19th Sunday in Ordinary Time August 11th 2019
Dark Red Book page 126
And now the Anthem!
It was lovely to attend Choral Evensong at St Alphege, marking the retirement of the Revd. Chris Moody. Sure enough, towards the end of the service came the familiar announcement; “The Choir will now sing… The Anthem”. It was an exquisite rendering of “Let all the world” (“5 mystical Songs” Vaughan Williams). Fr Martin was with us. He asked me afterwards: “What was that music where the tune kept coming back to the same words?” “Why Martin” I exclaimed: “That was the Anthem!” When I was about 7 years old my little school (38 kids in the whole place!) celebrated its centenary. There was a “BIG” celebration in the little church adjacent. Somebody at that time decided that I could sing! I was dutifully draped in a red robe, a frilly white starched ruff and a gleaming white surplice. Accordingly, I was set up, all alone to sing “Lead me Lord, lead me in thy righteousness, make thy way plain before my face”.
That melody has never left me. It is a theme that recurs in my prayers especially when I have some life changing decision to face. This is why I like to sing the Mass! The melody should never leave you. I sang it from the first moment I had my own Anglican Parish and all through 15 years as a Catholic prison chaplain. So, very quickly as a child, I found myself thus attired, every week, singing Mattins & Evensong and the Holy Communion Service. I remember my first wedding! Mr Wright the choir master was such a kindly man. I remember him explaining we had to sing; Praise my Soul and Love Divine all the usual stuff and then a special lady would come and sing THE ANTHEM! I was very excited. I knew the Anthem of course because there was only one! How appropriate I thought it should be at the end of the wedding that a special lady would come and sing THE ANTHEM! I remember her clearly. She was a beautiful woman from S Africa called Elsa. I can see and hear her now. She stood on the steps. My heart filled with pride as I knew that she would sing about the Queen and how we all sincerely hoped that she would “be saved”! And then something strange happened: She sung words I had never heard in a language I did not know, to a woman I thought I knew about but never realised at seven years old that she was rightfully herself… “A Queen” !
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus.
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei,
ora pro nobis peccatoribus,
nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.
I was mystified until the words turned into English:
Mighty, yet lowly, Pure and most holy,
Hear from thy starry throne our prayer:
Though faithless friends may grieve us,
Wealth and fortune leave us,
Grant to our grief and to our pain
thy tender care. Sancta Maria Sancta Maria!
When we are tearful,
When we are fearful,
Give to us thine aid,
to us thine aid, thine aid of prayer!
I don’t think I ever heard those words again in our little CofE church except that they never left me. They entranced me from that moment and have remained the second vital theme tune to my life. I hope they are a theme tune for yours as well!
Have you been following the Twitter Account?
Jane Lawson keeps a very lively and informative account that is updated daily with matters relating to the Star of the Sea and all kinds of current issues concerning the Catholic Faith, Art, Education, your local Community and Social Justice. Look for: https://twitter.com/MarisCrooms
August 15th is the Feast of the Assumption.
So many associations cluster around this feast where a wide variety of images provoke reflexion. The Eastern Churches keep the same festival on the same day but know it by different name: The “Dormition of Mary”. The word dormition means “falling asleep”; Orthodox icons portray Mary falling asleep in the Lord (cf. back page). Biblical narratives often use the idea of sleeping as a reference to being dead. You may have visited the Church of the Dormition in Jerusalem. There are frequent Eastern icons depicting the “Death of the Virgin” where Christ receives her soul. But we believe in “The Resurrection of the Body”!
Christians remember how she held him, wrapped in swaddling clothes, newly born into this life. Now, with roles reversed, Christ holds her wrapped in a burial sheet as like a new-born child. “Your grave and death,” they sing on August 15, “could not keep the Mother of Life.” It is a theme that is found in the poetry of St Ephrem who says that the incarnate Christ had to emerge both “From the Womb and from The Tomb” d373. There has long been a discussion that asks whether the Virgin experienced death, or whether she was taken directly into Heaven like Elijah in 2Kgs2:1? While the New Testament does not provide information about the end of her life, Revelation 12 describes Mary in her heavenly form “Clothed with the Sun and standing on the Moon”. This is the image that is shown in the window at OLSS in the Sacred Heart Chapel (cf. back page). The official Catholic dogma leaves the subject open: “having completed the course of her earthly life, (The Virgin Mary) was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory“. Saint Pope John Paul probably offers the best reflection. At a general audience in 1997 reflecting on a passage of St Severus of Antioch (d598) he said:
“To share in Christ’s Resurrection, Mary had first to share in his death”.“The Mother of God died of love for her Son Jesus (Treatise on the Love of God, bk7, ch. XIII–XIV). Whatever… caused the end of her bodily life, it can be said that for Mary the passage from this life to the next was the full development of grace in glory, so that no death can ever be so fittingly described as a “dormition” as hers.” (abbreviated)
The difference between the Ascension of Jesus and the Assumption of Mary is that Christ Ascends into heaven by the might of his own divine person, whereas in the assumption, Christ stoops down at the end of her earthly life to lift his mother to be with him where he is now.
Betty G, Ellen N, Laurence K, Francis F, Patrick F, Sarah G, John C, Philomena H, John C, Margaret L, Fr John Maxwell, Roseanna K, Daniel B, Sheila A
May they Rest in Peace
If you are seeking the Baptism of a Child either at OLSS OR St Joseph the next meeting will be 7.00pm Wednesday 11th Sept in the Parish Room at OLSS. Please come at this time when we look at the responsibilities of parents and Godparents & consider carefully the diary for both churches. There will be no meeting in August.
MASS CALENDAR FOR 10th – 18th AUGUST 2019
Saturday 10th 1 pm Nuptial Mass Wedding of Mhairi & Peter OLSS
Holy Baptism 3 pm OLSS Hugo, Olivia, Silvana, Sapphire, Stefano & Ana
Mass OLSS 6.00pm Int: Philomena I (RiP)
Sunday 11th Mass OLSS 9.00 Int:
19th Sunday in Mass St J’s 10.00 Int: Mary & Muniandy (RiP)
Tuesday 13th Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: Stephanie K (RiP)
Mass St J’s 7.00 Int: Thayalan
Wednesday 14th Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: Terry C
Thursday 15th Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: “Claire” Husband & Children
Assumption of Mary Mass St J’s 11.00 Int: Thillai N (BD)
Sung Mass 8.00pm OLSS
Friday 16th Mass OLSS 9.30 Int: Paul H (WB/GW)
Wedding Rite 12.30 Danny & Aimee
Saturday 17th Mass OLSS 6.00pm Int: Shirley G (RiP)
Sunday 18th Mass OLSS 9.00 Int: Fr Kevin & Frances (40th W/An)
20th Sunday in Mass St J’s 10.00 Int: Margaret L (RiP 1st Ann.)
Ordinary Time Mass OLSS 11.00 Int: Parish & People
Mums Babies & Little Ones welcome again on Thursday 15th at the Ursuline Convent 66 Crooms Hill from 10.15. Contact: Sr Antonia
Weddings: Congratulations to Mhairi who is to be married this weekend to Peter, Daughter of Geri & Audrey. (Mhairi has recently been appointed as an assistant head at the Ursuline School). Danny & Aimee will be married this Friday at 12.30. And Lisa will be married to Bruno at OLSS
Post expires at 10:15pm on Saturday September 14th, 2019