16 December 2018

Down With Cosin

Not that I mean that. The principal reviser of the Anglican Prayer Book in 1662 was much nearer being an orthodox Catholic than was poor Dr Cranmer. But I know whose liturgical craftsmanship I prefer.

In the old Latin Missals, the Third Sunday in Advent had an exquisite Collect:
Aurem tuam, quaesumus, Domine, precibus nostris accomoda: et mentis nostrae tenebras gratia tuae visitationis illustra.
translated thus in the 1549 Prayer Book:
Lord, we beseche thee, geue eare to our prayers, and by thy gracious visitacion lighten the darknes of our hearte.

Simple, elegant, economical, terse, instinctively Roman of the best period; I don't know whether S Leo might have written it (I believe it first appears in the Gregorianum), but it's worthy of him. The Feast of Christmas is regarded as making liturgically real for us the Visitation of God among us; we are euchologically situated in the darkness of a Sin which precedes the coming of God's grace; and we are pointed to the Gospel of the Christmas Missa in Die, the Johannine Prologue about the Incarnate Divine Light which shines in the darkness that comprehends it not. (What a shame that neither Clergy nor people know this great passage anything like as well as folk did in the dreadful unreformed days that preceded the Bugnini liturgical revolution; one of the graces of saying the Extraordinary Form is starting the day with an Ordo Missa including the Last Gospel.)

Needless to say, that collect proved too plain and good to survive. The 1662 Prayer Book, neatly anticipating the wordy over-cleverness of the Bugnini era, replaces it with a dense and verbose composition which links S John Baptist, the pastoral and homiletic duties of the clergy, and the verdict to be passed at the Second Coming. Bugnini brought in something from the Rotulus, but bowdlerised even that, so as to eliminate a suggestion that Christmas is the Incarnatio dominica.

5 comments:

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Dear Father. ABS lives in Florida where the4Faith is as warm as the winter weather and, thus, we have Midnight Mass at 11:00 pm in the LIl' Licit Liturgy worship centers.

This might be a good time to source a Jewish writer sho provides evidence that Jesus Christ was born on Dec 25th -

There are, roughly, 666 million evangelicals who spend their Christmas season trying to disprove the accurate historical date of The Incarnation by citing the Shepherds in the field and claiming that "it was too cold" and so that proves Jesus wasn't born on the 25th and that date really is the date of Sol Invictus which means the Catholic Church is suffused with paganism blah, blah, blah...

Well, here is an impeachable source in that the source is Jewish and he wrote a book (I think it was more'n 100 years ago) that proves that there WERE shepherds in the field with their flocks at that time - and that they were their tending their sheep who were intended for sacrifice - talk about an unintended proof of birth of The Saviour, The Lamb of God, who was to die for our sins as an act of propitiation....

In any event, here is Edelsheim: Alfred Edersheim, in his "The Life and Times of Jesus"

...And yet Jewish tradition may here prove both illustrative and helpful. That the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, was a settled conviction. Equally so, was the belief , that He was to be revealed from Migdal Eder, 'the tower of the flock.' This Migdal Eder was not the watchtower for the ordinary flocks which pastured on the barren sheepground beyond Bethlehem, but lay close to the town, on the road to Jerusalem. A passage in the Mishnah [951] leads to the conclusion, that the flocks, which pastured there, were destined for Temple-sacrifices [952], and, accordingly, that the shepherds, who watched over them, were not ordinary shepherds. The latter were under the ban of Rabbinism, on account of their necessary isolation from religious ordinances, and their manner of life, which rendered strict legal observance unlikely, if not absolutely impossible. The same Mishnaic passage also leads us to infer, that these flocks lay out all the year round, since they are spoken of as in the fields thirty days before the Passover -- that is, in the month of February, when in Palestine the average rainfall is nearly greatest.

Thus, Jewish tradition in some dim manner apprehended the first revelation of the Messiah from that Migdal Eder, where shepherds watched the Temple-flocks all the year round. Of the deep symbolic significance of such a coincidence, it is needless to speak.

It was, then, on that ‘wintry night’ of the 25th of December, that shepherds watched the flocks destined for sacrificial services, in the very place consecrated by tradition as that where the Messiah was to be first revealed.

Todd said...

Modern english translations in the typical hand held missals: Lend Your ear to our prayers, O Lord, we beseech You; and brighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of Your coming.

the Savage said...

Cosin’s collect may be a bit prolix, but at least it retains the traditional Advent associations of this Sunday. The previous Sunday’s Cranmer creation is much worse - no connection to Advent or the previous Sarum collect, and a frankly Bibliolatrous identification of the written word of God with the eternal Logos by suggesting that Christ is embodied “in” scripture rather than being revealed through it. Fortunately the Divine Worship Missal provides the Sarum / Roman collect for this Sunday as an alternative.

KaeseEs said...

If you're taking down that rapscallion Cosin, I don't see why you're letting D'Arctangent off the hook...

B flat said...

My ignorance distresses me, and I am sorry to intrude it here to disturb your peace.
Am I wrong in understanding theat the Incarnation was effected at the Annunciatiation which we celebrate on 25th March?
I was dismayed when the Orthodox primates met at Christmas in Jerusalem to to celebrate the 2000 years of God's Incarnation in 2002. The whole point of it was lost on me, and I felt a teaching moment in resistance to those supporting abortion was completely wasted on the world's media and their viewers.
And now Fr Hunwicke writes that Christmas is the Incarnatio Dominica. I weep in frustration at my stupidity. I simply do not understand.