28 November 2021

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 ... which you can, of course, now findin the 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.


E sapelion said...

Sarum seems to have delighted in processions, as Salisbury Cathedral has a splendid cloister attached, despite not being a monastic foundation. I think the populace enjoys processions, particularly if there is a sheltered cloister, which also makes the candles much easier to keep alight.

QuireMan said...

Regarding processions, the Roman Rite has traditionally had a procession before the High Mass on Sundays, although in more recent centuries, this was disused in many places. The procession after the sprinkling with holy water and before the High mass was preserved in many places on Easter Day and, in Poland, on all Sunday until the mid twentieth century.

There was even a liturgical book, called the Processionale Romanum, last published in 1827 that contained the music for this procession, which consisted of a Responsory, Hymn, Antiphon, versicle and response and Collect. It can be accessed here:


In Poland, the procession sometimes even went out around the church, with the people following. In more recent times, the official music was replaced by vernacular hymns.

Expeditus said...

Pointless processions! We had plenty of them at Wakefield in the 1950's. After Solemn Evensong on greater feasts. Sometimes as man as seven - bishop, canons, curates, maybe a visiting preacher each accompanied by two servers exposing the linings of the (non-matching) copes. Some long, some even longer but always from the High Altar and back again. There was usually a station at the Rood Screen with a different collect from a large, sumptuous book carried by its own bearer. The only Carol Service we had in those days was an even longer procession with groups of carols in the various chapels. How to get up to 20 servers. And the poor nuns who had to sew the apparels on to the albs. Well, in illis diebus it was either that or Sunday Night at the London Palladium.

DMG said...

In seeking to examine the Ordinariate Missal I came across St Gregory's Prayer Book. For finding this little gem I heartily thank you.

E sapelion said...

Thanks to MKrzem for that processional from Lyon. They seem to have a similar opinion to mine, giving as the first reason for processions "ad excitandam fidelium pietatem"

Chris Sterry said...

It was still like that in the 60s when I was a server there.
I recall 23 servers for one solemn occasion, with nine clergy in copes.