Thursday 30 April 2009

So what exactly were the changes...?

Good question!

Meaning, of course, what were the changes in the liturgy.

What did they take away from us in the name of progress, liberalism and the modern age?

What did they steal away from our most sacred heritage, our birthright given to us by the Holy Spirit?

Well, here is a preliminary list, for starters, some of which are such ancient ceremonies that none but a serial vandal would dream of trashing them.

Rogation Days and the Litanies
Ember Days
The feasts of:
  • The Finding of the True Cross
  • St Peter in Chains
  • St John before the Latin Gate
  • The Apparition of St Michael the Archangel at Monte Gargano
  • St Christopher
  • St Philomena
  • The Translation of the Holy House of Loreto
  • The Most Precious Blood
  • The Solemnity of St Joseph
  • The removal of the ancient Feast of St Philip and St James on 1 May to make way for the entirely novel Feast of St Joseph the Workman which was introduced as a sop to the Leftist Trade Unionists
  • The removal of the Imperial prayers for the Holy Roman Emperor on Good Friday and at the Easter Saturday Vigil (later replaced by prayers for the "moderators of republics" to reflect Bugnini's anti-monarchial political views)
Many Sequences became optional and many Octaves were lost

But above all...

...the most ancient services in all Christendom were savagely slashed, namely, the ceremonies of the Sacred Triduum.

That was a most disgraceful act of cultural and religious barbarity.

Yet that is what the infamous Archbishop Annibale Bugnini did in 1955 behind the back of Pope Pius XII.

St John before the Latin Gate,
a feast commemorating the miraculous preservation of St John from harm when he was ordered to be boiled in oil outside the city gate

Finally, in the "reforms" after the Second Vatican Council, Bugnini effectively abolished the normative form of the liturgy, the High Mass.

There are simply no rubrics in the Novus Ordo Missae for the High Mass.

Yes, fact.

With a wave of his palsied hand the frightful Bugnini simply did away with the form of the Mass that had been the norm for 2,000 years.

Solemn High Mass
was always the normative form for all masses whether in a Parish Church or a Cathedral, NOT Low Mass.

Attempts are made to retain some form of the High Mass but the fact remains that there are no official rubrics for it.

All rites but the Roman rite retain the High Mass now, especially in the East where the Low Mass is simply unknown.

And they in the East look at us in the Roman rite and wonder in amazement at our naked, brazen impiety in daring to smash up the most ancient rites and services known to the Christian Church.

And yet still there are people who ask "what changes?".

Yes, they ask that, poor chumps, in their woefully deep ignorance of their own traditions of prayer in their own Church.

To such a low pass have we come.

God have mercy on us for our careless impiety.

But it is not entirely new...

In the 16th century the impious and murderous heretic, Thomas Cranmer, ordered that the same process of spiritual destruction be carried out on the Sarum rite leading to the Prayer Book Rebellion of 1549 which was put down by mercenaries and savage reprisals.

The Men of Devon, Cornwall and Wales came out to defend the ancient rites of the Catholic Church and this was their Manifesto:

We will have the Mass in Latin as before.
We will have the Sacrament hung over the high altar,
and there to be worshipped as it was wont to be...
We will have palms and ashes at the times accustomed,
images to be set up again in every church.
We will not receive the new service
because it is like a Christmas game,
but we will have our old service of Matins, Mass,
Evensong, and procession in Latin, as it was before, and not in English.

For this the odious Cranmer had them butchered on Woodbury Common, near Exeter.

O Holy Martyrs for the Roman rite, pray for us!


Wednesday 29 April 2009

Eastertide - the blessed season of grace

"Was not our heart burning within us,

whilst He spoke in the way..."

Let us rejoice greatly at Eastertide for this is a most blessed time when so much is forgiven and grace flows abundantly.

This is when we remember the time after His resurrection and before He ascended to the Father.

We remember the marvellous words of Mark 16:1-2, Dum transisset Sabbatum, telling us:

"And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought sweet spices, that coming, they might anoint Jesus.
And very early in the morning, the first of the Sabbath, they come to the sepulchre, the sun just being risen.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit."

"Dum transisset Sabbatum,
Maria Magdalene et Maria Jacobi et Salome
emerunt aromata ut venientes ungerent Jesum.
Et valde mane una sabbatorum veniunt ad monumentum orto iam sole.
Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto."

This was rendered by John Taverner in the 16th century into one of the most sublime pieces of music ever written. Here it is sung by the Cambridge Singers, fittingly with film of the beginning of Spring and the departure of Winter.

Notice how the choir burst forth with that great "ALLELUIA" to symbolise the discovery by the holy women of the empty tomb and their sudden realisation that the Lord had risen from the dead. It is as if the heavens immediately opened and the whole heavenly host burst forth with a great, universal cry of profound joy!

Three times He appeared to the Apostles in that great and glorious week after His resurrection, after he had appeared to Mary in the garden.

Noli Me Tangere. Antonio Allegri Corregio (1494-1534).

Once he appeared on the road to Emmaus, and, after explaining the Scriptures to them, they recognised him. Late that same day, the Sunday of the Resurrection, He appeared to them in Jerusalem, breathed upon them the Holy Spirit, ordaining them and giving them the power to forgive sins.

"And behold, two of them went, the same day, to a town which was sixty furlongs from Jerusalem, named Emmaus. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that while they talked and reasoned with themselves, Jesus himself also drawing near, went with them. But their eyes were held, that they should not know him. And he said to them: What are these discourses that you hold one with another as you walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleophas, answering, said to him: Art thou only a stranger to Jerusalem, and hast not known the things that have been done there in these days? To whom he said: What things? And they said: Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet, mighty in work and word before God and all the people; And how our chief priests and princes delivered him to be condemned to death, and crucified him... Then he said to them: O foolish, and slow of heart to believe in all things which the prophets have spoken. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the scriptures, the things that were concerning him. And they drew nigh to the town, whither they were going: and he made as though he would go farther. But they constrained him; saying: Stay with us, because it is towards evening, and the day is now far spent. And he went in with them. And it came to pass, whilst he was at table with them, he took bread, and blessed, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him: and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to the other: Was not our heart burning within us, whilst he spoke in this way, and opened to us the scriptures? And rising up, the same hour, they went back to Jerusalem: and they found the eleven gathered together, and those that were staying with them, saying: The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way; and how they knew him in the breaking of the bread."
[Luke 24:13-20,25-35]

"And they said one to the other: Was not our heart burning within us, whilst he spoke in this way, and opened to us the scriptures?"

Marvellous words! Who can express what it must have been like to have our Lord Himself as our teacher, unfolding the whole glorious drama of the history of our salvation!

That same day he appeared to the Apostles in Jerusalem, also, by the time that Simon Peter and Cleophas had arrived back but it seems that the Scriptural authors only count this as once, presumably because it was all on the one day - that greatest of days, that of the Resurrection.

