Da quaesumus, omnipotens Deus: ut, qui in tot adversis ex nostra infirmitate deficimus; intercedente unigeniti Filii tui passione respiremus.
Thus today's ancient Collect (Grant, we beg, almighty God: that we, who among so many adversities faint on account of our weakness, may through the mediation of thy Son's passion, get our breath back).
How extraordinarily up-to-the-moment those ancient prayers are. The Church is at this very minute under a great Satanic onslaught: she is still reeling from the wounds inflicted by the monstrous evil of pedophilia: men privileged to take the Lord into their own hands morning by morning so as to offer the immaculate oblation with the purest of hearts became ... sporcizia, filth. Demonic cunning is putting the Church's doctrine of Marriage under attack in some of the highest quarters of the Church as (what Fr Aidan Nichols called) 'Licensed concubinage' is encouraged. Sexual perversion is Proudly paraded before us, and woe-betide any who dissent. And, outside the gates, Christians are hounded to Martyrdom. And, together with all that, we have a pandemic. 'Among so many adversities' puts it mildly.
The new Rite retains this Collect. But it misses out the words in tot adversis [among so many adversities]. In the breezy and optimistic confidence of the post-conciliar years, we felt that as the Church made herself up-to-date, threw open her windows to the world, and blew her cobwebs away, old liturgical phraseology about her being besieged by afflictions was not particularly ben trovato.
Oh dear. How the chickens so carefully nurtured by the fashionable liturgists of the 1960s really are coming home to roost. One recalls the Lord's words about the yet greater demonic infestation which can occupy the swept and garnished house.
29 March 2021
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