7 August 2009

S Xystus and the blessing of the grapes

Through whom, O Lord, thou dost ever create, sanctify, quicken, bless and bestow all these good things upon us.
This paragraph near the end of the Canon can confuse people. They can take it as refering to the consecrated Elements upon the altar. But the language is highly inappropriate if the Sacrament is meant. The Blessed Sacrament is not Blessed Bread, like the Antidoron of the orientals or the Blest Bread of Medieval England. It is the transsubstantiated Body of Christ our God.

This paragraph originally concluded the blessing of substances brought to the Altar: such as oil on Maundy Thursday ... and beans on Ascension Day! Not that beans had a liturgical association with the dogma of the Ascension: it just happened that the bean harvest in Rome coincided with the Ascension (no, don't ask me how the bean-harvest fluctuated according to the varying date of Easter ... just don't go there ...). And the first grapes were available to be blessed on the feast of S Xystus!
Bless, O Lord, also these new fruits of grape which thou O Lord by the dew of heaven and the showers of rain and the serenity and quietness of the seasons hast deigned to bring to ripeness, and hast given them to our uses to receive them with thanksgiving in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom etc..

The Latinity is workmanlike, I almost wrote banausic, even gauche and gawky, with little in the way of rhetorical flourishes or theological sparkle. Roman, in fact, in its sobriety and earthiness.

I sometimes feel sad at the opportunities Bugnini and his collaborators missed. In their keenness to spend long hours inventing innovations ... such as new Eucharistic Prayers and lectionary systems yanked ex nihilo ... they rarely bothered to go for the organic development which the Council had actually mandated. They could have allowed local hierarchies to incorporate appropriate blessings at this point, and thus also have promoted genuine inculturation which yet was totally within the spirit of the traditional Roman Rite.

I wonder if it would be nice, on some feast in August, to bless fragrant flowers at this point in the Mass? Any ideas?

10 comments:

motuproprio said...

On a number of occasions when saying Mass on a village feast-day in rural France I have been asked to bless bread (in point of fact brioche) during Mass, which was then shared by the congregation after Mass. (The blessings took place at the offertory rather than during the Canon.)

Pastor in Valle said...

A day to bless flowers in August? Obviously, the Assumption: were not flowers found in her tomb according to the legend?

Rubricarius said...

A copy of the Rituale in my collection has a blessing of herbs before the principal Mass on August 15th. The rubric say vel fructus. The rite consists of Psalm 64 and three very non-Roman collects.

rev'd up said...

Your post stired my memory of something; so, here's a question for the expert.

I am in the habit of blessing my bees at the start of the season. Rituale, Blessing # 62 is titled "Benedictio Apum."

By the rule "apis" genitive plural is "apium." Why not "Benedictio apium?" Is "apum" an archaic usage?

Many thanks!

Fr John Hunwicke SSC, said...

The Gen pl of Apis is not as simple as one might wish. The admirable Fr Revdup is quite right in suggesting that apium is what we expect. Livy says "apum". Why the Rituale Romanum should follow Livy rather than the more common usage ... ... I haven't the fainteast idea.

Fr John Hunwicke SSC, said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fr William said...

One can find both "apum" and "apium" being used in different editions of the Vulgate at Judges 14:8.

Pastor in Valle said...

and 'de operibus apum' in the Exsultet.

hubertank2000 said...

Pastor in valle's comments reminded me of one of my deep regrets about modern liturgy, the omission of reference to the bees in the modern Exultet. I wonder what Fr Hunwicke's thoughts might be on this.

Fr William said...

High time for our Liturgical Commission to address the issue of institutionalised discrimination against bees in the liturgy. A report to Synod, perhaps entitled Making Bees Visible, is surely called for.