Sunday, 2 January 2011

Tribus Miraculis; So soon?

If there is one thing, or five, about the new calendar which drives this liturgist, musician and catholic bonkers, it is the transfer of Epiphany to Sunday. When I was a child, it was on January 6 and a Holy Day of Obligation. The reformers and Pope Paul VI allowed national conferences of bishops to choose Holy Days (can't have our people in Church too much now can we) so in Canada these were reduced to two. They had formerly included Epiphany, Ascension, Assumption, All Saints and Immaculate Conception along with Christmas and the Octave Day/Circumcision of the Lord/Mary, Mother of God on January 1. Oh, did you go to Mass yesterday? If not, then don't go to Holy Communion today without going to Confession.

The reality is, in many places, Rome specifically, today is not the Epiphany, it is the Second Sunday after Christmas and in the traditional calendar it is the Most Holy Name of Jesus which falls tomorrow in the new calendar, more tinkering. Ah, yesterday, Circumcision/Mary, Mother of God, the eighth day, he was named on, get it? The richness and depth of the old, the sanctoral calendar cannot be compared to the new temporal calendar.

So, in the Novus Ordo, Epiphany is still on January 6, technically speaking if not in practice. If there are two Solemnities that should be put back on their days it is Epiphany and Ascension on Thursday. Jesus went up 40 days after Paschal Sunday, not 43!

The sooner we get out of this liturgical banality and bastardisation foisted on us by a wrong understanding and interpretation of Vatican II, the better.

But what is Epiphany?

Yes, it is when we recall the visit of the Magi to the Infant King. The Magi represent you and me, the gentiles, the nations of the earth coming to adore and worship and fall prostrate before the King of the Universe and His most holy and blessed Mother. This was His first manifestation.

The ancient tradition of the Church is that about thirty years later, on the same calendar day, Jesus and His blessed Mother attended a wedding at Cana where his second manifestation took place and where He obeyed, not mocked His Mother as some protestants and evangelicals would have you believe; "do whatever he tells you" Mary said and it is obvious that Jesus obeyed her as the He changed the water to wine.

It was then a year later, on the same day, that He presented himself to John the Baptist at the Jordan and was manifested again.

Appropriately, in both Forms of the Roman Rite, the Gospel next Sunday is of course, the Baptism of Jesus and after the next Sunday is the Wedding Feast of Cana.

Here is Vox's favourite Epiphany motet. Tribus Miraculis by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, and pretty well sung, I might add. This is not an easy motet.

Tribus miraculis ornatum,
diem sanctum colimus:
Hodie stella magos duxit ad praesepium:
Vinum ex aqua factum est adnuptias:
Hodie a Joanne Christus baptizari voluit,
ut salvaret nos,

We solemnly observe this day ornamented with three miracles:
today the star led the magi to the manger;
today wine was changed to water at the wedding;
today Christ desired to be baptized by John in the river Jordan so that He might save us,

Here is Vox's favourite Epiphany hymn which should be sung today or January 6 if it is not transferred with you and then on the next two Sundays. The tune is Salzburg and is also used for At the Lamb's High Feast and Come, Ye Thankful People Come.

I really love this hymn. The Manifest hymn. Turn the player off on the left and have a listen. Just ignore the obvious modernist Episcopalian praxis.

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