27 November 2020

Strike them down, O lord, and lay them low (2)

According to the ancient Carmelite dialect of the Roma Rite, the Devotion for the Recovery of Terra Sancta does not begin until after the Elevation of the Chalice; and it is done, not a prostratis, but ab utroque choro genuflexo alternatim. It is used, roughly, at conventual Masses during Advent and Gesimatide, but not during Eastertide or certain penitential days. The texts (1621) are quite differen from those of Sarum. I give a translated summary here, but enough to enable anybody who cares to, to put the devotion together again. 

The Psalm is the majestic and haunting Laetatus sum in his quae dicta sunt mihi. 

After Gloria Patri ... Kyrie ... Pater ...

V  O Lord, save the King

R And mercifully hear us when we call upon thee.

V O Lord, save thy people and bless thine inheritance.

R And govern them and lift them up for ever.

V Peace be within thy walls.

R And plenteousness within thy palaces.

V O Lord, hear our prayer  ...   V The Lord be with you ...

Let us pray. 

 Three prayers follow; 

(1) We beseech thee, O Lord, hear the prayers of thy Church: that, all adversities and errors being put down, she may serve thee in untroubled freedom.

(2) We beseech thee, O Lord, shatter the pride of our enemies both seen and unseen, and with the strength of thy right hand lay their defiance low.

(3) is 'God, from whom all holy desires ...', which those of the Patrimony will recognise; it came into the Anglican Divine Office as the memoria perpetua pro pace at Evensong, from the Sarum Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

All three are in the 'Gregorian' Sacramentary; that is, in the great compendious Prayer-hoard of the Latin Church. When a  particular need arose, those were the days when a clerk dived into that immense resource and found some hard-hitting  and suitable formulae. This was the time before the advent of Liturgical Committees and Commissions and all the other clever-clever dreary layabouts, who respond to "new" needs by sitting down with a pencil and trying to devise fancy and 'relevant' formulae. 

These three old prayers have a penetrating directness about them ... destructis has resonances of pulling a building right down to the ground; elide suggests crushing and shattering; prosterne brings to mind a picture of our enemies flattened with their proud noses well down in the mud. 

Perhaps this is the sort of robust euchological spirit we are going to need as we enter upon this new period of ever more tyrannous oppression.

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