Saturday, February 12, 2011

Communio : Manducaverunt Et Saturati - the Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany

The Communion song for this Sunday, the Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, is Manducaverunt Et Saturati - "They ate and were satisfied."

Here's a video of this song, posted by a YouTuber in Poland:

And here's the chant score, and the translation:

They ate and were fully satisfied; the Lord gave them all that they desired; they were not deprived of their wants.
The text comes from Psalm 78, vv 29-30, in a section that tells the story of manna and quail given by God to the wandering people of Israel.  (Interestingly, Mark 8 also uses the same phrase:  "They ate and were satisfied."   This is the passage that recounts the feeding of the 4,000 - and once again, we see a conversation among the writers of Scripture that spans over a thousand years.  This is one reason I really love writing this blog - just to see these things being revealed in front of my eyes!  And I realized it only by chance, this time - noticing that a search on "Manducaverunt Et Saturati"   pulled up references to Mark, even though I was aware already that the text is taken from Psalms.  Although - the Vulgate actually has "et comederunt et saturati sunt...." in the Psalm, and "et manducaverunt et saturati sunt...." in Mark.  So that's even a bit more interesting.....)

Here's something lovely, from the Choir of Queen's College Cambridge: a CD called "Paradisi portas - Music from 17th Century Portugal," which contains a track labeled: "At The Elevation - Manducaverunt, Et Saturati Sunt". (Click the link to go to UK and listen to an excerpt only.)  It's beautiful music - and the credit for that song is only "anon."  So I'm not sure exactly what it is - but I imagine it's polyphony composed using the chant propers texts, as was done so often.

(And another of the very wonderful things about writing this blog is coming upon completely unfamiliar music!  It's like finding a treasure buried in a field, each time.)

The readings this week continue with 1 Corinthians and Matthew's version of the Sermon on the Mount.

The Collect is this one:
O God, the strength of all who put their trust in you: Mercifully accept our prayers; and because in our weakness we can do nothing good without you, give us the help of your grace, that in keeping your commandments we may please you both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Hatchett's Commentary says this:

In the Gelasian sacramentary this prayer is found as the first collect for the sixth of the Sundays after the Pascahl octave (no. 566), the first Sunday after the octave of Pentecost. The Gregoria sacramentary appoints it (no. 1129) as the collect for the first Sunday after Pentecost (actually the first Sunday after the octave of Pentecost, later to become the second Sunday after Pentecost or the first Sunday after Trinity). In the Gallican Missale Francorum it is a collect (no. 141) used before reading the names of those to be remembered in prayer, and it is the offertory praryer at the second of the five Sunday Masses in the Gallican Bobbio missal (no. 507). Sarum use and previous Prayer Books appointed it for the first Sunday after Trinity.

Cranmer, in his translation for the 1549 Book, rendered "mortal weakness" as "the weakness of our mortal nature" and substituted "trust" for "hope" and "can do no good thing" for "can do nothing." The revisers in 1662 inserted "put their," "through," and the first "we." The collect reminds us that without the grace of God we can neither will nor do any good thing nor be pleasing to God.

It reminds me, too, of the collect for Proper 12 that starts "O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy...." and the one for Proper 19 that starts "O God, because without you we are not able to please you...."

Next week is Septuagesima Sunday - the third Sunday before Ash Wednesday.  Actually, in the old system, this Communio was sung on Quinquagesima - the last Sunday before Ash Wednesday.  The chants were moved around so that the three Sundays before Ash Wednesday - Septuagesim, Sexigesima, and  Quinquagesima - always had the same proper chants.  But that system was abandoned after Vatican II so now the chants are done sequentially, no matter which Sunday after Epiphany it is.  More on all that next week. 

Here's an icon of the Presentation in the Temple (Candlemas), which was celebrated on February 2:

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