Saturday, November 1, 2008

All Hallows' Eve

While that detestable modern aberration of inciting children to play the vulgar imitative pseudo-American pastime of "trick or treat" seems lamentably to be on the increase even here, while Christians live heedless of God and His saints, at least the Pro. proved a sure refuge from madness: we had a proper Low Mass (with two servers) of the Vigil of All Saints, with second collect of the Holy Ghost and third for the Pope, at 5.30pm.

Having been busy earlier, I at last had the chance to start the day's Office about 20 minutes before Mass, and got up to the 1st lesson of Matins by the end of the prayers at the altarfoot.  Now, I always attend to the Mass texts from the Introit to the Offertory antiphon, but I consider (though as I do keep an ear to it that I may in a manner join myself in sentiment thereto) the preparatory prayers of Mass as more properly for the priest and his ministers, especially as at High Mass they are for them alone, since the choir sings during them and the people ought surely to hearken unto and think upon the Introit, which is after all in nearly all cases from Holy Writ.  By a similar argument, I consider myself at liberty to pray how I may at the Offertory, so I used that short space to finish off Matins; and then to read over the secret before uniting myself to the words and themes of the Canon, and to make my poor adoration of God-made-flesh at the Elevation.  (More on how I try and pray the Canon later...)

Similarly, of course I attend to the Lord's Prayer, but say a prayer of my own preference (the Mozarabic Embolism) at the Libera nos, which is the secret prayer of the priest; likewise, having attended to and responded to the ecphonesis and Pax Domini, I struck my breast at the Agnus Dei and then repeated to myself the Domine Jesu Christe Fili Dei vivi and Perceptio Corporis tui, before advancing with the vanguard of the congregation to the altar rails, there to join in the servers' Confiteor &c., there to receive Our Lord, and praying Ave in æternum sanctissima Caro Christi, mihi ante omnia et super omnia summa dulcedo.

Immediately upon communicating I took up the Breviary again to read Lauds in thanksgiving, interrupting this for the Communion antiphon through to the end of the Last Gospel and the responses to the Leonine Prayers, plus the Angelus then rung (it being six of the clock): but then (mindful of the great length of Office still left) I persevered in finishing off Lauds, then Prime, Terce, Sext and None; which took another 20-odd minutes.  (Because of daylight saving, it was still quite sunny outside, so I postponed Vespers till later - I'll say it and Compline soon.  Lately I've been finding it very hard to fit praying the Office into my day, so I had to force my slothful will to accept the ascesis of it as it were in a penitential manner, kneeling.)

We then sorted out outside what to do for dinner: Fr invited Michael, Michael, Chris and I round for fish and chips, which went down very well with some Belgian beer I contributed - Hoegaarden Forbidden Fruit (to which Fr Rowe gave the blessing of beer) and some Tripel Moine.  

To get some inspiration, Fr let me read out what Dom Alban Butler had to say about All Saints' Day: such as that God created the world and directs it in view of the salvation of His saints, whose justification is greater miracle than the Creation; that this day, in memory of the continual feast our Lord celebrates with all the saved in heaven, we may make amends for our slackness in not properly venerating God's hallowed chosen ones on their feasts throughout the year; and that there is no middle way between becoming a saint by the royal road of the Holy Cross and winning heaven, or losing heaven by living after the pattern of the wicked, but that we must essay to break our proud and vain habits of pride, anger, and all vices.  

(As I read recently in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2031, to offer up the holocaust of ourselves by living the moral life is to worship God in the continual liturgy of a living, spiritual sacrifice: "The moral life is spiritual worship. We 'present [our] bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God,' (Rom. xii, 1) within the Body of Christ that we form and in communion with the offering of his Eucharist.")

A good evening was had by all... and we look forward to All Saints to-morrow, when Fr will celebrate two Low Masses (at 8am and 9.15am), plus a sung Mass at 11am.

Oh, and most unfortunately this day is so-called Reformation Day; to which I say, how appropriate then that men allude to Hell, its votaries and denizens in all antics of morbid costume and behaviour on this Hallowe'en; but let us raise our minds to Heaven for the great feast of All-Hallowmas, and then pray for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory on All Souls' Day, on Monday.

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