16 September 2012, 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
Many of the texts in today's original Gregorian formulary are taken from an ancient formulary for the Dedication of a Church, because in the fifth century the dedication of a church in honor of St. Michael was celebrated at Rome on September 30 (later the 29th), and the chants for that day were later transferred to a nearby Sunday. We don't know exactly when that occurred. In very early times this Sunday followed immediately upon the autumnal Ember Days; since the services of Ember Saturday were prolonged throughout the night till morning, the day did not have a Mass proper to it, whence the borrowing. So the Introit and the psalm-verse Laetatus sum. . . have us enter the house of the Lord; the Gradual with the words of the same psalm and the Offertory treat of the altar and the sacrifice; the Communion (now Year A only in the OF) urges us to bring our sacrificial gifts and to offer our worship in God's house.
Introit: Da pacem, begin on D (as re)
Offertory: Take up your cross, #731, begin on D
Communion: Qui vult venire, begin on D (as re)
Recessional: Lift high the cross, #732, begin on F.
Ordinary from Mass XI (Orbis factor)
This Introit is also the Introit of the Votive Mass for Peace, which is traditionally sung on the second day of the Forty Hours Devotion (the US adaption of the popular Quarant' Ore). From this usage, it became one of the more widely known antiphons of the Gregorian repertoire. It has three phrases; in the third phrase the melody conveniently allows for a quick break after servi tui.
Da pacem Domine sustinentibus te
ut prophetae tuae fideles inveniantur
(a) exaudi preces servi tui
(b) et plebis tuae Israel
The first phrase is reminiscent of the Introit Rorate caeli, and the two are closely allied in spirit. Identical with it is the first phrase of the well-known Introit Statuit. The continual use of b♭ in the first and second phrases tends to make the melody tender and devout, while the frequent repetition of the same motive or of a similar one makes it impressive. This motif is composed of the notes ab♭gag over (Do)-mine, which remains the same in its first part, but changes slightly in its second over susti-(nentibus), tui, preces, tuae. It produces its greatest effect over tuae, because it sets in here with a major third, while in the other cases only a whole step precedes.
The Communion antiphon has two phrases:
Qui vult venire post me abneget semetipsum
et tollat crucem suam et sequatur me
The text is chosen to reflect the Gospel reading. The simple Mode 1 melody is surprisingly emotive as it rises and falls, much like the disciple who carries the cross to follow the Master. At first there is strength, almost enthusiasm; and then comes the stumbling and falling under its weight, until the descent of an octave denotes the acceptance that brings peace.