Well, last night I said the pre-1950 Mattins; and what heady stuff. The way the service starts with Assumpta est ... "Mary is taken up into heaven: the Angels rejoice ..." makes it seem as if you're back nineteen hundred years and someone comes dashing into the room shouting the exciting news. And the way this antiphon is repeated (likewise, the formula Exaltata est ..."The Holy Mother of God is exalted above the choirs of Angels to the heavenly realms") is just how it is when one has heard something transportingly wonderful and for joy one just cannot help continually iterating and reiterating it (which is why I love the Byzantine Easter with its incessant "Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling down death with death, and, to those in the tombs, gracing Life"). By comparison, there is something schoolmasterly about the Bugnini first antiphon, with its downbeat and careful theological reminder that Christ went up first to prepare a place for his Mother. Paedagogues and Bugninis can kill anything.
Donnishness did not start with Paul VI's rite. The Office decreed by Pius XII in 1951 (doesn't change the antiphons but does) eliminate those wonderful First Nocturn Readings from the Song of Songs, and replaces them with Genesis 3 and I Corinthians 15, to instruct us on the Pauline theology with which Pius XII (quite rightly) associated the Assumption.
I think there's a whole Octave's worth of meditation in those old lections from the Song of Solomon (1:1-16), and the relationship of their imagery to our Lady.
A jolly nice and keen congregation at my 10.30 EF pre-1950 Mass. I suspect my Altar Missal must be one of the very few in the world into which the Mass Gaudeamus has been pasted!
Tomorrow, modern propers. In the Asperges I shall sprinkle them with water from Lourdes and, Deo volente, we shall sing "I'll sing a hymn to Mary" (who was the Fr Wyse who wrote it?) to the tune of the Eton Boating Song (an idea I picked up from the late and lamented Fr Melrose at S Giles, Reading). And, at the end, ""Daily daily ...". The spirit of Fr Faber and the English Catholic Hymn Book still flourishes at S Thomas's.