2 April 2022

Canon Couratin? (1)

 At S Stephen's House, in the Sixties, those who attended the Holy Week Retreat were given a series of succinct typewritten Notes on the Twelve Readings of the Traditional Easter Vigil. Since the Pacelli era was to include a lamentable onslaught upon that series of lections, I presume that the Notes preceded the sixties: therefore, that they are more likely to have been drafted by the legendary Canon Arthur Couratin (Principal 1936-1962) than by his successor, poor Derek. But I may be wrong in this assumption: if anybody has knowledge of the genesis of these pieces, I would be grateful to be enabled to share it.

These Notes seem to me redolent of all that was best in our Anglican Catholic spirituality; they are profoundly biblical and patristic; simple, direct, and unpompous. There are a few infelicities in the drafting, reminiscent of the days of typewriters, when one could not just hop back a few places by the touch of a finger and tidy things up. But I have 'improved' or 'corrected' nothing.

I propose to reproduce them on the blog: the first six before Easter, and the other half-dozen after the Pasch. So here I go with the first of the twelve.

[Incidentally, the corresponding Service in the Byzantine Rite has fifteen lessons; of these, six (=Roman I, III, IV, IX, X, XII) correspond loosely to our readings.]

Lesson 1. The Creation (Genesis 1:1-2:2)

1. In the beginning God created all things through his word and by his spirit. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made." "And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, and God said: 'Let there be light', and there was light." And God created man after the pattern of the Word, 'Who is the image of the invisible God, the first begotten before all creation." He "formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the spirit of life, and man became a living soul."

2. So also in the last days God redeems all mankind through his Word and by his Spirit. "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore that holy thing which shall be 'created' shall be called the Son of God." "That which was created in him was life, and the life was the light of men", because it was "the brightness of God's glory and the express image of his person". And when his time was come, Christ "throgh the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God". 

3. And in the last days God sanctifies the elect people of God by recreating them through his Word and by his Spirit. They ae washed and sanctified and justified in the name of our Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. They are born again of Water and the Spirit, and if any man is in Christ he is a new creation, part of the new creation of God, who is saying"Behold I make all things new."



Frederick Jones said...

I can remember , and still have a notebook containing , the 12 lessons. In 1958 I can remember Arthur Couratin lamenting that the 12 lessons had been reduced to 4, the shortest ones available but not the best.

Tamquam said...

Wonderful! Thank you so much. I am very much looking forward to the rest.

Christopher Bartley said...

Many thanks for doing this!