Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Transeamus usque Bethlehem, et videamus hoc verbum, quod factum est, quod Dominus ostendit nobis. Et venerunt festinantes : et invenerunt Mariam, et Joseph, et infantem positum in præsepio.
Let us pass over unto Bethlehem, and let us see this Word, which was made, which the Lord hath shewn unto us. And they went hastening: and they found Mary, and Joseph, and the Child placed in the manger.
But as from the Highest Place Thou didst for us humble Thyself, submit now to my humility, and as Thou didst consent to lie in the cave and in the manger of dumb beasts, so now consent also to enter in to the manger of my dumb soul and into my defiled body.
— Byzantine Rite, Prayers of Preparation before Holy Communion, 3rd Prayer "by St John Chrysostom"
This hymn, then, was sung in Latin ere ever it was sung in the vernacular. Proving this, I have a copy of A Companion to the Altar, or Compact Pocket Missal, for all the Sundays, Festivals of Obligation & Devotion &c. &c. in the Year (2nd edition, London: 1796), which gives this hymn as follows in four stanzas - I copy out the English only, from the left-hand column (the Latin is given on the right):
The Prose, ADESTE FIDELES, sung from Christmas to the Octave of the Epiphany.
Ye faithful souls rejoice and sing,
To Bethlehem your trophies bring:
Before the new-born Angels' King,
Come let us him adore.
True God of God, true light of light,
Borne in womb of Virgin bright:
Begot, not made, true God of might,
Come let us him adore.
Angelic Choirs with joy now sing,
Th' heav'nly Courts with echoes ring,
Glory on high to God our King,
Come let us him adore.
Jesus, whose Life this day begun,
The Father's co-eternal Son,
Glory to him be ever sung:
Come let us him adore.
Is not Bethlehem "the House of Bread"? Let us go over to Bethlehem, that is, to the church - the House of Bread - and to the holy altar thereof, whose tabernacle is the holy of holies wherein God rests under the sacramental signs, to behold the Word made flesh for us, concealed in form of bread, nay, not so much veiled as revealed therein by the outward sign: for bread is the staff of life, and the True Bread come down from heaven, better than the ancient manna, feeds us unto life eternal.
After all, what is a cratch or manger but the feeding trough for lowly animals? Christ laid therein shews forth His extreme kenotic self-giving sacrifice, making Himself food for us debased and fallen creatures.
The Lord has shewn this unto us, that His Onlybegotten Son, Christ, is incarnate for us, having taken our nature upon Him: and He is not far from us, but even in His sacred humanity He is present on our altars, as He has willed. We can go to Bethlehem!
In our Bethlehem, we will find the Child, God's Eternal Son, reposing in great humility, not displaying His Divine Majesty but rather manifesting His great goodness and desire to nourish us. And going to Bethlehem, to our church, we shall not find Christ alone - no pretended religion bereft of the communion of saints - but we shall find Him, and His Holy Mother Mary, our Mother also, and St Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church.
Consider now the stanzas of Adeste fideles: we who believe are called urgently to come to Bethlehem, to behold Him Who is born the King of Angels; for He is God from God, Light from Light, true God, begotten not created - as the Nicene Creed sings - and yet (taking flesh) carried in the Virgin's womb.
The shepherds, being called, left their flocks abiding "in tempest, storm and wind" (as another carol exaggerates), and humbly ran to the cradle; so we too should hasten our footsteps, praising. Likewise come the Magi, wise men, led by the star to Him; they fall down and worship, offering gold, incense and myrrh; so therefore we should offer our hearts to the Christ-Child, God our Jesus, the Eternal Word born a tiny Babe and speechless.
For He is the Splendour Eternal of the Everlasting Father: veiled in the flesh we shall behold Him, God an Infant, wrapt in swaddling bands! (We may add, in unparalleled humility sacramentally present under the form of bread.) For us He is born poor and needy, cradled in a manger - in a feeding-trough - and so we ought wish to embrace Him in all piety, loving Him Who so greatly first loved us: what ought we not do for Him as some poor recompense?
