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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/850

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BREVIARY


770


BREVIARY


Tlie last three, cxlviii, cxlix, and i-l, which are spe- cially called the psalms of praise (Laudes), because of the "word Laudate -which forms their leitmotiv, are always used in the morning Office, which thus gets its name of Lauds.

A glance at the above tables will show that, broadly speaking, the Roman Church did not attempt to make any skilful selection of the psalms for daily recitation. She took them in order as tliey came, except a very few .set apart for Lauds, Prime, and Compline, and selected Ps. cxviii for the day hours. Other Liturgies, as the Ambrosian, the Mozarabic, and the Benedictine, or monastic, have Psalters drawn up on wholly different lines; but the respective merits of these systems need not be here discussed. The order of the ferial Psalter is not followed for the festivals of the year or for the feasts of saints; but the psalms are selected according to their suit- ableness to the various occasions.

The history of the text of this Psalter is interesting. The most ancient Psalter used in Rome and in Italy -was the "Psalterium Vetus", of the Itala version, wliich seems to have been introduced into the Liturgy by Pope St. Damasus (d. 384). He it was who first ordered the revision of the Itala by St. Jerome, in A. D. 383. On this account it has been called the "Psalterium Romanum", and it was used in Italy and elsewhere till the ninth century and later. It is still in use in St. Peter's at Rome, and many of the texts of our Breviary and Missal still show some variants (Invitatory and Ps. xciv, the antiphons of the Psalter and the responsories of the Proper of the Season, Introits, Graduals, Offertories, and Communions). The Roman Psalter also influences the Mozarabic Liturgy, and was used in England in the eighth century. But in Gaul and in other coun- tries north of the Alps, another recension entered into competition with the "P.salterium Romanum" under the somewhat misleading title of the "Psal- terium Gallicanum"; for this text contained nothing distinctively Galilean, being simply a later correction of the Psafter made by St. Jerome in Palestine, in A. r>. 392. Tills recension diverged more completely than the earlier one from the Itala; and in preparing it St. Jerome had laid Origen's Hexapla under con- tribution. It would seem that St. Gregory of Tours, in the sixth century, introduced this translation into Gaul, or at any rate he was specially instrumental in spreading its use; for it was this Psalter that was employed in the Divine psalmody celebrated at the much honoured and frequented tomb of St. Martin of Tours. From that time this text commenced its "triumphal march across Europe". Walafrid Strabo states that the churches of Germany were using it in the eighth century: — "Galli et Germanorum aliqui secundum emendationem quam Hieronymus pater de LXX composuit Psalterium cantant". About the same time England gave up the "Psalter- ium Romanum" for the "Gallicanum". The Anglo- Saxon Psalter already referred to was corrected and altered in the ninth "and tenth century, to make it accord with the "Gallicanum". Ireland seems to have followed the Galilean version since the seventh century, as may be gathered from the famous An- tiphonary of Bangor. It even penetrated into Italy after the ninth century, thanks to the Prankish influence, and there enjoyed a considerable vogue. After the Council of Trent, St. Pius V extended the use of the "Psalterium Gallicanum" to the whole Church, St. Peter's in Rome alone still keeping to the ancient Roman Psalter. The Ambrosian Church of Milan has also its own recension of the Psalter, a version founded, in the middle of the fourth cen- tury, on the Greek.

(b) The Proper of the Season. — This portion of the Breviary contains the Office of the different liturgical seasons. As is well know^n, these periods are now thus


arranged: Advent , Christmastide, Septuagesima, Lent, Holy Week, paschal time, and the time after Pente- cost. But only by slow degrees did this division of the liturgical year develop its present form. It must be traced through its various stages. It may indeed be said that originally there was no such thing as a liturgical year. Sunday, the day above all of the Eueharistic celebration, is at once the commemora- tion of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ; men spoke of the "Pasch of the Crucifixion", of the "Pasch of the Resurrection" — Trdffxa (^ravpuxn- liov; Trdcrx'^ di^aar daifuiv; every Sunday was a renewal of the paschal f('sti\-al. It was only natural that on the actual anniversary the feast should be kept with peculiar solemnity, for it was the foremost Christian feast, and the centre of the liturgical year. Easter drew in its train Pentecost, which was fixed as the fiftieth day after the Resurrection; it was the festival commemorating the Descent of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles. These fifty days made up an unbroken festival, a Jubilee, a time of joy during which there was no fastiiig and when penitential exercises were suspended. These two feasts thus linked together are mentioned by ecclesiastical writers from the second century onwards.

Just as Easter was followed by fifty days of re- joicing, so it had its period of preparation by prayer and fasting, from which arose the season of Lent, which, after various changes, commenced finally forty days before Easter, whence its name of Quadra- gesima. The other rallying-point of the liturgical year is the feast of Christmas, the earliest observance of which is of very remote antiquity (the third century at least). Like Easter, Christmas had its time of preparation, called Advent, lasting nowadays four weeks. The remainder of the year had to fit in be- tween these two feasts. From Christmas to Lent two currents may be observed: into one fell the feasts of the Epiphany and the Purification, and six Sun- days after the Epiphany, constituting Christmastide. The remaining weeks after these Sundays fall under the influence of Lent and, under the name of SeptuO' ge.fima, create a sort of introduction to it, since these three weeks, Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quin- quagesima, really belong to Lent by reason of their character of preparation and penance.

The long period between Pentecost and Advent, from May to December, still remains to be dealt with. A certain number of Sundays cluster round special great festivals, as those of" St. John the Baptist (24 June), the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul (29 June), St. LawTence (10 August), and St. Michael (29 Sep- tember). At a later date these days, which did not fit very conveniently into the general scheme, tended to disappear, and were absorbed into the common time after Pentecost, made up of twenty-four Sun- days, thereby uniting Pentecost with Advent; and thus the cycle of the liturgical year is completed.

The Proper of the Season contains, therefore, the Office of all the Sundays and festivals belonging to it, with special lessons, extracts from the Gospels, and frequently also proper antiphons, responsories, and psalms, adapted to the peculiar character of these different periods. It is in the composition of tills Liturgy that the Roman Church has displayed her gifts of critical judgment, liturgical taste, and theological acumen. The difference in the character of these periods may be studied in such works af Dom Gu^ranger's "Liturgical Year".

(c) Proper of the Saints. — Following on the Propel of the Season comes in the Breviary the Proper ol the Saints, that is to say, that part which contains tht lessons, psalms, antiphons, and other liturgical for- mularies for the feasts of the saints. In reality thii Proper commemorates a very large number of sainti who find mention in the ecclesiastical Calendar; this however, need not be given here, as it can easily bi