On that occasion St Thomas the Doubter is not with them:

"Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you. And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord. He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained. Now Thomas, one of the twelve, who is called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came." [John 20:19-24]

However, the following Sunday, Low Sunday, Dominica in Albis Deponendis, Close-Pasch, the Day of Divine Mercy, he appeared again and re-converted St Thomas the Doubter.

"And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus cometh, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said: Peace be to you. Then he saith to Thomas: Put in thy finger hither, and see my hands; and bring hither thy hand, and put it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing. Thomas answered, and said to him: My Lord, and my God." [John 20:26-28]

Finally He appeared the 3rd time by the Sea of Tiberias.

"After this, Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias. And he shewed himself after this manner. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas, who is called Didymus, and Nathanael, who was of Cana of Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter saith to them: I go a fishing. They say to him: We also come with thee. And they went forth, and entered into the ship: and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning was come, Jesus stood on the shore: yet the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus therefore said to them: Children, have you any meat? They answered him: No.

He saith to them: Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and you shall find. They cast therefore; and now they were not able to draw it, for the multitude of fishes. That disciple therefore whom Jesus loved, said to Peter: It is the Lord. Simon Peter, when he heard that it was the Lord, girt his coat about him, (for he was naked,) and cast himself into the sea. But the other disciples came in the ship, (for they were not far from the land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. As soon then as they came to land, they saw hot coals lying, and a fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith to them: Bring hither of the fishes which you have now caught.

Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land, full of great fishes, one hundred and fifty-three. And although there were so many, the net was not broken. Jesus saith to them: Come, and dine. And none of them who were at meat, durst ask him: Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. And Jesus cometh and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish in like manner. This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to his disciples, after he was risen from the dead." [John 23:1-14]

Thereafter, our Lord seems to have appeared many times to the Disciples, teaching them, eating with them and blessing them by His resurrected presence for 40 days in all before He was taken up into heaven at the Ascension.

"He shewed himself alive after his passion, by many proofs, for forty days appearing to them, and speaking of the kingdom of God. And eating together with them, he commanded them, that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the promise of the Father, which you have heard (saith he) by my mouth. For John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence." [Acts 1:3-5]

Blessed, indeed, then, are these holy days, the 40 days between the Resurrection and the Ascension!

During this time, the Church, in her traditional liturgy, ever ancient, ever new, marks the sundays by singing that great hymn, loosely based upon Ezechiel 47 and quoting Psalm 117, Vidi Aquam":

Vidi aquam egredientem de templo,
a latere dextro, alleluia:
et omnes, ad quos pervenit aqua ista,
salvi facti sunt, et dicent, alleluia, alleluia.

V. Confitemini Domino quoniam bonus:
R. Quoniam in saeculum misericordia eius.

V. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto:
R. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper,
et in saecula sæculorum. Amen.

I saw water coming forth from the temple
on the right side, alleluia:
and all those to whom this water came
were saved, and shall say, alleluia, alleluia.

V. Give praise to the Lord, for He is good:
R. For His mercy endureth forever.

V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost:
R. As it was in the beginning, is now,
and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Here it is sung by monks:


Good Shepherd Sunday

This is the Octave week of Good Shepherd Sunday.

Ego sum Pastor bonus, allelúja: et cognósco oves Meas, et cognóscunt Me Meæ. Allelúja, allelúja.

I am the good Shepherd, alleluia: and I know My sheep, and Mine know Me, alleluia, alleluia.

The Gospel is from John 10: 11-16:

In illo témpore: Dixit Jesus Pharisæis: "Ego sum Pastor bonus. Bonus pastor ánimam suam dat pro óvibus. Mercenárius autem et qui non est pastor, cujus non sunt oves própriæ, videt lupum veniéntem, et dimíttit oves, et fugit: et lupus rapit et dispérgit oves: mercenárius autem fugit, quia mercenárius est, et non pértinet ad eum de óvibus. Ego sum Pastor bonus: et cognósco oves meas, et cognóscunt me meæ. Sicut novit me Pater, et ego agnósco Patrem: et ánimam meam pono pro óvibus meis. Et alias oves hábeo, qum non sunt ex hoc ovíli: et illas opórtet me addúcere, et vocem meam áudient, et fiat unum ovíile, et unus pastor."

At that time Jesus said to the Pharisees: "I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming and leaveth the sheep and flieth: and the wolf catcheth and scattereth the sheep: and the hireling flieth, because he is a hireling, and he hath no care for the sheep. I am the good Shepherd: and I know Mine, and Mine know Me, as the Father knoweth Me, and I know the Father: and I lay down My life for My sheep. And other sheep I have that are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd."

Take note all pastors and bishops and be not hirelings but true shepherds!

We should also note that our Lord says He has sheep that are "not of this fold" who shall hear His voice - perhaps better than those who are currently of His Flock - and they shall become part of the Flock, too.

This should teach us to be humble and not to presume or become complacent. Some who are not currently of the Flock may be judged better than us to sit amongst the saints in Heaven.

And is that not the case today when so many Catholics have become lukewarm and flaccid to such an extent that Protestants, Jews and even some unbelievers are better than those lukewarm Catholics?

Let us remember the awesome words of God from Apocalypse 3:15-16:

"I know thy works, that thou art neither cold, nor hot. I would thou wert cold, or hot. But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth."

Terrible words!

Let us pray for the lukewarm, also, and remember that the Catholic Church is for all, including those who are not yet members. It is not a convenient little club only for cradle Catholics.

God chose the Israelites but a few later rejected Him and he transferred His favour to the Gentiles who converted to Him and loved Him better than many of His own chosen people.


Friday 24 April 2009

Angry Mr Anonymous returns...

Here's the latest from Mr Anony-mouse who has not the courage to give a name:

'The Drama Geeks who contributed to the making of the bible back in the day would laugh their asses off if they knew fools like you all to this day still take their stories as some true word of a god. Religion is a control to keep the human race from dipping into a very dark place that we all can go without "fear" of a "maker". Those who understand this can control millions of people and get them to do what they want and usually get very wealthy from doing so. One of the fastest ways to make millions is to start a church or start preaching a religion to "followers". I suppose if your version of the bible had told you to do horrible things to yourself or eat other people you would also do so? Or is their a limit to your devotion to the writings by a fellow man of which is easily corrupted?'

I wonder what "dark place that we can all go without 'fear' of a 'maker'" he has in mind.

Nazism? Stalinism? Cannibalism? Murder? Rape? Child-molestation?

And this is guy who thinks that those who believe in religion and the Bible would happily do all manner of evil things if the Bible told them.

But, of course, the Bible doesn't tell them to do evil things or to "dip into a very dark place". Quite the opposite. As he, himself, admits "Religion is a control to keep the human race from dipping into a very dark place" and thus, by implication, irreligion has no control but allows men to "dip into a very dark place".

Foolish man! By his own words he condemns himself just as so many irreligious men have done before him.

Remember how St Augustine points to the folly of the Pharisees who were ready to bribe the Roman soldiers to say that Christ escaped alive from the tomb whilst they were sleeping. Foolish men who thought they could testify to something that happened whilst they were asleep!

So, too, similar self-contradiction here.