The choirs of the angels now sing in jubilation, now sings all heaven, Glory to God in the highest! (Such is the ceaseless worship of the Godhead by all angels and saints; such is their worship of Christ Incarnate, of Christ's Real Presence.) Therefore to Thee, O Jesu, born for us this day, be all glory, Thou the Eternal Father's Word made flesh.
(Don't get me wrong: as one bishop put it, Anglicans believe in salvation by good taste alone! The High tend to be very careful about worshipping the Lord in the beauty of holiness, and in this are a blessed relief for Catholics too often experiencing philistine and minimalist worship. Take the use of good music, of the eastward position at the altar, of incense - apart from Traditional Latin Mass circles and rare Reform of the Reform liturgies, and to a lesser extent some cathedrals, Catholics these days tend to be deprived of all three. One could say they've the form and we've the substance...)
- Psalm, Hymn or Anthem / Introit Psalm with Glory Be
- ["The Lord be with you..., Let us pray" & Threefold Kyrie (Nonjurors' 1718)]
- [Lord's Prayer]
- Collect for Purity
- Decalogue / Summary of the Law, with Responses; &/or Kyrie eleison
- [Collect for Grace and Strength to keep the Commandments (Scottish & U.S.)]
- "The Lord be with you..." & "Let us pray"
- Collect of the Day
- [Lesson (for those who use three lessons at Mass, following more modern Lectionaries)]
- Epistle with Title and Conclusion
- Psalm, Hymn or Anthem
- Gospel with Title and Responses
- Notices & Sermon & Exhortation (if used)
- Bidding Prayer (used here because the Prayer for the Church is used after the Consecration, as the form of intercession during the Eucharistic Prayer; the 1928 U.S. Bidding Prayer is admirable)
- "Let us present our offerings to the Lord..." (Scottish)
- Offertory Sentence / Psalm, Hymn or Anthem
- [Mixing the chalice with wine and water; washing hands – nihil dicens]
- "Blessed be thou..." (the Scottish Offertory prayer – see below, †)
- [Would the Orate fratres and Secret be necessary importations from the Roman Rite?]
- Sursum corda &c.
- Sanctus & Benedictus
- Prayer of Consecration (with a pre-consecratory Epiclesis, praying that the elements "become the Body and Blood", as in the 1764 Scottish formula)
- Prayer of Memorial and Oblation (incl. "which we now offer unto thee" - Scottish & American, but removing the post-consecratory epiclesis)
- Prayer for the Church (incl. "to accept our oblations and to receive these our prayers which we offer", so expressing the Sacrifice as impetratory; inserting the name of the Pope; and commemorating the Saints by name)
- "As our Saviour Christ... we are bold to say:"
- Lord's Prayer with Doxology
- The Peace of the Lord be with you...
- Invitation, General Confession, Declaration of Absolution (non-Sacramental, so changing "you" to "us", etc.), Comfortable Words [this could be put before the Offertory as in most other Anglican forms, and as the B.D.W. already does]
- Prayer of Humble Access
- Agnus Dei
- [Ecce Agnus Dei &c.? - Roman but apparently much used; perhaps the 1549 "Christ our Paschal Lamb..." could be used also; the B.D.W. deleted the 1979 U.S. B.C.P. "Take them in remembrance..." formula presumably as altogether too Zwinglian]
- Psalm, Hymn or Anthem
- "The Body / Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ..."
- ["Having now received..." / versicles (optional Scottish forms)]
- Prayer of Thanksgiving
- Gloria in excelsis (in most modern Anglican forms moved back to its original place, but quite decent here as a thanksgiving; the B.D.W. has it at the start, but I don't think this would be absolutely necessary)
- [Collect before the Blessing (vide infra, *)]
- "The Peace..."
(I would of course have no objections to, say, the Sarum Rite being revived, whether in Latin or done into decent English, but such a multiplicity of rites for a relatively small group of incomers, however welcome, may seem excessive.)
