Monday, September 28, 2009

Ss. Michaelis, Gabrielis et Raphaelis, Archangelorum (St. Michael and All Angels, that is): September 29

Today is the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels: Michael ("Who is like God?"); Gabriel ("God is my champion"); Raphael ("God heals"); Uriel ("God is my light"). More about this:
The word El appears in other northwest Semitic languages such as Phoenician and Aramaic and in Akkadian ilu as an ordinary word for god. It is aso found also in the South-Arabian dialects and in Ethiopic, and as in Hebrew it is often used as an element in proper names. In northwest Semitic texts it appears to be often but not always used of one single god, of "the God", the head of the pantheon, sometimes specifically said to be the creator.

El is used in both the singular and plural, both for other gods and for the God of Israel. As a name of God, however, it is used chiefly in poetry and prophetic discourse, rarely in prose, and then usually with some epithet attached, as "a jealous God." Other examples of its use with some attribute or epithet are: El ‘Elyon ("most high God"), El Shaddai ("God Almighty"), El ‘Olam ("everlasting God"), El Hai ("living God"), El Ro’i ("God of seeing"), El Elohe Israel ("God, the God of Israel"), El Gibbor ("Hero God"). In addition, names such as Gabriel ("Hero of God"), Michael ("Who is Like God"), and Daniel ("God is My Judge") use God's name in a similar fashion.

Here's the Collect for the day, which is also called "Michaelmas":
Everlasting God, you have ordained and constituted in a wonderful order the ministries of angels and mortals: Mercifully grant that, as your holy angels always serve and worship you in heaven, so by your appointment they may help and defend us here on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

And the New Testament reading, from Revelation 12:7-12:
War broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world-- he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, proclaiming,

"Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Messiah,
for the accuser of our comrades has been thrown down,
who accuses them day and night before our God.
But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony,
for they did not cling to life even in the face of death.
Rejoice then, you heavens
and those who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
for the devil has come down to you
with great wrath,
because he knows that his time is short!"

And of course, Jacob's Ladder with angels ascending and descending, from Genesis, too.

Here's something about Michael:
Michael (Hebrew: מִיכָאֵל‎, Micha'el or Mîkhā'ēl; Greek: Μιχαήλ, Mikhaḗl; Latin: Michael or Míchaël; Arabic: میکائیل‎, Mikā'īl) is an archangel in Jewish, Christian and Islamic tradition. He is viewed as the field commander of the Army of God. He is mentioned by name in the Book of Daniel, the Book of Jude and the Book of Revelation. In the book of Daniel, Michael appears as "one of the chief princes" who in Daniel's vision comes to the angel Gabriel's aid in his contest with the angel of Persia (Dobiel), and is also described there as the advocate of Israel and "great prince who stands up for the children of your [Daniel's] people".

The Talmudic tradition rendered Michael's name as meaning "who is like El?", - so Michael could consequently mean "One who is like God." But its being a question is alternatively understood as a rhetorical question, implying that no one is like God.

And Gabriel:
In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel (Hebrew: גַּבְרִיאֵל, Modern Gavriʼel Tiberian Gaḇrîʼēl; Latin: Gabrielus; Greek: Γαβριήλ, Gabriēl; Arabic: جبريل, Jibrīl or جبرائيل Jibrail; Aramaic: Gabri-el, "strong man of God"[1]) is an angel who serves as a messenger from God. Based on two passages in the Gospel of Luke, many Christians and Muslims believe Gabriel to have foretold the births of both John the Baptist and Jesus.

And Raphael:
Raphael (Standard Hebrew רָפָאֵל, Rāp̄āʾēl, "It is God who heals", "God Heals", "God, Please Heal", Arabic: رافائيل, Rāfāʾīl) is the name of an archangel of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, who performs all manner of healing.

The angels mentioned in the Torah, the older books of the Hebrew Bible, are without names. Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish of Tiberias (A.D. 230-270), asserted that all the specific names for the angels were brought back by the Jews from Babylon, and modern commentators would tend to agree.

Raphael in the Book of Enoch

Raphael bound Azazel under a desert called Dudael according to Enoch 10:5-7:

"And again the Lord said to Raphael: 'Bind Azazel hand and foot, and cast him into the darkness: and make an opening in the desert, which is in Dudael, and cast him therein. And place upon him rough and jagged rocks, and cover him with darkness, and let him abide there for ever, and cover his face that he may not see light. And on the day of the great judgement he shall be cast into the fire."

