Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Very First Anglican Mass: In Latin

I recently came across the interim 1548 Holy Communion Office put in place for approximately 15 months before the 1549 BCP was completed. The Order instructed the priest to celebrate his traditional Latin Mass with these few additions added in English. The only changes I've made are to capitalize the personal pronouns referring to God; all other capitalization is in the original.

The time of the Communion shall be immediately after that the Priest himself hath received the Sacrament, without the varying of any other rite or ceremony in the Mass, (until other order shall be provided) but as heretofore usually the Priest hath done with the Sacrament of the Body, to prepare, bless, and consecrate so much as will serve the people; so it shall yet continue still after the same manner and form, save that he shall bless and consecrate the biggest Chalice or some fair and convenient Cup or Cups full of Wine, with some Water put unto it. And that day not drink it up all himself, but taking one only sup or draught, leave the rest upon the Altar covered, and turn to them that are disposed to be partakers of the Communion, and shall thus exhort them as followeth.

DEARLY beloved in the Lord, ye, coming to this holy Communion, must consider what S. Paul writeth to the Corinthians, how be exhorteth all persons diligently to try and examine themselves, or ever they presume to eat of this Bread and drink of this Cup. For as the benefit is great, if with a truly penitent heart and lively faith we receive this holy Sacrament; (for then we spiritually eat the Flesh of Christ, and drink His Blood; then we dwell in Christ, and Christ in us; we be made one with Christ, and Christ with us): So is the danger great, if we receive the same unworthily; for then we become guilty of the Body and Blood of Christ our Saviour; we eat and drink our own damnation, because we make no difference of the Lord’s Body; we kindle God’s wrath over us; we provoke Him to plague us with divers diseases, and sundry kinds of death. Judge therefore yourselves (brethren), that ye be not judged of the Lord; let your mind be without desire to sin; repent you truly for your sins past; have an earnest and lively faith in Christ our Saviour; be in perfect charity with all men; so shall ye be meet partakers of these holy Mysteries. But above all things you must give most humble and hearty thanks to God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, for the redemption of the world by the Death and Passion of our Saviour Christ, both God and Man; who did humble himself, even to the death upon the Cross, for us miserable sinners, lying in darkness and the shadow of death; that He might make us the children of God, and exalt us to everlasting Life. And to the end that we alway should remember the exceeding love of our Master and only Saviour Jesus Christ, thus doing for us, and the innumerable benefits which by His precious blood-shedding He hath obtained to us; He hath left in these holy Mysteries, as a pledge of His love, and a continual remembrance of the same, His own blessed Body and precious Blood, for us spiritually to feed upon, to our endless comfort and consolation. To Him therefore, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, let us give, as we are most bound, continual thanks; submitting ourselves wholly to His holy will and pleasure, and studying to serve Him in true holiness and righteousness all the days of our life. Amen.

Then the Priest shall say to them that be ready to take the Sacrament,

IF any man here be an open blasphemer, advouterer [adulterer], in malice, or envy, or any other notable crime, and be not truly sorry therefore, and earnestly minded to leave the same vices, or that doth not trust himself to be reconciled to Almighty God, and in charity with all the world, let him yet a while bewail his sins, and not come to this holy Table, lest, after the taking of this most blessed Bread, the devil enter into him, as he did into Judas, to fulfil in him all iniquity, and to bring him to destruction, both of body and soul.

Here the Priest shall pause a while, to see if any man will withdraw himself : and if he perceive any so to do, then let him common with him privily at convenient leisure, and see whether he can with good exhortation bring him to grace. And after a little pause, the Priest shall say.

You that do truly and earnestly repent you of your sins and offences committed to Almighty God, and be in love and charity with your neighbours, and intend to lead a new life, and heartily to follow the commandments of God, and to walk from henceforth in his holy ways; draw near, and take this holy Sacrament to your comfort, make your humble Confession to Almighty God, and to his holy Church, here gathered together in his Name, meekly kneeling upon your knees.

Then shall a general Confession be made, in the name of all those that are minded to receive the holy Communion, either by one of them, or else by one of the Ministers, or by the Priest himself; all kneeling humbly upon their knees.

ALMIGHTY God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We knowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed by thought, word, and deed, against Thy divine Majesty, provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, and be heartily sorry for these our misdoings; the remembrance of them is grievous unto us; the burthen of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; for Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake forgive us all that is past; and grant that we may ever hereafter serve and please Thee in newness of life, to the honour and glory of Thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Then shall the Priest stand up, and turning him to the people, say thus:

OUR blessed Lord, Who hath left power to His Church to absolve penitent sinners from their sins, and to restore to the grace of the heavenly Father such as truly believe in Christ; Have mercy upon you; pardon and deliver you from all sins; confirm and, strength you in all goodness; and bring you to everlasting life.

Then shall the priest stand up, and turning him to the people, say thus:

Hear what comfortable words our Saviour Christ saith to all that truly turn to Him. COME unto Me all that travail and be heavy leaden, and I shall refresh you. So God loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in Him should not perish, but have life everlasting. Hear also what S. Paul saith. This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be embraced and received, That Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners. Hear also what S. John saith. If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: He it is that obtained grace for our sins.

Then shall the Priest kneel down and say, in the name of all them that shall receive the Communion, this prayer following:

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 be 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, in these holy Mysteries, that we may continually dwell in Him, and He in us, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by His Body, and our souls washed through His most precious Blood. Amen.

Then shall the Priest rise, the people still reverently kneeling, and the Priest shall deliver the Communion first to the Ministers, if any be there present, that they may be ready to help the Priest, and after to the other. And when he doth deliver the Sacrament of the Body of Christ, he shall say to every one these words following.

THE Body of our Lord Jesus Christ which was given for thee, preserve thy body unto everlasting life.

And the Priest, delivering the Sacrament of the Blood, and giving every one to drink once and no more, shall say.

THE Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ which was shed for thee, preserve thy soul unto everlasting life.

If there be a Deacon, or other Priest, then shall he follow with the Chalice; and as the Priest ministereth the Bread, so shall he, for more expedition, minister the Wine, in form before written. Then shall the Priest, turning him to the people, let the people depart with this blessing:

THE peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

To the which the people shall answer,

A few reflections:

1. What an odd hybrid the Anglicans could have been saddled with: the medieval Latin uses combined with the priest exhorting people who communed a handful of times a year at best that God will "plague us with divers diseases, and sundry kinds of death" and allow "the devil enter into him, as he did into Judas."

2. Never let anyone tell you a Latin Mass isn't Anglican!


Blogger William Weedon said...

You might wish to compare that exhortation to the exhortations commonly found in Lutheran liturgies of the same period. They are definitely of a piece, even to the use of identical phraseology and construction of the logic.

Here's one that's a few year's later than that one, but again, quite similar to it. It was composed, it is thought, by Martin Chemnitz for the Braunschweig Church Order:


Note, too, the curious thing that much of what is found in the classical anaphorae has resurfaced here, proclaimed to the people as an "exhortation" but still much in the spirit of joyful celebration.

7:41 AM  

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