Monday, 9 April 2012
In Spirit and Truth...
May my words and our thoughts be in the Name of God.
Being in communion with no church is rather difficult when Holy Week comes around, although this does sometimes have some benefits. In my experience, being ''attached'' to a particular church often means that you have to put up with some rubbish, at the will of the celebrant, for ''political'' (or pastoral) reasons, or whatever. Although not being attached also means that I cannot order all things as I would. Signum Magnum and St Joseph (Stalin) the Working Class Blaggard of the Communist Party spring to mind, not to mention other mainstream churches cutting out huge chunks because the celebrant may feel they are too long. I am not a diplomatic person, and my only conceivable response to all this rubbish is to withdraw my support completely, and depart shaking the dust from my feet. Why should God-fearing Christians have to put up with inauthentic Divine Service, the structure thereof being decided beforehand by the priest in charge? It's just parish committee Liturgy, in the manner of the Roman reforms of the 20th century, except at local level. Sins against the Holy Ghost, I daresay.
The sanctuary prepared for Tenebrae in Parasceve. Don't panic! The rug was taken away before the service commenced.
I said in my previous post that I had a modest part in a quiet Triduum somewhere. On Spy Wednesday evening my friend and I monotoned the offices of Mattins & Lauds according to the special form for the Triduum (Tenebrae) in the house chapel. On the morning of Maundy Thursday my fellow churchmen and I celebrated Mass of the Lord's Supper and had prayers at the altar of repose before lunch. At five o'clock Tenebrae in Parasceve was sung. On Good Friday morning we monotoned the Hours of Prime, Terce, Sext and None before offering up to God the Mass of the Pre-Hallowed Gifts. I was privileged to offer a Rood of much personal sentimental value for use for veneration on Good Friday (pictured at the top of this post) - a Spanish crucifix saved by my grandmother from a Philistine about 40 years ago. It was solemnly ''blessed'' according to the old form in the Ritual by a man whose orders are null and utterly void three years ago, so I am going to have it blessed again. Anyway, I made sure to pray for the perfidious pope (I sat down for this), that the Lord would see it fitting to rain down fire from Heaven on this great pretender, and wielder of false apostolic authority. We were (thankfully) excused from ''stations of the Cross'' this year, but returned to sing Tenebrae at five o'clock. On Holy Saturday morning we sang the Hours of Prime, Terce, Sext and None before processing outside to bless the New Fire and celebrate the Paschal Vigil and celebrate Vesperal Liturgy. The deacon substituted devotissimum Imperatorem nostrum in the Exultet for devotissimam Reginam nostram Elizabeth, which was good. She is, after all, Defender of the Faith and our gracious Sovereign. Who was it that said that the ''Holy Roman Empire'' was in no wise ''holy,'' ''Roman,'' nor an ''empire'' in the proper sense?
This is me about to burn an insult to Catholic order; an insert from a 1925 Missale Romanum.
UPDATE: On the evening of Holy Saturday, that solemn and serious Day on which the Lord preached to the souls in prison, my friend and I said Paschal Mattins & Lauds, which, as Rubricarius has said, was, in Mediaeval times, the highlight of Paschaltide and the most important service of the Christian Year. I received a text message this morning from my friend who told me that I forgot to mention it, fortunately not after the manner of those who ''forgot'' to include it in their parish schedule for Holy Week services. It's really rather short, and I can't understand why people make the effort for Tenebrae and not Paschal Mattins & Lauds, which is more important. It's enough for me to admonish non-Christians to avoid going to church at all, since most Christians simply can't be bothered.
We had no real difficulties this year. At several points we were relying on the 1731 Memoriale Rituum, and therefore incensation proved difficult on Holy Saturday. At the Magnificat no incense was offered at all (this was my fault), but you understand the difficulty of dividing the jobs of about fifteen people between two servers, and the Memoriale does not conceive of incense at this point. We are only men, and the only perfect Liturgy is offered in the immediate presence of God in Heaven. It was, nonetheless, a worthy and memorable Triduum.
That the abomination may be burned out of the heart of Christ's Church!
Being so deeply involved in the ceremonies meant that few photos were taken. There's always next year. It will all be solemn next year as we will have two deacons, with me responsible for everything else. I can't wait!
My lemon, Paschal socks.