Sunday, March 21, 2004

Laetare Sunday - Mothering Sunday - Dominica de Rosa - Refreshment Sunday - Sunday of the Five Loaves - Mid-Lent, or "Mediana"

. . .and all of them names for today. The Catholic Encyclopaedia explains it in detail here. But usually these days it is only Laetare Sunday, from the Introitus of today's Mass:

Laetare, Jerusalem : conventum facite omnes qui diligitis eam : gaudete cum laetitia, qui in tristitia fuistis : ut exsultetis, et satiemini ab uberibus consolationis vestrae. [Ps. cxxi . l] Laetatus sum in his, quae dicta sunt mihi : in domum Domini ibimus. Gloria Patri, etc.

Rejoice, Jerusalem, and come together all you who love her : rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow : that you may exult , and be filled from the breasts of your consolation. [Ps. cxxi. 1] I rejoiced at the things that were said to me : we shall go into the house of the Lord. Glory be to the Father, etc.

Fr. Zuhlsdorf explains in detail today's collect in the Pauline Rite here, along with much else about the Sunday. Such as:

There is a Latin dictum: repetita iuvant... repeated things help. That is to say, repetition helps us to learn and remember. Today we have a "nickname Sunday" (like Gaudete in Advent, Cantate in Eastertide, etc) This nicknaming tradition goes back at least to John of Salisbury (12th c.), and derives from the first word of the Introit chant for the Mass. Today, there is a relaxation of the stark penitential aspect of Lent, during which season traditionally (and still present in the rubrics) there should be no flowers and decorations and no instrumental music (including organ unless used only to sustain congregational singing). This Sunday we have a glimpse of the joy that is coming, which is why the first word sung is "Rejoice"! We have rose colored vestments and instrumental music.

Some ink can be given to rose vestments. This custom is tied to the station churches in Rome. For centuries in Rome there have been celebrations of Mass during the great seasons of Lent/Easter and Advent/Christmas at "station" churches. The station Mass for Laetare Sunday is the Basilica of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem in Rome, where the relics of Cross and Passion are kept. It was the custom on Laetare for the Pope to bless roses made of gold that were then sent to Catholic kings and queens. Thus Laetare was also called Dominica de rosa.... Sunday of the Rose. Rose vestments developed naturally from this occasion. So, rose came to be used on Laetare Sunday in the Basilica of the Holy Cross when the Pope came for the station Mass. The use of rose (the technical term for the color is rosacea) spread to the rest of the City on this day. As a Roman custom it became part and parcel of the Roman Missal promulgated through the world by Pius V. The custom is, thanks be to God, coming back into vogue again

This is today's collect in the traditional Roman Rite:

Concede, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus : ut qui ex merito nostrae actionis affligimur, tuae gratiae consolatione respiremus. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum. Amen.

In the Juergens translation from "The Daily Roman Missal":

Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that we who are justly afflicted for our deeds, may be relieved by the consolation of Thy grace. Through our Lord. Amen.

The full text of the traditional propers can be found in pdf form here and here. (You'll need both links for the full text. No, I don't know why they did it that way. But I can guess; it's the sort of thing I would do because I didn't know how to do more than one page at a time.)