We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, he draws us to himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.—St. Francis of Assisi.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Poetry of the Liturgy: Vouchsafe, O Lord... .

There is a word, a curious word—at least to speakers of contemporary English—that is frequently employed in the Ordinariate Mass (Divine Worship). It is a lovely word; a beautiful word. 

That word affirms right relationship with God. The creature—man—petitions his Creator with a word that recognizes his creatureliness, his dignity as a child of God.

Christ restores man's friendship with God. Thus we who were once fallen, and now restored to grace through Baptism and, when having sinned after Baptism, through the Sacrament of Penance, are able to once again speak with God as Adam and Eve once spoke with our loving Father in the primordial Garden, Eden.

The word of which we here intend to speak is a bridge between our narrow preoccupations and the freedom of worshipping God with reverence due to Him.

We adore God, and so we petition Him to grant to us, in His infinite mercy, a just answer to our prayers as only God can. We trust in God's mercy, His right judgement and His love of His creation.

We, His redeemed children, approach our Father in heaven with due deference, familiarity and profound humility. We approach Him through words such as 'vouchsafe'.
vouch·safe
verb: vouchsafe; 3rd person present: vouchsafes; past tense: vouchsafed; past participle: vouchsafed; gerund or present participle: vouchsafing
  • give or grant (something) to (someone) in a gracious or condescending manner: "it is a blessing vouchsafed him by heaven"
  • reveal or disclose (information): "you'd never vouchsafed that interesting tidbit before" 
Middle English: originally as the phrase vouch something safe on someone, i.e., ‘warrant the secure conferment of (something on someone).’
The use of vouchsafe in the Divine Worship of the Ordinariate:
From the Offertory
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, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Preparation of Incense/Thurible

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.
From the Roman Canon
We offer them unto thee, first, for thy holy Catholic Church: that thou vouchsafe to keep her in peace, to guard, unite, and govern her throughout the whole world; together with thy servant N., our Pope, N., our Bishop, (or N., our Ordinary), and all the faithful guardians of the catholic and apostolic faith.
[...]
Vouchsafe to look upon them with a merciful and pleasant countenance; and to accept them, even as thou didst vouchsafe to accept the gifts of thy servant Abel the righteous, and the sacrifice of our patriarch Abraham; and the holy sacrifice, the immaculate victim, which thy high priest Melchisedech offered unto thee.
How often do we hear awkward phrases used in an impromptu prayer (of the Ordinary Form Mass) which leave one wondering 'Is the prayer to which we append our Amen an actual prayer or merely a slogan to facilitate our acquiescence to or agreement with mere propaganda promoted by a priest or liturgy committee bent on shaping hearts and minds to conform to some secular ideology?' The Universal Prayer (Prayer of the Faithful, General Intercessions) of the Ordinary Form liturgy has become in far too many instances a most tiresome arena in which people try to conform the will of God to the will of man.

Vouchsafe typically appears in many collects (propers) of the Ordinariate Mass. It is a word that causes "modern" mouths to stumble... in a good and meaningful way. The word slows us down to a tempo whereby we may more fully appreciate the right relationship between God and man.

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