Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Preface and Proper Preface.

Others, especially Fr. Eckardt on his Liturgy Seminar, have addressed the Hymn of the Day, the Sermon, the Prayer of the Church and the Offertory. I will move directly to the Preface and Proper Preface.

The text of the Preface presents a curiosity.

In Latin, it reads Vere dignum et justum est, aquum et salutare,...

In German, it reads Es ist in Wahrheit würdig und recht, billig und heilsam,... or Wahrhaft würdig und recht, billig und heilsam ist es,...

All of the Englich liturgies with which I am familiar render this It is truely meet (good), right and salutary,... I welcome your comments on this point.

Concerning the Proper Preface, I offer the following:

I do agree with Fr. Eckardt that the Proper Prefaces for the seasons have suffered lack of uniformity. I disagree with Fr. Eckardt regarding the divisions of the lengthy Trinity season. Although sub-dividing Trinity Tide into St. John's Tide, St. Laurence Tide, and Michaelmas Tide, may have historic precedent, it has not been done since 1570. In addition, the trend to number Sundays after (in) St. John's Tide and St. Laurence Tide and after Michaelmas, seems innovative.

The seasonal Proper Prefaces also suffer when, following the understanding that every Sunday is a little Easter, a proper Sunday preface with Easter overtones is used during Trinity Tide whenever the historic preface seems to have been suppressed.

I have listed the historic Proper Prefaces, including a few that do not appear in TLH, in the Orde Missae on LexOrandi.

Here again, I welcome your comments.


Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

First, good Deacon, I thank you for reminding me here about Father Fritz's liturgy seminar blog. I see I've already missed some good discussion over there.

Now if I may share a thought or two on the proper preface. Men like you, Fritz, and certainly Weedon, are better prepared to speak on the history of the Lutheran use on this point. I can give some basic impressions at this point, based on my study of the traditional Latin Rite.

While the division of the season after Pentecost into smaller parts is understandable (and may even have some precedent), it strikes me as too out of keeping with the traditional pattern.

I also would question (and should do so over at Fr. Fritz's blog), not to say condemn, using the Nativity Preface at the Annunciation. My take on the traditional rubrics is that, outside of the 12 days of Christmastide, the Nativity Preface is used only on the Purification, Corpus Christi, and Transfiguration. Otherwise, on Marian feasts one would use the Proper Preface of the Blessed Virgin Mary (which would not go over well among those who condemn the semper virgo).

One could say more, but I won't take up any more of your space, or my time, tonight. But I look forward to checking back here.

Dcn. Muehlenbruch said...

For the Feast of the Annunciation, the Anglican Missal uses the preface for certain Feasts of our Lord and Our Lady. "Because in the Mystery of the Word made flesh, thou hast caused a new light to shine in our hearts, to give the knowledge of thy glory in the face of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore....

For the Visitation, the preface of the Blessed Virgin is indicated.

Personally, I prefer to follow the historic use of the Western rite, as we have received it. If for no other reason, I believe that it is important to preserve the fullness of the historic liturgy.

During the past four decades, we seem to have developed a "that was then, this is now" attitude. Change has become so commonplace that we now tend to disregard the forms that preceded us. To me, this is especially true regarding changes in the very texts of the liturgy itself.

I have noticed a few places where the LSB seems to invent new texts to replace the traditional ones. But my study is not complete. My opinion of the LSB is still being formed.

Past Elder said...

A question for you -- in my pre-conciliar RC days, we were taught that to be valid a sacrament must be correct in form, matter and intent. One of the reasons, then, for textual fidelity at Mass is that, whatever the mindset or mood of the moment of the priest, the liturgy itself will ensure that the correct intent is expressed. In more recent times, this has also become the basis of opposition to the novus ordo -- not that it is change, but that this change leaves the intent not so clearly expressed, so that even if the matter is not compounded by an ad-libbing celebrant, even liturgical fidelity leaves intent cloudy at best.

In my time as a Lutheran (eleven years) I have not heard something like this advanced for either sticking to faithful liturgical texts or producing faithful liturgical texts to stick to.

Certainly I understand we do not hold to a Roman understanding of sacramental theology. However, I wonder if, in addition to the arguments that liturgy keeps the focus on what God has done for us rather than what we are doing for God, and that liturgy keeps us in continuity with the church throughout time, both of which include the intent idea, it would be possible to more clearly state that liturgy has the value of lifting worship out of the realm of the gifts of a particular pastor or congregation and ensuring that with any pastor in any congregation the intent of the church in worship will be carried out -- without getting caught up in Roman style mechanics of how this contributes to sacramental validity but resting on the power of God's word to do what it says.

Dcn. Muehlenbruch said...

Sacramental theology aside, Rome declares that to be valid a sacrament must be correct in form, matter and intent. Lutherans, at least based upon my seminary training, are not so precise in their determination. (Reverend Fathers and Brothers, indulge my painting with so broad a brush at this point.)

Confessional Lutherans insist that the matter of the sacraments be the same as were used at their institution. According to the Western rite, the matter of the Mass is unleavened bread, made from flour and water only, and wine.

Concerning form, however, Rome seems to be move legalistic. For example, when Baptism is administered in an emergency situation, there is a requirement to bring the baptized to the church in order to perform the missing ceremonies. Lutherans would only recommend that this baptism be announced and recognized in the congregation.

Concerning intent, Lutherans may be even more vague. I would say that whenever the congregation gathers together to celebrate the sacraments, the intent is understood. (Again, Reverend Fathers and Brothers, forgive this broad brush stroke.)

I do not view the liturgy as something that keeps us focused on what God does for us rather than what we do for God. I do, however, recognize that the liturgy keeps us in continuity with the church throughout time. Here we are doing what the church has always done when celebrating the sacraments. What more intent can there be?

As for the liturgy "lifting worship out of the realm of the gifts of a particular pastor or congregation and ensuring that with any pastor in any congregation the intent of the church in worship will be carried out", what more is needed than to do what the church has always done? The mission and intention of the church has not changed since Our Lord established her. She will continue to carry out this intention until He returns to claim His bride.

M. Carver said...

In _Outlines of Liturgics_ by E.T. Horn, p. 25 "In accordance with Heb. xiii. 7, days commemorating persons and events belonging to the life of the Church, were early added to the Church Year...In the pre-Carolingian period the Sundays even were arranged in groups around such days. All the Sundays were not called Sundays after Pentecost, or, as after the Fourteenth Century, Sundays after Trinity; but there were at most only five such. Then came Sundays after Peter and Paul's day (June 29th), after St. Lawrence (Aug. 10th), and after Cyprian's or St. Michael's (Sept. 26th and 29th). These symbolized the principal phases in the history of the Church: its foundation and extension; its development and conflict; its future and completion, both as a whole, and in the case of each. (See the Calendaries of Fronto, of Martene, the Liturgikon of Pamelius, and the appendix of Ranke's Perikopensystem.)"