long after a sin has been washed away in the pure water of sacramental absolution, the ghost of that sin lingers to haunt us and to taunt us with shameful memories, with fits of anxiety and remorse. The Collect we pray today makes us ask God to put away "those things of which our conscience is afraid," the things that paralyze us in prayer, the things that prevent us from being bold and confident in prayer.


Almighty and everlasting God,
who in the abundance of your fatherly love exceed all that we desire or deserve,
pour out your mercy upon us,
putting away those things of which our conscience is afraid,
and bestowing those which we are not worthy to ask.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.

From the Marquess of Bute

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This morning I came upon this marvelous translation of the traditional Collect for the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary and simply had to share it. The translator was John, Marquess of Bute, and the text is found in Volume II of The Roman Breviary Reformed By Order of the Most Holy Oecumenical Council of Trent (William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh and London, 1879), p. 708.

O God, Whose Only–begotten Son,
by living, dying, and rising again,
hath purchased everlasting joy for us,
mercifully grant that by calling these things to mind
in the Blessed Virgin Mary's most holy Garden–of–Roses,
we may learn better both to follow what they set forth,
and to strive after what they promise.
Through the Same our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son,
Who liveth and reigneth with Thee,
in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end.

Blessing of Roses

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It is customary in some places to bless roses on October 7th in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary. I intend to buy roses tomorrow: five pink roses for the Joyful Mysteries, five white for the Luminous Mysteries, five red for the Sorrowful Mysteries, and five yellow for the Glorious Mysteries. They will be placed before the image of the Blessed Virgin during Holy Mass and blessed after the Postcommunion. The petals of these blessed roses may be given to the sick or kept in the home as a pledge of the intercession of the Mother of God and of divine protection.



Hail , Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you;
blessed are you among women,
and blessed is fruit of your womb (cf. Lk 1:28, 42).


Pour forth your grace into our hearts,
we beseech you, O Lord,
so that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ your Son
was made known by the message of an Angel,
may by his passion and cross
be brought to the glory of his resurrection.
Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.

Mass of Saint Bruno, Priest

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The Collect formerly used for the feast of Saint Bruno breathes the spirit of compunction that animates all who seek the Face of God. I give it here for that reason:

May the prayers of Thy holy confessor Bruno
come to our aid, we pray Thee, Lord;
so that we who have grievously offended Thy majesty
by our transgressions
may obtain pardon through his merits and intercession.


Of you my heart has spoken: “Seek his face.”
It is your face, O Lord, that I seek;
hide not your face from me.
V. The Lord is my light and my salvation,
whom shall I fear? (Ps 26:8–9, 1)


O God who called Saint Bruno
to serve you in solitude,
grant, through his intercession,
that, amidst the changes of this world,
we may seek you always, and with all our heart.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.


The mercies of the Lord I will sing forever;
from generation to generation
my mouth will proclaim your truth (Ps 88:2).


O God,
who in a wondrous manner
revealed the inexhaustible riches of your mercy
to Saint Maria Faustina,
grant, we beseech you,
that by looking with trust upon the pierced side of your Son
we may be strengthened to show mercy one to another
and, at length, sing forever of your mercy in heaven.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.

Mass of Saint Francis of Assisi

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Francis, a man of God, left his home and gave away his wealth to become poor and in need. But the Lord cared for him.

It is for us to glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ
in whom is our health, life, and resurrection;
through whom we have been saved and set free (cf., Gal 6:14).
V. With all my voice I cry to the Lord,
with all my voice I entreat the Lord (Ps 141:1).


O God, who bestowed upon Saint Francis
the grace of being configured to Christ
in poverty and humility,
grant that by walking in the same path,
we may follow your Son,
and be joined to you in the joy of charity.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.


"I owe more to Columba Marmion for initiating me into things spiritual than to any other spiritual writer."
Pope John Paul II

Abbot Columba Marmion, O.S.B. was beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 3, 2000. His liturgical memorial was fixed on October 3rd, the anniversary of his Abbatial Blessing in 1909. Blessed Abbot Marmion is best known for his trilogy: Christ, the Life of the Soul, Christ, the Ideal of the Monk, and Christ in His Mysteries. A fourth volume, Christ, the Ideal of the Priest was published posthumously in 1952.


The Lord is my inheritance and my cup; he alone will give me my reward. The measuring line has marked a lovely place for me; my inheritance is my great delight (Ps 15:5-6).

Or GR, Caritas Dei, p. 248.

The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts
by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.
V. My soul, give thanks to the Lord,
all my being, bless his holy name (Rom 5:5; Ps 102:1).


O God, Almighty Father,
who called the blessed abbot Columba
to the monastic way of life
and willed to open to him
the secrets of the mysteries of Christ,
mercifully grant that
strengthened in the spirit of our adoption as sons
by his intercession,
we may become a dwelling place
worthy of your Wisdom.
Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God forever and ever

This is not, of course, a text found in any of the editiones typicae. It is merely the fruit of lectio divina shared in the literary form of the Preface of the Mass.


It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Christ our Lord.

In the beginning,
when you created the heavens and the earth,
your Spirit swept over the waters (Gen 1:1-2);
and when you formed man from the dust of the earth
you gave him life with the very Breath of your mouth (Gen 2:7).

In the fullness of time you sent your Son (Gal 4:4)
to restore the work of your hands to the splendour of holiness
by the power of the Holy Spirit.

When the hour came for him to be glorified by you (Jn 17:1),
he bowed his head and breathed forth his Spirit (Jn 19:30),
giving life to the Church.

On the first day of the week, the day of his resurrection,
he stood in the midst of his disciples,
breathed on them, and gave them the Holy Spirit (Jn 20:22).

Finally, when the day of Pentecost had come (Ac 2:1),
in the signs of a mighty wind and tongues of fire (Ac 2:2-3),
your Spirit descended upon the Church,
drawing her together in unity
and sending her forth to preach the Gospel.

Moved by the Holy Spirit,
we confess the lordship of Christ your Son (1 Cor 12:3),
we rejoice to call you Father (Rom 8:15),
and filled with the Spirit,
sing to you with all our hearts (Eph 5:18-19)
the song of the angels in heaven:

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

Donations for Silverstream Priory