I recently gave three short introductory talks for a course on Liturgical Spirituality. Recordings of the talks are available via Soundcloud (above), and the handouts mentioned in the talks are available to download below. These talks are based around two principal ideas: first, that authentic Christian spirituality is liturgical in its essence and foundation. Secondly, we can discover more about how to live this liturgical spirituality by considering the sacred liturgy in relation to the life of God, the life of the Church, and the life of the individual Christian.
C. S. Lewis, who is perhaps best known for his Chronicles of Narnia, was also a profound Christian thinker. Reading the Chronicles of Narnia aware of Lewis’ faith transforms those well-loved children’s stories into a rich narrative of the Christian life. Lewis was a practicing Anglican who, amidst the vast range of theological opinions amongst Anglicans, held views of the sacraments and the Church with which Catholics can (on the whole) be quite comfortable.
Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has this evening delivered the opening address of the 2016 Sacra Liturgia conference in London. His Eminence made many important and significant points concerning the celebration of the sacred liturgy, and indeed the particular reforms and liturgical renewal that took place at, and following, the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. He also made a number of practical suggestions – what he described as “possible ways of moving towards ‘the right way of celebrating the liturgy inwardly and outwardly,’ which was of course the desire expressed by Cardinal Ratzinger at the beginning of his great work, The Spirit of the Liturgy.”
The anniversary of my own ordination to the priesthood provides an occasion to offer a short post about the propers in Divine Worship: The Missal for one of the Masses for Various Necessities and Occasions designated For the Priest himself. This Mass formulary is given the additional title, in parentheses: “especially on the anniversary of ordination.” The majority of the propers for this Mass come from the Mass In Any Necessity, but the Introit, Collect, Prayer over the Offerings, and Postcommunion are proper to this formulary in Divine Worship. In the catalogue of masses in this section of the missal, this follows those For the Pope or Bishop and For the Election of the Pope.
The days of the Easter Octave retain a special character throughout the Roman Rite. This is true of both the Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form, and also of Divine Worship: The Missal, which preserves this sacred time in accordance with ancient practice, whilst also making use of certain Anglican translations and practices.
Overview of the Easter Octave
If the Paschal Vigil is “the mother of all vigils,” then the Easter Octave is to be considered the mother of all octaves. Its origins predate even those of the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord, of the Epiphany, and of Pentecost, and of course those of later feasts such as Corpus Christi. Blessed Ildefonso Schuster goes so far as to say that the octave “was characteristic of the Easter festivities.” Dom Prosper Guéranger says, with equal eloquence, “So ample and so profound is the mystery of the glorious Pasch, that an entire week may well be spent in its meditation.” With an overview of its associated practices, we can see how right they are.
The Sunday next before Lent, or Quinquagesima, is celebrated at the start of the week in which the Church keeps Ash Wednesday, and so begins her fasting preparation for Easter. Although the Eastern Churches mark this Sunday by further abstaining from dairy, in the Latin Church the character of the pre-Lent season continues to be articulated by a purely liturgical penitence. Due to this, the days that follow Quinquagesima are associated with celebrations such as Mardi Gras—the last moments of celebration before the rigours of Lent properly ensue. In England, particularly in the north, the Monday following Quinquagesima has historically been referred to as Collop Monday, because it saw the eating-up of leftover slices of meat, particularly bacon. The following day continues to be known as Shrove Tuesday, and aside from the eating of pancakes—a further means of enjoying the last moments before Ash Wednesday—the day is set aside for the practice of confession (shriving) before the start of Lent. In a sermon for Quinquagesima, Ælfric of Eynsham encourages his people in this practice, saying: “Now a pure and holy time draws near, in which we should atone for our neglect. Every Christian, therefore, should come to his confession and confess his hidden sins, and amend according to the guidance of his teacher.” Continue reading
The Second Sunday before Lent is also known as Sexagesima, marking as it does the sixty days that remain before the celebration of Easter. With the pre-Lent season introduced last week, this Sunday continues our preparations for the start of Lent. In the Latin Church this follows the pattern of liturgical penitence established at Septuagesima, articulated by the suppression of the Gloria in excelsis and the Alleluia, and by the use of violet vestments. In the East, this Sunday is known as Dominica Carnisprivii, or Meat Fare Sunday, introducing as it does the first level of abstinence for the faithful (in this case, meat) in preparation for Great Lent.
The Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul provides an interesting insight into the textual sources of Divine Worship: The Missal. Two options are given for the Introit. The first, given in Divine Worship as Gaudeamus, is taken from the Missale Sarisburiense, or Sarum Missal. Here it is entitled Lætemur in omnes, and the translation given in Divine Worship appears to be that of the 1906 English Hymnal. Percy Dearmer, one of the editors of the hymnal, was amongst those seeking to preserve certain Sarum customs within Anglicanism, sometimes in opposition to a perceived Romanisation.
As we have already seen, Divine Worship: The Missal, and the calendars of the three personal ordinariates, maintains the pre-Lent season common to the Book of Common Prayer and the Anglican missals. This season is characterized by a certain liturgical penitence (as opposed to fasting and abstinence). In this first of three posts, we will examine the Sundays of the pre-Lent season, or Septuagesimatide, as they appear in Divine Worship: The Missal.
In keeping with the tradition of the Book of Common Prayer and the Anglican missals, Divine Worship: The Missal and the calendars of the personal ordinariates provide for the observance of the Pre-Lent season, or Septuagesimatide. In this article we will discuss the historical nature of this season, and look at how it is observed in the liturgical provision of Anglicanorum cœtibus.