1. Her Virgin eyes saw God incarnate born,
when she to Bethlem came that happy morn:
how high her raptures then began to swell,
none but her own omniscient Son can tell.
2. As Eve, when she her fontal sin reviewed,
wept for herself and all she should include,
blest Mary, with man’s Saviour in embrace,
joyed for herself and for all human race.
3. All saints are by her Son’s dear influence blest;
she kept the very fountain at her breast:
the Son adored and nursed by the sweet Maid
a thousandfold of love for love repaid.
4. Heaven with transcendent joys her entrance graced,
next to his throne her Son his Mother placed;
and here below, now she’s of heaven possest,
all generations are to call her blest.
Thomas Ken, 1637-1711
(Anglican Bishop of Bath & Wells, 1685-1691)
Grant to us, we beseech thee, O Lord: that we, who celebrate the festival of the Blessed Virgin Mary our Queen, being defended by her succour, may obtain peace in this world, and glory in that which is to come; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
O how glorious is the kingdom in which all the Saints rejoice with Christ,
and, clad in white robes, follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.
V. Let the Saints be joyful in glory. R. Let them rejoice in their beds.
O ALMIGHTY GOD, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord: grant us grace so to follow thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and godly living; that through their intercession we may come to those unspeakable joys, which thou hast prepared for them that unfeignedly love thee; through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
from the Wednesday Commemoration of the Saints, St Gregory’s Prayer Book
1. I sing a song of the saints of God,
Patient and brave and true,
Who toiled and fought and lived and died
For the Lord they loved and knew.
And one was a doctor, and one was a queen,
And one was a shepherdess on the green;
They were all of them saints of God, and I mean,
God helping, to be one too.
2. They loved their Lord so dear, so dear,
And his love made them strong;
And they followed the right for Jesus’ sake
The whole of their good lives long.
And one was a soldier, and one was a priest,
And one was slain by a fierce wild beast;
And there’s not any reason, no, not the least,
Why I shouldn’t be one too.
3. They lived not only in ages past;
There are hundreds of thousands still.
The world is bright with the joyous saints
Who love to do Jesus’ will.
You can meet them in school, or in lanes, or at sea,
In church, or in trains, or in shops, or at tea;
For the saints of God are just folk like me,
And I mean to be one too.
Lesbia Scott, 1898-1986
The Westminster Hymnal no.152
Mgr Ronald Knox, 1888-1957
Fr Frederick Faber, Cong. Orat., 1814-1863
The English Catholic Hymn Book no.881
Fr Frederick Faber, Cong. Orat., 1814-1863
Bishop Synesius, 375-430, translated by A.W. Chatfield, 1808-1896
The English Hymnal no.77
Ex more docti mystico
c. 6th century, translated by John Mason Neale, 1818-1866
The English Hymnal no.65
St Andrew of Crete, 660-732, translated by J. M. Neale, 1818-1866
The English Hymnal no.72
Next Sunday is Septuagesima, the beginning of that period of Pre-Lent, consisting of three Sundays that precede and prepare the Church (according to the Ordinariate and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite) for the great penitential season of Lent. The liturgical character of this period anticipates Lent by omitting the Alleluia and the Gloria from Mass, and the Te Deum from the Divine Office, and by clothing the church and her ministers in violet.
