27 November 2016

Drop down ye heavens from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness

I wish my readers a very holy and devout Advent.

Three decades at Lancing left me with haunting memories of each Advent starting with the choir leading us in the unforgettable melodies and texts of the Advent Prose. And, Lo and Behold, there it is in our most splendid Ordinariate Missal! The rubric suggests that it be used as a Processional (the old-style Anglo-Catholicism of my childhood loved having splendid if rather pointless processions in which the Vicar tottered round the Church behind choir and servers, from the Altar and back to the Altar). Or, the rubric suggests, it might be used elsewhere in the Mass, or on any of the Sundays in Advent; and on the fourth Sunday it may replace the Introit, of which it is in fact an expanded version. So there you go.

Be not wroth very sore, O Lord, neither remember iniquity for ever; thy holy cities are a wilderness, Sion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation: our holy and our beautiful house, wherein our fathers praised thee.

Somehow, as the English winter sets in, my mind reflects upon the winter of this sad pontificate; the gusts of fear and the wildernesses of intimidation, the cold indifference to the Faith and hostility to Truth even in high places; bare trees and shrivelled buds. Is it my fault? Our fault? We have sinned, and are as an unclean thing. You must speak for yourself, but I know for certain that I am. But I, even I, am the Lord, and beside me there is no Saviour; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand. Comfort ye, comfort ye my people; my salvation shall not tarry; I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions; fear not, for I will save thee: for I am the Lord thy God, the Holy one of Israel, thy Redeemer.

My salvation shall not tarry. 

The spring days and the warming sun are sorely hindered by our sins and wickedness, but we pray that His bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us*.

*Thus the somewhat flabby translation of the Advent IV collect, altered after Cranmer, found in our Missal; the more taut Latin original is "quod nostra peccata praepediunt, indulgentia tuae propitiationis acceleret". Lovely alliteration. Good cursus, with two matching and interlocking examples of tardus.

2 comments:

philipjohnson said...

Fr.I hope it is the winter of this sad Pontificate!Let us hope,and pray,that the New Year will see a revival of Holy Mother Church and its Tridentine Mass.His Humbleness cannot be taken with any seriousness any more-never did in my book!He has made a fool of himself in front of the Catholic World and we need him to go the way of all Modernists-in Gods good time!

Hannes said...

1. Is there a traditonal liturgical use for the Advent Prose or is it actually extra-liturgcial spiritual poetry?

2. Is there a genre name for this type of chant?