22 October 2021


My hand-copy of the old Missal is a beautiful thing bound in red leatherwith real gold leaf on the page edges, Mechliniae e Typographia Hanicquiana MDCCCXL. Sometimes it falls naturally open at the Decree of Urban VIII - a great Latin Stylist although, as I keep telling you, he should have kept his Horatian hands off the Office Hymns. 

Here is a rendering of the beginning; I share it as a lovely example of rhetoric which came naturally in 1634 and which we totally forget at our peril. "If there is anything in the affairs of men plainly divine, which the citizens of Heaven (if they were to experience envy) could envy us possessing, it is certainly the most holy Sacrifice of the Mass, by the gift of which it happens that men by a cetain anticipation possess Heaven upon Earth, when they have before their eyes and grasp with their hands the Maker Himself of Heaven and Earth. For which reason mortals should strive all the more to give this great privilege the worship and honour which it deserves, and should beware of the Angels, haters of negligence, who compete with us in reverence." 

A little later he refers to the Breviary and the Missal as the wings which the priest, like the Cherubim of the ancient mystic Tabernacle, daily stretches out towards the true Mercy-Seat of the world. BTW, S Therese of Lisieux uses the same trope (referring to the sufferings of her now-beatified father which were to his family a spiritual opportunity "qui doit causer une sainte jaloisie aux Anges de la Celeste cour"). I expect learned readers can supply further examples.


Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Speaking of the Mass, If I could once agaon request you remember my intention during the Memento of the Living re a certain lady ...


Ansgerus said...

Here a link to the decree for those not possessing an elder missal with it: