Monday 28 April 2008

Rogation Days and "beating the bounds"

Rogation days are days set apart for solemn processions to invoke the mercy of God. The word comes from the Latin rogare “to say or ask” meaning, in this context, to pray to God for good things.

They come at this time because of the Gospel reading for the previous Sunday (the 5th Sunday after Easter, sometimes for that reason called Rogation Sunday) which includes the text from the Gospel of St John 16:24 “Ask and ye shall receive”.

The Rogation days are:

(1) St Mark’s Day on 25 April (the Major Rogation)
(2) The 3 days before the Ascension Day (the Minor Rogations)

The first Rogation, which includes the Greater Litanies, was originally a christianisation of the old Roman pagan feast day of Robigalia, on 25 April, a day to pray for good crops.

The minor Rogations, including the Lesser Litanies, were introduced in 470 by Bishop Mamertus of Vienne and then spread to the rest of the Roman Church. They became a preparation also for the Feast of the Ascension.

These days coincided also with the ceremony of the “Beating of the Bounds” during which a procession led by ministers and choir would proceed round the boundaries of the parish, partly to re-affirm the boundaries but also to pray for the protection of the parish over the forthcoming year. Choir boys and servers would carry canes to "beat" the boundaries at each stopping point.

Absurdly, the Rogation days are yet further ancient and beautiful ceremonies that were done away with by the liturgical wreckers after 1970. They have, of course, come back with the return of the traditional rites.

The ceremony of the Beating of the bounds can still be seen in the City of London and processions continue to go round the boundaries to the various churches of the City, often escorted by a marching group of one or more of the City TA Regiments.

What diabolical spirit came over the liturgical consilium of Archbishop Bugnini that he even thought to try and get rid of this beautiful, scriptural, ancient liturgical devotion? Yet further evidence, if it were still needed, that a dark and sinister spirit has, these 40 years past, been suffered by weak, vain and worldly prelates to invade parts of the Church.

"Beating the bounds"

"22 So also you now indeed have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice; and your joy no man shall take from you. 23 And in that day you shall not ask me any thing. Amen, amen I say to you: if you ask the Father any thing in my name, he will give it you. 24 Hitherto you have not asked any thing in my name. Ask, and you shall receive; that your joy may be full. 25 These things I have spoken to you in proverbs. The hour cometh, when I will no more speak to you in proverbs, but will show you plainly of the Father."
[John 16.22-25]

Peccatores, Te rogamus audi nos

We sinners, beseech Thee, hear us!


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