Of seven archangels in the angelology of post-Exilic Judaism, only Michael, mentioned as archangel (Daniel 12:1) and Gabriel are mentioned by name in the scriptures that came to be accepted as canonical by all Christians. Raphael is mentioned by name in the Book of Tobit, which is accepted as canonical by Catholics and Orthodox. Four others, however, are named in the 2nd century BC Book of Enoch (chapter xxi): Uriel, Raguel, Sariel, and Jarahmeel.

I think I'll leave these last Enoch angels for my 2010 post!

The Introit for the day is Benedicite Dominum, from Psalm 102:20 (103:20 in the Anglican reckoning), the second half being the wonderful Verse 1 from the same Psalm:
Bless the Lord, all ye his angels: you that are mighty in strength, and execute his word, hearkening to the voice of his orders. Bless the Lord, O my soul: and let all that is within me bless his holy name.

Here's the mp3 from the Benedictines of Brazil, and below is the chant score:

The Offertory for the day is Stetit angelus, from Revelation 8:3-4:
3 And another angel came and stood before the altar, having a golden censer: and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer of the prayers of all saints, upon the golden altar which is before the throne of God.

4 And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God from the hand of the angel.

Here's the mp3, and below is the chant score:

Here's Giovanni Vianini's version of this Offertory:

And this Stetit angelus comes from a contemporary composer, Giovanni Bonato:

The Communion song for the day is Benedicite, omnes angeli, from Daniel 3:58 (part of the Benedicite, omnia opera):
O ye angels of the Lord, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.

here's the mp3, and below is the chant score:

See also the Office hymns, posted last year.

Here's a nice Guido (Reni, that is) of St. Michael:

I posted a lot of Michael images last year - they're a dime a dozen - but you know, I'd really like to give Gabriel and Raphael some equal time this year, so here goes.
About Raphael:
The name of the angel Raphael appears only in the Deuterocanonical Book of Tobit. The Book of Tobit is considered canonical by Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians. Raphael first appears disguised in human form as the travelling companion of the younger Tobias, calling himself "Azarias the son of the great Ananias". During the adventurous course of the journey the archangel's protective influence is shown in many ways including the binding of the demon in the desert of upper Egypt. After the return and the healing of the blindness of the elder Tobit, Azarias makes himself known as "the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord" Tobit 12:15. Compare the unnamed angels in John's Revelation 8:2. Christian churches following Catholic teachings (Roman, Oriental, Orthodox, Anglican, etc) venerate and patronize him as Saint Raphael.

Regarding the healing powers attributed to Raphael,[1] we have little more than his declaration to Tobit (Tobit, 12) that he was sent by the Lord to heal him of his blindness and to deliver Sarah, his daughter-in-law, from the devil (Asmodeus) that was the serial killer of her husbands.[2] Among Catholics, he is considered the patron saint of medical workers and matchmakers, travellers and may be petitioned by them or those needing their services.[3]

And - saving the best for last - I'm sure I don't need to mention (yet again) my fondness for this Annunciation by Sandro Botticelli, and the terrific take on the Archangel Gabriel:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

September 17: Hildegard von Bingen

The Collect, via Satucket:
O God, by whose grace your servant Hildegard, kindled with the fire of your love, became a burning and shining light in your Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and walk before you as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

The First Lesson comes from one of my favorite of all books:
Sirach 43:1-2, 6-7, 9-12, 27-28

The pride of the higher realms is the clear vault of the sky,
as glorious to behold as the sight of the heavens.
The sun, when it appears, proclaims as it rises
what a marvelous instrument it is, the work of the Most High.
It is the moon that marks the changing seasons,
governing the times, their everlasting sign.
From the moon comes the sign for festal days,
a light that wanes when it completes its course.
The glory of the stars is the beauty of heaven,
a glittering array in the heights of the Lord.
On the orders of the Holy One they stand in their appointed places;
they never relax in their watches.
Look at the rainbow, and praise him who made it;
it is exceedingly beautiful in its brightness.
It encircles the sky with its glorious arc;
the hands of the Most High have stretched it out.
We could say more but could never say enough;
let the final word be: "He is the all."
Where can we find the strength to praise him?
For he is greater than all his works.

