Gemma Animae (5): De campanis significatio

Ch. 4

On the Meaning of the Bells

english-bishop-costume-14-thm-graphicsfairyThe bells are the prophets. The bells rang because the prophets heralded the coming of Christ. The pontiff enters the temple, and Christ enters this world, that is, the Church. The vested bishop comes from the sacristy, and Christ came from the virgin’s womb clothed with beauty as a bridegroom from his bridal chamber.

The deacons, subdeacons, and acolytes who precede the bishop symbolize the prophets, wise men, and scribes who announced to the world the coming of Christ in the flesh. The deacons signify the prophets, for they preach to the people that Christ has already come and will still come again, and announce from the Gospel the life to come,

The subdeacons with lectionaries represent the wise men who proclaimed the fulness of the Divinity in the embodied Christ. Wisdom, that is, the subdeacons go in the midst of young damsels playing on timbrels, that they might instruct the timbrel-players whom they ought to praise. The timbrel-players are the cantors sounding praises. The young damsels are the new churches praising God, having subdued the flesh.

The acolytes with candles are a type of the scribes, who furnished the light of wisdom to the faithful by expounding the Scriptures.

Thus each group numbers seven, for the sacraments of the Mass are accomplished through the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost.

The priors with the chaplains, who follow them, represent the twelve apostles. The three acolytes, who carry thuribles with incense, are the three magi, who brought gifts to the newborn Christ.

The Gospel book is carried before the bishop because by Christ’s teaching the way toward life is provided to us. The bishop is escorted by two people, and Christ was brought into the world by two Testaments through the prophets and apostles. A multitude of people accompanies the bishop, because the faithful people strive to follow Christ towards heavenly things. While this ceremony [officium] is carried out, one does not sit in church, for those who are called to worship God are delegated to the work of Christ.

De campanis significatio.

Campanae sunt prophetae. Campanae sonabant, quia prophetae Christi adventum praenuntiabant. Pontifex templum ingreditur, et Christus hunc mundum, id est Ecclesiam, ingreditur. Episcopus de sacrario ornatus procedit, et Christus de utero virginis decore indutus tanquam sponsus de thalamo processit. Diaconi, et subdiaconi, et acolythi, qui episcopum praecedunt, designant prophetas, et sapientes, et scribas, qui adventum Christi in carne mundo nuntiaverunt. Diaconi prophetas significant, qui Christum iam venisse, et adhuc venturum populo praedicant, et ex Evangelio futuram vitam nuntiant. Subdiaconi cum plenariis sapientes praeferunt, qui plenitudinem Divinitatis in Christo corporaliter retulerunt. Sapientia, id est subdiaconi vadunt in medio adolescentularum tympanistriarum, ut doceant, quem tympanistae laudare debeant. Tympanistae sunt cantores laudes resonantes. Adolescentulae sunt, novae Ecclesiae Deum laudantes edomita carne. Acolythi cum luminibus typum Scribarum gerunt, qui lumen scientiae Scripturas exponendo fidelibus ministraverunt. Qui ideo singuli septem decernuntur, quia per septem dona Spiritus sancti sacramenta missae perficiuntur. Priores cum capellanis, qui eos sequuntur, duodecim apostoli accipiuntur. Tres acolythi, qui thuribula cum incenso ferunt, sunt tres magi, qui munera nato Christo obtulerunt. Evangelium ante episcopum portatur, quia per doctrinam Christi nobis via ad vitam paratur. Episcopus a duobus deducitur, et Christus a duobus Testamentis per prophetas et apostolos mundo invehitur. Turba populi episcopum comitatur, quia Christum populus fidelium ad coelestia sequi conatur. Dum praesens officium agitur in Ecclesia non sedetur, quia labori Christi deputantur qui ad cultum Dei vocantur.

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