Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The Introit for the Feast of the Transfiguration (August 6): Tibi dixit cor meum ("My heart declared unto you")

I've written a bit about this Introit, Tibi dixit cor meum quaesivi vultum tuum, before, but here's a full post about it.   This is one of the few instances of the duplication of an Introit; this is also the Introit for the Second Sunday in Lent.

The Lent connection isn't crazy; the Transfiguration comes chronologically just before Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, before his arrest and Crucifixion.  In any case, it seems that Matthew's gospel story of the Transfiguration is read on Lent 2 in the Catholic Church, so putting the Introit here makes complete sense.

Here's the Introit score, from JoguesChant, which gives the translation as:
My heart declared to you: "Your countenance have I sought; I shall ever seek your countenance, O Lord; do not turn your face from me."  The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?

The São Paulo Benedictines note that this text comes from Psalm 27, vv 8-9, and 1:
8 My heart says of you, "Seek his face!"
Your face, LORD, I will seek.

9 Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
O God my Savior.

1 The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

The Introit in former times (i.e., in the Tridentine Rite) was Illuxerunt coruscationes:
Illuxerunt coruscationes tuae orbi terrae: commota est, et contremuit terra. * Quam dilecta tabernacula tua, Domine virtutum! concupiscit et deficit anima mea in atria Domini.

Your lightening illumined the world; the earth quivered and quaked.
How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord of Hosts! My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord.

(Psalm 76:19 and 83:2-3)
Cannot find a recording of this anywhere, but here's the chant score:

The readings for today are here.  They are:

The Exodus readings is the "transfiguration of Moses"":  "As he came down from the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant in his hand, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God."   

This comes from the 2 Peter reading:
For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased." We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.

So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

The Gospel, of course, is the Transfiguration story itself, from Luke.

The Collect is this beautiful one:
O God, who on the holy mount revealed to chosen witnesses your well-beloved Son, wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistening: Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may by faith behold the King in his beauty; who with you, O Father, and you, O Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Stephen Gerth, the Rector at St. Mary the Virgin, NY, writes this week about Transfiguration, and includes a really interesting take on how it might relate to a section of Mark that comes just before the Transfiguration story - a passage that gives some people trouble:
When I was in seminary the standard thinking about the transfiguration, recounted in Mark, Matthew and Luke, was that it was a post-resurrection appearance that had come to be a part of the pre-passion narrative in the telling of the story of Jesus. It turns out that while I was learning one thing the scholarship was heading in a new direction, more faithful to the text and more convincing.

In 1981 Enrique Nardoni (1924–2002), Roman Catholic priest and biblical scholar, surveying the history of interpretation, changed the direction of the debate with an analysis of Mark (9:1-13). He was able to show that the story was very much a part of Mark’s ongoing narrative of the Good News (“A Redactional Interpretation of Mark 9:1,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 43 [1981] 265-384).

In Mark, the story of the transfiguration follows Peter’s answer to Jesus’ question to the disciples, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter responds, “You are the Christ.” Peter doesn’t like what follows: Jesus’ prediction of his suffering, death, and resurrection. He responds by taking Jesus aside and “rebuking” him. The other disciples are close. Jesus turns so that all can hear him say, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not on the side of God, but of men” (Mark 8:27-33).

Before the next story, the transfiguration, Mark’s narrative addresses directly the situation of Christians when he was writing. It was a time of persecution. Jesus said,

Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself or herself, take up his or her cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his or her life will lose it, but whoever loses his or her life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.

What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his or her life? What could one give in exchange for his or her life? Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:34-38)

Then, comes the difficult verse that causes so much debate, “He also said to them, ‘Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come in power’” (Mark 9:1). The Risen Jesus did not return to establish the complete reign of God over creation. The word we have come to use for this return is “parousia.” It’s English for the Greek word παρουσία which Paul uses for the return of Jesus at the end of time in his First Letter to the Thessalonians, the oldest New Testament writing. (It’s also used in nine other New Testament books).

By the time Mark wrote almost certainly most, if not all of the disciples who heard Jesus speak these words, had died. With the story of Jesus revealing his heavenly glory one can say Peter, James and John saw this glory. In the private, personal center of our lives, where Christ has made himself known to us, one might say that we too have seen, each of us in his or her own way, the glory of God.

The subject of just these few verses is a large one. My own study will continue. More can certainly be said—and I have other material for my sermon for the feast, Wednesday, August 6 (Sung Masses at 12:10 PM and 6:00 PM).

When Jesus and the three others came down from the mountain, their journey to glory continued, as does ours in the days God has made for us.—Stephen Gerth

Here are all the chants for the day, from ChristusRex.org:
In Transfiguratione Domini

Introitus: Ps. 26, 8.9 et 1 Tibi dixit cor meum (cum Gloria Patri) (2m59.6s - 2808 kb)
Graduale: Ps. 44, 3 et 2 Speciosus forma (4m20.2s - 4068 kb) score
Alleluia: Sap. 7, 26 Candor est lucis æternæ (2m36.223s - 1223 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 8, 6.7 Gloria et honore (1m22.047s - 643 kb) score
Communio: Mt. 17, 9 Visionem (2m36.4s - 2446 kb) score

Here are posts about chant propers for this day on Chantblog:

This is a "mosaic on stucco, portable icon with the Transfiguration of Christ, Byzantine artwork," circa 1200.  It's in the Louvre - in "Moyen-Age, room 1: Charlemagne."  Photo is by Marie-Lan Nguyen.

1 comment:

wrtlx said...

The melodic architecture of the Tibi dixit introitus is also being used on the feast S. Teresiae a Jesu Infante Virginis (holy Therese from Lisieux)).

However, the usage of Tibi dixit as introitus for the 2nd Sunday in Lent is a bit twofolded. I accept your argumentation, but i personally prefer the musical relationship between the Reminiscere introitus of the 2nd Sunday in Lent and the Resurrexi introitus of Easter Sunday.
just my 2 cents...


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