Carissimi: Today’s Mass; St Damasus I, Pope & Confessor

Saint Jérôme remettant son ouvrage à Damase 2St Damasus I Pope & Confessor; Comm. Feria of Advent II and the Octave of the Conception of the BVM: Missa “Statuit ei Dominus“

On Pope Liberius’ death, riots broke out over the election of a successor. The majority favored Damasus, who was born in Rome of Spanish descent.  Damasus was a sixty-year-old deacon when he was elected bishop of Rome in 366. He had served as a deacon under Liberius and upheld the Nicene Creed. In less than a month, Damasus was installed in the Lateran palace. A minority, however, refused to accept the decision; they set up the antipope Ursinus. As the violence continued, Emperor Valentinian, who now ruled the West, was compelled to intercede and expel the antipope.

All lovers of Scripture have reason to celebrate this day. Damasus was the pope who commissioned Saint Jerome his friend and secretary to translate the Scriptures into Latin, the Vulgate version of the Bible. Pope Damasus fostered the development of the Church during this period of peace by publishing a list of the books of both the Old and New Testaments. This Vulgate edition continues to serve the Church usefully. Not only did he commission the Vulgate translation but he also changed the liturgical language of the Church from Greek to Latin. Damasus himself composed eloquent verse which he had inscribed on marble slabs and placed over the tombs of martyrs and popes alike. But Damasus is best known for his devoted project in the catacombs. He ardently searched for the tombs of martyrs which had been both blocked up and hidden during previous persecutions. He lighted the passages and stairwells of the catacombs, encouraging pilgrimages to the martyrs. He did much to beautify existing churches, such as building the baptistery in St. Peter’s and laying down marble pavement in the basilica of St. Sebastian.

Damasus was a vigorous defender of the orthodoxy, as well. He condemned the heresies of such men as Macedonius and Apollinaris and continued the march against Eastern Arians. Although Emperor Valentinian was a Catholic, his less capable brother Valens was under the Arian influence. Valens kept the Eastern bishops in turmoil until his death in 378 by the determined Goths. Emperor Theodosius, who succeeded Valens, supported the orthodox and convened the Second Ecumenical Council at Constantinople in 381. The council settled the dispute by recondemning Arianism and adopting the pope’s teachings.

The chair of St. Peter was never more respected than during the pontificate of Damasus. He tirelessly promoted the Roman primacy, successfully persuading the government to recognize the Holy See as a court of first instance, although it declined to give the pope himself any particular immunity against the civil courts. Next in hierarchy came Alexandria, founded by St. Mark, and then Antioch, where Peter reigned before leaving for Rome.

Pious Pope Damasus died in December of 384 after a reign of eighteen years.

INTROIT Sir 45:30

The Lord made a covenant of friendship with him, and made him a prince; that he should possess the dignity of priesthood forever. Ps. 131:1 Remember, O Lord, David and all his meekness. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

COLLECT

Look forgivingly on thy flock, Eternal Shepherd, and keep it in thy constant protection, by the intercession of blessed Damasus thy Sovereign Pontiff, whom thou didst constitute Shepherd of the whole Church. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.

Commemoration of the Feria of Advent II
Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the ways of Your only-begotten Son, so that through His coming we may be able to serve You with purified minds.

Commemoration of the Octave of the Conception of the BVM
Grant, o Lord, we beseech Thee, to thy servants, the gifts of thy heavenly grace: that as our redemption began in the delivery of the blessed Virgin, so in the solemnity of her conception, we may have an increase of peace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R. Amen

EPISTLE Sir 44:16-27 45:3-20.

Lesson from the book of Ecclesiasticus: Behold, a great priest, who in his days pleased God, and was found just; and in the time of wrath he was made a reconciliation. There was not found the like to him, who kept the law of the Most High. Therefore, by an oath, the Lord made him to increase among his people. He gave him the blessing of all nations, and confirmed His covenant upon his head. He acknowledged him in His blessings; He preserved for him His mercy; and he found grace before the eyes of the Lord. He glorified him in the sight of kings, and gave him a crown of glory. He made an everlasting covenant with him, and gave him a great priesthood; and made him blessed in glory. To execute the office of the priesthood, and to have praise in His name, and to offer Him a worthy incense for an odor of sweetness.

GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Sir 44:16; 44:20

Behold, a great priest, who in his days pleased God. V. There was not found the like to him, who kept the law of the Most High. Alleluia, alleluia. Ps 109:4 You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchisedec. Alleluia.

GOSPEL Matthew 25:14-23

At that time, Jesus spoke this parable to His disciples: A man going abroad, called his servants and handed over his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his particular ability, and then he went on his journey. And he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more. In like manner, he who had received the two gained two more. But he who had received the one went away and dug in the earth and hid his master’s money. Then after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; behold, I have gained five others in addition.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; because you have been faithful over a few things, I will set you over many; enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had received the two talents came, and said, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; behold, I have gained two more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; because you have been faithful over a few things, I will set you over many; enter into the joy of your master.’

OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 88:21-22

I have found David, My servant; with My holy oil I have anointed him, that My hand may be always with him, and that My arm may make him strong.

SECRET

By the offered gifts we beseech thee, O Lord, that thou kindly enlighten thy Church, so that thy flock may everywhere progress and prosper, and thy shepherds, under thy guidance may be pleasing to thy name. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.

Commemoration of the Feria of Advent II
Be appeased, we beseech You, O Lord, by the prayers and offerings of our human frailty, and where the support of our own merits is lacking, come to our assistance with Your protection.

Commemoration of the Octave of the Conception of the BVM
May the humanity of thy only begotten son, o Lord, succour us, that he (who being born of a virgin, diminished not, but consecrated her virginity), may free us, who celebrate the festival of her conception, from our sins: and render our oblation acceptable to thee. Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen

PREFACE of the Common

It is truly meet and just, and profitable unto salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks to thee, O Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God, through Christ, our Lord. Though whom the angels praise thy majesty, the dominions adore it, the powers are in awe. Which the heavens and the hosts of heaven together with the blessed seraphim joyfully do magnify. And do thou command that it be permitted to us join with them in confessing thee, while we say with lowly praise: Holy, Holy, Holy…

COMMUNION ANTIPHON Luke 12:42

The faithful and prudent servant whom the master will set over his household to give them their ration of grain in due time.

POSTCOMMUNION

Being appeased, O Lord, guide thy Church, which has been nourished by holy refreshment, that under thy direction and powerful rule it may receive increase of liberty and may continue in religious integrity. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.

Commemoration of the Feria of Advent II
We who have been refreshed by the food of spiritual nourishment, humbly beseech You, O Lord, that through partaking of this sacrament You will teach us to disdain the things of earth and love those of heaven.

Commemoration of the Octave of the Conception of the BVM
We have received, o Lord, the votive mysteries of this annual celebration; grant, we beseech thee, that they may confer upon us remedies for time and eternity. 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

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