LOOK with favour, most Holy Trinity, on this our act of worship and service; and may this sacrifice set forth before thine eyes be acceptable to thy Divine Majesty, and avail for us and all for whom we have offered it; who livest and reignest, one God, world without end. Amen.
(As it is, I often use this as a private prayer at the end of the Masses I attend.)
BLESSED be thou, O Lord God, for ever and ever. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine: thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all: both riches and honour come of thee, and of thine own do we give unto thee. Amen.
While writing of ideal liturgies, the Nonjurors' 1718 Communion Office included the following prayer at the end of the offertory directly before the Sursum corda, being abridged from St Basil's Liturgy; while too exotically oriental and too long to really fit in a Western rite, it is noteworthy for what it says about their understanding of what the priestly ministry is:
O ALMIGHTY God, who hast created us, and placed us in this ministry by the power of thy Holy Spirit; may it please thee, O Lord, as we are ministers of the New Testament, and dispensers of thy holy mysteries, to receive us who are approaching thy Holy Altar, according to the multitude of thy mercies, that we may be worthy to offer unto thee this reasonable and unbloody Sacrifice for our Sins and the Sins of the People. Receive it, O God, as a sweet smelling savour, and send down the grace of thy Holy Spirit upon us. And as thou didst accept this worship and service from thy Holy Apostles: so of thy goodness, O Lord, vouchsafe to receive these Offerings from the hands of us sinners, that being made worthy to minister at thy Holy Altar without blame, we may have the reward of good and faithful servants at that great and terrible day of account and just retribution; through our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son, who, with Thee and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth ever one God, world without end. Amen.
By His Excellency John Hindmarsh, Knight of the Royal Hanoverian Guelphic Order, Governor and Commander in Chief of His Majesty’s Province of South Australia:
In announcing to the colonists of His Majesty’s Province of South Australia, the establishment of the Government, I hereby call upon them to conduct themselves on all occasions with order and quietness, duly to respect the laws, and by a course of industry and sobriety, by the practice of sound morality and a strict observance of the Ordinances of Religion, to prove themselves worthy to be the Founders of a great free colony.
It is also, at this time especially, my duty to apprize the Colonists of my resolution, to take every lawful means for extending the same protection to the Native Population as to the rest of His Majesty’s subjects and of my firm determination to punish with exemplary severity all acts of violence or injustice which may in any manner be practiced or attempted against the Natives who are to be considered as much under the safeguard of the Law as the Colonists themselves, and equally entitled to the privileges of British subjects. I trust therefore, with confidence to the exercise of moderation and forbearance by all Classes in their intercourse with the Native Inhabitants, and that they will omit no opportunity of assisting me to fulfil His Majesty’s most gracious and benevolent intentions toward them by promoting their advancement in civilization and ultimately, under the blessing of Divine Providence, their conversion to the Christian Faith.
By His Excellency’s Command,
God Save the King!
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
O quam gloriosus est beatus Stepanus Martyr et Levita, qui ante Apostolos regna cælestia possidere meruit et ad Patris dexteram Filium videre!
(O how glorious is blessed Stephen the Martyr and Deacon, who ahead of the Apostles deserved to possesss the kingdom of heaven and to see the Son at the Father's right!)
Tu principatum tenes in choro Martyrum similis Angelo: qui pro te lapidantibus Deum deprecatus es, beate Stephane, intercede pro nobis ad Dominum.
(Thou holdest the first place in the choir of Martyrs like an Angel: thou who didst beseech God for those who stoned thee, blessed Stephen, intercede for us with the Lord.)
ALMIGHTY God, giver of all good things, who of thy great goodness hast vouchsafed to accept and take this thy servant unto the Office of Deacon in thy Church; Make him, we beseech thee, O Lord, to be modest, humble, and constant in his Ministration, to have a ready will to observe all spiritual Discipline; that he, having always the testimony of a good conscience, and continuing ever stable and strong in thy Son Christ, may so well behave himself in this inferior Office, that he may be found worthy to be called unto the higher Ministries in thy Church; through the same thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and honour, world without end. Amen.
Friday, December 25, 2009
WE reade in Holy Writ of three supernaturall Productions, the one of Adam, the other of Eve, the last of Christ; which as most Miraculous we are now to treat of. Here in his Nativitie, as before in his Conception, let us turne Inquisition into Thanksgiving; and with one Spirit and voyce ring aloud, “The Stone which the Builders refused is the Head of the corner. This was the Lords doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord hath made; let us rejoyce, and be glad in it.” This is our wedding-day, wherein by the Sonne, we are joyned to the Father. This is the day of the new Union, wherein He Who is God, remaineth the same that He was, yet for our sakes is borne, and made what He was not; wherein He that was every where without a Body, is made present to us by a Body, that what God hath by Nature, men might receive by Grace. This is a great, a joyfull, a fortunate, a desired day, the end of the Law, the end of the Prophets, the beginning of the Gospell, nay the Gospell it selfe. This is a day of State, usher’d by the Angels, follow’d by the Apostles. Let our Mindes remove the distance of time and place, and dwell a while with our All-Holy Lord and Blessed Lady, lest we loose the pleasure of this day, the least accident whereof is Mysterious.
…let us now enter ourselves, and view this pretty one in his narrow lodging; lay ourselves prostrate before Him; worship Him; and recreate ourselues with the lovely Object. And that our delight may be the greater, let us first behold Him, and His sweetest Mother a part, and then both together. But let us here shut out the Pharisees, and barre them the sight of this Heavenly Infant, who urge the Law, and reject Him the Author of it. Let us exclude the Arrians, who deny his Coequalitie with the Father; and the Sabellians, who confound the Trinitie, of which He is distinctly One and hold that there is in It One Essence, and One Person: and the Samosatenians, who derogate from His Nature, and avouch the Word (Which truly He is) to be no other then a vanishing Sound. Nor let us onely keepe out these, but the whole swarme also of Atheists, and Hereticks. Let the Philosophers too stay without, who not so impious, yet more ignorant, cannot dive to the bottome of this Mystery. But to all those who are honour’d in the Assumption and Profession of His glorious Name, a free Accesse is granted. Enter then you little Flock, you few whom His Father hath bestowed on Him; and see Him, Who when He gave the Law appeared in Fire, now He offers Grace involv’d in Hay. Yet in this dejected posture, in this course manner while He lay, He wanted not a whole Army of Angelicall Spirits that declar’d His Birth to Men; and they who had before chanted His Praises as He sate in Glory, now sing His Goodnesse lying in the Cratch. Though He have a hoomely roofe over His Head, the East observes His Approach. Though the poverty of His Humanitie obscures His Deity, the Starres in Heaven make it known. Behold Him who came Humble to the humble, for the humble, and yet His Humility is above all sublimity. Reverently, and intentively, look on Him Who descended from Heaven to Earth; Who came to you, into you, Who is borne in the night, borne in the midst of Winter, and borne (after the wretched humane condition) naked, and none offer Him assistance. Swadling clothes are wanting; some ragges are found out; a Cradle is missing; a Manger is at hand.
“Here He cryes to you, and holds up His pretty Hands to Heaven, which He cals to witnesse that He can humble Himselfe no lower. Can you view this humble, this mercifull spectacle, and not weepe yourselues into marble? O speedily put on sackcloth! besprinckle yourselues with Ashes; kneele downe in the dust and dung under the Manger, where your Lord lyes; knock your selues on the bosomes; fetch sighs and grones from the bottom of your hearts; repay Him the teares He lent you; and by your sad gesture and deportment demonstrate how much you are bound to Him who suffered for you even in His Birth.”
