Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Lyonese Missal Part III: Sundays per Annum

St. Jean, cathedral of the primatial see of France

Let us resume our exciting series on the local liturgical usages of the French dioceses prior to the 19th century streamlining of worship influenced by Dom Prosper Gueranger's accusations of Jansenism. The rite of Lyon, the primatial see of the first daughter of the Church, survived the liturgical purge until the mid-20th century when, like so many other dioceses both after Trent and after the 1960s reforms, the bishop decided to switch to the Roman liturgy.

As a review, let us aphorize that Jansenists were effectively French Catholics who thought Calvin read St. Augustine correctly. On this scheme of belief some of God's commandments are impossible to uphold, that grace is irresistible—unless one is not "chosen", and Christ died for the elect and not for all men. Other peculiarities of the Jansenists include an allergy to people receiving Communion on a regular basis. This makes accusations of Jansenism difficult to justify given that the Parisian and Lyonese rites mandate regular administration of Holy Communion during Mass to whoever so wishes to receive. Other issues and defects exist which likely led to the demise of the Gallican rites, issues which will be covered in the concluding post at some point in the future.

Part I: Third Sunday of Advent

The Third Sunday of Advent is one of the great days of the year in the Roman rite. Celebrated in rose vestments, hinting at the impending joy of Christmas, the Mass begins with the word Gaudete. In ancient and medieval times the pope would celebrate this Mass following a nighttime vigil of Mattins and Lauds. The Lyonese rite begins not with Gaudete, but rather with the familiar Introit Rorate coeli de super. The collect and epistle (Gaudete, iterum dico gaudete....) are the same as in the Roman Mass. Graduals tend to differ in the French rites from the Roman one, probably the result of mangling by bishops without the supervision of monks. This gradual is not different in content. It has the same two verses of psalm 79 as the Roman rite, but flipped! The Alleluia is different, but again taken from a psalm. The Gospel pericope is the same as in Rome, extracted from John chapter 1, wherein the Forerunner calls himself the "voice crying out in the desert" in anticipation of the coming of the Lord. The Offertory verse is again different from Rome, although it is familiar to us all (Deus, tu conversus vivificabis nos, et plebs tua laetabitur in te: ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam, et salutare tuum da nobis). Indeed it fits in well with the crying aloud of the Baptist and the apocalyptic tone of Advent. The secret is the same as in the Roman. The preface is of the Incarnation (not neo-Gallican Advent preface). The Communion verse again betrays not malice, but mangling; the Roman verse, from Isaiah, is Dicite: pusillanimes, confortamini et nollite timere: ecce, Deus noster veniet, et salvabit nos. Lyon reads: Dicite: pusillanimes, confortamini et nollite timere: ecce, Deus ipse veniet, et salvabit vos. The post-Communion oration, completely different from the Roman one, says that the faithful have been "renewed" in the Body and Blood of Christ and asks that by those gifts, "aids of the present life," we may "obtain the reward of eternal happiness."

The non-Roman rites usually give readings for ferial Masses on Wednesdays and Fridays for the sake of variety and to expound the mysteries of Sunday in more depth. Lyon is no exception.

Part II: Sunday with the Octave of the Nativity

The Roman Mass for today is a sensible continuation of the Nativity cycle beginning with the Puer natus est nobis Introit so familiar to those of us who love the Roman Advent/Nativity cycle (personally I do not think any time in the Latin or Greek liturgies is as rich as the Roman Advent season). The Introit for Lyon is a curious variation of psalm 88: Ipse invocabit me. The Roman collect for the day exists here as a commemoration, as the Sunday has its own unique collect: "Almighty eternal God, direct our actions in Your approval, that in the name of Your beloved Son, we may merit to abound in good works." Could one who does not believe in substantial free will pray this oration? The collect of the Octave is omitted if the Mass is celebrated, but it is said as a commemoration, along with the collect of the Sunday, if the feast of St. Stephen, St. John, or the Holy Innocents is celebrated on the Sunday.

The readings are entirely in variance from the Roman rite. The Roman epistle comes from St. Paul's letter to Titus and the Gospel is St. Luke's account of shepherds adoring Christ. The Lyonese readings come from Galatians (4:1-8) and the first half of St. Luke's narrative of the presentation of Christ in the Temple. The message here is that Christ's Incarnation makes all people children of God and descendants of Abraham, not just those born through certain lineages. The old Law gives way to something greater. The gradual, Offertory, and Communion verses differ, but are unremarkable. The secret is a long way of saying very little very vividly, typical French Latin. The post-Communion oration petitions that we may be more worthy to become partakers "of His divinity Who humbled Himself to be a partaker in our humanity." I wonder if the makers of the Pauline liturgy borrowed from this prayer. The Latin word order and vocabulary is even the same.

Part III: First Sunday of Lent

Mass, per the Norman praxis, is celebrated in ash colored vestments rather than violet. While the ancient Roman tradition was to use as dark a color as possible, the Norman tradition was to use as colorless and sparse a color as possible.

The synaxis is almost exactly the same as in the Roman rite, with two exceptions. The first is that the old Roman psalms are foregone again—a dubious trait of these Gallican rites—in favor of the Vulgate translation. The Introit begins with Clamabit ad me rather than Invocabit me. The other difference is in the gradual and tract. Both use large excerpts from psalm 90, which readers hopefully pray at Compline every night, but the Roman tract is longer. Perhaps Lyon is a reduction.

The secret is the same, but not the Offertory or Communion verse, nor the post-Communion oration. The Offertory is from Deuteronomy chapter 9 and parallels Moses' forty days of fasting followed by his reception of the Ten Commandments with Christ's forty days fasting followed by the beginning of His public ministry.

After Vespers all images except crosses on the altars where Mass is celebrated and processional crosses are covered. Even in Passiontide they are not covered. One presumes that the coverings are ash colored.

Part IV: 14th Sunday after Pentecost

No study of Masses per annum would be complete without a foray into the Sundays after Pentecost, the Roman "green season." Strangely, today's Introit is the one missing from would-be Gaudete Sunday from the first section of today's post. The collect and readings are the same, although the gradual and alleluia differ quite a bit, emphasizing fear of God rather than the joy in the Roman texts. The Offertory chant differs, but is unremarkable. The Roman secret petitions that the gifts offered may be a "purgation of offences and propitiation of your power" while the Lyonese asks that the gifts and prayers offered bring "Your kingdom and justice that we seek with all our heart." The post-Communion calls upon God to feed us through the Sacrament received, that we may pull through visible things and have faith in the invisible things to come. The Roman oration has more or less the same message in half as many words.


Again our efforts to find Jansenism in the French rites is thwarted and again we find at least one prayer that seems to be directly opposed to the ideas attributed to bishop Jansen. Furthermore, we see evidence that the real reason for the suppression of the French rites—aside from the political climate—may well have been intentional deviations from things explicitly Roman like the antiphonary psalms used in the Introits of Mass.

Next in the series: feasts & commons.

1 comment:

  1. Any information on the picture you posted? When/where was it taken?