Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Mass in Gaul, Part 2 (from The Mass of the Western Rites)


The paten from Gourdon.
The "Prayer of the Faithful" is a prayer recited after the departure of the catechumens by the faithful alone; thus it forms part of the Mass of the Faithful. Sometimes it is called the Prayer of the Church, or the Common Prayer. In the West, especially at Rome, it was recited in the following way: the Pontiff invited the faithful to prayer; the Deacon gave the order to bend the knee; the Bishop pronounced the prayer, and the people responded "Amen." Ed. Bishop remarks acutely, in this connection, that this prayer bears the seal of the Roman Church, in which ecclesiastical authority always maintains its rights, the part of the faithful being reduced to a minimum; while in the East the initiative of Christian people is allowed a much wider scope. To such a degree is this the case that at Rome this prayer might more correctly be called the Prayer "for" the Faithful. We have a very well-preserved type of the prayer in the "Orationes solemnes" of Good Friday. But all other trace of it has disappeared from the Roman liturgy. Under an analogous form it existed in the Gallican liturgies in the sixth century, as is proved by a text of the Council of Lyon under Sigismond (516-523), which alludes to the "Oratio plebis quae post evangelium legitur" (Concilia aevi merovingici," p. 34).
But since then it has disappeared, as it has at Rome, and we find in the Gallican liturgy only diaconal litanies, imitated from those in the Byzantine liturgy.

The offering of bread and wine in Gaul, as elsewhere was made by the faithful. What must be remarked here and what to some extent is peculiar to the Gallican Mass are the honors paid to the oblations, i.e. the elements which are to be consecrated. Analogous customs exist in the Eastern liturgies, and there is a temptation to see in this the results of Byzantine influence (Duchesne, op. cit., p. 216; Dom Wilmart, art. cit.,
col. 1080). It is surprising to find the pseudo-Germain describe these elements, in a prolepsis, by the following words: "Procedente ad altarium corpore Christi, praeclara Christi magnalia dulci melodia psallit Ecclesia" (P.L., Vol. LXXII col. 93). Gregory of Tours expresses himself in somewhat similar terms when he says that the "Mysterium dominici corporis" was contained in vessels shaped like towers; wooden towers, sometimes covered with gold.86 The wine to be consecrated was brought in a chalice: "sanguis
Christi ... offertur in calice." Water was added to the wine, as in all other rites. The bread was placed on a paten. Reference is made to the veils which covered the oblations: the first, "Palle," of linen or wool; the second which was placed beneath the oblations, of pure linen "Corporalis palle;" finally, a precious tissue of silk and gold, ornamented with jewels, which covered them. Although analogous rites are certainly encountered elsewhere, some of those just described seem peculiar to the Gallican churches. In any case, they testify to the care and respect paid to he elements even before the Consecration. (For details, and comparison with other rites cf. Dom Wilmart, op. cit., col. 1081 seq.)

"Glor. Mart," 86; "Hist. France," X, xxxi. 13; P.L., Vol. LXXI, cols. 569, 781.

The "Sonum quando procedit oblatio" was a special canticle, very closely allied to the "Cheroubicon" of the Greeks. When the oblations were placed upon the altar the choir chanted the Christmas "Laudes" of the Mozarabites: "Alleluia, Redemptionem misit Dominus populo suo; mandavit im aeternum testamentum suum; sanctum et terribile nomen ejus, Alleluia." These chants, "Sonum" and "Laudes," practically correspond with the Offertory psalm used at Rome and Milan.

The reading of the Diptychs occurs here, as it does in most liturgies; but we have no special information as to this rite in the Gallican churches. The names of the living for whom the Sacrifice was to be offered, and names of other personages, were read at this moment. From the theological point of view this rite is important, because the inscription on the Diptychs is a sign that the faithful were in communion with those whose names were read out. The names of heretics were struck off the list, a practice which often gave rise to bitter controversies. Lastly, the Pope's name was usually in the place of honor (cf. art. "Diptyques," in DACL). We give as a type the following formula, taken from Duchesne ("Origines du culte," p. 221): "Offerunt Deo Domino oblationem sacerdotes nostri" (here the Spanish Bishops are signified), "papa Romensis et reliqui pro se et pro omni clero ac plebibus Ecclesiae sibimet consignatis vel pro universa fraternitate. ... Item pro spiritibus pausantium, Hilarii, Athanasii," etc. In the Gallican and Mozarabic rites this reading is followed by a prayer: "Collectio post nomina." The numerous formulas preserved in the Gallican books should be studied at first-hand, for allusion is made to the effects of the Sacrifice of the Mass (see art. "Mozarabe, Messe," in "Dict. de Theol. Catholique"). The whole of this rite of the Diptychs is, moreover, deeply interesting, for it is a proof of faith in the intercession of the Church, in the efficaciousness of that Sacrifice, and in the union of all the faithful in the Church on earth and with the Saints in Heaven.