Then he seeks to excuse his folly by claiming that religion is only about making money. Now he simply adds ignorance to his folly.

In the true Christian religion the highest examples are the saints. How did they live? Did they use religion to exploit others and make money? Quite the opposite. They lived lives of poverty, chastity and obedience, modestly, patiently, humbly and in peace with their fellow man.

Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience to live lives of humility, holiness and love of God

What of the monks and friars who seek to live the fullness of a religious life? They have to renounce all worldly goods, money, wealth, pleasure and power. They even make solemn promises called "vows" obliging themselves to live a life of poverty, chastity and obedience.

Where is the money-grabbing in this? Nowhere.

But, of course, anony-mouse will say that they were all hypocrites who only pretended to be poor, chaste and obedient. How does he know? Well, he simply doesn't know. He simply cannot accept that anyone would live like that because he couldn't do it himself and so he simply assumes that they were, and are, all hypocrites. If they were not hypocrites but really did live such a life it would be too great a challenge to his own life-style in "a very dark place" and that he could not stand. So he refuses to believe and chooses instead to mock and to hate.

Who, then, is the hypocrite? Who, then, is corrupt? And who, then, is the Pharisee?

And what happens to corrupt, hypocritical Pharisees?

Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you are like to whited sepulchres, which outwardly appear to men beautiful, but within are full of dead men's bones, and of all filthiness.
[Matt 23:27]

Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites... you shall receive the greater judgement.
[Matt 23:14]

Therefore, please pray for people like Mr Anony-mouse lest their scoffing hatred of goodness and holiness send them to a place of horror in the next life.

May they be saved by the grace and Divine Mercy of an all-merciful God. Let them respond to grace and no longer turn away from mercy.

Fresco of the Last Judgement. Michelangelo. Sistine Chapel, Vatican City.

Mr Anonymous and others like him will have to choose, as must we all, where we shall spend eternity. Where shall you go Mr Anonymous on the Day of Judgement? To love, forgiveness and mercy or to eternal loss?

Think, pray and learn to love...


Thursday 23 April 2009

St George's Day - 23 April 2009

Happy Feast of St George!

Today is the Feast of St George, Protector of the English Realm.

St George was born to a Christian family during the late third century. His father was from Cappadocia and served as an officer of the Roman army. His mother was from Lydda in Palestine.

St George followed his father into the army. It seems he was of equestrian, or knightly and thus noble, rank in Roman society and he appears to have pursued the cursus honorum beginning as a cavalryman or knight, a position reserved only for those of the knightly class. The better of the cavalry or knights went on to command as Decurion and later were selected as Tribunus militis or Military Tribune, an officer who was one of 5 staff officers in a legion.

The Roman Senate was selected from the ranks of the knights or equestrian class, and the Patrician and Senatorial classes who were able to trace their lineage to the Senatorial families of the early days of Rome, especially those who had seen extensive military service in defence of Rome and its empire.

The Roman Senate

St George was stationed in Nicomedia as a member of the personal guard attached to Roman Emperor Diocletian and was promoted comes or Count, a title, meaning a “companion”, or sometimes a chamberlain, of the Emperor, an imperial appointment either civil or military (from this idea derived the Counts-Palatine or Paladins of Charlemagne).

Many titles have a military origin including those of imperator (later Emperor but originally the commander-in-chief of the army, lit., “giver of orders”), dux (later Duke or army commander), legatus (Legate – the commander of a legion, and of senatorial rank), tribunus (staff officer of equestrian class already mentioned), praefectus castrorum (Prefect of the Camp, the most veteran soldier in the Legion but non-equestrian), primus pilus (“first spear”, the most senior centurion and commander of the first cohort, non-equestrian but usually ennobled on retirement), pilus prior (first centurion of each cohort and often its commander), primi ordines (the 5 centurions of the first cohort), centurio (centurion – the commander of a “century” of 100 men) and optio (the second-in-command of a century but able to read and write, usually).

Julius Caesar, Roman general, senator and imperator

Each legion had 10 cohorts usually each of 6 centuries (sometimes divided into 3 maniples of 2 centuries each), plus 300 or more cavalry and assorted light infantry, light cavalry and auxiliaries (often of non-Roman origin) totalling about 6,600 men. A Legate is thus roughly equivalent to a brigadier-general, a Tribune to a captain, major or colonel, a pilus prior to a non-equestrian lieutenant colonel, risen from the ranks, and a centurion to a non-equestrian captain or major, risen from the ranks.

In 303 Diocletian issued an edict authorizing the systematic persecution of Christians across the Empire. George was ordered to participate in the persecution but instead confessed to being a Christian himself and criticized the imperial decision. An enraged Diocletian ordered his torture and execution.

After various tortures, including laceration on a wheel of swords, in which he was miraculously resuscitated three times, George was executed by decapitation before Nicomedia's city wall, on 23 April 303. A witness of his suffering convinced Empress Alexandra to become Christian as well and she joined St George in martyrdom.

George’s body was returned to Lydda for burial, where Christians soon came to honour him as a martyr.

The story of George and the Dragon is by no means necessarily impossible, since reptiles of various sorts were often called dragons in former times. Even today, the Komodo dragon is still so called.

Dragons of today:
Indonesian Komodo dragons, up to 10 feet in length and up to 365 lbs weight, poison-mouthed and potentially lethal, can be seen to this day

Ancient depictions of “fire-breathing” dragons have been misinterpreted. They were so depicted to indicate the poisonous breath and mouth of such animals. Since it is the case that the Komodo has precisely such a poisonous mouth, by virtue of the bacteria living therein, venom and its diet, the earlier depictions start to look remarkably scientific and not mythical at all. The deadliest bacteria in the Komodo dragon saliva appears to be a very deadly strain of Pasteurella multocida, from studies performed with lab mice.

Alternatively, the dragon might have been a crocodile or alligator which certainly can be found in North Africa near water.

This dragon was said to have made its nest at the spring providing water for a city in the Middle East. The citizens had to dislodge the dragon from its nest for a time, in order to collect water. To do so, and to distract the dragon, each day they had to offer the dragon at first a sheep, then a human sacrifice.

In their heathenism, they treated the dragon as an evil spirit that had to be placated. The victim was chosen by drawing lots. One ill-favoured day, the lot fell upon the daughter of the king who begged for her life but this partiality was rejected by the citizenry.

St George, who was in the country with his troops, scorned the heathen weakness of the citizenry and set out, warmly encouraged of course by the king, to rescue the princess. He did so, slaying the dragon in mortal combat. The grateful citizens abandoned heathenism and converted enthusiastically to the religion of St George, namely Christianity.

Ever after, the story was seen as the triumph of Christian truth over pagan superstition and the supernatural over corrupted nature. Inevitably, it became a great Christian allegory. However, the assumption that it must, therefore, be a fable and not true, is a false assumption. The Bible is full of allegory but that does not mean it is false.

A church built in Lydda during the reign of the Emperor Constantine I (306–337), was consecrated to St George and his cultus became one of the greatest in Christendom.

