What's Happening‎ > ‎

Divine Worship - the Offertory

posted Nov 2, 2013, 9:47 AM by Rochester Ordinariate   [ updated Nov 2, 2013, 2:33 PM ]
In this post, I will discuss the offertory.  It may seem a bit excessive to have a whole post for just the changes in this one small portion of the mass, but in my opinion, this is the biggest difference in the text of the mass from the Book of Divine worship - at least for how we exercise the various options at the St. Alban fellowship.

We begin with the offertory sentences which introduce the collection of alms and the Offertory itself.  As before, I delineate the official instruction from my commentary with horizontal lines.

The Sentences
Omitted from the BDW
(These Sentences from the Bible, called the "Offertory" Sentences in the Prayer Book tradition, here function as scriptural warrants or biddings for the collection.)

Ratio: These brief passages from Scripture are not called "Offertory" Sentences here to distinguish them from the proper Offertory Antiphon which accompanies the preparation of the Altar and Gifts, the Priest's offering of bread and wine, as distinct from the People's offering of alms for the needs of the Church and relief of the poor.



For those unfamiliar with the historical Anglican tradition, I give some of the sentences below:
  • Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.   -Matthew 5:16
  • Offer unto God the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay thy vows unto the Most High.  -Psalm 50:14
  • Ascribe to the Lord the honor due his Name; bring offerings and come into his courts. -Psalm 96:8 
  • Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God.   -Ephesians 5:2 
  • All things come of thee, O Lord, and of thine own do we give thee.  -1 Chronicles 29:14 
  • Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’. -cf Acts 20:35
Note also an interesting point in the Ratio:  The offering of bread and wine is the offering of the Priest, as distinct from the people's offering of alms.  I do not believe that I have ever heard this teaching, and it is indeed obscured in modern practice of having laity bring forward the gifts of bread and wine in many places.  At the FSA, the gifts are brought from the credence table by the acolytes.  This mirrors the practice of the ancient priest Melchizedek, who tithed bread and wine.

The Preparation of the Altar and the Gifts
Text and rubrics in the BDW corresponding to the Roman Missal.
Offertory (Form I)
Offertory (Form II)

Ratio: Allowing a certain pastoral flexibility, the Ordinariate Mass gives two versions of the Offertory prayers. For the Offertory (Form I), Ordinariate usage provides the traditional Roman form of the Offertory, in the translations derived from the Anglican missals (and said quietly), while the Offertory (Form II) consists in the Offertory prayers from the modem Roman Rite as freshly translated from the Latin and presented in consistent, traditional "Prayer Book" English.


Here we come to the big change.  Up until now, we have had the modern ICEL translation of the 1969 revised Roman rite:

Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this bread to offer, which earth has given and human hands have made. It will become for us the bread of life.
Then he places the paten with the bread on the corporal. If no offertory psalm, hymn, or anthem is sung, the Priest may say the preceding words in an audible voice. Then the People may respond:
Blessed be God for ever.
The Deacon (or the Priest) pours wine and a little water into the chalice, saying quietly:

By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity.
Then the Priest takes the chalice and, holding it slightly raised above the altar, says quietly:

Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this wine to offer, fruit of the vine and work of human hands. It will become our spiritual drink.

I think to many Anglican Use Catholics, this prayer, stuck into the middle of the Tudor English of Rite I, has been jarring.  The prayer itself is a novelty in the new order of the Roman mass, and of course also the Anglican tradition, either pre- or post-reformation, and (I understand) derives from the Jewish family grace before meals.

This is now optionally replaced with "the traditional Roman form of the Offertory, in the translations derived from the Anglican missals".  Have a look at the Knott (English) missal for comparison.

Receive, O holy Father, almighty and everlasting God, this spotless host, which I, thine unworthy servant, now offer unto thee, my living and true God, for my numberless sins, offences, and negligences; for all here present; as also for the faithful in Christ, both the quick and the dead, that it may avail for their salvation and mine, unto life everlasting. Amen. 
Then making a cross with the paten, he places the paten with the bread upon the corporal. 
O God +, who didst wondrously create, and yet more wondrously renew the dignity of man’s nature: Grant that by the mystery of this water and wine we may be made partakers of his divinity, as he vouchsafed to become partaker of our humanity, even Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
Then he takes the chalice, and offers it, slightly elevating it and saying in a low voice: 
We offer unto thee, O Lord, the chalice of salvation, beseeching thy mercy, that it may ascend in the sight of thy divine majesty as a sweet smelling savour for our salvation, and for that of the whole world. Amen. 
He makes the sign of the cross with the chalice and places it upon the corporal, and covers it with the pall. Then with hands joined upon the altar, bowing he says:  
In a humble spirit, and with a contrite heart, may we be accepted of thee, O Lord, and so let our sacrifice be offered in thy sight this day, that it may be pleasing unto thee, O Lord our God. 
Standing upright, he extends his hands, raises them and joins them, and lifting his eyes to heaven and then lowering them, says: 
Come, thou O sanctifier, almighty, everlasting God, and + bless this sacrifice, made ready for thy holy Name.
If incense is used, he blesses it saying: 
Through the intercession of blessed Michael the Archangel standing at the right hand of the altar of incense, and of all his elect, may the Lord vouchsafe to + bless this incense, and to receive it for a sweet smelling savour; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
And receiving the thurible, he censes the Oblations, in the customary manner.  Then he censes the altar and returns the thurible to the Deacon or server. Then the Priest is then censed, and afterwards the others in order. Meanwhile, the Priest, standing at the side of the altar, washes his hands, saying in a low voice: 
I will wash my hands in innocency, O Lord; and so will I go to thine altar; That I may show the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works. Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house and the place where thine honour dwelleth. O shut not up my soul with the sinners, nor my life with the blood-thirsty; In whose hands is wickedness, and their right hand is full of gifts. But as for me, I will walk innocently: O deliver me, and be merciful unto me. My foot standeth right; I will praise the Lord in the congregations. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. 
Then bowing in the middle of the altar, with hands joined upon it, he says in a low voice: 
Receive, O holy Trinity, this oblation which we offer unto thee in memory of the passion, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ; in honour of blessed Mary ever-virgin, of blessed John the Baptist, of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the Saints, that it may be to their honour, and for our salvation; and that like as we remember them on earth, so in heaven they may plead for us. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen. 
The Priest kisses the altar and, turning towards the People, extending and then joining his hands, says:

