Liturgical Texts: February 2011 Archives


Among the beautiful Votive Masses of the Passion, found in some missals for certain weekdays after Septuagesima and through Lent, is that of The Prayer of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemani.


My heart is troubled within me;
the fear of death stands over me;
fear and trembling are come upon me (Ps 54:5-6).
V. O God, save me;
see how the waters close about me,
threatening my very life (Ps 68:2).
V. Glory.


Lord Jesus Christ,
whose word and example in the garden taught us to pray,
and thereby to overcome the perils of temptation,
grant us grace ever to be intent upon prayer,
and so to earn its abundant reward.
Thou who art God.

Epistle (Hebrews 5:5-10)

Brethren, Christ did not raise himself to the dignity of the high priesthood; it was God that raised him to it, when he said, you are my Son, I have begotten you this day, and so, elsewhere, You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchisedech. Christ, during his earthly life, offered prayer and entreaty to God who could save him from death, not without a piercing cry, not without tears; yet with such piety as won him a hearing. Son of God though he was, he learned obedience in the school of suffering, and now, his full achievement reached, he wins eternal salvation for all those who render obedience to him. A high priest in the line of Melchisedech, so God has called him.


My heart is full of trouble, my life sinks ever closer to the grave.
V. I count as one of those who go down into the abyss,
a man past all help (Ps 87:4-5)


Listen to me, Lord, of thy gracious mercy,
look down upon me in the abundance of thy pity.
V. Do not turn thy face away from thy servant in this time of trouble,
give a speedy answer to my prayer (Ps 68:17-18).
V. Do not leave me now, when trouble is close at hand,
when I have none to help me (Ps 21:12).

Gospel (Luke 22:39-44)

At this time, Jesus went out, as his custom was, to mount Olivet, his disciples following him. When he reached the place, he said to them, Pray that you may not enter into temptation. Then he parted from them, going a stone's throw off, and knelt down to pray; Father, he said, if it pleases you, take away this chalice from before me; only as your will is, not as mine is. And he had sight of an angel from heaven, encouraging him. And now he was in an agony, and prayed still more earnestly; his sweat fell to the ground like thick drops of blood.


O God, save me;
see how the waters close about me,
threatening my very life (Ps 68:2).


Lord, by the merits of this holy sacrifice,
we beseech thee, cause us, who are schooled by thy divine instruction,
to spend ourselves so effectively in prayer,
that thy Son, Jesus Christ,
may find us at the hour of death,
watchful and free from sin.
Who with thee.

Communion (Matthew 26:41)

Watch and pray, that you may not enter into temptation:
the spirit is willing enough,
but the flesh is weak.


Refreshed with heavenly food,
we humbly beseech thee, Almighty Father,
that by virtue of the prayer of thy only-begotten Son,
we who are set amidst such dangers to body and soul
may be held worthy to come safely to the kingdom of heaven
Through the same.


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Although the Roman Martyrology commemorates the anniversary of Saint Bernadette's death on April 16th, her liturgical memorial is kept on February 18th at Lourdes itself, at Nevers where her body rests, and in all of France. Saint Bernadette has a way of making herself close to those who seek her intercession.

The liturgical texts provided for her feast provide us with a portrait of the little saint of Lourdes. I give here the Latin text and my own translation, with a few words of commentary.

Ad Laudes matutinas

V. Diffusa est gratia in labiis tuis.
R. Propterea benedixit te Deus in aeternum.

V. Grace is poured out upon thy lips.
R. Therefore hath God blessed thee forever.

Yes, when one reads the words of Saint Bernadette, one is struck by her simplicity, a simplicity that is the fruit and sign of Divine Grace at work in her soul.

Ad Benedictus

Libenter gloriabor * in infirmitatibus meis,
ut inhabitet in me virtus Christi. (2 Cor 12:9)

Gladly will I glory in my infirmities
that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

The liturgy places the words of the Apostle Paul in the mouth of Saint Bernadette. Like the Apostle, she experienced the power of Christ in her infirmity, her poverty, and her littleness. Her whole life -- from the hovel where she lived as a girl with her family in Lourdes to the infirmary of the Sisters of Charity at Nevers -- displays the power of Christ in weakness.


Humilium, Deus, protector, amator, et corona,
qui beatam Mariam Bernardam, virginem
mira patientia et caritate clarescere fecisti,
praesta, quaesumus, eius intercessione et exemplo,
per simplices fidei semitas,
ad tuam in caelis visionem pervenire mereamur.
Per Dominum.

O God, protector, lover, and crown of the humble,
who didst make the virgin, blessed Mary Bernard
shine with a wondrous patience and charity,
grant, we beseech Thee, by her intercession and example,
that [walking] in the simple paths of faith,
we may at length be found worthy
of beholding Thee in heaven.
Through Our Lord.

What a beautiful Collect! It begins by addressing God the Father with three titles: He is the protector of the humble, of the lowly in heart; He is the One who loves them; and He is their crown in the glory of heaven. He caused Bernardette to shine, clarescere, like a lamp in a dark place, by means of a the virtues of a wondrous patience and charity. The petition of the prayer alludes not to the singular grace of the apparitions of the Immaculate Virgin at Lourdes, but rather to the simple paths of faith that Bernadette trod after the apparitions, especially in the monotony of daily life at Nevers. These the same paths of faith, quite empty of all that is extraordinary, become our way to the vision of God in heaven.

Ad Vesperas

V. Elegit eam Deus et praeelegit eam.
R. In tabernaculo suo habitare facit eam.

V. God chose her and set her apart.
R. He made her dwell in His tabernacle.

The choice of God: "You have not chosen me: but I have chosen you; and have appointed you, that you should go, and should bring forth fruit; and your fruit should remain." (Jn 15:16). God chose Bernadette and drew her into intimacy with Himself, hiding her in the secret of His tabernacle.

Ad Magnificat

Veni, electa mea, * et ponam in te thronum meum.

Come, my chosen one, and I shall set my throne within thee.

The Magnificat Antiphon expresses the call of the Bridegroom at each Holy Communion, and again at the viaticum given in the hour of our death.

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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