Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Participatio Actuosa

Our fortnightly choir practice falling to-night, how better than to sing and pray what a few hours' hence the Cardinal electors shall chant as they advance toward the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo's Last Judgement before their eyes, begging God the Holy Ghost inspire them to choose a fit successor to St Peter? 

After first practising, then we sang in supplication (though not in procession) the Litanies of the Saints and the hymn Veni Creator Spiritus (with added versicle and Collect from a popular Novena), before concluding with the Sub tuum præsidium (appointed for use at the close of the first session).

This was our true, because inward and spiritual, participation in the Conclave, by prayer asking, seeking and knocking, a prayer also outward and vocal, sung "in the beauty of holiness", since we are a complex unity of soul and body.

As we commented later, how terrifying it must be to the Cardinals to enter upon the Conclave, what a weighty responsibility, and how the solemn moment must drive vain and ambitious fancies from any reasonable heart. They need our prayers, and above all him who shall be elected, and in a short time enter the Room of Tears to vest in the Papal clothes.

It was a pleasant surprise to have Bp Robarts of the TAC (a friend of our choir and our priest) join us for prayer and a cuppa afterwards; as cantor, I was stuck by how apposite the petition was that we sang, among so many other invocations and obsecrations:

Ut ómnibus in Christum credéntibus unitátem largíri dignéris, te rogámus, audi nos.
(That thou wouldst deign to grant unity to all who believe in Christ, We beseech Thee, hear us.)

God grant us, not the Pontiff our sins and indifference deserve, but such a most merciful and faithful High Priest as shall stand in the holy place, purge out all the corruptions into which Holy Church has fallen, and by his true preaching save many souls, to the glory of God.

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