Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Carmelite Calendar
15 October -- St Teresa of Jesus [of Avila]

Today is the feast of "the great" St Teresa, the foundress of the Discalced Carmelite Order. It is observed this year neither in the general calendar of the Roman Rite nor in the Pauline Rite being superseded by the Sunday liturgy. However, as it is the feast of the foundress and a solemnity in the Discalced Carmelite Order it is celebrated in all houses of the Order. The Austrian province of the O.C.D. provides this handy little page which summarizes her life and something of her doctrine. The good old Catholic Encyclopædia provides a "life" written by the great Carmelite historian, Fr Benedict Zimmerman which you can find here.

Here is the hymn for first vespers on her feast day. First is the Latin as it appeared in the old Roman Rite. Following is a translation by Fr Bede Edwards, O.C.D. and is used in the English version of the newer office. You'll note a different concluding verse replacing the doxology.

Regis superni nuntia,
Domum paternam deseris,
Terris, Teresa, barbaris
Christum datura aut sanguinem.

Sed te manet suavior
Mors, pœna poscit dulcior:
Divini amoris cuspide
In vulnus icta concides.

O caritatis victima!
Tu corda nostra concrema,
Tibique gentes creditas
Averni ab igne libera.

Sit laus Patri cum Filio
Et Spiritu Paraclito,
Tibique, sancta Trinitas,
Nunc, et per omne Sæculum.

Mild messenger of heaven's high King,
Forth from home's sheltering walls you set:
'Christ to the Pagan's land I'll bring
Or die a martyr!' - Ah, not yet.

A sweeter pain, a death more dear
Must win for you a wider fame;
No mortal hand's to wield the spear
That kindles your consuming flame.

Victim of God's unbounded love,
Let our hearts burn with like desire;
Lead all your retinue above
That none may taste eternal fire.

Jesu, celestial choirs adore You,
Bridgegroom of all virgins pure,
And wedding-songs unceasing pour
While endless ages shall endure.

[Te, sponse Iesu virginum,
beati, adorent ordines,
et nuptiali cantico
laudent per omne sæculum.]

A collect:

Exaudi nos, Deus, salutaris noster: ut, sicut de beatæ
Teresiæ Virgniis tuæ et Matris nostræ festivitate gaudemus;
ita cælestis eius doctrinæ pabulo nutriamur, et piæ devotionis
eerudiamur affectu. Per Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Graciously hear us, O God of our Salvation: that, like as we
do rejoice in the festival of Thy blessed Virgin and our Mother,
Saint Teresa; so we may be fed with the sustenance of her heavenly
doctrine. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.