Tuesday, April 28, 2020

A First Friday Reflection (in a musician's eyes)

The absence of Masses due to the COVID-19 "pandemic" (I'm using quotation marks for the word "pandemic", because I firmly believe the left wing is politicizing the daylights out of this, but nonetheless) has prompted me to utter these thoughts...

May, of course, is the Month of Mary, and a most opportune time to pray to our Blessed Mother via the Holy Rosary.  Don't just pray once, but pray often.  Pray for an end to the "pandemic".  Pray for the opening of churches and the restoration of public celebration of Holy Mass in all our churches.  Pray for a "return to normalcy" (term stolen by President Warren Harding), or perhaps even better than "normalcy".  Pray for our parish, the continuing recovery of our fearless leader, Father Bucci, for each other, for ourselves and our families.  Do it!

This Friday is May 1, the beginning of the Month of Mary.  But oddly enough, the month starts with the feast honoring her spouse, St. Joseph, not so much as her spouse as we do on March 19 (aka, "zeppole day"), but under the title St. Joseph the Worker.  This feast was instituted by Pope Pius XII in 1955 and is celebrated on the fixed date of May 1.  In the traditional calendar, this feast is of the First Class, in other words, holding the same rank as the March 19 feast of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  In the modern calendar, it has been relegated to Optional Memorial (the March 19 feast is still a Solemnity, much higher rank), but can be elevated in the case of, let's say, a  patronal feast of a parish or a diocese.

For many of us laid off due to COVID-19, this is also a good time to pray that we may soon return to work!

While the usual St. Joseph hymns may be appropriate for the May 1 feast, I'd like to call attention to a particular hymn, Jesus, Thou Divine Companion.  This is in the Hymnal 1940 (our maroon hymnal) at #511, and is set to the tune "Pleading Savior" (which many may have sung with the hymn Sing of Mary, Pure and Lowly).  The first verse is thus:

Jesus, thou divine companion, by thy lowly human birth,
Thou hast come to join the workers, burden bearers of the earth.
Thou the carpenter of Naz'reth, toiling for thy daily food;
By thy patience and thy courage, thou hast taught us toil is good.

OK.  You may ask, "OK, so this hymn talks about work, but what does this have to do with St. Jospeh?"  Some may remember, especially back in the late 1960's and well into the 1970's, a pew book simply called Monthly Missalette, which was published (in illo tempore) by J.S. Paluch Company of Chicago, Illinois.  Monthly Missalette included the same hymn, but the third line was altered thus to reference St. Joseph:

Son of Joseph, gifted worker, toiling for thy daily food

Another hymn from the maroon hymnal that I fell in love with doesn't reference Joseph, but does promote work!  Come, labor on can be found at #576.  Very stirring tune, and I'll post the first verse:

Come, labor on; who dare stand idle on the harvest plain,
While all around him waves the golden grain?
And to each servant does the Master say: GO WORK TODAY!

Stay safe, and pray without ceasing!

Quod scripsi, scripsi!