Saturday, March 05, 2011

The Introit for the Ninth Sunday after the Epiphany: Respice In Me

Here's the beautiful Introit for this Sunday, via mp3, Respice In Me ("Look upon me"), from JoguesChant. Here's the score, from the same source:

The text comes from Psalms 25:16, 18, and 1-2:
Look upon me and have mercy on me, O Lord; for I am abandoned and destitute; consider my abjection and my labour, and forgive me all my sins, my dear God. Unto you, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul; O my God, I trust in you; let me not be put to shame.
The readings are the ones used every year on the Last Sunday After the Epiphany; the Gospel for this day - Quinquagesima - is always the story of the Transfiguration:

Matthew 17:1-9

Six days after Peter had acknowledged Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, "This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!" When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Get up and do not be afraid." And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, "Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead."

The collect for today is also used every year for the Last Sunday After the Epiphany (the Sunday before Ash Wednesday), and also refers to the Transfiguration:
O God, who before the passion of your only ­begotten Son revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; 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 about this collect:

The Epiphany season may have as few as four or as many as nine Sundays depending upon the date of Easter (see the table on pp. 884-885 of the Prayer Book). The rubric makes clear that, regardless of the number of Sundays after the Epiphany, this proper is used on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday.

The English revision of 1928 first included this modern collect for the feast of the Transfiguration, the subject of the Gospel lesson in all three years for this Sunday in the eucharistic lectionary. It is particularly appropriate on this Sunday, when we recall our Lord's having set His face to go to Jerusalem, for us to pray that we "beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory."

In the EF propers, the Introit for today is Esto Mihi; the English translation at is this:

Be thou unto me a God, a protector, and a place of refuge, to save me: for thou art my strength, and my refuge; and for thy name’s sake thou wilt be my leader, and wilt nourish me. In thee, O Lord, have I hoped, let me never be confounded: deliver me in thy justice.
It seems obvious (to me, at least!) that this is a pre-Lent prayer; the prayer to God for a place of "strength and refuge" - and nourishment, a reference to the Lenten fast - is preparation for the 40 days ahead.  Here's the mp3 of this Introit.

Wishing you a blessed Lent. Below is Carl Spitzweg's "Ash Wednesday (the end of Carnival)."

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