Tomorrow, S James the Great! Let us listen to the first harbinger of liturgical renewal, Dom Prosper Gueranger [I slightly abbreviate]:
"The land of S James's inheritance, Spain, had been overrun first by Roman idolaters, then by Arian barbarians, and when the day of hope seemed about to dawn, a deeper night was ushered in by the Crescent. But who is this unknown chief rallying against an immense army the little worn-out troop whose heroic valour could not yesterday save it from defeat? Swift as lightning, and bearing in one hand a white standard with a red cross, he rushes with drawn sword upon the panic-stricken foe, and dyes the feet of his charger in the blood of 70,000 slain. Hail to the chief of the holy war! Saint James! Saint James! Saint James! Forward Spain! It is the reappearance of the Galilaean fisherman, of the elder son of thunder, now free to hurl the thunderbolt upon these new Samaritans, who make Christ no more than a prophet. And when, after six centuries and a half of struggle, his standard bearers, the Catholic kings, had succeeded in driving the infidel hordes beyond the seas, the valiant leader of the Spanish armies laid aside his bright armour, and the slayer of Moors became once more a messenger of the faith ...".
I wonder what Elizabeth Tudor, Bloody Bess, would have made of the fact that the old Spanish embassy chapel, S James Spanish Place, now has former Anglicans on its staff, not to mention in its congregation. I well remember the very happy day when my friends of the Marylebone Ordinariate Group invited me there to offer the Holy Sacrifice for them.
The Church preserves a Spanish Royal Flag, so that if his Most Catholic Majesty turns up unexpectedly, the pp can quickly run up the flag. The advantage of visiting this Church also includes the fact that it is directly behind one of London's best kept secrets: the Wallace Collection. You can glut yourself there on the finest artefacts of Bourbon France and then pray in the former embassy chapel of the Bourbon Monarchy of Spain..
24 July 2019
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