ROWING UP, I attended a “typical” Catholic school of the 1990s, where the wacky theories of the time were taught. For example, our religion teacher said Adam & Eve never really existed, but were probably some form of evolving animal. Another teacher said God is certainly not omniscient, but does possess “a general idea how things will turn out in the end.”
Songs like Anthem (Tom Conry) and Sing A Simple Song Unto The Lord reigned supreme during Mass, and we were forced to do hand motions. Even though I was very young, I’ll never forget a comment uttered by the lady in charge of playing the piano for Mass: “I’m having a hard time finding Communion songs in this hymnal.” Our hymnal was Glory & Praise: the one with the bizarre Flying Eagle Picture.
When my parents couldn’t take it anymore, we sought out the Extraordinary Form, even though that required driving long distances. I attended the EF exclusively for a number of years and learned to especially cherish the quiet, peaceful, low Masses (even though I’m probably not supposed to admit that).
WHEN I RETURNED TO THE NOVUS ORDO, the priest would read some random-sounding verse at the beginning of Mass and at Communion. This was before the New Translation, and the language often struck me as pedestrian, as one might address a man on the street. (Cardinal Burke has said the language sounded “juvenile.”) I failed to realize these were the ENTRANCE and COMMUNION antiphons assigned to each Mass.
Why didn’t I realize this? Because I’m ignorant? Yes, I am ignorant — but maybe it would have been easier with a book like the JOGUES MISSAL, which clearly shows each member of the congregation what these antiphons are all about. Here’s an example:
Because there is no official translation of the Graduale Romanum, we chose a dignified-yet-modern translation done by Solesmes Abbey in the 1990s — the same translation used in publications like the Simple English Propers (CMAA, 2011). If you download the PDF version of the 1965 Missal, you’ll notice that the Solesmes translations are extremely similar. For example:
To view a fascinating version from 1806 — very similar to our translation — click here.
How wonderful it is to become familiar with these antiphons! Here’s the one for the 2nd Sunday of Advent — how lovely!
EOPLE OF SION, BEHOLD the Lord shall come to save the nations; and the Lord shall make the glory of his voice to be heard, in the joy of your heart.
(Ps 79:2) O shepherd of lsrael, hearken, O guide of the flock of Joseph!
V. Glory be to the Father. Repeat: People of Sion.
Doesn’t that just scream Advent?