Missal Comparison: Nativity of the BVM

As today is the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, I checked out the propers for the feast among my usual suspects: The Leofric Missal (LM), the Missal of Robert of Jumieges (MRJ), the Sarum Missal (SM), York Missal (YM) and the Liber Usualis (LU). However, my copy of the York Missal doesn’t have a Sanctorale, so you’ll only get four of the five…

  • Great agreement across the sources! The two Anglo-Saxon missals (LM, MRJ) had exactly the same materials: 2 collects, secret, preface, and postcommunion. The LM had incipits to the “other” material, the MRJ doesn’t.
  • The SM agreed on the major missal material (collect  1, secret, and postcommunion) with only minor additions–a “Jesus Christ our Lord” into the Secret and a phase on the BVM into the postcommunion. The preface was that of the BVM (N.B.: This is a major difference between early medieval sacramentaries and the medieval/late-medieval missals: a move to the use of prefaces proper to certain occasions–like feasts of the BVM). The Epistle and Gospel were also identical. The “other” material started the same with an identical introit and psalm but after that they diverged. Typical of the SM, it also started with a procession…
  • The LU used collect 2 of the LM/MRJ mass-set, the same Gospel as the above three, the same proper preface as the SM, and the Secret and Postcommunion were identical. Again, the “other” material was different. Interestingly, the common introit/psalm from the earlier three can be found together for the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (July 16th) in the LU, and the SM Alleluia verse appears as the first antiphon of the Second Vespers…
  • Texts:
    • (LM/SM) Introit/Psalm: Gaudeamus omnes/Eructavit- Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating this feast day in honor of the Virgin Mary, concerning whose solemnity the angels rejoice and praise together the Son of God /  VgPs 44 (This psalm–in the literal sense about a princess marrying the king–frequently appears for virgins and virgin martyrs who are brides of Christ; in this context it represents nothing less than the BVM as the bride of the Holy Spirit.)
    • Collect 1: Supplicationem seruorum – Hear the supplications of your servants, compassionate God, that we who gather for the nativity of the mother of God and virgin, may be rescued by you from the presence of danger on account of her favorable intercessions.
    • Collect 2: Famulis tuis, domine, – Direct your gift of heavenly grace, Lord, upon your servants to whom the birth of the Blessed Virgin appears the beginning of salvation the consecrated solemnity of her birth may bestow an increase of peace.
    • Epistle:Ecclesiasticus 24:23-31. Ego quasi uitis fructificaui (This is a great Marian text, and one that even regular Bible-readin’ Christians have generally never encountered as it’s different in the Vulgate than most modern translations of the Apocrypha. Even the KJV is a little different. Pull out your Vulgate or Douay-Rheims and check it out!)
    • Graduale (SM [V in LM]): Audi filia – Listen, daughter, hear, and incline your ear because the king desires your appearance. V: Your appearance and your beauty set out, proceed prosperously, and rule. (This is a mash-up of VgPs 44:11 and 5. Again, the marital psalm reconfigured by a new liturgical context.)
    • Alleluia (SM) : Nativitas gloriose uirginis – Alleluia. The birth of the glorious Virgin Mary is sprung from the seed of Abraham, from the well-known tribe of Judah, from the stem of David. Alleluia V: Through you are we ruined given life; in heaven you receive your offspring, on earth you bore our savior. (The first portion recalls the Magnificat or Song of Mary sung every evening at Vespers with its mention of “Abraham and his seed”; the biblical figures mentioned also recall the opening of the Gospel: “The book of the generations of Jesus Christ, son of David, Son of Abraham”; this may also remind you of the Christmas carol Lo How a Rose–which is simultaneously about both Jesus and Mary. The second has overtones of the Salve Regina, a Marian antiphon that followed Compline in the long Time after Pentecost.)
    • Gospel: Matthew 1:1-17 (The genealogy of Jesus beginning with Abraham)
    • That’s all for today–I’ll post the rest later…

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