St. Gregory of Tours (c. 538 - 594)
The Kiss of Peace which followed is also accompanied by a prayer, "Collectio ad pacem." In the Gallican and Mozarabic books this, like the preceding prayer, varies with every Feast. They are a rich collection of
texts, often expressive; it will be sufficient here to quote one example of the "Collectio ad pacem," that of the Assumption of Our Lady, celebrated by the Gallicans in January. It is taken from the "Missale Gothicum" (P.L., Vol. LXXII, col. 245):

"Deus universalis machinae propagator, qui in sanctis spiritaliter, in matre vero virgine etiam corporaliter habitasti; que ditata tuae plenitudenis ubertate, mansuetudine florens, caritate vigens, pace gaudens, pietate praecellens ab angelo gracia plena, ab Elisabeth benedicta, a gentibus merito praedicatur beata; cujus nobis fides mysterium, partus gaudium, vita portentum, discessus attulit hoc festivum; precamur supplices, ut pacem quae in adsumptione Matris tunc praebuisti discipulis, solenni nuper (doubtless sollempniter) largiaris in cunctis, salvator mundi, qui cum Patre.... mundi, qui cum Patre...."

We know that as regards the Diptychs and the Kiss of Peace the Roman liturgy differs in many important respects from the Gallican and Mozarabic rites, which latter on these points approach more closely to those of Constantinople. But we see, from what has gone before, that many ceremonies were borrowed comparatively late (cf. our article "Baiser de Paix "in DACL).

In the Gallican books the "Collectio ad pacem" is followed by an even more important prayer, usually called in these books the "Contestatio," or "Immolatio;" it corresponds to the Roman "Preface," and begins with "Sursum corda:" "Habemus ad Dominum." The prelude, too, is the same: "Vere dignum et justum est." But these Gallican "Contestationes," like the Mozarabic "Immolationes," are characteristically different from the Roman Prefaces. They are, if we may use such a comparison, like locally grown fruit. The Gallo-Roman genius of the sixth and seventh centuries here gave itself free rein. The Latin of that period was no longer the classical language of Augustan Rome; it is very often prolix; we find in it antitheses, ornaments, and even verbal conceits which we should desire to see banished from ecclesiastical compositions. The Roman manner, especially at the time of Gelasius and Gregory, has incontestably more discretion, more dignity; moreover, it expresses a more carefully guarded orthodoxy. But from the point of view which alone interests us here this rich collection of "Contestationes" preserved in the Gallican books is a treasure as yet little explored by theologians. Here may be studied the doctrines of this Church on the Eucharist, Grace, the Incarnation, and Redemption, better perhaps than in any other collection. We can but mention here this source of the history and theology of the Gallican Church, for a detailed explanation would require a long thesis.

As in other liturgies the "Contestatio" ends with the "Sanctus." But the Gallican and Mozarabic liturgies have another prayer, the "Collectio post Sanctus," which is a transition from the "Sanctus" to the recital of the
Institution. It generally begins with these words: "Vere Sanctus." Thus in one of the Masses of Mone: "Vere Sanctus, vere benedictus dominus noster Jesus Christus filius tuus qui pridie" (P.L., Vol. CXXXVIII, col. 866). But usually more ample developments are found, where dogmatic questions are touched upon, as in the following from the same collection (loc. cit., col. 873):

"Hic inquam Christus Dominus noster et Deus noster, qui sponte mortalibus factus adsimilis per omne hunc aevi diem immaculatum sibi corpus ostendit, veterisque delicti idoneus expiator sinceram inviolatamque peccatis exhibuit animam, quam sordentem rursus sanguis elueret, abrogataque in ultimum lege moriendi, in caelo corpus perditum atque ad patris dexteram relevaret, per Dominum nostrum qui pridie..."

12th century Romanesque fresco from the Church of
the Assumption in Gourdon, France.
In the MS. this passage is altered, but we can guess the meaning (see Denzinger's note, col. 873). The "Post Sanctus" also answers to a prayer of the same kind in the Eastern liturgies. That of Rome has no prayer which corresponds to the "Vere Sanctus."

