Posted by: Joe of St. Thérèse | November 9, 2009

Hymns vs. Propers

The thought of the day from the other day, I tortured you by having a video of an often used contemporary hymn Gather us in, and the Introit from the 3rd Sunday of Advent (After the Asperges)

We as Catholics believe that the Sacred Scriptures are inspired by God. Literally God-breathed. (Ref 2 Tim 3, 16-17). The greek word for Inspired is θεόπνευστος (as mentioned above, God breathed).

Why does the Church prescribe propers for us to sing? The propers are a reflection of our lex credendi. At each Holy Sacrifice of the Mass it is not only true that Calvary is made ananmesis but also that our Faith is fully expressed each time. (Not going to get into the arguments of which form does a better job, we all know where I stand on this blog).

The example that I’ve used, here is the text from the introit from 3rd Su of Advent in the EF (same for the OF)

Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis: sed in omni oratione petitiones vestrae innotescant apud Deum. ..Benedixisti, Domine, terram tuam: acertisti captivitatem Iacob. V.: Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper, et in saecula saeculorium. Amen. Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis: sed in omni oratione petitiones vestrae innotescant apud Deum.

In English:

Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men: for the Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous: but in every thing by prayer let your petitions be made known to God. ..ord, Thou hast blessed Thy land: Thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob. V.: Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men: for the Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous: but in every thing by prayer let your petitions be made known to God.

From the Missal: On this day the Church urges us to gladness in the middle of this time of expectation and penitence: the coming of Jesus approaches more and more. St. John, the holy precursor, announces to the Jews the coming of the Savior. “The Savior,” he says to them, “lives already among us, though unknown. He will soon appear openly.” Now is the time for fervent prayers and for imploring Jesus to remain with us by His mercy. Let us prepare the way for Him by repentance and by a worthy reception of the Sacraments. All the prayers of this Mass are filled with that which the Church wishes our souls to be possessed at the approach of the Savior.

As much as I like hymns…(esp. Latin one’s), hymns are not directly from the Man himself. Scripture is. Hymns should be last place at Mass, strictly speaking if we were to go by the letter of the law, they shouldn’t be played at Mass, just the gregorian propers. There are exceptions, which aren’t the norm…but hey, I say follow what the Vatican says

As a general norm, the chants from the Ordinary to be executed are:
Sundays of Advent: Missa XVII Credo IV
Sundays of Christmas: Missa IX Credo IV
Sundays of Lent: Missa XVII Credo IV
Sundays of Easter: Missa I Credo III
Sundays of Ordinary Time: Missa XI Credo I
Feasts of Ordinary Time: Missa VIII Credo III
Feasts of the B.V. Mary: Missa IX Credo IV
Feasts of the Apostles: Missa IV Credo III

Now this is a major change, which is why the propers can and should be done in the vernacular…(If Latin’s too scary)

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