The ancient hymn below, translated by the eminent Anglican hymnographer, John Mason Neale, may be sung on this Sunday before Septuagesima, so as to emphasise the bittersweet loss of the Alleluia from the Sacred Liturgy; a word dear to the hearts of Christians, that will not now be heard again until the Easter Vigil. Here follows Neale’s own explanation:
‘The Latin Church, as it is well known, forbade, as a general role, the use of Alleluia in Septuagesima. Hence, in more than one ritual, its frequent repetition on the Saturday before Septuagesima, as if by way of farewell to its employment. This custom was enjoined in the German Dioceses by the Council of Aix-la-Chapelle, in 817: but various reasons render it probable that the following hymn is not of earlier date than the thirteenth century. The farewell to Alleluia in the Mozarabic rite is so lovely that I give it here. After the Alleluia Perenne, the Capitula are as follows:— “Alleluia in heaven and in earth; it is perpetuated in heaven, it is sung in earth. There it resounds everlastingly: here sweetly. There happily; here concordantly. There ineffably; here earnestly. There without syllables; here in musical numbers. There from the Angels; here from the people. Which, at the birth of Christ the Lord, not only in heaven, but the earth, did the Angels sing; while they proclaimed, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will”. The Benediction:— “Let that Alleluia which is ineffably sung in heaven, be more efficaciously declared in your praises. Amen. unceasingly sung by Angels, let it here be uttered brokenly by all faithful people. Amen. That it, as it is called the praise of God, and as it imitates you in that praise, may cause you to be enrolled as denizens of the eternal mansion. Amen”. The Lauda:— “Thou shalt go, O Alleluia; Thou shalt have a prosperous journey, O Alleluia. R. And again with joy thou shalt return to us, O Alleluia. V. For in their hands they shall bear thee up; lest thou hurt thy foot against a stone. R. And again with joy thou shalt return to us, O Alleluia”’.
Mediaeval Hymns and Sequences, 1867, edited by John Mason Neale, 1818-1866
to the tune Tantum Ergo, The English Hymnal, no. 63
On this final ferial day of this month dedicated to the Most Holy Name of Jesus, a hymn by Edward Perronet. The son of a Kent vicar, Perronet grew to know and work alongside the Wesleys well, but later fell out with them, and with both the Church of England and the Methodist movement, and ended up pastoring dissenting congregations. In his will Perronet left money to William Shrubsole (1760-1806), the composer of the tune Miles Lane, written to accompany this hymn.
On this memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, one of my favourite hymns, so loved by my wife and I that we chose it for our wedding day (16 years ago tomorrow). The hymn was written in 1870 by Caroline Noel, the daughter of an Anglican priest. My preferred tune is that of Evelyns, composed by William Henry Monk (1823-1893).
1. At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow,
Every tongue confess him King of glory now;
’Tis the Father’s pleasure we should call him Lord,
Who from the beginning was the mighty Word.
2. At his voice creation sprang at once to sight:
All the Angel faces, all the hosts of light,
Thrones and dominations, stars upon their way,
All the heavenly orders in their great array.
3. Humbled for a season, to receive a name
From the lips of sinners, unto whom he came;
Faithfully he bore it ,spotless to the last,
Brought it back victorious when from death he passed:
4. Bore it up triumphant, with its human light,
Through all ranks of creatures, to the central height,
To the throne of Godhead, to the Father’s breast,
Filled it with the glory of that perfect rest.
5. Name him, brothers, name him, with love as strong as death,
But with awe and wonder, and with bated breath;
He is God the Saviour, he is Christ the Lord,
Ever to be worshipped, trusted, and adored.
6. In your hearts enthrone him; there let him subdue
All that is not holy, all that is not true:
Crown him as your captain, in temptations’ hour;
Let his will enfold you in its light and power.
7. Brothers, this Lord Jesus shall return again,
With his Father’s glory, with his Angel train;
For all wreaths of empire meet upon his brow,
And our hearts confess him King of glory now.
