Monday, August 30, 2010
Asperges Me

Before the principal celebration of Sunday Holy Mass, the Roman Catholic liturgy calls for a ritual sprinkling of the congregation with holy water, an act symbolic of the cleansing of their spirits to receive the Eucharist. During this liturgy act, in all seasons but Eastertide when the Antiphon is "Vidi aquam," the music chanted is the "Asperges me." The Holy Mass antiphon's texts are, in succession, "Asperges me," an invocation for the Lord's cleansing with the hyssop plant as used by the Israelites (Exod. 12:21-23; Lev. 14:4-6, 49-57)

Here is a video of a beautiful rendition of this prayer:

Here is a video of the Asperges me as performed in the context of a Mass:

In both of these videos note the importance of both the priest and the Faithful kneeling during the Glori Patri at mention of the Holy Trinity. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia: “The ceremony [of the Asperges me and the Vidi Aquam] has been in use at least from the tenth century, growing out of the custom of early antiquity of blessing water for the faithful on Sundays.”

Was the usage of the Asperges Me changed with the 1955 rubrics? No. As explained by a Fish Eaters poster named MagisterMusicae, "The text and rules for the Asperges did not change between 1945 and 1962. The only difference is that the in 1955 the Asperges was omitted for Palm Sunday (because of the blessing of the Palms). The Asperges is done a single time on Sunday preceding the Principal Mass (provided it is a Sung or Solemn Mass). It may not be duplicated unless local custom allows. This follows SRC Decrees 3268 and 4051."

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