8 June 2018

Ecce Sacerdos Magnus! (4)

Continues ...
Couratin made further additions from the Pontifical; before the Ordination Prayer he included a translation of the formula Oremus fratres carissimi ...; and, during the administration of Holy Communion, the Choir were to sing the Jam non dicam vos servos .... He introduced the Offering by the Newly-ordained to the Bishop, and provided a formula: the Pontiff said "I will offer in his dwelling an oblation with great gladness: I will sing and speak praises unto the Lord"; and the choir sang "Ye have not chosen me ...". Then, during "The offering of the Bread and Wine" the choir sang "Tu es sacerdos in aeternum secundum ordinem Melchisedech". It is not difficult to detect here a determination to restore that sense of Sacrifice and Priesthood which Apostolicae curae had complained that Cranmer had eliminated.

Apostolicae curae did, however, have a point. By eliminating the part of the Roman Canon which followed the Consecration, the Prayer Book Rite presented Anglo-Catholics with a problem. Having successfully taught their laity that the bread and wine truly became the Lord's Body and Blood, they found they had a rite in which the Consecration now appeared merely to be a way of securing the Presence so that it could be adored and/or received. This was accentuated by the growing practice of singing the Agnus Dei after the Consecration. My learned predecessor at S Thomas's, Trevor Jalland, observed "Thus the whole attention of the worshippers is concentrated on the Presence at the very time when there should be thought of sacrificial offering" (This our Sacrifice, 1933, 146sqq.). He went on to suggest that "a partial remedy lies ready to hand". He recommended the use of hymns "expressive of the sacrificial aspect of the Eucharist", mentioning in particular one of a number of hymns composed by W W H Jervois designed to paraphrase parts of the Unde et memores and to teach the doctrine of the Mass as a propitiatory sacrifice for the departed as well as for the living. This hymn was duly introduced into the Oxford rite of Ordination between the Consecration and the Agnus Dei.

It appears with the title "Hymn at the Consecration", and reads: Wherefore, O Father, we thy humble servants/ Here set before thee Christ thy well-beloved,/ All-perfect Offering, Sacrifice immortal,/ Spotless Oblation.// See now thy children, making intercession/ Through him our Saviour, Son of God incarnate,/ For all thy people, living and departed,/ Pleading before thee. It was often sung in Anglo-Catholic churches (as late as the 1960s in Pusey Chapel in Oxford) after the Consecration, while the Celebrant said various things secreto. I would be interested if anyone had evidence bearing on how widespread this usage was.

This little booklet produced for the guidance of the congregation does not mention the Latin Church's ancient custom of Concelebration by the newly ordained. But at the rehearsal, the Precentor, Fr Michael Watts, a product of St Stephen's House in the era of Canon Couratin, explained about Concelebration to the ordinands, and instructed them what to do. I remember this clearly!

Perhaps the most striking changes made by Couratin concerned the central Prayer of the Rite. As left by Cranmer, this failed to ask the Almighty to do anything whatsoever to the Ordinands. Couratin made three changes. He printed the heading "The Prayer for the Holy Spirit". Following the draft Prayer Book of 1928, which Parliament had rejected, he inserted into the Prayer a request that God would "endue them with all grace needful for their calling". And (again following 1928) he significantly changed the opening of the Prayer ...  as I plan to explain next time.


Pete said...

This hymn was sung before Communion at Holy Trinity, Headington Quarry, Oxford until Fr Head's retirement in 1990 (English Hymnal 308), and probably for the preceding 45 years of his ministering there. Perhaps it is a translation of same latin hymn.

Father we see Thy children bending at Thy throne,
Pleading here the Passion of Thine only Son,
Pleading here before Thee all His dying love,
As He pleads if ever in the courts above.

Not for our wants only we this Offering plead,
But for all Thy children who Thy mercy need:
Bless Thy faithful people, win Thy wandering sheep,
Keep the souls departed who in Jesus sleep.

Joshua said...

Dear Fr H.,

You motivated me to assemble a collection of seven such post-Consecration hymns of Oblation and Intercession from The English Hymnal. As their authors are long dead, I assume their hymns are now in the public domain:

EH 302 “And now, O Father, mindful of the love”
William Bright (1824-1901)
10. 10. 10. 10. 10. 10. UNDE ET MEMORES

1. And now, O Father, mindful of the love
That bought us, once for all, on Calvary’s Tree,
And having with us him that pleads above,
We here present, we here spread forth to thee
That only Offering perfect in thine eyes,
The one true, pure, immortal Sacrifice.

2. Look, Father, look on his anointed face,
And only look on us as found in him;
Look not on our misusings of thy grace,
Our prayer so languid, and our faith so dim:
For lo! between our sins and their reward
We set the Passion of thy Son our Lord.

3*. And then for those, our dearest and our best,
By this prevailing presence we appeal;
O fold them closer to thy mercy’s breast,
O do thine utmost for their souls’ true weal:
From tainting mischief keep them white and clear,
And crown thy gifts with strength to persevere.

4*. And so we come; O draw us to thy feet,
Most patient Saviour, who canst love us still;
And by this Food, so aweful and so sweet,
Deliver us from every touch of ill:
In thine own service make us glad and free,
And grant us never more to part with thee.

EH 308 “Father, see thy children bending at thy throne”
W. W. H. (William Henry Hammond) Jervois (1852-1905) & William Bouverie Trevelyan (1853-1929)
65 65 D [= 11 11 11 11] ADORO TE

1 Father, see thy children bending at thy throne,
Pleading here the Passion of thine only Son,
Pleading here before thee all his dying love,
As he pleads it ever in the courts above.

