We continue with the series on Prefaces of the Roman Missal by Canon Alan Griffiths, this week featuring Preface II of the Sundays in Ordinary Time: The Mystery of Salvation…
It is truly right and just,
our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father,
almighty and eternal God,
through Christ our Lord.
For out of compassion for the waywardness that is ours,
he humbled himself and was born of the Virgin,
by the passion of the Cross he freed us from unending death,
and by rising from the dead he gave us life eternal.
And so, with Angels and Archangels,
with Thrones and Dominions,
and with all the hosts and Powers of heaven,
we sing the hymn of your glory,
as without end we acclaim:
The sources for this text are Eastertide / Ascensiontide prefaces from the Gelasian Sacramentary and the collection of liturgical texts known broadly as the ‘Gregorian Sacramentary’.
This is a Preface for Sundays. Sunday is ‘The Lord’s Day,’ the day of the resurrection and glory of Jesus, who bears the title ‘Kyrios,’(cf. Rom.1:4), so this Preface maintains that strong paschal theme.
Another theme is ‘mercy.’ Christ takes pity on human waywardness (cf. Matt.14:13) and in an act of divine humility (cf. Phil. 2:7,8) comes to us as Incarnate. This act of mercy extends to the point of the Passion. The ancient sources of this preface speak of ‘the passion’ and the modern text specifies ‘the passion of the Cross.’ One might remember St. Leo the Great’s lovely expression that the work of the Son of God represents ‘a bowing down in mercy, not a failure in divinity’ (cf. Office of Readings for the Annunciation for the full text).
This preface has affinities with Sunday Preface IV, also entitled ‘The Mystery of Salvation,’ and also rhetorical echoes of the Easter Preface I.