N THE EXTRAORDINARY FORM, this coming Sunday is Septuagesima Sunday. The recording we had on the Goupil website was terrible, so I recorded a new version with the new microphone. The text mysteriously speaks of Christ being “surrounded” and the melody seems to reflect the idea of “surrounding.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Capital “C” seems to show Christ wrapped in swaddling cloths (i.e. tight clothing) and the Tree of Jesse is represented as (figuratively) the Tree of the Cross:
Pope Benedict has written:
Iconographic tradition has theologically interpreted the manger and the swaddling cloths in terms of the theology of the Fathers. The child stiffly wrapped in bandages is seen as prefiguring the hour of his death: from the outset, he is the sacrificial victim, as we shall see more closely when we examine the reference to the first-born. The manger, then, was seen as a kind of altar.
And we remember the words of Good Friday, in the hymn by Fortunatus:
A child he lay in the narrow cradle
and the virgin mother bound his limbs in swaddling clothes;
such bands held the hands and feet of God.
Here’s the entire hymn, as found in the St. Isaac Jogues Illuminated Missal:
It’s undoubtedly one of the most beautiful hymns.
You can read what the 1957 Solesmes book “Mass and Vespers” has to say about the season of Septuagesima.