Liturgical Texts: August 2010 Archives



O God, by whose grace
Saint Joseph of Arimathea
was emboldened to ask
for the sacred Body of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that together with Saint Nicodemus
he might prepare it for burial and lay it in his own tomb,
give us such an increase of faith and courage
that we may not fear to bear reproach for the sake of Christ,
but rather may serve Him with sincere devotion
all the days of our life.
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.

Collect at the General Intercessions

O God,
who did leave us traces of your sufferings
on the holy Shroud in which your sacred Body,
taken from the cross, was wrapped by Joseph,
mercifully grant that, by your death and burial,
we may be brought to the glory of your resurrection.
Who live and reign forever and ever.

Pax Benedictina

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Almighty God, who made Blessed Alfredo Ildefonso
a good shepherd,
to build up with exemplary virtue
the flock entrusted to him;
grant that we may follow his teachings
and walk without wavering
under the guidance of the Gospel
until, at length, we come to contemplate you
in your eternal Kingdom.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.

Collect at the General Intercessions

O God by whose grace
Blessed Ildefonso Schuster
served at your altars
in perfect recollection and quietness of heart,
radiating peace even in the midst of war,
grant, we beseech you, through his intercession,
that we may prefer nothing to the praise of your majesty
and never despair of your mercy.
Through Christ our Lord.


The Collect

Keep, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy Church
with Thy perpetual mercy,
and because the frailty of man without Thee cannot but fall,
keep us ever by Thy help from all things hurtful,
and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation.
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. Amen.

Weakness and Mercy

There is a remarkable balance in the composition of the Collect. The frailty of man cannot but fall; but the mercy of God is perpetual, and ever available to the man about to slide into sin. The psalmist says: "Unless the Lord had been my helper, my soul had almost dwelt in hell. If I said: My foot is moved: your mercy, O Lord, assisted me." (Psalm 93:17-18)

The Noxious and the Healthful

In the second part of the Collect we ask to be pulled away from noxiis, from all things poisonous and harmful to our souls, and we pray to be directed toward salutaria, towards all things healthful to our souls.


This is yet another example of the Roman Liturgy's realism. The Church has no illusions about the frailty of human nature; she is not surprised or shocked by the weaknesses of her children. At the same time, the Church has an abiding confidence in God's perpetual mercy. Thus does her liturgy keep us from falling into despair on the one side, and into presumption on the other. The prayer is a practical one. It is applicable to souls at every stage of the Christian life.

First Vespers at the Magnificat
(Proverbs 6:20-21)

My son, keep thy father's commandment,
and forsake not the law of thy mother,
but bind them continually upon thine heart.

The wisdom of keeping the law of God is transmitted from generation to generation. Parents are the first educators in the Catholic faith. Their primary obligation is to set the feet of their children in the way of holiness. One does well, all through life, to cling to those truths of the faith learned at one's father's side and mother's knee.

At the Benedictus
(Matthew 6:31-32)

Take no thought, saying : What shall we eat ? *
or, What shall we drink ?
For your Father knoweth what things ye have need of. Alleluia.

Our Lord commands us to trust in the Father's solicitude for us. He would have us rely upon the Father's goodness and upon the infinite resources of His Divine Providence.

Second Vespers at the Magnificat
(Matthew 6:33)

Seek ye first the kingdom of God *
and His righteousness,
and all these things shall be added unto you. Alleluia.

The kingdom of God and His holiness: this is the first and indispensable focus of the Christian life. Through the ages, the saints demonstrate that one who seeks first the kingdom will want for nothing. The Father provides for those who seek the knowledge of His glory shining upon the Face of His Christ.

Saint Bernard

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August 20th is the feast of Saint Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church. This particular depiction of the "amplexus" or embrace of Saint Bernard by the Crucified Jesus is found in the Church of San Bernardo Alle Terme in Rome.


Preface of the Mass of Saint Bernard

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.

Christ is the Word
whom Saint Bernard held in the silence of his heart;
Christ is the Bridegroom
whom he desired with all the ardour of his soul;
Christ is the Son of the Virgin Mary
whose sweetness was his comfort and delight.

In the holy abbot Bernard you have given your Church
a teacher in the school of charity,
a prophet burning with the fire of the Holy Spirit,
a poet to sing the praises of the Virgin Mother,
a servant of unity and peace.

Even today, his words fill us with wonder,
inflame us with longing for the wedding of the Lamb,
and inspire us to sing your praise with joy.

Therefore, with the angels and the great company of saints,
we exalt your glory forever.

Vultum tuum, Domine, requiram

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"La Trasfigurazione" by Marco Pino, 1578

Among the many days in the liturgical calendar that direct our gaze to the holy and glorious Face of Jesus, the feast of the Transfiguration is the one I love most. Holy Mass will open today with the sublime Third Mode Introit, Tibi dixit:

Tibi dixit cor meum, quaesivi vultum tuum,
My heart has said to Thee, I have sought Thy Face,
vultum tuum, Domine, requiram:
Thy Face, O Lord, will I seek,
ne avertas faciem tuam a me.
Turn not Thy Face from me.

V. Dominus illuminatio mea et salus mea:
The Lord is my light and my salvation:
quem timebo?
whom shall I fear?

No other chant better expresses the Benedictine vocation, for what Saint Benedict requires, before all else, of one who would become a monk, is that one truly seek God. And where is the God-seeking soul to direct his gaze, if not toward the Face of Jesus? "The light of the knowledge of the glory of God," says the Apostle, is "in the Face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor 4:6). Rightly, then, did we sing this morning at Matins:

R. God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness,
hath shined in our hearts,
* To give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God,
in the Face of Jesus Christ.
V. Unto the godly there ariseth up light in the darkness;
he is merciful, loving, and righteous.
* To give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God
in the Face of Jesus Christ.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
* To give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God
in the Face of Jesus Christ.

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