Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Within the Octave of the Immaculate Conception
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We are now within the Common Octave of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Restore the 54 explains: "The Octave of the IC is a Common Octave. The days within (i.e. Days 2-7) are Semidouble and have precedence over Simple feasts/Advent Feriae, but yield way to any feast of nine lessons.  When a higher feast or Sunday occurs, the day within the octave is commemorated at Lauds, Mass, and Vespers unless the feast is a Double First or Second Class; in this latter case, days within common octaves are omitted. The Preces at Prime and Compline are omitted entirely during the Octave.  Except on the Advent Sunday occurring within the octave, the proper doxology of the Incarnation sung in the BVM Tone holds for all hymns of iambic metre throughout the octave. At Mass, when there is no saint to commemorate, after the Commemoration of the Advent Feria, there is a third set of orations of the Holy Ghost. The Credo is sung daily by reason of the Octave."

Brief History of Octaves:

By the 8th century, Rome had developed liturgical octaves not only for Easter, Pentecost, and Christmas but also for the Epiphany and the feast of the dedication of a church.

After 1568, when Pope Pius V reduced the number of octaves (since by then they had grown considerably), the number of Octaves was still plentiful.  Octaves were classified into several types. Easter and Pentecost had "specially privileged" octaves, during which no other feast whatsoever could be celebrated. Christmas, Epiphany, and Corpus Christi had "privileged" octaves, during which certain highly ranked feasts might be celebrated. The octaves of other feasts allowed even more feasts to be celebrated.

To reduce the repetition of the same liturgy for several days, Pope Leo XIII and Pope St. Pius X made further distinctions, classifying octaves into three primary types: privileged octaves, common octaves, and simple octaves. Privileged octaves were arranged in a hierarchy of first, second, and third orders. For the first half of the 20th century, octaves were ranked in the following manner, which affected holding other celebrations within their timeframes:
  • Privileged Octaves
    • Privileged Octaves of the First Order
      • Octave of Easter
      • Octave of Pentecost
    • Privileged Octaves of the Second Order
      • Octave of Epiphany
      • Octave of Corpus Christi
    • Privileged Octaves of the Third Order
      • Octave of Christmas
      • Octave of the Ascension
      • Octave of the Sacred Heart
  • Common Octaves
    • Octave of the Immaculate Conception of the BVM
    • Octave of the Solemnity of St. Joseph
    • Octave of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist
    • Octave of Saints Peter and Paul
    • Octave of All Saints
    • Octave of the Assumption of the BVM
  • Simple Octaves
    • Octave of St. Stephen
    • Octave of St. John the Apostle
    • Octave of the Holy Innocents 
Traditional Catholics still attached to the pre-1955 Missal will be familiar with the above list of Octaves. We can live out this forgotten Octave by adding to our daily prayers the Collect from December 8th. We can also remember to pray the Pledge against Indecent and Immoral Motion Pictures, requested by the American Bishops in 1938 for the Sunday within the Octave of the Immaculate Conception. Say that together as a family.

Collect:

O God, Who, by the Immaculate Conception of the virgin, didst prepare for Thy Son a worthy habitation, we beseech Thee, that as Thou didst preserve her from every stain by the foreseen death of this Thy Son, so Thou wouldst grant that we also being cleansed from guilt by her intercession, may come to Thee. Through the same our Lord.

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