S. Martini Ep. et Conf.

Before looking at the Lenten Masses, we will be looking at the Mass for the feast of St. Martin of Tours. The Portuguese peope had a great devotion to St. Martin of Tours (known as the “Apostle to Gaul”), which can be atested to by the number of towns and villages named after him. While his feast day may no longer carry the religious importance it once did among the Portuguese, it is still commemorated secularly. The Mass on this day varies from its Roman counterpart which borrows most of its texts from the Common of a Confessor Bishop. The Introit for this feast’s Mass is a gloss on the Ecce sacerdos magnus (Eccl. 44:17):

Ecce sacerdos magnus Martinus, gemma sacerdotum, quem principem fecit Dominus, ut sit nobis reconciliatio: et non est inventus similis habere laudem in omnes gentes. V. Benedictionem omnium gentium dedit illi Dominus: et testamentum suum confirmavit super caput eius. Behold the great priest Martin, a jewel among priests, whom the Lord made a prince, that he might be reconciliation for us: and none is found in all the nations worthy of praise like him. The Lord gave him the blessing of all nations: and confirmed His testament/covenant above his head.

The Epistle reading is Eccli 50:6-12 The Gradual has the indication of Eccl. prec. et laus [which we take to mean “The Church prays and honours”]:

Ora pro nobis, beate Martine: ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi. V/ Dum sacramenta offerret beatus Martinus, globus igneus apparuit super caput eius. Pray for us, blessed Martin, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. V/ While blessed Martin offered the sacraments, a globe of fire appeared above his head.

The Alleluia antiphon, which can be found in the Roman breviary for Vespers on this day (as well as in the Bragan), is:

Alleluia, alleluia. Oculis ac manibus in caelum semper intentus, invictum ab oratione spiritum non relaxabat, alleluia. Alleluia, alleluia. With eyes and hands lifted up to heaven, he never let his mighty spirit slacken in prayer. Alleluia.

For a votive Mass during Paschaltide the following text is said in place of the Gradual:

Beátus vir, sanctus Martínus, urbis Turónis Epíscopus, requiévit: quem suscéperunt Angeli atque Archángeli, Throni, Dominatiónes et Virtútes. Alleluia, alleluia. V/ Hic est sacerdos, quem coronavit Dominus. Alleluia The blessed man, St. Martin, Bishop of the city of Tours, has gone to rest; and the Angels, Archangels, Thrones, Dominations and Powers have received him. Alleluia, alleluia. V/This is the priest whom the Lord hath crowned. Alleluia. [ This final verse can be found in the Mass Statuit ei Dominus]

While the Sarum rite indicates a Sequence for Martinmas – Jucundemur hodie –  (which, apparently, was sung in many medieval rites), having consulted the 16th century edition of the Bragan missal, we could find no traces of it being used on this feast day. Should any of our readers have proof otherwise, we would appreciate the input. The Offertory provides us with the following texts:

Martinus igitur obitum suum longe ante praescivit dixitque fratribus dissolutionem sui corporis imminere quia juducabat se jam resolvi. Therefore, Martin long before foreknew that the dissolution of his body approached, and in obedience told his brethren, since he judged that he would soon be unbound.

The Communion antiphon is:

Martinus Abrahae sinu laetus excipitur; Martinus, hic pauper et modicus, caelum dives ingreditur, hymnis caelestibus honoratur.

Martin is believed to rejoice in the bosom of Abraham; Martin, this poor and temperate man, comes into heavenly riches, and is honored with celestial hymns.

As can be seen, the texts do not rely solely on Scripture, but go one to borrow from accounts of the saint’s life. Martinmas’ rank in the Bragan rite was that of Duplex (not the case in the Roman), having I Vespers, in which can be found be found the hymn Perfusus ora lacrimis Martinus

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