This church was destroyed in 1010 but was later rebuilt and dedicated to Saint George by the Western Crusaders who quickly came to embrace his cult. In 1191 the church was again destroyed by the Ayyubid Sultan, Sala’haddin (Saladin), during the 3rd Crusade.

By the fifth century the cult of George reached the Western Roman Empire and in 494, George was canonised as a saint by Pope Gelasius I. The cult was promoted much in England by King Alfred the Great.

An apparition of George is said to have heartened the Franks at the siege of Antioch, 1098, and made a similar appearance the following year at Jerusalem.

Chivalric military orders of St George Order were established in Aragon (1201), Genoa, Hungary, and by Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor.

The Byzantine emperors had a great devotion to St George and the Palaeologue emperors created an order to restore the Labarum Guard of the Emperor Constantine, being the 50 knights who guarded the Labarum, a standard emblazoned with the Chi-Rho symbol that Constantine had seen in the sky before his victory on the Milvian Bridge. They dedicated this Order to St George giving it the symbol of the Cross and the Chi-Rho surrounded by the initials IHSV standing for "In Hoc Signo Vinces" - "In this Sign shalt thou conquer". The Order was bequeathed to the Farnese family by the Palaeologues in exile who became its Grand Master. Here is the Collar of the Order with the Chi-Rho and St George slaying the Dragon.

The collar of the Constantinian Order of St George

Today the Order's Grand Master is HRH the Infante Don Carlos of Spain.

King Edward III put his Order of the Garter under the banner of St. George. In England the Synod of Oxford, 1222 declared St. George's Day a great feast day in the kingdom of England and, famously, his name was invoked by English kings in battle, not least King Henry V at Agincourt.

"St George for Merrie England"

His feast was raised to a Festum duplex at a church council in 1415, on the date that had become associated with his martyrdom, 23 April.

William Shakespeare was born and died on 23 April, St George's Day.

William Shakespeare, born and died on St George's Day

The Order of the Garter is still given in the name of “God, our Lady and St George” and features an image of St George slaying the Dragon. The hip decoration, at the bottom of the sash, is still called “the lesser George”.

The original Garter Star was always diamond-encrusted until, after the illegal seizure of the throne by the Protestant German Hanoverians, the diamonds were only retained for the sovereign and consort. The Garter blue of the sash was also darkened so as to distinguish it from the ancient colour which was associated with the Stuarts.

The diamond-encrusted Garter star

The Garter Star features, to this day, in a great many military symbols e.g. the rank stars of officers in the Household Cavalry and Division and in the Honourable Artillery Company. St George features in a great many other military symbols and traditions of the British armed forces and in British society generally.

St George’s Day is, indeed, a great day to be celebrated in the Kingdom of England and for Great Britain.

The Queen in the Garter procession as Sovereign of the Order.
The Garter is still conferred in the name of "God, our Lady and St George".

"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is set from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge

'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'


Wednesday 22 April 2009

Quasimodo Sunday (Feast of Divine Mercy): "As newborn babes desire the rational milk without guile..."

Dominica in Albis Deponendis

(Sunday when the newly baptised finally put off their white garments of Easter)

also called

Quasimodo Sunday


Low Sunday




the Feast of Divine Mercy

"Quasimodo geniti infantes, alleluia, rationabile sine dolo lac concupiscite. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia."

"As newborn babes, alleluia, desire the rational milk without guile. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia"
[1 Peter 2:2; Introit for the Mass of Low Sunday]

"Deinde dicit Thomae: infer digitum tuum huc et vide manus meas, et affer manum tuam et mitte in latus meum et noli esse incredulus sed fidelis. Respondit Thomas et dixit ei: Dominus meus et Deus meus!"

"Then He said to Thomas 'Put in thy fingers hither and see my hands and bring hither thy hand and put it into my side and be not faithless but believing'. Thomas answered and said to him 'My Lord and my God!' "
[John 20:27-28; Gospel of Low Sunday]

Caravaggio. Doubting Thomas. 1602-1603

"Dearly beloved, laying away all malice and all guile and dissimulations and envies and all detractions as newborn babes desire the rational milk without guile, that thereby you may grow unto salvation, if so be you have tasted that the Lord is sweet...for you are a chosen race, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people that you may declare His virtues who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light."
[1 Peter 2:2-3, 9]

"Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you. And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord. He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained. Now Thomas, one of the twelve, who is called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him: We have seen the Lord. But he said to them: Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus cometh, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said: Peace be to you. Then he saith to Thomas: Put in thy finger hither, and see my hands; and bring hither thy hand, and put it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing. Thomas answered, and said to him: My Lord, and my God. Jesus saith to him: Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed."
[John 20:19-29]

"In the Old Covenant I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to My people. Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart. (1588)

It's a sign for the end times; after it will come the day of justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy; let them profit from the Blood and Water which gushed forth for them. (848)

Before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the doors of My mercy. He who refuses to pass through the doors of My mercy must pass through the doors of My justice... (1146)"

[Diary of Divine Mercy, Revelation of our Lord to St Maria Faustina of the Blessed Sacrament (Helen Kowalska)]

St Faustina Kowalska, messenger of Divine Mercy

"Sanctus Deus, Sanctus Fortis, Sanctus Immortalis, miserere nobis"

"Hagios Theos, hagios ischyros, hagios athanatos, eleison imas"

"Elohim hakadosh, Elohim hakol yakhol, rakhem aleinu, veal kol haolam"

"Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us"

[The ancient prayer of the Trisagion from the Improperia or "Reproaches" of the Good Friday liturgy in Latin, Greek, Aramaic and English, dating back to at least the 5th century. They form part of the Divine Mercy prayers requested of St Faustina by our Lord.]

Domenikos Theotocopoulos (El Greco). The Holy Trinity. 1577.


Sunday 12 April 2009

Easter Sunday: Christus surrexit, alleluia, alleluia!

Easter Sunday

Christus surrexit,
sicut dixit,

Christ is risen
as he said!

[Correggio. Noli me tangere. 1525]

"When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome, bought spices so that they might come and anoint Jesus...and on a sabbath morning they came to the sepulchre after sunrise...and looking up they saw that the stone was rolled back. Alleluia!"
[Taverner, Dum transisset sabbatum from Mark 16, sung at the Easter Vigil mass of Holy Saturday night]

"The Angels said to her 'Woman, why are you weeping?'. She said to them 'Because they have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid Him'. Saying this she turned round and saw Jesus standing but she did not know that it was Jesus. Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him 'Sir, if you have carried Him away tell me where you have laid Him and I will take Him away'. And Jesus said to her 'Mary'. She turned and said to Him in Hebrew 'Rabboni!'".
[John 20]

"She went and said to the Disciples 'I have seen the Lord!' "
[John 20]

Victimae paschali laudes
immolent Christiani
Agnus redemit oves:
Christus innocens Patri
Reconciliavit peccatores.
Mors et vita duello conflixere mirando,
Dux vitae mortuus, regnat vivus.
Dic nobis Maria, quid vidisti in via?
Sepulcrum Christi viventis,
Et gloriam vidi resurgentis:
Angelicos testes, sudarium et vestes.
Surrexit Christus spes mea:
Praecedet vos in Galilaeam.
Credendum est magis soli
Mariae veraci
Quam Judaeorum
Turbae fallaci.
Scimus Christum surrexisse
a mortuis vere:
Tu nobis, victor Rex, miserere.
Amen. Alleluia.

