Wednesday, December 12, 2012

From my Correspondents

I always esteem any kindly messages I receive regarding this blog (even the backhanded compliment about my waxing eloquent, paid me by a somewhat irascible, if, as I certainly do know from his support over the years, a really rather kind priest, albeit of a different theological outlook, when I ventured to ask if he knew who the next Archbishop would be). After all, I do aim to please, in a somewhat pathetic way.

Two emails recently received deserve comment.

Luke suggests my poor effort at an Advent collect would be better as follows – and I tend to agree:
O God, who by thy prophet Isaias hast revealed unto us the first coming of thine only-begotten Son in great humility to save that which was lost, and his coming again in glory to judge the quick and the dead and the world by fire: Grant us grace so to worship the infant Christ with faith and good works, that we may with sure confidence behold him when he shall come to be our judge; who liveth and reigneth world without end. Amen.
I left him the chore of latinizing it, and he has generously done so, altering it a little in the process so as to be truer to the Latin idiom:
Deus, qui per Isaiam prophetam revelasti nobis adventum primum unigeniti Filii tui magna in humiliate ad salvandum perditum et adventum secundum magna in gloria judicare vivos et mortuos et saeculum per ignem; Præsta, quæsumus, gratiam qua adoremus infantem Christum fide operibusque bonis, ut venientem judicem securi videamus, Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
Alan, meanwhile, wrote to say:
I  do hope that you'll finish the Novena text soon. I looked up Gueranger's Liturgical Year but cannot find the "use" for Rorate caeli. Maybe just a pre-Mass Processional. I wonder why the Anglicans changed that one verse ??? There is nothing ultramontane in it, just as the order of the verses in "O Come O Come" is strange in some hymn books.
Respondeo dicens:

1. I will, Deo volente.
2. The Franciscans at the Holy Sepulchre certainly sing the Rorate cæli in procession; I have heard it sung at the Offertory at Mass, and I have seen its use suggested at Benediction. It is a sort of paraliturgical text that really constitutes a stand-alone musical meditation for Advent – last night, at our fortnightly schola practice, instead of Compline and Benediction (our priest being in hospital for a – we trust – minor operation), we sang the Rorate in procession at the end, and this seemed very moving, I believe.
3. As to why the Anglicans changed one verse, I suppose they wanted more unwatered-down Isaiah straight from the Bible, and less mish-mash from the Breviary (strange, since many Anglicans lust for all things Roman, much as they would never submit to the Pope, just as some Americans go mad over any royal personage that deigns to visit their republic, though they wouldn't give up their President).
4. Hymn books oft put "O come, O come, Emmanuel" first, even though it corresponds to the last O Antiphon, as it perhaps better sets the scene than to begin with the versified version of O Sapientia. Why sometimes less than all seven verses are sung is due to the modern love of brevity (a species of indifference and lack of love).

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