The recital of the Institution, introduced in the Gallican liturgies by "Vere Sanctus," follows the text of St. Matthew and St. Mark with the words: "qui pridie quam pateretur." Here is an instance of complete accord between the rites of Rome and Gaul; but on this point we can but refer to the remarks of other liturgiologists, especially to those of Dom Cagin, who has drawn his conclusions from this fact extremely well. The Eastern liturgies follow another tradition, and say with St. Paul: "In qua nocte tradebatur." Spain, it is true, also says: "In qua nocte", but this is generally attributed to Byzantine influence in a later age. This is all the more likely because the Spanish books called the prayer which follows, "Post pridie". 87

Cf. on this point Dom Cagin, "Paleographie musicale," Vol. V., p. 55 seq.; Duchesne, loc. cit., p. 230, note 1; Dom Wilmart, art. cit., col. 1085. There has been discussion as to whether these liturgies did not in primitive days contain the incisive words: "pro nostra et omnium salute." Cf. "Revue Benedictine," 1910, Vol. XXVII, p. 513 seq.

The words "Mysterium fidei" also seem to have been adopted in Gaul, as in the Roman formula, and probably under Roman influence.

In Gaul the words of Consecration were accompanied by the sign of the Cross traced on the oblation; a gesture recognized as possessing the special virtue of accomplishing the Mystery, and which is ratified by Heaven. The pseudo-Germain, speaking of the transformation operated by the Consecration of the bread and wine, alludes to the Angel of God who blesses the Host: "Angeles Dei ad secreta super altare tamquam super monumentum descendit et ipsam hostiam benedicit instar illius angeli qu Christi resurectionem evangelizavit." In this connection the story related by Gregory of Tours may well be recalled, he tells us that St. Martin appeared in the Basilica dedicated to him in that town, and blessed, "dextera extensa," the Sacrifice offered on the altar, "juxta morem catholicam signo crucis superposito" ("Vita Patrum," XVI, 2- P.L. Vol. LXXI, col. 1075; cf. Dom Wilmart, col. 1086).

The following prayer is of the first importance for the theology of the Mass. It bears the name Post Secreta, and elsewhere "Post Mysteria," "Post Eucharistiam." This title, this formula, the miracle of St. Martin just
mentioned the fact that Gregory of Tours calls the words of Consecration "Verba sacra" ("Glor. Mart.," 87; P.L., Vol. LXXI col. 782), and other texts we could mention, sufficiently prove that the words of the Institution were considered as operating the mystery of the Eucharist. But it must be added that this prayer is frequently conceived in terms which would incline a reader to the contrary belief, i.e. that Transubstantiation
is wrought by the "Epiclesis," such as that of one of the Masses of Mone (P.L. Vol. CXXXVIII, col. 871, and Vol. LXXII, col. 257). In any case, the collection of these prayers, "Post Secreta" in the Gallican liturgies, is one which should be most carefully studied, in order to realize the faith of these churches in the Eucharistic Mystery.

It has been thought, since the word is "Post Secreta" that the formula of Consecration was said in a low voice while the "Contestatio" and "Post Sanctus" were said aloud. We shall not take up here that question so hotly debated in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, by theologians and liturgiologists, as to the Secret of the Mysteries, which we treat elsewhere (Chap. XII).

The rites of the "Fraction" and the "Commixtion" are attached to the prayer "Post Secreta." In the primitive Mass the "Fraction" was a rite of the first importance. The name of "Fractio panis" given to the Eucharist at the beginning, the place of the word "Fregit" in the story of the Institution, the insistence of all the most ancient liturgies in this formula upon the words "(corpus meum) quod pro vobis confringetur," and many other indications which could be given are sufficient to prove this fact. There are numerous variants of the rite in the various liturgies. In the Celtic rite, as we shall see, the Irish divided the Host in seven different ways,
according to the Feast. In Gaul they divided it into nine particles, in the form of a Cross. Sometimes the particles were arranged on the paten to design a human form. The Council of Tours in 567 forbade this practice as superstitious, and ordained that the particles were to be disposed in the form of a Cross. The meaning of this act is given in the chant of the "Fraction," called "Confractorium," or "Ad Confractionem." We have mentioned some of these in our article "Fractio Panis" (DACL). Here is one of them:

"Credimus Domine, credimus in hac confractione corporis et effusione tui sanguinis nos esse redemptos: confidimus etiam quod spe hic mysterium jam tenemus, in aeternum perfrui mereamur. Per. ..."

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