To the Paschal victim let Christians
Offer up their songs of praise.
The Lamb has redeemed the sheep:
Christ who is without sin
Has reconciled sinners to the Father.
Death and life have fought a huge battle,
The Prince of Life was dead, but lives and reigns.
Tell us, Mary, what did you see on your way?
'The tomb of Christ, who is alive,
And I saw the glory of his rising;
Angels standing as witnesses, the shroud and linen cloth.
Christ my hope has risen:
He has gone to Galilee before you'.
More trust should be placed in truthful Mary
Than in the deceitful crowd of Jews.
Truly, we know Christ has risen from the dead:
O King and victor, have mercy on us. Amen. Alleluia.

[Wipo of Burgundy, Victimi Paschali Laudes. 1040. Sung on Easter Sunday]

Surrexit Christus hodie! Alleluia!

Christ is risen today! Alleluia!


Novena to the Divine Mercy at Easter

Some are a little dismissive of the Divine Mercy devotions, perhaps partly because they see them as untraditional and late in time or new-fangled.

In fact, it is entirely fitting that Quasimodo Sunday should have been chosen by the Supreme Pontiff for the Feast of Divine Mercy since it is the day when St Thomas the Doubter was reconciled from his doubts, as the Gospel tells us, and, after placing his hands in the wounds of Christ, made the act of faith saying, "My Lord and my God!".

It is also the day when the introit of the traditional Roman rite repeats the words of St Peter:

"laying away all malice and all guile and dissimulations and envies and all detractions, just as the new born infants desire the rational milk without guile..."

This is a highly appropriate verse for those seeking out the mercy of God. Moreover, this day was the day when the neophytes, having been baptised at the Easter Vigil, and having worn their white baptismal robes (nowadays still used for infant baptism) for the full week, set aside their white robes having been filled with all the grace and blessing of baptism.

This, then, is surely the very day when the accumulation of God's grace and mercy is at its height and the Faithful ought, therefore, to seek access thereto all the more fully.

The Sacred Penitentiary, the Church's highest court (yes, really; it is higher than the Apostolic Signature or the Sacred Rota), in its Decree of 29 June 2002, set out the conditions for a Plenary Indulgence granted by the Supreme Pontiff. The Decree states:

"And so the Supreme Pontiff, motivated by an ardent desire to foster in Christians this devotion to Divine Mercy as much as possible in the hope of offering great spiritual fruit to the faithful, in the Audience granted on 13 June 2002, to those Responsible for the Apostolic Penitentiary, granted the following Indulgences:

- a plenary indulgence, granted under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who, on the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honour of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!");

- a partial indulgence, granted to the faithful who, at least with a contrite heart, pray to the merciful Lord Jesus a legitimately approved invocation."

Confession and Communion may, according to the Penitentiary's guidance, be on any day 20 days either side of Low Sunday.

Below are reproduced the Novena to the Divine Mercy which began on Good Friday.

Even if you missed it, join in anyway. This is the original and real Novena and not the censored version put forward by some temerarious people who think that they have the right to alter the very words of Christ Himself to Sr Faustina because it was not "trendy" and "ecumenical" enough.

9 Day Novena to the Divine Mercy at Easter

Encourage souls to place great trust in My fathomless mercy. Let the weak, sinful soul have no fear to approach Me, for even if it had more sins than there are grains of sand in the world, all would be drowned in the immeasurable depths of My mercy.
(Message to Saint Faustina from our Lord)

I desire that during these nine days you bring souls to the fount of My mercy, that they may draw there from strength and refreshment and whatever graces they need in the hardships of life and, especially, at the hour of death

On each day you will bring to My Heart a different group of souls, and you will immerse them in this ocean of My mercy, and I will bring all these souls into the house of My Father. You will do this in this life and in the next. I will deny nothing to any soul whom you will bring to the fount of My mercy. On each day you will beg My Father, on the strength of My bitter Passion, for graces for these souls.

I answered, "Jesus, I do not know how to make this novena or which souls to bring first into Your Most Compassionate Heart. "Jesus replied that He would tell me which souls to bring each day into His Heart.

Day One

Today, bring to Me all mankind, especially all sinners, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. In this way you will console Me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me.

Most Merciful Jesus, whose very nature it is to have compassion on us and to forgive us, do not look upon our sins, but upon the trust which we place in Your infinite goodness. Receive us all into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart, and never let us escape from It. We beg this of You by Your love which unites You to the Father and the Holy Spirit.

O omnipotence of Divine Mercy, Salvation of sinful man, You are a sea of mercy and compassion;You aid him who entreats You with humility.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, show us Your mercy, that we may praise the omnipotence of Your mercy forever and ever. Amen.

Now say the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

Day Two

Today bring to Me the souls of priests and religious, and immerse them in My unfathomable mercy. It was they who gave Me the strength to endure My bitter Passion.Through them, as through channels, My mercy flows out upon mankind.

Most Merciful Jesus, from whom comes all that is good, increase Your grace in us, that we may perform worthy works of mercy, and that all who see us may glorify the Father of Mercy who is in heaven.

The fountain of God's love Dwells in pure hearts, Bathed in the Sea of Mercy, Radiant as stars, bright as the dawn.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the company [of chosen ones in Your vineyard upon the souls of priests and religious; and endow them with the strength of Your blessing. For the love of the Heart of Your Son, in which they are enfolded, impart to them Your power and light, that they may be able to guide others in the way of salvation, and with one voice sing praise to Your boundless mercy for ages without end. Amen.

Now say the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

Day Three

Today bring to Me all devout and faithful souls, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. These souls brought Me consolation on the Way of the Cross. They were that drop of consolation in the midst of an ocean of bitterness.

Most Merciful Jesus, from the treasury of Your mercy,You impart Your graces in great abundance to each and all. Receive us into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart and never let us escape from It. We beg this of You by that most wondrous love for the heavenly Father with which Your Heart burns so fiercely.

The miracles of mercy are impenetrable.Neither the sinner nor just one will fathom them. When You cast upon us an eye of pity, You draw us all closer to Your love.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon faithful souls, as upon the inheritance of Your Son. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, grant them Your blessing and surround them with Your constant protection. Thus may they never fail in love or lose the treasure of the holy faith, but rather, with all the hosts of Angels and Saints, may they glorify Your boundless mercy for endless ages Amen.

Now say the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

Day Four

Today bring to Me the pagans and those who do not yet know me. I was thinking also of them during My bitter Passion, and their future zeal comforted My Heart. Immerse them in the ocean of My mercy.

Most Compassionate Jesus, You are the Light of the whole world. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of pagans who as yet do not know You. Let the rays of Your grace enlighten them that they, too, together with us, may extol Your wonderful mercy; and do not let them escape from the abode which is Your Most Compassionate Heart.

