Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Communio for the First Sunday in Lent: Scapulis Suis ("With his pinions")

Scapulis Suis is the Communion song for the first Sunday in Lent (called "Invocavit," after the first word of the Introit on the day); here's an mp3 from JoguesChant. The text comes from the beautiful Psalm 91, sung every night at Compline, so it's very familiar. JoguesChant's translation is this:
He will overshadow you with his pinions, and you will find refuge under his wings. His faithfulness will encompass you with a shield.

Interestingly, the Offertory on the day is also Scapulis Suis. Same text, with a different melody; here's the mp3 and below is the score:

In fact, all the propers for today are taken from Psalm 91.  I'm not aware at the moment of any other Sunday of the year for which this is true; if I do discover another case, I'll post about that.  Here's the US Book of Common Prayer version of the Psalm:

Psalm 91 Qui habitat
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, * abides under the shadow of the Almighty.
He shall say to the LORD, "You are my refuge and my stronghold, * my God in whom I put my trust."
He shall deliver you from the snare of the hunter * and from the deadly pestilence.
He shall cover you with his pinions, and you shall find refuge under his wings; * his faithfulness shall be a shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of any terror by night, * nor of the arrow that flies by day;
Of the plague that stalks in the darkness, * nor of the sickness that lays waste at mid-day.
A thousand shall fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, * but it shall not come near you.
Your eyes have only to behold * to see the reward of the wicked.
Because you have made the LORD your refuge, * and the Most High your habitation,
There shall no evil happen to you, * neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.
For he shall give his angels charge over you, * to keep you in all your ways.
They shall bear you in their hands, * lest you dash your foot against a stone.
You shall tread upon the lion and the adder; * you shall trample the young lion and the serpent under your feet.
Because he is bound to me in love, therefore will I deliver him; * I will protect him, because he knows my Name.
He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; * I am with him in trouble; I will rescue him and bring him to honor.
With long life will I satisfy him, * and show him my salvation.

Here's something interesting. It's an "Old Roman Chant" of Psalm 91 (90 in the Vulgate reckoning): Qui habitat in adiutorio altissimi (The first line of the Psalm: "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High"):

I'm not sure what this was used for, and it doesn't say at the link. appears to be a chant treasure trove, though; will have to nose around over there.

Here are all three Compline Psalms (4, 91, and 134), sung by German monastics (at "Abbey St. Ottilie"). They are each labeled and subtitled - but really: they're in German!

The collect for the day is this one:
Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan: Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Hatchett's Commentary says this about the collect:
The Sarum collect for the first Sunday has as its source the collect in the Gregorian sacramentary (no. 166):
God, you cleanse your church with the annual observance of Lent: grant your family that what they strive to obtain from you by fasting they may follow up with good works.
Cranmer provided a new collect with reference to the Gospel lection and without the Pelagian overtones or the implication that we must strive to obtain the gifts with God is anxious to give to those who seek.  His collect reads:
O Lord, which for our sake didst fast forty days and forty nights; Give us grace to use such abstinence, that, our flesh being subdued to the spirit, we may ever obey they godly motions in righteousness, and true holiness, to thy honor and glory, which livest and reignest, etc.
The new collect provided in the present edition is a revised version of one of the original collects in William Bright's Ancient Collects (appendix, pp. 237-238).  It relates closely to the Gospel for all three years - the account of our Lord's temptation in the wilderness - and is particularly fitting as we enter this season of penitence in preparation for baptism or for renewal of baptismal vows.

The rubric points out that the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of this week are the traditional ember days, though these may now be transferred to a time related to local or diocesan ordinations.  (See pp. 205-206 or 256-257 and 929 for the propers for ember days among those for various occasions, no. 15, "For the Ministry.")
 The Gospel referred to above is Matthew 4:1-11:
After Jesus was baptized, he was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." But he answered, "It is written,

'One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,
'He will command his angels concerning you,' and 'On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.'"

Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! for it is written, 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.'"

Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.

It's easy to see why Psalm 91 seemed a good source for the propers in conjunction with this Gospel reading, which was in place at least in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and I imagine long before that as well.  Certainly the theme is God's protection - note the words "shelter" and "shadow" - in dry and difficult times; even the animals mentioned in the Psalm - the bird's "pinions"; the "lion and the adder" - evoke the desert. And in fact, this Psalm is quoted directly - by the Devil! - in the reading.

Here are the propers for for Lent I, from the Brazilian Benedictines:

Hebdomada prima quadragesimæ
Introitus: Ps. 90, 15.16 et 1 Invocabit me (cum Gloria Patri) (4m21.1s - 4083 kb) score
Graduale: Ps. 90, 11-12 Angelis suis (4m03.3s - 3805 kb) score
Tractus: Ps. 90, 1-7 et 11-16 Qui habitat (2m59.0s - 2801 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 90, 4-5 Scapulis suis (1m04.4s - 1011 kb) score
Communio: Ps. 90, 4-5 Scapulis suis (4m32.5s - 4261 kb) score

Here are posts on Chantblog about the propers for the First Sunday in Lent:

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...