Thursday, December 24, 2009
...since the Creation of the World, when (in the Beginning) GOD created the Heaven and the Earth; and from the Flood, the Two Thousand Nine Hundred and Fiftieth Year; from the Birth of Abraham, the Two Thousand and Fifteenth; from Moses, and the Exodus of the people of Israel from Egypt, the One Thousand, Five Hundred and Tenth; from the anointment of David as King, the One Thousand, Three Hundred and Second; in the Sixty-Fifth Week, according to the Prophecy of Daniel; in the One Hundred and Ninety-Fourth Olympiad; in the Seven Hundred and Fifty-Second Year from the Building of the City of Rome; in the Forty-Second Year of the Emperor Octavian Augustus, all the World composed at Peace, in the Sixth Age of the World, JESUS CHRIST, Eternal GOD and eternal SON of the FATHER, desiring to consecrate the World by His most devout Advent, and nine months having pass'd since His Conception,
At Nicomedia, the Passion of many thousands of Martyrs, who, when they were come together for Mass upon the Nativity of CHRIST, Diocletian the Emperor ordered the doors of the Church closed, and a Fire prepared all about, and a tripod with Incense set before the doors, and with a great voice to cry a Proclamation that whosoever would wish to flee the Conflagration, should come out the doors and offer Incense to Jove; and when all with one voice replied that they most willingly would die for CHRIST, as Incense were they consumed with Fire, and thus on that very Day they deserv'd to be born in Heaven, upon which CHRIST once deigned to be born for the salvation of the World.
What a brave assembly of Visitants of all conditions, resorted this day to this place, which then might rightly be called the Randevous of the Saints? Would you see those who are above men, but below Him who is borne? Behold the Angels singing His Birth. Do you desire to behold the Married? Here you have Zachary and Elizabeth. The Unmarried? Here you have Symeon. Widdows? Here you have Anna. Priests? Here againe you have Zachary. Wise men? Here you have them from the East. Ideots? You have here the Shepheards. But here is to be noted, that these keepers of beasts heare the voyce of the Angels before any of the other, first receive the Gospell, and first divulge it. And in this they were more happie than Augustus himselfe, who (though he had made a firme Peace by Sea and Land, and had now the third time shut up the Temple of Ianus) yet was he ignorant of the Blessed Peace concluded on betwixt God and Man.
O how much sometimes Ignorance avails in Divine Matters! Kings, Potentates, the Rulers of the Earth, and the Wise of this world are asleepe while Christ is borne. These most simple of Mortals, and innocent as the creatures they tend, watch all night; and therefore are first made partakers of these joyfull news. As their owne wooll, not yet dipt in any dye, readily drinks in any colour they please to bestow on it: so their minds voyd of all humane Wisedome, greedily suckt in the Divine; Faith is the Compendium of Salvation; and humane knowledge of times, the obstacle of Faith. Aristotle having confined to Heaven, the Maker, and Moover of it, would never have beleeved His Birth here below. Plato would have derided this Miraculous relation, who the more he attributed to God, the lesse would he have expected His so humble comming into the world. Neither would the Stoicks who held God to be a Fire; nor Hipocrates, who thought Him to be a Warm’th, ever have look’t for Him clad in Flesh and Bloud. Wherefore they are here elected Witnesses of this strange Truth, whose Science was of ability strongly to beleeve, not wittily to dispute. O what proficients in Faith did these rusticall Swaines prove in a moment! What a profound secret is imparted to them? Let us examine the verity of this by that infallible Touch-stone, the text.
[S. Luke ii. 8.] “And there were in the same Country, Shepheards abiding in the field, and keeping watch by night, because of their flocke, and loe the Angell of the Lord came upon them, and the Glory of the Lord shone about them, and they were sore afraid. Then the Angell said unto them, ‘Be not afraid; for behold I bring you tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people: That is, that unto you is borne this day a Saviour, Which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a Signe unto you; you shall finde the Childe swadled and layd in a Cratch. And straight way there was with the Angell a multitude of heavenly Souldiers, praysing God, and saying; Glory be to God in the high Heaven, and Peace on Earth, and towards men good will. And it came to passe that when the Angels were gone away from thence into Heaven, that the Shepheards said one to another; ‘Let us goe then unto Bethlem, and see this thing that is come to passe, which the Lord hath shewed unto us; so they came with haste, and found both Mary and Ioseph with the Babe layd in the Cratch. And when they had seene it, they publisht abroad the thing that was told them of that Childe.”