May the light of Your love Enlighten the souls in darkness; Grant that these souls will know You And, together with us, praise Your mercy.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of pagans and of those who as yet do not know You, but who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Draw them to the light of the Gospel. These souls do not know what great happiness it is to love You. Grant that they, too, may extol the generosity of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.

Now say the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

Day Five

Today bring to Me the souls of heretics and schismatics, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. During My bitter Passion they tore at My Body and Heart; that is, My Church. As they return to unity with the Church, My wounds heal, and in this way they alleviate My Passion.

Most Merciful Jesus, Goodness Itself, You do not refuse light to those who seek it of You. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of heretics and schismatics. Draw them by Your light into the unity of the Church, and do not let them escape from the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart; but bring it about that they, too, come to adore the generosity of Your mercy.

Even for those who have torn the garment of Your unity, A fount of mercy flows from Your Heart. The omnipotence of Your mercy, 0 God, Can lead these souls also out of error.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of heretics and schismatics, who have squandered Your blessings and misused Your graces by obstinately persisting in their errors. Do not look upon their errors, but upon the love of Your own Son and upon His bitter Passion, which He underwent for their sake, since they, too, are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Bring it about that they also may glorify Your great mercy for endless ages. Amen.

Now say the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

Day Six

Today bring to Me the meek and humble souls and the souls of little children, and immerse them in My mercy. These souls most closely resemble My Heart. They strengthened Me during My bitter agony. I saw them as earthly Angels, who would keep vigil at My altars. I pour out upon them whole torrents of grace. Only the humble soul is able to receive My grace. I favor humble souls with My confidence.

Most Merciful Jesus, You yourself have said, "Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart." Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart all meek and humble souls and the souls of little children. These souls send all heaven into ecstasy, and they are the heavenly Father's favorites. They are a sweet-smelling bouquet before the throne of God; God himself takes delight in their fragrance. These souls have a permanent abode in Your Most Compassionate Heart, 0 Jesus, and they unceasingly sing out a hymn of love and mercy

A truly gentle and humble soul Already here on earth the air of paradise breathes, And in the fragrance of her humble heart The Creator Himself delights.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon meek and humble souls, and upon the souls of little children, who are enfolded in the abode which is the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls bear the closest resemblance to Your Son. Their fragrance rises from the earth and reaches Your very throne. Father of mercy and of all goodness, I beg You by the love You bear these souls and by the delight You take in them:bless the whole world, that all souls together may sing out the praises of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.

Now say the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

Day Seven

Today bring to Me the souls who especially venerate and glorify My mercy, and immerse them in My mercy. These souls sorrowed most over My Passion and entered most deeply into My Spirit. They are living images of My Compassionate Heart. These souls will shine with a special brightness in the next life. Not one of them will go into the fire of hell. I shall particularly defend each one of them at the hour of death.

Most Merciful Jesus, whose Heart is Love Itself, receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who particularly extol and venerate the greatness of Your mercy.These souls are mighty with the very power of God Himself. In the midst of all afflictions and adversities they go forward, confident of Your mercy. These souls are united to Jesus and carry all mankind on their shoulders. These souls will not be judged severely, but Your mercy will embrace them as they depart from this life. A soul who praises the goodness of her Lord She is always close to the living fountain And draws graces from Mercy Divine.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls who glorify and venerate Your greatest attribute, that of Your fathomless mercy, and who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls are a living Gospel; their hands are full of deeds of mercy, and their spirit, overflowing with joy, sings a canticle of mercy to You, 0 Most High! I beg You 0 God: Show them Your mercy according to the hope and trust they have placed in You. Let there be accomplished in them the promise of Jesus, who said to them, I Myself will defend as My own glory, during their lifetime, and especially at the hour of their death, those souls who will venerate My fathomless mercy. Amen

Now say the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

Day Eight

Today bring to Me the souls who are in the prison of Purgatory, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. Let the torrents of My Blood cool down their scorching flames. All these souls are greatly loved by Me. They are making retribution to My justice. It is in your power to bring them relief. Draw all the indulgences from the treasury of My Church and offer them on their behalf. Oh, if you only knew the torments they suffer, you would continually offer for them the alms of the spirit and pay off their debt to My justice.

Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said that You desire mercy; so I bring into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls in Purgatory, souls who are very dear to You, and yet, who must make retribution to Your justice. May the streams of Blood and Water which gushed forth from Your Heart put out the flames of the purifying fire, that in that place, too, the power of Your mercy may be praised.

From the terrible heat of the cleansing fire Rises a plaint to Your mercy, And they receive comfort, refreshment, relief In the stream of mingled Blood and Water.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls suffering in Purgatory, who are enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. I beg You, by the sorrowful Passion of Jesus Your Son, and by all the bitterness with which His most sacred Soul was flooded, manifest Your mercy to the souls who are under Your just scrutiny. Look upon them in no other way than through the Wounds of Jesus, Your dearly beloved Son; for we firmly believe that there is no limit to Your goodness and compassion. Amen

Now say the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

Day Nine

Today bring to Me souls who have become lukewarm, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls.They were the reason I cried out: "Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will." For them, the last hope of salvation is to flee to My mercy.

Most compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love let these tepid souls, who, like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. 0 Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardour of Your love; and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.

Fire and ice cannot be joined; Either the fire dies, or the ice melts. But by Your mercy, 0 God, You can make up for all that is lacking.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls, who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: Let them, too, glorify the abyss of Your mercy....Amen.

Now say the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

O Lord, in Your Divine Mercy, save us and save sinners!


Saturday 11 April 2009

Holy Saturday: "Jerusalem, be converted unto the Lord thy God..."

Holy Saturday

"See how the city that was filled now sits solitary...there is none to comfort her among all them that were dear to her...
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted unto the Lord thy God!"

[Caravaggio. The Entombment. c.1602-1604]

"See how the city that was filled now sits solitary...there is none to comfort her among all them that were dear to her...Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted unto the Lord thy God!"
[Office of Tenebrae of Maundy Thursday (Matins), Lamentations of Jeremiah the Prophet, ch.1]

"Arise O Jerusalem and put off thy garments of joy: put on ashes and sackcloth, for in thee was slain the Saviour of Israel."
[Responsory, Tenebrae (Matins) of Holy Saturday]

"Remember, Lord, what is come upon us: consider and behold our reproach. Our inheritance is turned unto aliens, our houses to strangers. We are become orphans without a father, our mothers are as widows...our fathers have sinned and are no more and we have borne their iniquities.
[Tenebrae (Matins) of Holy Saturday, prayer of the prophet Jeremiah]

"I am counted among them that go down to the pit. I am become like a man without help free among the dead."
[Responsory, Tenebrae (Matins) of Holy Saturday]

"For when every commandment of the Law had been read by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of goats and calves and of goats with water and scarlet wool and hyssop and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people saying, this is the blood of the Testament which God hath enjoined upon you. The tabernacle also and all the vessels of the ministry in like manner he sprinkled with blood. And almost all things according to the Law are cleansed with blood and without shedding of blood there is no remission."
[Heb. ix.]

