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Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Monumental Secret.

The Secret for the Mass
of the First Sunday of Lent is very ancient.
It goes back to before the time of Pope Gregory the Great,
to the earliest years of the 4th century,
when Lent began, not on Ash Wednesday,
but today the First Sunday of Lent.

The ancient Secret of today's Mass
was never changed, never updated.

Pope St. Gregory II
(715 - 732)

In the 8th century,
during the pontificate of Pope St. Gregory II,
Lent itself was changed
in order to begin four days earlier on Ash Wednesday.

The reason for that change was that the ancient Lent,
kept until that time,
had only 36 days of fast not 40;
since Sundays were never fast days.
In order to make up the extra four days
Lent was begun on Ash Wednesday.

The Secret prayer of the Mass however,
was never changed.
By the 8th century
it was already too old and venerable to be altered or moved.

Today's Secret in the Gelasian Sacramentary.
(Pope Saint Gelasius 492 - 496).

Thus to our own times,
the Secret still stands as a solemn prayer
reminding us that today was the ancient beginning of Lent
for our Holy Fathers Sylvester, Damasus, Gregory, Leo
and the early Roman Church.

If this ancient Secret text,
preserved as above
on parchments and paper,
had also been carved into marble
or erected on an obelisque,
it would be protected,
as are monuments of civilisation,
with the title of
"World Heritage Monument"

Why should we not recognise it
for what it is
with the title of
"World Heritage Prayer"?

SACRIFÍCIUM quadragesimális inítii solémniter immolámus,
Dómine, deprecántes :
ut, cum epulárum restrictióne carnálium,
a nóxiis quoque voluptátibus temperémus...

We solemnly offer up the sacrifice of the beginning of Lent,
beseeching Thee, O Lord,
that while we are restrained from carnal feasting,
we may likewise abstain from baneful pleasures.
Through our Lord.


Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Interesting & informative post..

Anne B said...

That it may be so for each of us, Amen

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