19 June 2010

POST TRINITATEM

Well, having celebrated External Solemnities ... or do I means Sundays Within the Octaves? ... of Corpus Christi and the Sacred Heart, we have now put away our white High Mass set and got out the splendid green one which, a year or so ago, a kind benefactor procured for us from the prolific Mr Luzar. We are into the Season in Ord ... no, let us not go down that path. Neither let us call the next twenty-odd Sundays "after Pentecost", even though that was the old Anglo-Saxon custom and the habit of the Byzantines and of the Missal of S Pius V. Sundays after Trinity ... how evocative that phrase is of English summer Sundays, of the poppies red around the ripening cornfields, of the smell of baking hay, of putting ones cassock back on after a lazy and vinous afternoon and strolling back across to church to dive into a 'Sarum' surplice and flip the red silk of a MA hood over ones head and Dearly beloved brethren, the Scripture moveth us ... down to Illumina quaesumus Domine tenebras nostras ... or whatever it is that dear Dr Cranmer translated that into.

Dear Dr Cranmer also preserved to us the old Sarum custom of calling these Sundays post Trinitatem. I have always felt that 'After Pentecost' has an activism subliminally within it; as if we are thinking all the time about what the Holy Ghost is inspiring us to do next. After Trinity , however, suggests adoration. Consider the logic of the preface of the Trinity, which tradition encourages us to use on all these Sundays (composed, I think, by the Englishman Alcuin on the basis of a more prolix formula surviving in our oldest surviving insular Massbook, the Stowe Missal). What we believe of the glory of Father, Son, and Spirit is the ground for our adoration of the majesty of the undivided Godhead; a majesty which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim praise; who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying Holy Holy Holy. The mystery of the true and everlasting Godhead and the distinction in persons and the unity in essence and the equality in majesty are the object of the worship which we are privileged to offer, in eternity but already here in time, with all the company of heaven.

And on Saturday evening we have prepared for Sunday in the words of the ancient Office Hymn which John Mason 'Patrimony' Neale translated as O Trinity of blessed light, O Unity of princely might, The fiery sun goes now his way; Shed thou within our hearts thy ray. To thee our morning song we praise, To thee our evening prayer we raise; Thy glory suppliant we adore For ever and for evermore. All laud to God the Father be; All praise, eternal Son, to thee; All glory, as is ever meet, To God the holy Paraclete.

7 comments:

Kent Community Activist said...
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Kent Community Activist said...

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Joshua said...

I thought that the Trinity Preface was only introduced for "green" Sundays in 1759? What does that say of "after Trinity"? – I suppose the only mark of the feast of Trinity upon the Sundays thereafter, previous to that innovation of Clement XIII, was the last responsory at Matins.

And I cannot forbear from repeating that lovely poem of Falkner:

AFTER TRINITY

We have done with dogma and divinity,
Easter and Whitsun past,
The long, long Sundays after Trinity
Are with us at last;
The passionless Sundays after Trinity,
Neither feast-day nor fast.

Christmas comes with plenty,
Lent spreads out its pall,
But these are five and twenty,
The longest Sundays of all;
The placid Sundays after Trinity,
Wheat-harvest, fruit-harvest, Fall.

Spring with its burst is over,
Summer has had its day,
The scented grasses and clover
Are cut, and dried into hay;
The singing-birds are silent,
And the swallows flown away.

Post pugnam pausa fiet;
Lord, we have made our choice;
In the stillness of autumn quiet,
We have heard the still, small voice.
We have sung Oh where shall Wisdom?
Thick paper, folio, Boyce.

Let it not all be sadness,
Not omnia vanitas,
Stir up a little gladness
To lighten the Tibi cras;
Send us that little summer,
That comes with Martinmas.

When still the cloudlet dapples
The windless cobalt blue,
And the scent of gathered apples
Fills all the store-rooms through,
The gossamer silvers the bramble,
The lawns are gemmed with dew.

An end of tombstone Latinity,
Stir up sober mirth,
Twenty-fifth after Trinity,
Kneel with the listening earth,
Behind the Advent trumpets
They are singing Emmanuel’s birth.

Joshua said...

Of course, to antipodeans, "after Trinity" or whatnot falls in winter and early spring.

I wonder what it must be like for the seasons to match up with the liturgy... strange thought!

Fr. John Guy Winfrey said...

I have always thought that Sundays after Pentecost also brings to mind not simply an activism, but rather a recognition that we live within the period of Pentecost, that the Book of the Acts of the Apostles has not been completed yet for it is essential the new time of Pascha/Pentecost. Recognizing this, I think, leads one both to adoration and to action.

Rubricarius said...

The preface of the Trinity was prescribed for use on 'Sundays after Trinity' in 1752 before that time the common preface would have been used as I indicate on my blog The Tridentine Rite.

Joshua said...

The Dominican liturgical books, until their last pre-Conciliar slavish approximation to the Roman, dated the Sundays after the Octave of the Trinity.