"When the Lord was buried they sealed the sepulchre rolling a stone before the mouth of the sepulchre and placed soldiers to guard Him."
[Responsory, Tenebrae (Matins) of Holy Saturday]

"O death I will be thy death! O hell, I will be thy bite!"
[Antiphon of the Miserere, Tenebrae (Lauds) of Holy Saturday]

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted unto the Lord thy God!



Friday 10 April 2009

Good Friday: "Attend and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow..."

Good Friday

Popule meus, quid feci tibi, aut in quo contristavi me?
Responde mihi!

“O my people! What have I done to thee? Wherein have I offended thee?
Answer me!

Titian. Christ Crowned with Thorns. 1540.

"For he hath taken us and he will heal us: he will strike and he will cure us. He will revive after two days: on the third day he will raise us up and we shall live in his sight. We shall know and we shall follow on, that we know the Lord...for I desired mercy and not animal sacrifice and the knowledge of God more than holocausts."
[Hosea 6, First lesson sung at the Good Friday Service of the Mass of the Pre-sanctified]

"He had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the whole chastisement that made us whole and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter and like a sheep that is dumb before its shearers, he opened not his mouth."
[Isaiah 53, Epistle for Wednesday in Holy Week]

"Jesus answered: ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now my kingdom is not from hence’. Pilate therefore said to Him ‘Art Thou a King then?’ Jesus answered ‘Thou sayest that I am a King. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, that I should give testimony of the truth. Everyone that is of the truth heareth My voice…

…Then therefore Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him and the soldiers plaiting a Crown of Thorns, put it upon His head and they put upon Him a purple mantle and they came to Him and said ‘Hail King of the Jews!’ and they gave Him blows."
[John, 18]

Regnavit a ligno Deus.
"God hath reigned from a tree."
[From Vexilla Regis, St Venantius Fortunatus, sung during the Good Friday Service of the Passion.]

"What more ought I to have done for thee, that I have not done? I planted thee, indeed, My most beautiful vineyard and thou hast become exceeding bitter to Me, for in My thirst thou gavest Me vinegar to drink and with a lance thou pierced the side of thy Saviour!
… For thy sake I scourged Egypt with its first-born and thou didst deliver Me up to be scourged…
… I gave thee a royal sceptre and thou didst give My head a crown of thorns…
… I exalted thee with great strength and thou didst hang Me on the gibbet of the Cross…
O my people! What have I done to thee? Wherein have I offended thee? Answer me!"
[Improperia or Reproaches of Christ to His people and to us all, from the Good Friday Service of the Passion.]

O vos omnes, qui transitis per viam, attendite et videte si est dolor sicut dolor meus.
"O all ye that pass by the way, attend and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow."
[Lamentations of Jeremiah, sung at Tenebrae (Matins and Lauds) on Maundy Thursday]

Diego Velázquez. Christ Crucified. c. 1632.

"And they took Jesus and led Him forth. And bearing His cross, He went forth to that place that is called Calvary but in Hebrew Golgotha, where they crucified Him and with Him two others, one on each side and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title also and he put it upon the Cross and the writing was ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews’… and it was written in Hebrew, in Greek, and in Latin."
[John 18]


Maundy Thursday: "A new commandment I give you..."

Maundy Thursday

Mandatum novum do vobis...

Philippe de Champaigne. The Last Supper. 1654.

ALEPH: Quomodo sedet sola civitas, plena populo, facta es quasi vidua; domina gentium, princeps provinicarum, facta est sub tributo.

ALEPH: How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! How is she become as a widow! She that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!
[Lamentations of Jeremiah 1:1, the beginning of Tenebrae (Matins) for Maundy Thursday]

"And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: 'This month shall be to you the beginning of months. It shall be the first in the months of the year...on the tenth day of this month let every man take a lamb by their families and houses... and it shall be a lamb WITHOUT BLEMISH, a male, of one year...and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month and the whole multitude of the children of Israel shall sacrifice it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood thereof and put it upon both the side posts and on the upper door posts of the houses wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh that night roasted at the fire and unleavened bread with wild lettuce... neither shall there remain any thing of it until morning. If there be anything left you shall burn it with fire. And thus shall you eat it: you shall gird your reins and you shall have shoes on your feet, holding staves in your hands and you shall eat in haste for it is the Phase (that is the Passage) of the Lord... And I shall see the blood and shall pass over you...and this day shall be for a memorial to you and you shall keep it a feast to the Lord in your generations with an everlasting observance'... And Moses said... 'Thou shalt keep this thing as a law for thee and thy children forever...and when your children shall say to you "What is the meaning of this service" you shall say to them "It is the victim of the passage of the Lord when He passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, striking the Egyptians and saving our houses..."
[Exod 12]

"Now the feast of the unleavened bread which is called the Pasch was at hand...and when the hour was come He sat down and the twelve apostles with Him and He said to them 'With desire I have desired to eat this Pasch with you before I suffer, for I say to you that from this time I will not eat it till it be fulfilled in the Kingdom of God'... And taking bread He gave thanks, and brake and gave them saying 'This is my body which is given up for you. Do this for a commemoration of me'. In like manner the chalice also, after He had supped, saying 'This is the chalice, the new testament in my blood, which shall be shed for you'.
[Luke 22]

"On the night of that last supper,
Seated with His chosen band,
He the paschal victim eating,
First fulfils the Law's command.
Then as food to all His brethren
Gives Himself with His own hand"
[Pange lingua gloriosi, sung at the Maundy Mass.]

"Before the festival day of the Pasch, Jesus knowing that His hour was come...having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them unto the end. And when supper was ended... He riseth from supper and..having taken a towel, girded Himself. After that, He putteth water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded...Then after He had washed their feet and taken His garments, being set down again, He said to them 'Know you what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord. And you say well; for so I am. If then I being your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet."
[John 13]

Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos, dicit Dominus.
"A new commandment I give you that you love one another as I have loved you, saith the Lord."
[John 13:34, sung at the Maundy Mass]

Ubi caritas et amor ubi Deus est. Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor. Exultemus et in ipso jucundemur. Timeamus et amemus Deum vivum. Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.
"Where charity and love are there is God. The love of Christ has gathered us together. Let us rejoice in Him and be glad. Let us fear and love the living God and let us love one another with a sincere heart."
[John 2:3-4, sung at the Maundy Mass]

Vincenzo Civerchio. Christ washing the feet of the disciples. 1544.

