3 June 2010

Fr Faber, of course. God bless him.

"We think ... of all the thousands of masses which are being said or sung the whole world over, and all rising with one note of blissful acclamation, from grateful creatures, to the Majesty of our merciful Creator. How many glorious processions, with the sun upon their banners, are now winding their way round the squares of mighty cities, through the flower-strewn streets of Christian villages, through the antique cloisters of the glorious cathedral, or through the grounds of the seminary, where the various colours of the faces, and the different languages of the people are only so many fresh tokens of the unity of that faith which they are all exultingly professing in the single voice of the magnificent ritual of Rome! Upon how many altars of various architecture, amid sweet flowers and starry lights, amid clouds of humble incense, and the tumult of thrilling song, before thousands of prostrate worshippers, is the Blessed Sacrament raised for exposition, or taken down for benediction! And how many blessed acts of faith and love, of triumph and of reparation, do not each of these things surely represent! The world over, the summer air is filled with the voice of song. The gardens are shorn of their fairest blossoms, to be flung beneath the feet of the Sacramental God. The steeples are reeling with the clang of bells; the cannon are booming in the gorges of the Andes and the Appenines;the ships of the harbours are painting the bays of the sea with their show of gaudy flags; the pomp of royal or republican armies salutes the King of kings. The Pope on his throne, and the school-girl in her village, cloistered nuns, and sequestered hermits, bishops and dignitaries and preachers, emperors and kings and princes, all are engrossed to-day with the Blessed Sacrament ... "

Thank goodness the exclamation marks remind us that this wonderfully purple passage is formed of merely rhetorical questions. What, otherwise, would be the answer to a query about how many Corpus Christi processions they're having today around the mock-byzantine fatuities of Westminster 'Cathedral' ... or even about how many cannons there are booming today around the authentically baroque glories of the magnificent church Faber himself inspired, down there in Kensington opposite the Italian cafe?

Still, Viva il Fabbro.


John F H H said...

One wonders if Dom Gregory [Dix] of blessed memory had read (and sub-consciously absorbed this passage) before writing his famous "purple" passage Was ever a command so obeyed?

Faber's prose here also finds echoes in Benson's marvellous (perhaps little known today?) novel The Dawn of All.

Best regards

John U.K.

Oliver said...


Still, Happy Feast!