Liturgical Texts: February 2010 Archives


In Rome and in other places, Shrove Tuesday is observed as the Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus. In 2007 I had the privilege of concelebrating a Solemn Mass in honour of the Holy Face of Jesus at the Roman Church of Santo Spirito in Sassia with His Eminence, Fiorenzo Cardinal Angelini.

Masses in honour of the Holy Face appeared as early as the fourteenth century. In 1958 Pope Pius XII approved the observance of a feast of the Holy Face of Jesus on Shrove Tuesday. At Manoppello, the feast of the Holy Face is celebrated on August 6th, the Transfiguration of the Lord. The Benedictines of Jesus Crucified honoured the Holy Face with the Litanies sung in procession on the Sunday After Ascension.

The present Mass of the Holy Face of Jesus for Shrove Tuesday was approved by the Holy See in 1986. A flash of paschal glory before beginning Lent! Here are the Proper Mass texts of the Mass in English. The translation is my own.


A Soldier Turned Monk

Today is the feast of Saint Benedict of Aniane (745-821). Under the patronage of Louis the Pious (778-840), Benedict of Aniane, an ex-soldier whose baptismal name was Witiza, promoted the observance of the Rule of Saint Benedict (of Nursia) in the monasteries of the Carolingian empire. As a novice I was introduced to his Concordia Regularum, a collection of ancient monastic rules.

Liturgy of the Day

The liturgy for today's feast has some lovely elements. At Vigils there was a proper hymn; the rest of the Office, apart from the Collect, is from the Common of Monks. The Collect asks for the grace that, through the ages, monks have sought, recovered, and lost over and over again: perfect discipline in Christ!

Deus, qui beati Benedicti abbatis
doctrina et exemplis vitam monasticam renovasti,
eius intercessione concede propitius,
ut perfectam disciplinam teneamus in Christo.

O God, Who by the teaching and example of the blessed abbot Benedict,
didst renew the monastic life,
graciously grant, through his intercession,
that we may hold fast to perfect discipline in Christ.

I don't have at hand the Latin text of the Cistercian variant of the Collect, but I do have the French, which I translate as follows:

Lord our God,
Who called Saint Benedict of Aniane
to restore the monastic fervour of earlier times;
rekindle in us that love of solitude,
relish of the Divine Office,
and zeal for unity,
that inspired him in his work of renewal.

The Surpassing Power of Love

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Preface for the Feast of Saint Scholastica, Virgin

Truly it is 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.

Saint Scholastica, obedient to the teaching of Saint Benedict, her brother,
inclined the ear of her heart to the voice of Christ
who led her into the wilderness
and there espoused her in mercy and faithfulness.

This holy virgin chose the best part,
and in preferring nothing to the love of Christ,
reached that love of yours which, being perfect,
drove out all fear.

When in earnest prayer she sought your help,
you answered her outpouring of tears
with a sudden downpour of rain amidst lightning and thunder,
and in this you revealed the surpassing power of love.

In the form of a dove,
her pure soul entered the glory of heaven;
seeing this, her brother was filled with joy
and raised his voice in glad thanksgiving.

Now Saint Scholastica rejoices in you who called her,
and praises you forever with the powers of heaven,
with whom we also raise our voices
in this, their endless hymn of praise:

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.

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