2 Not for our wants only we this Offering plead,
But for all thy children who thy mercy need:
Bless thy faithful people, win thy wandering sheep,
Keep the souls departed who in Jesus sleep.

EH 313 “Holy God, we offer here”
Percy Dearmer (1867-1936)
77 77 77 44 55

1. Holy God, we offer here
Jesu's death our sins to clear,
Jesu's life our life to be,
Jesu's love the world to free.
Stay the faithful, win the strayed,
Bless the living and the dead.
Father, lead us,
Jesu feed us,
Spirit, be our store,
Now and evermore.

2. Lord, unite us every one
Each to other, through thy Son;
Join us truly heart to heart,
Let us ne’er be drawn apart:
All one Bread, one Body we,
Bound by love to all and thee.
Blessèd Master,
Bind us faster;
In thy love divine,
Love we thee and thine!

Joshua said...


EH 327 “Once, only once, and once for all”
William Bright (1824-1901)
CM [= 86 86]

1. Once, only once, and once for all,
His precious life he gave;
Before the Cross our spirits fall,
And own it strong to save.

2. ‘One off'ring, single and complete,’
With lips and hearts we say;
But what he never can repeat
He shows forth day by day.

3. For, as the priest of Aaron’s line
Within the holiest stood,
And sprinkled all the mercy-shrine
With sacrificial blood;

4. So he who once atonement wrought,
Our Priest of endless pow'r,
Presents himself for those he bought
In that dark noontide hour.
5. His Manhood pleads where now it lives
On heaven’s eternal throne,
And where in mystic rite he gives
Its presence to his own.

6. And so we show thy death, O Lord,
Till thou again appear;
And feel, when we approach thy board,
We have an altar here.

EH 328 “See, Father, thy belovèd Son,”
W. W. H. (William Henry Hammond) Jervois (1852-1905)
LM [i.e. 88 88]

1. See, Father, thy belovèd Son,
Whom here we now present to thee;
The all sufficient Sacrifice,
The sinner’s one and only plea.

2. Through him we pray for all we love,
For all by pain or sin oppressed;
For souls departed in thy fear:
O grant them thine eternal rest.

EH 334 “We pray thee, heavenly Father”
V. S. S. (Vincent Stucky Stratton) Coles (1845-1929)
76 76 D

1. We pray thee, heavenly Father,
To hear us in thy love,
And pour upon thy children
The unction from above;
That so in love abiding,
From all defilement free,
We may in pureness offer
Our Eucharist to thee.

2 All that we have we offer,
For it is all thine own,
All gifts, by thine appointment,
In bread and cup are shown;
One thing alone we bring not,
The wilfulness of sin,
And all we bring is nothing
Save that which is within.

3. Within the pure oblation,
Beneath the outward sign,
By that his operation,—
The Holy Ghost divine,—
Lies hid the sacred Body,
Lies hid the precious Blood,
Once slain, now ever glorious,
Of Christ, our Lord and God.

4. Wherefore, though all unworthy
To offer sacrifice,
We pray that this our duty
Be pleasing in thine eyes;
For praise, and thanks, and worship,
For mercy and for aid,
The Catholic oblation
Of Jesus Christ is made.

EH 335 “Wherefore, O Father”
W. W. H. (William Henry Hammond) Jervois (1852-1905)
11 11 11 5

Wherefore, O Father, we thy humble servants
Here set before thee Christ thy well-belovèd,
All-perfect Offering, Sacrifice immortal,
Spotless Oblation.

See now thy children, making intercession
Through him our Saviour, Son of God incarnate,
For all thy people, living and departed,
Pleading before thee.

Joshua said...

Wouldn't it be nice if pious folk at Latin Mass were to use these hymns in their private prayers after the Consecration?

I have long preferred not to read the Roman Canon to myself as the priest offers Mass (for "every man in his liturgy" is a solid maxim), but rather recite secretly the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, some aspirations at the Elevations, and appropriate chants such as "O salutaris Hostia", "Ave verum" and "Pie Jesu" - because such sentiments of not only adoration, but also oblation and impetration are called for during the Canon. These Anglo-Catholic hymns clearly complement such devotions.

Little Black Sambo said...

"Wherefore, O Father" was sung after the words of institution every Sunday in Great Torrington parish church from the 1980s to 2010. (We did experiment with "And now, O Father, mindful of the love" in Lent, but it was too long. "Wherefore, O Father" exactly covered the time taken by the celebrant to finish reciting the Canon.)

Maureen Lash said...

The practice of singing a suitable hymn, such as those listed above, after the consecration was really part of the Dearmer tradition, where it was regarded of paramount importance to keep precisely to the Prayer Book order. The more usual expedient, following the apparent practice of Bishop Cosin and others, was simply to say the Prayer of Oblation at this point rather than after communion. The 'Interim Rite' pertained in the majority of Anglo-Catholic churches between the first World War and the early 1970's. Those incumbents of more 'advanced' churches who followed the 'Western Rite' in which only the out loud bits were said or sung in English, while the rest was conducted in Latin, would have said the whole canon silently, while the choir sang a setting of the Sanctus and Benedictus - the elevations occurring between the two. Little Black Sambo's practice of saying Cranmer's Prayer of Oblation quietly as the congregation sang a Dearmer approved hymn, seems an unnecessary duplication.