Caroline Noel, 1817-1877
no.368 The English Hymnal (to the tune Evelyns)
Canon T.A. Lacey, 1853-1931
Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God: that we may in all things be comforted by the intercession of holy Mary, Mother of God, of all the Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors and Virgins, and all the Saints of England: and that like as we do call to mind their godliness of life; so we may be effectually defended by their help; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
Continuing the theme of yesterday’s feast of Our Lady of Walsingham, today I’m sharing the original version of the Walsingham Pilgrim Hymn, written by Sir William Milner (1893-1960) and sung to the tune Lourdes, with its familiar refrain of the Aves. The hymn was revised by Father Hope Patten’s successor as Administrator of the Anglican shrine, Father Colin Stephenson, in 1960 (after Sir William’s death that year, and two years after Hope Patten’s death - canny timing, that). The version below is taken from the third edition of the The Pilgrims’ Manual, dated 1949 (the first edition was published in 1928, but the hymn predates this, as Father Cobb, in his history of the shrine, indicates that the first issue of Our Lady’s Mirror in 1926 mentions the hymn). In my 1949 manual the hymn is prefaced with these brief words of explanation: ‘This processional is based on the mediaeval legend, long loved by our Catholic forefathers’.
Comparing the two versions is an interesting exercise in literary taste, history, memory, and mixed emotion. The older form of the hymn is longer by five verses and, for those who enjoy the stuff of legend, it happily fleshes it out somewhat, particularly on the detail of Richeldis’ vision of the Virgin and the miraculous circumstances of the erection of the Holy House at the hands of Our Lady herself, with Lady Richeldis’ chaplain receiving an honourable mention. Also notable is that whereas the updated version of the hymn references Henry VIII as a ‘king who had greed in his eyes’ (the older version speaks, more poetically, of his ‘covetous eyes’) in relation to the treasures and wealth of the shrine, the older version sounds a more merciful note of regal rehabilitation (‘But his soul did repent, when he came for to die/And to Walsingham’s Lady for mercy did cry’). This is lacking in the present form, which feels, to me at least, notwithstanding the historical accuracy, just a tad heart-rending (especially when the accompanying organ sounds an ominous note during the verse; though I do realise that this is much enjoyed by others of a more mischievous disposition).
Father Stephenson’s version also includes a curious verse which, like the above, as an Anglican I always considered peculiar given the shrine’s place within the life of the established Church of England. Now, as a Catholic of the Ordinariate, it’s certainly much easier, theologically, to sing (‘And this realm which had once been Our Lady’s own Dower/Had its Church now enslaved by the secular power’), but its continued presence within the canon of the Walsingham Pilgrim Hymn of the Anglican shrine is even more baffling in light of the happy existence of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Sir William’s version makes no mention of this emasculation, thus rendering it more coherent for those Anglicans who have not (yet) taken up the generous offer of the Ordinariate which, if nothing else, promises that liberty for the Church from the slavish excesses of the secular power...
Of course the older version had its critics long before Father Stephenson amended it. Michael Yelton, in his excellent history of Father Hope Patten and the Anglican shrine, notes that Sir William’s words ‘have often been criticised for their banality,’ and references Bishop Henley Henson’s (then-Bishop of Durham) attack on it as ‘pitiable rubbish’. But in these days of revived traditional worship in its hieratic register of English (think Divine Worship: The Missal...), I rather like it. It won’t catch on too widely, of course, because the present version, now nearly sixty years old, is much-treasured, not least because there are some memorable and even fun verses to be found therein (‘Then lift high your voices, rehearse the glad tale/Of Our Lady’s appearing in Stiffkey’s fair vale’, and ‘So crowded were roads that the stars, people say/That shine in the heavens were called Walsingham Way,’ for example). Nonetheless, perhaps Sir William’s old hymn can be dusted off and brought out in an Ordinariate context from time to time where the rhyming of ‘meads’ with ‘bedes’ is happily married in verse, and where the use of such old-fashioned phrases as ‘celestial-crowned’, ‘full wondrous’, ‘for to die’, ‘right soon’, ‘forthwith goodly store’, and the like might be regarded as (albeit antiquated) treasures to be shared... Anyway, judge it for yourself.
to the tune St Cross, by J.B. Dykes, 1823-1876
Frederick Faber, Cong. Orat., 1814-1863
Bangor Antiphony, 7th century, translated by Fr Adrian Fortescue, 1874-1923
Fr Lee Kenyon
A Treasure to be Shared
The Acolyte’s Toolbox