Here is a video labelled "'O Ierusalem', la Séquence de Saint Rupert"; the singers are "Sequentia Women's and Instrumental Ensemble;Maria Jonas;Diane Severson;Allegra Silbiger."

At, you'll find a few mp3 samples of her work, and this blurb, explaining the "St. Rupert" reference:
After being forgotten for several centuries, Hildegard von Bingen is recognized today as one of the universal minds in Western culture. The abbess at the monastery of Saint-Rupert close to the town of Bingen, Hildegard was a composer, writer, physician and visionary who lived in the 12th century AD.

Below is another video, this one labelled "Hildegard of Bingen, O magne Pater." Here's the blurb over there:
III. Antiphon from the vesper of St. Hildegard of Bingen, Schola of Benedictine sisters of Abbey St. Hildegard, Eibingen.

O großer Vater, III. Antiphon aus der Vesper der Hl. Hildegard von Bingen, Schola der Benediktinerinnenabtei St. Hildegard, Eibingen

And here is "Spiritus Sanctus," which I believe I've sung parts of:

Here's an article at the Fordham server about Hildegard. I still love this little poem, which I was introduced to about 5 years ago at a time when I was really hardly very interested in any of this stuff and was actively furious at the church (even more than I am now!):
Holy Spirit,
Giving life to all life,
Moving all creatures,
Root of all things,
Washing them clean,
Wiping out their mistakes,
Healing their wounds,
You are our true life,
Luminous, wonderful,
Awakening the heart from its ancient sleep.

There's an interesting variety of images of Hildegard out there; for some reason I'm partial to this one:

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Introit for the Maundy Thursday Evening Mass: Nos autem gloriari

Below is Giovanni Vianini's version of Nos autem gloriari, the Introit for Maundy Thursday (it's also used on September 14's feast,  In Exaltatione Sanctæ Crucis  - The Exaltation of the Holy Cross).   It's a beautiful song, with texts taken from the wonderful Galatians 6:14 and also from Psalm 67; see full texts below the video.

Here are the words in Latin and English, with citations from Galatians and Psalms:
Nos autem gloriari oportet in Cruce Domini nostri Iesu Christi:  in quo est salus, vita, et resurrectio nostra: per quem salus, vita, et resurrectio nostra: per quem salvati, et liberati sumus.

Deus misereatur nostri, et benedicat nobis: illuminet vultum suum super nos, et misereatur nostri.

But it behooves us to glory in the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ: in Whom is our salvation, life, and resurrection; by whom we are saved and delivered.

May God have mercy on us, and bless us: may He cause the light of His countenance to shine upon us; and may He have mercy on us.

(Galatians 6:14: But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Psalm 67:1: May God be gracious to us and bless us, and make his face to shine upon us and have mercy on us....)

Here's the chant score:

This is another Gregorian piece for which Palestrina wrote choral music. That doesn't seem to be online - but there is a stunning choral version of this text by 20th-Century French composer Alfred Desenclos:

All the chants for today are listed at, as follows:

Missa Vespertina in Cena Domini
Ad liturgiam verbi
Introitus: Cf. Gal. 6,14; Ps. 66 Nos autem gloriari (4m37.3s - 4337 kb) score
Graduale: Ps. 144,15. V. 16 Oculi omnium (2m58.5s - 2793 kb) score
Tractus: Mal. 1,11 et Prov. 9,5 Ab ortu solis (2m33.8s - 2409 kb) score

Ad lotionem pedum

Antiphona: Cf. Io. 13, 4.5.15 Postquam surrexit Dominus (43.3s - 681 kb) score
Antiphona: Io. 13, 2.13.15 Dominus Iesus (1m02.4s - 979 kb) score
Antiphona: Io. 13, 6.7.8 Domine, tu mihi lavas pedes (1m16.0s - 1191 kb) score
Antiphona: Cf. Io. 13, 14 Si ego Dominus (37.2s - 583 kb) score
Antiphona: Io. 13, 35 In hoc cognoscent omnes (45.5s - 713 kb) score
Antiphona: Io. 13, 34 Mandatum novum (15.8s - 248 kb) score
Antiphona: I Cor. 13, 13 Maneant in vobis (56.2s - 876 kb) score

Ad liturgiam eucharisticam

Offertorium: Ubi caritas (2m16.3s - 2132 kb) score
Communio: I Cor. 11, 24.25  Hoc corpus (2m51.7s - 2684 kb) score

Ad translationem SS.mi Sacramenti

O salutaris Hostia I (52.2s - 818 kb) score, Panis angelicus I (1m15.5s - 1182 kb) score, Adoro te devote (2m26.0s - 2282 kb) score, Ecce panis (1m33.2s - 1458 kb) score, Pange lingua, Tantum ergo (3m06.5s - 2916 kb) score

Here are other posts on Chantblog for some of the propers:

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Hymn Introits for the Liturgical Year

Before I forget: here's a link to this book at, which is subtitled "The origin and early development of the Latin texts"; you can read sections of it via the Preview feature.