Here three things especially are remarkable:
First, their forwardnesse in believing:
Secondly, the speed they made to see what they had believed, and
Thirdly, to publish what they had seene.
That they quickly believed, appeares by the haste they made to see. They no sooner saw Him, but they found Him to be the King of Israell indeed, yet withall to be a Shepheard. They instantly discerne this to be the Shepheard, Who was to lay downe His Life for His Flocke. The Prince of all Shepheards Whose sheepe-fold is the world; the Shepheard that was to seperate the Goates from the Sheepe. They discover’d this to be the immaculate Lambe that was to take away the sinnes of the world. They disclos’d this Lamb to be the greatest Lyon of the Tribe of Iudah. Whom now they looke on in the Cratch, Saint Iohn shall hereafter behold on His Throne. These men, in whom there was no guile, as they could not deceive others, so they could not in this be deceived. They needed not suspect any fallacy, and therefore might safely relate this Divine Wonder to all they met.
Wednesday 30th DecemberFly to Melbourne at 9:55 am, arriving at 11:00 am; depart Melbourne at 10:25 pm for Dubai...Thursday 31st DecemberArrive Dubai at 5:40 am local time, departing at 7:45 am; and arrive London (Heathrow) at 11:35 am GMT.(It'll be interesting to see the UK, but I must admit my images of London are largely informed by watching The Bill; at least my accommodation is just down the road from Liz and Phil...)Friday 1st JanuaryAt some point during New Year's Day, my mate Michael (whom I'm meeting in London) and I will travel up to Oxford, weather permitting!Sunday 3rd JanuaryBack to London...Monday 4th JanuaryI fly from London (Gatwick) at 8:20 am, arriving Edinburgh at 9:45 am.Thursday 7th JanuaryDepart Edinburgh 6:10 am, arriving Paris (Charles de Gaulle) 9:10 am, then flying on from there at 10:05 am, arriving Florence at 12:10 pm.(It will be good to get back there: Firenze - città bellisima!)Saturday 9th JanuaryI will take the train down to Rome in the morning...Thursday 14th JanuaryDepart Rome at 8:25 pm, bound for Dubai.Friday 15th JanuaryArrive Dubai 5:05 am, depart 9:40 am; arrive Singapore 8:50 pm, depart 10:25 pm.Saturday 16th JanuaryReturn to Australia: arrive Melbourne 8:45 am.(My friends at the Dominican Priory in Camberwell have kindly agreed to let me stay the night there.)Sunday 17th JanuaryDepart Melbourne 3:20 pm; return home to Launceston 4:40 pm.
Deus, qui nos redemptionis nostræ annua expectatione lætificas: præsta; ut Unigenitum tuum, quem Redemptorem læti suscipimus, venientem quoque judicem securi videamus, Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum: Qui tecum vivit...(God, Who dost gladden us by the yearly expectation of our redemptin: grant, that Thy Onlybegotten, Whom we joyfully receive as Redeemer, we also may securely behold as the coming Judge, Our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, Who with Thee liveth...)
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
+ In the Name...I place myself in the presence of Him, in whose Incarnate Presence I am before I place myself there.I adore Thee, O my Saviour, present here as God and man, in soul and body, in true flesh and blood.I acknowledge and confess that I kneel before that Sacred Humanity, which was conceived in Mary's womb, and lay in Mary's bosom; which grew up to man's estate, and by the Sea of Galilee called the Twelve, wrought miracles, and spoke words of wisdom and peace; which in due season hung on the cross, lay in the tomb, rose from the dead, and now reigns in heaven.I praise, and bless, and give myself wholly to Him, who is the true Bread of my soul, and my everlasting joy.Sunday: O Sapientia...Monday: O Adonai...Tuesday: O Radix Jesse...Wednesday: O Clavis David...Thursday: O Oriens...Friday: O Rex Gentium...Saturday: O Emmanuel...