Friday, March 25, 2016

Improperia, the Lament of the Savior in the Good Friday Liturgy

In the Good Friday at the beginning of the veneration of the Cross, the liturgy intones the  Improperia, the laments of the Saviour. It refers to the Old Testament Micah 6.3 to 4: "My people, what have I done to thee, Or in what have I grieved thee? Answer me! I took thee out of the land of Egypt, rescued thee from the house of bondage. As a leader I sent you Moses, Aaron and Miriam ... "

The whole  is a legal dispute and as such, it returns to the Good Friday Liturgy: a dispute between the Messiah and his ungrateful people.

This includes the hymn Trisagion, which is sung not only in Latin but also Greek and in the Latin Church as among the Christians of the East.

In addition to the Kyrie Eleison  it is the only remaining Greek-speaking part in the Liturgy of the Roman Church, whose liturgical language is Latin since the 4th century.

My people, what have I done to thee? Or in what have I grieved thee? Answer me.

Because I brought thee out of the land of Egypt: Thou hast prepared a cross for thy Savior

Hagios o Theos - Sanctus deus
Hagios Ischyros - Sanctus fortis
Hagios Athanatos eleison hemas - Sanctus immortalis, miserere nobis

Because I led thee through the desert 40 years: and fed thee with manna, and brought thee into a land exceedingly good, thou hast prepared a cross for thy Savior.

O Holy God. O Holy Strong One. O Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us.

What more ought I to do for thee, that I have not done? I planted thee, indeed, my most beautiful vineyard: and thou hast become exceedingly bitter to Me: for in My thirst thou gavest me vinegar to drink: and with a spear thou has pierced the side of thy Savior.

O Holy God. O Holy Strong One. O Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us.

For thy sake I scourged Egypt with its firstborn: and thou hast scourged Me and delivered Me up.

My people, what have I done to thee? Or in what have I grieved thee? Answer me.

I brought thee out of Egypt having drowned Pharaoh in the Red Sea: and thou hast delivered Me to the chief priests.

My people, what have I done to thee? Or in what have I grieved thee? Answer me.

I open the sea before thee: and thou with a spear hast opened My side.

My people, what have I done to thee? Or in what have I grieved thee? Answer me.

I went before thee in a pillar of a cloud: and thou hast brought Me to the judgment hall of Pilate.

My people, what have I done to thee? Or in what have I grieved thee? Answer me.

I fed thee with manna in the desert: and thou hast beaten Me with blows and scourges.

My people, what have I done to thee? Or in what have I grieved thee? Answer me.

I gave you the water of salvation and from the rock to drink: and thou hast given me gall and vinegar.

My people, what have I done to thee? Or in what have I grieved thee? Answer me.

For thee I struck the kings of the Canaanites: and thou hast struck My head with a reed.

My people, what have I done to thee? Or in what have I grieved thee? Answer me.

I gave thee a royal scepter: and thou hast given to My head a crown of thorns.

My people, what have I done to thee? Or in what have I grieved thee? Answer me.

I have exalted thee with great power: and thou hast hanged me on the gibbet of the Cross.

My people, what have I done to thee? Or in what have I grieved thee? Answer me.

Text: GN
Illustration: Rogier van der Weyden, Kreuzigungstriptychon (um1440), Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien/Wikicommons

2 comments:

Steve said...

My 1962 Edition Missal calls them, "The Reproaches".

Anonymous said...

Great article that relates to Good Friday and what we owe Jesus Christ for his passion & crucifixion.
http://www.introiboadaltaredei2.blogspot.com/2016/03/one-sin-at-time.html?m=1