It really looks wonderful; I've started reading sections but keep forgetting to link it here.

Thanks to our good friend Derek the Ænglican for pointing this one out.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Iustus Es, Domine

That's the Introit for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (this coming Sunday, September 6). 

A note at the YouTube page says that the images used in the video come from the Einsiedeln, Stiftsbibliothek, Codex 121, p. 327.   And a description of this codex at that link notes that:
This Codex comprises the oldest complete surviving neumed mass antiphonary; it includes assorted appendices (such as Alleluia verses, Antiphons and Psalm verses for the Communion Antiphons). Because the mass antiphonary is complete, the manuscript remains important to this day as a resource for Gregorian chant research. The second part of the codex contains the Libyer Ymnorum, the Sequences of Notker of St. Gall. Recent research has established that the codex was written in Einsiedeln itself (in about 960-970), most likely for the third abbot of the cloister, Gregor the Englishman. (lan)

(Here's page 327 by itself.)

The text for the Introit is taken from several verses - 137, 124, and 1 - of Psalm 119 (118 in the Vulgate numbering system):
137 Sade. Justus es, Domine,
et rectum judicium tuum.

124 Fac cum servo tuo secundum misericordiam tuam,
et justificationes tuas doce me.

1 Alleluja. Aleph. Beati immaculati in via,
qui ambulant in lege Domini.

137 Thou art just, O Lord: and thy judgment is right.

124 Deal with thy servant according to thy mercy: and teach me thy justifications.

1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.

Here's an mp3, sung by the Sao Paulo Benedictines - and here's the chant score to follow along:

Here is the "Justus es, Domine, et rectum" page at the Global Chant database, which seems to be growing ever-larger.

The Offertory on the day, Oravi Deum Meum, is from Daniel 9, verses 4, 2, 17, and 19:
4 Et oravi Dominum Deum meum, et confessus sum, et dixi: Obsecro, Domine Deus magne et terribilis, custodiens pactum, et misericordiam diligentibus te, et custodientibus mandata tua:

2 anno uno regni ejus, ego Daniel intellexi in libris numerum annorum, de quo factus est sermo Domini ad Jeremiam prophetam, ut complerentur desolationis Jerusalem septuaginta anni.

17 Nunc ergo exaudi, Deus noster, orationem servi tui, et preces ejus: et ostende faciem tuam super sanctuarium tuum, quod desertum est propter temetipsum.

19 Exaudi, Domine; placare Domine: attende et fac: ne moreris propter temetipsum, Deus meus, quia nomen tuum invocatum est super civitatem et super populum tuum.

4 And I prayed to the Lord, my God, and I made my confession, and said: I beseech thee, O Lord God, great and terrible, who keepest the covenant, and mercy to them that love thee, and keep thy commandments.

2 The first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by books the number of the years, concerning which the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, the prophet, that seventy years should be accomplished of the desolation of Jerusalem.

17 Now, therefore, O our God, hear the supplication of thy servant, and his prayers: and show thy face upon thy sanctuary, which is desolate, for thy own sake.

19 O Lord, hear: O Lord, be appeased: hearken, and do: delay not, for thy own sake, O my God: because thy name is invocated upon thy city, and upon thy people.

Here's the mp3
, and here's the chant score:

Palestrina apparently wrote a motet based on this text, although with slightly different words:
Oravi ad Dominum, Deum meum ego Daniel dicens: exaudi, Domine, preces servi tui, illumina faciem tuam super sanctuarium tuum, et propitius intende populum istum, super quem invocatum est nomen tuum, Deus.
(Dan 9, 17-18)

A note on that page reads: "(The current Gregorian Missal (Solemnes 1990) assigns this offertory to the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time and give the opening as 'Oravi Deum meum')." I can't find a recording of it online, sad to say....


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