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Sunday, 12 April 2015

Quasimodo

As Father Z writes, this Sunday has many nicknames. It is liturgically called the Second Sunday of Easter in the Missal of 1970, the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite and in the traditional liturgy, the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite it is the First Sunday After Easter. It is also known of course as Divine Mercy Sunday after the request by Our Lord through St. Faustina and proclaimed as such by St. John Paul II in 2000. It has also been called in the traditional rite Low Sunday in contrast to previous weekend. I've never liked this term or the term "Low Mass" (Missa Lecta or Read Mass is more appropriate) No Sunday and no Mass, can be "low." Also in the traditional rite, it has been known as White Sunday or Missa in Albis for the catechumens who would have come to Mass today and then put away there white robes or albs, which they'd worn since their baptism on Holy Saturday. 

And yet, there is another name and it comes from the Introit or Entrance Antiphon of the Mass in both Forms -- Quasi modo Sunday. "In the same manner as newborn babes long for the rational milk without guile..." from the First Letter of St. Peter 2:2.

How unfortunate that in the Ordinary Form of the Mass, the opening hymn or song was not Quasi modo but some other non-liturgical text. Here is hoping that it was at least edifying such as Christ the Lord is Risen Today or At the Lamb's High Feast We Sing. Regardless, the loss of the liturgical texts in the practical use of the Missal of 1970 remain a stumbling block to the Mass properly being said or sung, notwithstanding the GIRM's permission to substitute based on the disastrous 1967 document, Musicam Sacram. Gradual solemnity had merit, the rubrics of the traditional Missal are very restrictive, but this document went much too far with the allowance to substitute the Proper of the Mass, Introit, Offertorium and Communion with hymns. This has been a liturgical disaster that we will never recover from until it is revoked. This antiphon is in the Altar Missal and it is in the various permanent or disposable pew missals. It is in the official chant book for the 1970 Missal the 1974 Graduale Romanum and in various English offerings such as the Simple English Propers. There is an Offertory Antiphon as well for the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. It was only a few months ago when in a conversation about the Simple English Propers after a Mass with a Bishop, I was asked what "that" was as he pointed to the Offertory Antiphon. Perhaps that is best left for another post.

There is one more little tidbit about today which you can read below. It comes from the quill of Victor Hugo for it was on this day, the First Sunday After Easter or Quasimodo Sunday that he found the deformed creature and thus the poor boy received his name.


Sixteen years previous to the epoch when this story takes place, one fine morning, on Quasimodo Sunday, a living creature had been deposited, after Mass, in the church of Notre- Dame, on the wooden bed securely fixed in the vestibule on the left, opposite that great image of Saint Christopher, which the figure of Messire Antoine des Essarts, chevalier, carved in stone, had been gazing at on his knees since 1413, when they took it into their heads to overthrow the saint and the faithful follower. Upon this bed of wood it was customary to expose foundlings for public charity. Whoever cared to take them did so. In front of the wooden bed was a copper basin for alms.

The sort of living being which lay upon that plank on the morning of Quasimodo, in the year of the Lord, 1467, appeared to excite to a high degree, the curiosity of the numerous group which had congregated about the wooden bed. The group was formed for the most part of the fair sex. Hardly any one was there except old women.

In the first row, and among those who were most bent over the bed, four were noticeable, who, from their gray cagoule, a sort of cassock, were recognizable as attached to some devout sisterhood. I do not see why history has not transmitted to posterity the names of these four discreet and venerable damsels. They were Agnes la Herme, Jehanne de la Tarme, Henriette la Gaultière, Gauchère la Violette, all four widows, all four dames of the Chapel Etienne Haudry, who had quitted their house with the permission of their mistress, and in conformity with the statutes of Pierre d'Ailly, in order to come and hear the sermon.

However, if these good Haudriettes were, for the moment, complying with the statutes of Pierre d'Ailly, they certainly violated with joy those of Michel de Brache, and the Cardinal of Pisa, which so inhumanly enjoined silence upon them.

"What is this, sister?" said Agnes to Gauchère, gazing at the little creature exposed, which was screaming and writhing on the wooden bed, terrified by so many glances.

"What is to become of us," said Jehanne, "if that is the way children are made now?"

"I'm not learned in the matter of children," resumed Agnes, "but it must be a sin to look at this one."

2 comments:

Aged parent said...

A fine post, Vox. Many thanks.

Anonymous said...

"The Hunchback of Notre Dame", like all Victor Hugo's works was, however, on the Index.