22 February 2010

The Celestial ORDO

I have had occasion before to commend the Sublime Compiler of the Heavenly ORDO for some of His very jolly 'coincidences' this year. I suspect that there is reason: like all right-thinking people, He is particularly rejoiced by those years in which the Julian and Gregorian Easters coincide. He is in favour of Unity. Hence the sense of light-hearted whimsy about this year.

Today is the Feast of the Cathedra Petri. And the Stational Church in Rome, prescribed by the statio of the Ferial Mass, is by a happy 'chance' sancti Petri ad Vincula. Before going there, however, Pontiff and People met for the Collecta at the church of Ss Cosmas and Damian: which was right in the heart of (what Donald Rumsfeldt would sneer at as) Old Rome. Strange - I know you are thinking - because really old churches are built over martyria, "Tropaia", in cemeteries, which (because Roman law forbad interments within the walls) are outside the City gates.

So, if you're all sitting comfortably, I will begin.

Pope Felix IV (526-530) founded the church of Ss Cosmas and Damian at a time when some of the old public buildings were no longer used and were falling into disrepair. Near the Forum Romanum, in the Via Sacra, was the hall in which the City Archives had been kept. Felix added an apse and ... hey presto.

After the Collecta, Pontiff and Clerus and Plebs walked (under the porticoes which, in those days, provided cover from February weather along most of the thoroughfares of Rome) to the slope of the Esquiline Hill, where Mass was celebrated in the more sumptuous surroundings of a church built by the Empress Eudoxia [not the showy whore who persecuted S John Chrysostom to death, but a later Eudoxia].

So Lenten days are very properly Walking days. I began at S Thomas's with an EF Mass of the day, noticing how the ferial Mass, which I commemorated with its orationes and by reading its Gospel as the Last Gospel, relates closely to the theme of shepherding the sheep of God's Flock. I look forward (after a memorial service and a wake) to visiting our Blessed Lord in the Comper splendour of Pusey House before concluding with the Holy Hour in Hansom's [Yes! the Cab man!] Oratory Church. We are praying for Unity, and we particularly have in mind the context and situation created by the Holy Father's Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus.

Even if you don't feel like walking, you could say a prayer or two.

2 comments:

Pastor in Valle said...

I'm praying hard;
I also offered Mass for your (i.e. AC groups') intentions last night.

AndrewWS said...

I shall be taking the bus or the Tube to the Tyburn shrine, where I shall do my praying for you and others of us - probably around the time you are in the Oratory.