"And going out He went, according to His custom, to the Mount of Olives and His disciples also followed Him... and kneeling down He prayed saying 'Father, if Thou wilt, remove this chalice from me but not yet my will but Thine be done'...And He being in agony, He prayed the longer and His sweat became as drops of blood trickling down upon the ground."
[Luke 22:39-44]

Wednesday 1 April 2009

HOLY WEEK and THE SACRED TRIDUUM: details of services across London

Holy Week and the Sacred Triduum
Details of Services

St Bede
58 Thornton Rd., Clapham Park, London SW12 OLF Fax: 020 8671 5366
Rev Christopher Basden, Parish Priest Tel. 020 8674 3704
Rev Andrew Southwell – Tel: 020 8678 5128
Rev Mariusz Zacharski - Tel: 020 8678 5816

Convent of the Handmaids of Mary
La Retraite Convent
2, Atkins Road
London SW12 0AB
Rev Mother Rosa Puerta - Tel: 020 8673 1247

(The choir of St Bede’s will chant the ancient and traditional services)

Palm Sunday (5th April 2009)
Dominica in Palmis - Blessing and Procession of Palms
Convent 10.30am

Maundy Thursday (9th April 2009)
Feria V in Cena Domini – Mass of the Lord’s Supper
Parish Church 6.00pm

Good Friday (10th April 2009)
Feria VI in Parasceve – Mass of the Pre-sanctified
Convent 3.00pm

Holy Saturday (11th April 2009)
Sabbato Sancto - Solemn Easter Vigil
Convent 7.30pm

Easter Sunday (12th April 2009)
Dominica Resurrectionis – Easter Day
Parish Church Mass 10.45am
Vespers 5.00pm


Grand Priory of England and
British Association of
The Sovereign Military Order of Malta

All services are in the Oratory of the Order:

The Conventual Church of Saint John of Jerusalem
the Hospital of Saint John and Saint Elizabeth
Grove End Road
St John’s Wood
London, NW8 9NH.

MAUNDY THURSDAY (9th April, 2009)
Matins and Lauds (‘Tenebrae’) 10.00am
Sext 12.45pm
None 2.30pm
(Vespers are omitted by those assisting in choir at the Evening Mass)
Spiritual Conference on the Liturgy 7.15pm
Solemn Mass ‘in Cena Domini’ 8.00pm
followed by Procession to Altar of Repose and Stripping of the Altars
Compline (at the Altar of Repose) after the Stripping of the Altars

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at the Altar of Repose will continue until Midnight.

GOOD FRIDAY (10th April, 2009)
Matins and Lauds (‘Tenebrae’) 10.00am
Sext 12.45pm
None 2.00pm
(Vespers are omitted by those assisting in choir at the Liturgy of the Passion)
Spiritual Conference on the Liturgy 2.15pm
Solemn Liturgy of the Passion 3.00pm
Compline, with Veneration of the relic of the True Cross 6.00pm

HOLY SATURDAY (11th April, 2009)
Matins and Lauds (‘Tenebrae’) 10.00am
Sext 12.45pm
None 2.30pm
Vespers 5.00pm
(Compline and Matins are omitted by those assisting in choir at the Solemn Easter Vigil.)
Spiritual Conference on the Liturgy 9.15pm
Solemn Easter Vigil 10.00pm

EASTER SUNDAY (12th April, 2009)
Solemn High Mass 11.00am
Solemn Vespers and Benediction 4.00pm



Corpus Christi
Maiden Lane
London WC2

(5 minutes’ walk from Covent Garden and Charing X tube stations)

Palm Sunday, 5th - 6.00pm
Blessing and Procession of Palms and Missa cantata
Pueri hebraeorum - Palestrina
Pueri hebraeorum - Victoria
Mass for Four Voices - Byrd

Spy Wednesday, 8th - 7.00pm
Tenebrae - Matins and Lauds of Holy Thursday
Lamentations - Victoria
Responsories - Malcolm (1-3); Victoria (4-9)
Benedictus - Handl
Christus factus est - Anerio

Holy Thursday, 9th - 6.30pm
Missa in coena Domini
Missa brevis - Palestrina
Ego sum panis vivus - Victoria
Pange lingua - Palestrina

Good Friday, 10th - 3.00pm
Mass of the Presanctified
St. John Passion - Soriano
Improperia - Victoria
Crux fidelis - King John of Portugal
Caligaverunt - Victoria

Holy Saturday, 11th - 7.00pm
Vigil and First Mass of Easter
Sicut cervus - Palestrina
Missa Quarti toni - Victoria

Director: Charles Finch e:


The London Oratory

Brompton Road,
London SW7 2RP
Tel: 0207 808 0900

NB: Save for Tenebrae these services are in the Novus Ordo rites not the traditional Roman rite.

PALM SUNDAY (6th April 2009)
11.00 am Solemn Mass (Latin—Novus Ordo)
Pueri Hebraeorum Victoria.
Ingrediente Domino Walter Austin.
St Mark Passion Soriano.
Tristis est anima mea Alonso Lobo.
Mass XVII (Sanctus & Agnus) Gregorian chant.
O Domine Jesu Christe Gombert.
3.30 pm Solemn Vespers & Benediction
Vexilla Regis prodeunt Thomas Wingham.
Magnificat Tone 8 à 5 Anon.
Civitas sancti tui Byrd

SPY WEDNESDAY (8th April 2009)
6.30pm Tenebrae in Cena Domini: Victoria Responsories

MAUNDY THURSDAY (9th Arpil 2009)
6.30pm Solemn Latin Mass (Novus Ordo)
Prelude: Dies sind die heil’gen zehn Gebot (678) Bach.
Theresienmesse (Kyrie & Gloria) Haydn.
Ubi caritas Duruflé.
Fratres ego enim accepi Palestrina.
Mass XVIII (Sanctus & Agnus) Gregorian.
Hoc est praeceptum meum Guerrero.
Pange lingua Palestrina.

GOOD FRIDAY (10th April 2009)
10.00am Tenebrae
Responsories Victoria.
Benedictus Tone 1 Handl.
Christus factus est Felice Anerio.
12 Noon Stations of the Cross
3.00pm Solemn Liturgy of the Passion (Novus Ordo)
St John Passion Byrd.
Improperia I & II Victoria.
Crux fidelis King John of Portugal.
O vos omnes Dering.
Ne irascaris Domine Byrd.
Adoramus te Christe Monteverdi.
Lamentations I à 5 White
6.30pm Stations of the Cross

HOLY SATURDAY (11th April 2009)
10.00am Tenebrae
Responsories Victoria.
Benedictus Tone 1 Victoria.
Christus factus est Felice Anerio.
9.30pm Solemn Vigil, Baptisms & Confirmations and First Mass of Easter Day
Canticles Gregorian chant & Russill.
Nelson Mass Haydn.
Sicut cervus Palestrina.
Dum transisset sabbatum I Taverner.
Benedictus Malcolm / Hoban.
Concerto in C (592) Vivaldi arr. Bach

EASTER SUNDAY (12th April 2009)
11.00 am Solemn Mass (Latin—Novus Ordo)
Missa Papae Marcelli Palestrina.
Christus resugens Allegri.
Surrexit pastor bonus L’héritier.
Grand Prélude (Suite du 5me ton) Boyvin.
3.30 pm Solemn Vespers & Benediction
Haec dies Sheppard.
Magnificat Tone 3 Robledo.
Surgens Jesus Lassus.
Regina caeli Aichinger.
Prelude: Christ lag in Todesbanden (62)