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Musical Musings: Christmas

Ideas from The Liturgy of the Hours:

The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

The Liturgy of the Hours provides a rich, underused source of creative ideas for music during Mass. We have here the wisdom of the Church, offering new readings to amplify the familiar readings at Mass. We also have valuable new psalm selections and hymns, all a legitimate part of Sacred Liturgy, which can be a fertile new ground for selecting music that the Church relates to the themes of a particular feast. Practically speaking, for the music planner, these texts may lead one to a long-forgotten choral motet, or to a new possibility for an opening or communion processional based on one of the prescribed psalms or canticles.

CanticaNOVA Publications will offer these Ideas from the Liturgy of the Hours periodically, with the hope that musicians may find new sources of traditional music to enhance the Mass within the guidelines proposed by the Church.

+ Brief History of this Feast +

Mary is the mother of Jesus Christ, who is God and man. She is therefore the mother of God. This is a dogma of the Faith accepted as such from the earliest times, as is evident from countless expressions of the Fathers, and was defined by the Council of Ephesus in 431. It does not mean, of course, that Mary generated the Godhead, any more than an ordinary mother generate's her son's soul. It means simply that she is the mother of a Person who is God. This is her fundamental dignity, and the origin and justification of all the honour which Catholics pay to her.
Taken from: A Catholic Dictionary, © Copyright 1941, edited by Donald Attwater.

+ Evening Prayer I +

Latin Hymn Corde natus ex Parentis

  • Psalm 113
    • Antiphon O marvelous exchange! Man's Creator has become man, born of a virgin. We have been made sharers in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity.
  • Psalm 147:12-20
    • Antiphon By your miraculous birth of the Virgin you have fulfilled the Scriptures: like a gentle rain falling upon the earth you have come down to save your people. O God, we praise you.
  • Ephesians 1:3-10
    • Antiphon Your blessed and fruitful virginity is like the bush, flaming yet unburned, which Moses saw on Sinai. Pray for us, Mother of God.
Reading Galatians 4:4-5

[excerpt] The Word was made man; he lived among us, alleluia, alleluia.

Magnificat Antiphon
In his great love for us, God sent his Son in the likeness of our sinful nature, born of a woman and subject to the law, alleluia.

[response] Lord, grant your peace to all.

+ Invitatory Antiphon +

Let us celebrate the motherhood of the Virgin Mary; let us worship her Son, Christ the Lord.

+ Office of Readings +

Latin Hymn Radix Jesse floruit

  • Psalm 24
    • Antiphon Lift high the ancient portals. The King of glory enters.
  • Psalm 87
    • Antiphon The Lord Most High has founded a city, and all people will be called its children.
  • Psalm 99
    • Antiphon Begotten of the Father, before the daystar shone or time began, the Lord and Savior has humbled himself to be born for us today.
The Word was made man; and lived among us, alleluia.

First Reading Hebrews 2:9-17 [Christ is like his brothers in every way]

[excerpt] How blessed are you, Virgin Mary, for you carried within you the Lord, the Creator of the world. Mother of your Maker, you remained a virgin for ever.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.

Second Reading From a letter by Saint Athanasius, bishop [The Word took our nature from Mary]

[excerpt] O pure and holy Virgin, how can I find words to praise your beauty? The highest heavens cannot contain God whom you carried in your womb.
Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

 Back to Christmas Index

Part 2: Morning Prayer, etc.

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