Pray, brethren, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable unto God, the Father almighty. 
The People stand and respond: 
May the Lord accept the sacrifice at thy hands, for the praise and glory of his Name, for our good and the good of all his holy Church.

There are clearly very big differences between the prayers, in terms of the sheer length, the characteristics of the prayer, and the theology expressed.  The rubrics imply ad orientem celebration as we always do anyway.  Many commentators have pointed out the notion of the mass as an unbloody sacrifice is front and center in the English Missal/Extraordinary Form offertory.  This change is huge.

One thing I wonder about are the prayers said during the incensing of the altar by the priest.  They are not mentioned in the rubrics, but I recall that Pope Benedict XVI would sometimes quietly say them during the Ordinary Form celebrations, so I wonder if it is permitted Sotto Voce? We will have to inquire about it with the authorities.  They are:



Let my prayer, O Lord, be set forth in thy sight as the incense: and let the lifting up of my hands be an evening sacrifice. Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, and keep the door of my lips: O let not mine heart be inclined to any evil thing, let me not be occupied in ungodly works.

The older censing rubrics (i.e. Fortescue and O'Connell) indicate the gestures of censing during the praying of this prayer.  This is also described in great detail in Anglican ceremonial books.  Notes of Ceremonial, by Pickering and Chatto (1888) has a very nice illustration plate on page xix similar to the one posted here, giving the precise words associated with the precise censing action in numerical order.  These are rubrics!


The other option permitted in the Ordinariate order of mass is the modern offertory expressed in Tudor English - precisely the opposite of "aggiornamento", so as to be in conformity in style with the rest of the Use. 

Blessed art thou, O Lord, God of all creation, for of thy bounty have we received this bread which we offer unto thee, fruit of the earth and the work of human hands:  whence it shall become for us the bread of life.
Then he places the paten with the bread on the corporal. If, however, the Offertory Chant is not sung, the Priest may speak these words aloud; at the end, the People may acclaim:
Blessed be God for ever.
The Deacon, or the Priest, pours wine and a little water into the chalice, saying quietly:
By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity.
The Priest then takes the chalice and holds it slightly raised above the altar with both hands, saying in a low voice:
Blessed art thou, O Lord, God of all creation, for of thy bounty have we received this wine which we offer unto thee, fruit of the vine and the work of human hands: whence it shall become for us our spiritual drink.
Then he places the chalice on the corporal. If, however, the Offertory Chant is not sung, the Priest may speak these words aloud; at the end, the People may acclaim:
Blessed be God for ever.
After this, the Priest, bowing profoundly, says quietly:
In a humble spirit, and with a contrite heart, may we be accepted of thee, O Lord, and so let our sacrifice be offered in thy sight this day that it may be pleasing unto thee, O Lord God.
If incense is used, he blesses it and censes the offerings, the cross, and the altar in the customary manner. A Deacon or a server then censes the Priest and the People. Then the Priest, standing at the side of the altar, washes his hands, saying quietly:
Wash me thoroughly, O Lord, from my wickedness and cleanse me from my sin.
The Priest kisses the altar and, turning towards the People, extending and then joining his hands, says:
Pray, brethren, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable unto God, the Father almighty.
The People stand and respond:
May the Lord accept the sacrifice at thy hands, for the praise and glory of his Name, for our good and the good of all his holy Church.

My own reaction to this move is mixed.  On one hand, I just complained about how the old BDW used the modern translation - so this should satisfy my critique of the lack of uniformity of style.  Yes.  On the other hand, it does seem odd to take this prayer composed in Latin in the 1960s and translate it to Tudor style English.  You see what a hard job these guys on the liturgical commission have? So, while I am glad this was done, I can say with some confidence we will be saying the traditional Roman offertory in the translation taken from the Anglo-Catholic missals at the St. Alban fellowship.  In one stroke, it solves many problems: liturgical, historical, linguistic and theological. 

In my next post, I will go forward and discuss changes and options in the Canon of the Mass.
Comments