Feria in the Octave of St Laurence; Com. Vigil of the Dormition [/Assumption] & Com. Feast of St Eusebius: Missa “Vultum Tuum“
As early as the Seventh Century the preparation, by a solemn fast, for keeping devoutly the great festival of the Dormition of the Mother of God (aka The Assumption), is described as a custom of great antiquity. In Orthodoxy and Catholicism, in the language of the scripture, death is often called a “sleeping” or “falling asleep” (Greek κοίμησις; whence κοιμητήριον > coemetērium > cemetery, a place of sleeping). The Church teaches that Mary died a natural death, like any human being; that her soul was received by Christ upon death; and that her body was resurrected on the third day after her repose, at which time she was taken up, bodily only, into heaven. Her tomb was found empty on the third day. Pope Pius XII in Munificentissimus Deus (1950) though dogmatising the doctrine of the Assumption, left open the question of whether or not Mary actually underwent death in connection with her departure, but alludes to the fact of her death at least five times in his Apostolic Constitution.
In many parts of the Church the strict fast enjoined lasted over several days. Traditionally the Orthodox precede the Feast by a two-week fast, referred to as the Dormition Fast. From August 1 to August 14 (inclusive) Orthodox and Eastern Catholics fast from red meat, poultry, meat products, dairy products (eggs and milk products), fish, oil, and wine. The Dormition Fast is a stricter fast than either the Nativity Fast (Advent) or the Apostles’ Fast, with only wine and oil (but no fish) allowed on weekends.
Today is also the feast of Saint Eusebius, Confessor. He was a Roman priest distinguished for his zeal in the cause of orthodoxy. The “Acta Eusebii”, discovered in 1479 by Mombritius and reproduced by Baluze in his “Miscellanea” (1678–1715), tell the following story: When Pope Liberius was permitted by Constantius II to return to Rome, supposedly at the price of his orthodoxy, by subscribing to the Arian formula of Sirmium, Eusebius, a priest, an ardent defender of the Nicene Creed, publicly preached against both pope and emperor, branding them as heretics. When the orthodox party who supported the antipope Felix were excluded from all the churches, Eusebius continued to say Mass in his own house. He was arrested and brought before Liberius and Constantius, and boldly reproved Liberius for deserting the Catholic faith. In consequence he was placed in a dungeon four feet wide (or was imprisoned in his own house), where he spent his time in prayer and died after seven months. His body was buried in the cemetery of Callistus with the simple inscription: “Eusebio homini Dei”. This act of kindness was performed by two priests, Gregory and Orosius, friends of Eusebius. Gregory was put into the same prison and also died there. He was buried by Orosius, who professes to be the writer of the Acts.
INTROIT Psalm 96: 6
Praise and beauty are before Him: holiness and majesty in His sanctuary. (Ps. 95: 1) Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle; sing to the Lord all the earth. v. Glory be…etc
Grant us, we beseech Thee O almighty God, to extinguish the flames of our evil dispositions, as Thou didst grant blessed Lawrence to overcome the fires of his torments. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.
Commemoration of the Vigil of the Dormition of the BVM
O God, Who didst deign to choose for Thy dwelling the virginal womb of the blessed Mary, grant, we beseech Thee, that defended by her protection we may assist with joy at her festival. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.
Commemoration of St. Eusebius
O God, Who dost gladden us by the annual feast of blessed Eusebius, Thy confessor, mercifully grant that, as we celebrate his natal day, we may also imitate his actions. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever.
EPISTLE 2 Corinthians 9: 6, 10
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians. Brethren, He who soweth sparingly, shall also reap sparingly: and he who soweth in blessings, shall also reap of blessings. Everyone as he hath determined in his heart; not with sadness, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound in you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work; as it is written, He hath dispersed abroad, He hath given to the poor: His justice remaineth forever. And He that ministereth seed to the sower, will both give you bread to eat, and will multiply your seed, and increase the growth of the fruits of your justice.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 18: 3
Thou hast proved my heart, O Lord, and visited it by night. V. Thou hast tried me by fire, and iniquity hath not been found in me. Alleluia, alleluia. V. The levite Lawrence wrought a good work, who by the sign of the cross gave sight to the blind. Alleluia.
GOSPEL John 12: 24-26
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: “Amen. amen, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground, die, itself remaineth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life, shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world, keepeth it unto life eternal. If any man minister to Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there also shall My minister be. If any man minister to Me, him will My Father.”
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 95: 6
Praise and beauty are before Him: holiness and majesty are in His sanctuary.
Accept, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the gifts offered Thee, and, by the interceding merits of blessed Lawrence, grant that they may be to as a help unto our salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever.
Commemoration of the Vigil of the Dormition
May our offerings be commended to Thy mercy, O Lord, by the prayer of the mother of God, Whom Thou hast removed from this world that she may with confidence intercede for us with Thee. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son. Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever.
Commemoration of St. Eusebius
We offer Thee, O Lord, sacrifices of praise in commemoration of Thy saints, by whom we trust to be delivered from evils both present and future. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON John 12: 26
If any man minister to me, let him follow Me: and where I am, there also shall My minister be.
Filled with Thy sacred gift, we humbly beseech Thee, O Lord, that what we celebrate with our homage duly given by the intercession of Thy blessed martyr Lawrence, we may also know as an increase of Thy saving grace within us. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen.
Commemoration of the Dormition
Grant Thine assistance, O merciful God, to our frailty, that we, who anticipate the festival of God’s holy mother, may, by the aid of her intercession, rise from our iniquity. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever.
Commemoration of St. Eusebius
We, Thy suppliants, who are refreshed with heavenly food and drink, beseech Thee, O our God, that we may be fortified by the prayers of him in whose commemoration we have partaken of these gifts. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever.