21 June 2015

POST TRINITATEM

Well, we are into the Season in Ordinary ... no, let us not go down that path. Neither let us call the next twenty-odd Sundays "after Pentecost", even though that was the old Anglo-Saxon custom and the habit of the Byzantines and of the Missal of S Pius V. We of God's own Ordinariate call them the Sundays after Trinity ... how evocative that phrase is of English summer Sundays, of the poppies red around the ripening cornfields, of the smell of baking hay, of putting ones cassock back on after a lazy and vinous afternoon and, as the ringers start up for Evensong, strolling back across to church to dive into a 'Sarum' surplice and flip the red silk of a MA hood over ones head and Dearly beloved brethren, the Scripture moveth us ... down to Illumina quaesumus Domine tenebras nostras ... or whatever it is that dear Dr Cranmer translated that Sarum collect into.

Dear Dr Cranmer also preserved to us the old Sarum custom of calling these Sundays post Trinitatem. I have always felt that 'After Pentecost' has an activism subliminally within it; as if we are thinking all the time about what the Holy Ghost is inspiring us to do next. After Trinity, however, suggests adoration. Consider the logic of the preface of the Trinity, which tradition encourages us to use on all these Sundays . What we believe of the glory of Father, Son, and Spirit is the ground for our adoration of the majesty of the undivided Godhead; a majesty which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim praise; who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying Holy Holy Holy. The mystery of the true and everlasting Godhead and the distinction in persons and the unity in essence and the equality in majesty are the object of the worship which we are privileged to offer, in eternity but already here in time, with all the company of heaven.

And on Saturday evening we have prepared for Sunday in the words of the ancient Office Hymn which John Mason 'Patrimony' Neale translated as O Trinity of blessed light, O Unity of princely might, The fiery sun goes now his way; Shed thou within our hearts thy ray. To thee our morning song we praise, To thee our evening prayer we raise; Thy glory suppliant we adore For ever and for evermore. All laud to God the Father be; All praise, eternal Son, to thee; All glory, as is ever meet, To God the holy Paraclete.

3 comments:

Josephus Muris Saliensis said...

And I hope I am not the only one to sing "O blest Creator of the light" on Sunday evening to the English Hymnal Sarum tone… Brings back very happy memories, even if I am singing in it now in Latin Vespers in the Old Rite. One can alternate weeks with the equally beautiful chant to "Lucis Creator optime". The best of both worlds.

The office hymns one learnt as an Anglican will never pass away, and I use them in all seasons alongside their Latin originals. Do modern Anglicans learn them? I fear not.

If only parishes would do these things, rather than singing Vespers alone in one's room!

ansgerus said...

O Lux Beata Trinitas...One of the most beautiful hymns we have, and frequently set into great Music still even by protestant Composers in the 17th century, when Urban unfortunately had "verschlimmbessert" the ancient hymns in the Roman Rite.
By the way, also the Lutherans in North Germany used to and are still counting "after Trinity". Did this custom come from England or Ireland, from where the earliest missionaries came (and supposedly brough with them also their liturgy?) Does anyone of this illustre blog know a good or lecture book about the ties between Sarum and Lutheran Liturgies? Would be really interesting for me.

Marco da Vinha said...

Curiously, the Missal of Evora also used the "post Trinity" nomenclature.