I have never known a Chrism Mass with such a completely joyous atmosphere. What a happy chance I did that post on Sunday about our Patron Blessed John Henry Newman: because at the end of the Mass our friend Archbishop Tony Mennini blessed a splendid new picture of the great Beatus, given by the generosity of some of the Friends of the Ordinariate. He also waved around triumphantly a letter intimating that our Holy Father had made a financial contribution to the training of our seminarians ... and brought the house down by almost handing it over to one of them, but withdrawing the text at the last moment with the words "I'd better just check there aren't any secrets in it!". Viva il Papa! Viva Antonio! He is an ever-present reminder to us of the joy of being in Full Communion with the Successor of S Peter and, through him, with the Whole State of Christ's Church Militant here in Earth.
The music was superb; indeed, triumphalist, as befits the wonderful triumph of Realised Ecumenism which our Ordinariate represents. And a brilliant sermon on the role of the perfumed in human memory and in the Liturgy. It set me wondering about a stanza in Vexilla regis prodeunt which was cut out of the liturgical text in Antiquity: fundis aroma cortice ... etc.. [Literally: You, Tree, pour forth perfume from your bark; you are superior to nectar in flavour; joyful with a fertile Fruit, you clap your hands at the famous triumph.] Perhaps it was thought to be just too intoxicatingly, surrealistically, exultantly, exotic? Bring it back, sez I.
I'll return DV to S Venantius Fortunatus and his Passiontide hymns tomorrow. Where would Holy Week be without them? Lacking in expressions of Triumph!