Sunday, March 6, 2011

Quinquagesima: The Parting of Friends

Not a few ministers of the Church of England will to-day officiate for the last time at an Anglican Eucharist, ere they keep a Lenten fast before entering full communion with the Church Catholic at Easter, and are then ordained Catholic priests at Pentecost, to live in and serve the nascent Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

This is a time for them to farewell friends: sadly, not all will follow nor understand their decision.  Back in Newman's day, the outraged Establishment greeted such news with talk of "Another Perversion!" (since in their eyes the less pejorative term "conversion" was insufficiently odious, as only a warped person would be entrapped by sinister Papists); to-day, talk of "disaffected... defectors" appears in the mass media.  Against prejudice, misunderstanding and the loss of friendship, they can only interpose Christian charity, loving and praying even for them that despitefully use them.

Most appropriately, then, we may turn to the what the Pope has dared to name the Anglican Patrimony worthy of being brought into the Church, and look to one of the Collects already used in Catholic liturgy for some decades by the American forerunners of the present Ordinariates; in the Book of Common Prayer, it is the Collect for Quinquagesima, "the Next Sunday before Lent" (strangely, in the Book of Divine Worship, it is moved to the 7th Sunday after Epiphany, but at least supplied with a longer doxology as below in square brackets), based upon the Epistle for that day, being St Paul's hymn to charity (I Corinthians xiii):

O Lord, who hast taught us that all our doings without charity are nothing worth: Send thy Holy Ghost and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity, the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before thee.  Grant this for thine only Son Jesus Christ's sake[, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever].  Amen.

Domine, qui nos docuisti, quod omnia opera nostra sine charitate nihil sunt: Mitte Spiritum Sanctum tuum, et infunde in corda nostra charitatem illam, eximium tuum donum, veram vinculum pacis et omnium virtutum, sine qua omnis vivens coram te est mortuus: Hoc largire propter unicum Filium tuum Jesum Christum.

The Latin is from Bright and Medd's standard translation of the B.C.P. (1865 edition).

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