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Divine Worship - The Canon and concluding prayers

posted Nov 10, 2013, 9:09 PM by Rochester Ordinariate   [ updated Nov 12, 2013, 3:25 PM ]
The remainder of the mass has fairly minor changes from our current practice.  Most importantly in what has not changed, the prayers surrounding the consecration of the elements, is the Roman canon rendered in traditional English.  Also known as the Gregorian canon, it is an ancient prayer, and the heart of the rite.  In the pre-reformation English Sarum Use, this canon is exactly the same as the Roman rite.  I understand the translation comes from one of the Anglo-Catholic missals, but is similar to an earlier translation by Coverdale.  Those who are unfamiliar with this translation can read it online in the earlier Book of Divine Worship.

The prayer is very rich (and lengthy!) - and up to now we use it every Sunday, although the older Book of Divine Worship permitted some of the alternative Eucharistic prayers given in the Ordinary Form to be used instead.  No longer!  On Sundays and solemnities, only the Roman canon is permitted to be used.  Optionally, for weekday masses (something we have not had the luxury of celebrating so far in Rochester), Eucharistic Prayer II may be used, translated from the Latin into prayerbook English, similar to the optional offeratory taken from the Ordinary Form.  An English cleric recently commented about this:  "I would defend EPII as a weekday prayer in that, that way, it is only the most catechised who get to hear it.  Those who hear the Roman Canon (or have reason to believe it is being said….) or EPIII are given a more satisfactory (in more senses than one) account of what is going on."

After the consecration, we have the "memorial acclamations", put into Prayerbook English.  Interestingly, the third one is given as:

"O Saviour of the world, who by thy Cross and precious Blood hast redeemed us: save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord."  As before I distinguish the official instruction from my ignorant musings:

Ratio: These so called "memorial acclamations," previously taken verbatim from the modem Roman Missal, are now rendered in traditional language. The third, a variation on the Roman Missal's Salvator mundi, salvanos, qui per crucem et resurrectionem tuam liberasti nos, is specially approved for Ordinariate usage in the Anglican Prayer Book's translation of the traditional Salvator Mundi (as preserved in the historic Book of Common Prayer's Office for the Visitation of the Sick.

We have already discussed the standing posture for the Lord's Prayer; additionally, there is a change in the bidding prayer to bring it closer to the BCP:

"As our Saviour Christ hath commanded and taught us, we are bold to say"

Ratio: The bidding of the Lord's Prayer in Ordinariate usage restores the form most widespread in the classic Prayer Books and the form closer to the Latin of the Roman Rite (Praeceptis salutaribus moniti, et divina institutione formati, audemus dicere - "At the Saviour's command and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say..."

We now have the "embolism" of the Roman Rite, where the priest says another prayer and the doxology before concluding the Lord's Prayer:

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.... The Priest alone continues:  Deliver us, O Lord, we beseech thee, from all evils, past, present, and to come; and at the intercession of the blessed and glorious ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with thy blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and  with Andrew, and all the Saints, favourably grant peace in our days, that by the help of thine availing mercy we may ever both be free from sin and safe from all distress. The People respond: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen

The Ratio mentions that "The embolism is here rendered in its traditional form in a translation deriving from the Anglican missals."

The peace was discussed in an earlier post.  After some further conversations about this, I think my earlier hesitation about this move is satisfactorily answered if we adopt the older Latin practice, which is the same as (at least some) Canadian Anglican practice - that is to simply not have a communal sharing of the peace - so to the priest's "The Peace of The Lord be always with you", we simply respond "and with thy spirit", and go on to the fraction and the Prayer of Humble Access.  Indeed, reading other Ordinariate church's plans, (see here for example) it seems this will be a common practice.  Some have interpreted this as an aversion to being at peace with our fellow congregants, but this is to simply miss the point.

We now come to the revised form of the Prayer of Humble access; a change I appreciate quite a bit.  Here is the full prayer we will say:

We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord whose property is always to have mercy. Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen

This is an incredibly powerful prayer!  It is one of the glories of this Use.  The underlined, boldface phrase is restored, which makes it that much more intense:  our souls washed in his precious blood!  Think about it.  Here is the Ratio:

This prayer, truncated in the BDW and 1979 US BCP, is here restored to its complete and traditional form as given in all the classic BCPs. The under lined clause ("...that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood ...") is here added and reflects some ancient liturgical formulas as well as the Eucharistic theology of St.Thomas Aquinas, among other fathers and doctors of the Church.

So, once again, the liturgical committee is unmaking the changes of the 1979 U.S. BCP, grandfathered into the older BDW.  While it is not completely clear from the Ratio, the underlined portion is in the classic BCPs, such as the 1552.

Continuing on that theme, we come to the Invitation to Communion, now given as:

Behold the Lamb of God, behold him that taketh away the sins of the world. Blessed are those who are called to the Supper of the Lamb

Ratio:The BDW's Invitation beginning "The Gifts of God for the People of God" represents a quasi-Byzantine appropriation, previously unknown in the Anglican tradition. For Ordinariate usage, reflecting the Roman Rite and Anglican missals, the Invitation is the traditional Ecce Agnus Dei, with the addition of the Ordinary Form's Beati qui ad cenam Agni vocati sunt ("Blessed are those called to the Supper of the Lamb")

Once again with the quasi-Byzantine appropriation!  

We come to the words of Administration:

The Body of our Lord, Jesus Christ, which was given for thee, preserve thy body and soul until everlasting life. [Amen].  (Similarly for the chalice).

This was done to restore the use of the 1549 Prayerbook, without the additions of the later Prayerbooks.  It preserves the classically Anglican version of the same Latin prayer.  As a reminder, the 1549 was the first Book of Common Prayer, and a large portion of it was simply an English translation of the Latin of the Sarum Use.

In the post-communion Thanksgiving Prayer, a phrase is restored,
"...by the merits of the most precious death and passion of thy dear Son."

which was (once again) truncated in the 1979 US BCP and the BDW.
After this, the priest's post-communion prayer is added.

We now come to the end of the mass with a bang, because you think we are done - but no!  Under additional features of the Ordinariate Usage is the Last Gospel.  

The Last Gospel (a.k.a. the prologue to St. John's gospel) is a feature that I did not grow up with, but was also not unaware of.  Whenever I attended mass at St. Francis, Dallas, or St. Timothy's church, Ft. Worth (now an Ordinariate parish), I would hear the Last Gospel and be intrigued.  Some people view it as unnecessary addition, and that is undoubtedly the reason why it got cut in the 1969 reform of the Roman rite.  However, I have come to just love it.  It says it all, in such an elegant and poetic way.  I am so glad this was included in our revised Use.

In my next and final post on this subject, I will give a few more personal observations and give a more zoomed out perspective on what changes have been made to the "shape of the liturgy".