Pray for the people of S Giles', Reading, that they may receive a priest, a good priest, soon, to succeed Fr Michael Melrose, who died more than a year ago now. And, for that matter, a worthy successor to Blessed John Eynon, Vicar of S Giles', martyred in the time of the second Henry Tudor.
Among the liturgical books left by Fr Melrose, which I am now fortunate enough to possess and use daily, is a very slender volume: Preces ante et post Missam. It consists of the prayers to be said "According to the opportunity of the priest", found in the old Missal and also included, for convenience, in old Breviaries. But this separate edition (Pustet, 1913) is interestingly augmented.
Firstly, it includes two lists, of the quick and of the dead, whom a priest should remember in the Mementos of the Canon. Among the rather chilling categories listed are "all to whom I have been a burden (gravamen), a scandal, and an occasion of sin". And, inter mortuos, "souls who, because of me, are suffering in Purgatory". I think it is a very good idea to be reminded, day by day, what a very great opportunity for doing evil, and provoking others into disbelief or sin, we priests have. I wonder when and why these lists disappeared. They appear in nineteenth century breviaries in my possession, and apparently survived until at least 1913. So ...?
The booklet also includes "Actus virtutum", from the writings of S Francis de Sales. I invite comments on a detail that made me pause for thought. The Act of Adoration begins: "O God in three persons ... and thou, Lord Jesus Christ, I adore from my whole heart ... And because my adoration is exceedingly slight and weak, I offer to thee those adorations which continually thy most holy Humanity offers to thee ... " What surprised me was the idea of praying to Our Lord Jesus Christ's Godhead separately and as divisible from his Sacred Humanity. Isn't this, I wondered, something a tadge more in the spirit of Nestorius than of S Cyril? What, I thought, becomes of akhoristos and all that?
But S Francis de Sales is a Doctor of the Church, and I am not ... er ...