Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Briefly back to Ordinary.

Back to normal now after the festival of the last weekend and before the High Mass next Sunday for Christ the King which will begin to draw the year to a close, a week of mainly green Masses after followed by the sudden thud of Advent, landing in a bale of purple velvet containing within itself carol services and Benediction, devotional talks, a putting away of relics and candlesticks the better to celebrate Christmas night in a blaze of unexpected light. Happy days.

The picture above shows the marks of the day, the Paschal candle, the black lectern fall, the thurible stand and holy water bucket and expensive pastry brush marking a simple funeral. No six silver candles or black pall, no black High Mass set or extraordinary cope, just a handful of ritual props and an empty Church which will echo later as we say goodbye to a lady who we all knew and loved, who struggled to the Mass to the end. Here is a lesson to all Anglo Catholics to make it clear what sort of service you want in your will, for her requiem will, by necessity, be held in a few days time. For today, though, we will commend her soul to Almighty God in the simplest way we can and then bury her mortal remains in the Churchyard of a neighbouring Parish.

There are some flowers left from Saint Hilda's Day, again the last such until Christmas as part of the post Christ the King simplification of the Church. We also use the Asperges before the High Mass in Advent and Lent as a reminder of, among many things, the need to attend confession during those seasons.

I have replicated for you below the 'Saint Hilda' hymn we sing on our Patronal Festival. It is not my favourite piece of writing, nor will it win any awards for metre or imagination, but never mind, nor will 'Shine, Jesus, Shine'. It's a bit of the past and none the worse for that. I have no idea who wrote it but it looks like an identikit job to me, I can imagine one of the Cowley Fathers years back churning these out by the dozen for different Churches, following the same basic template. There will be a small prize for the first person to correctly guess the tune.

Alleluia, Alleluia!
Praise to God this festal day.
When our patron Saint, blessed Hilda
From this earth was called away:
Her pure soul was seen by watchers
In the visions of the night
Led by angels to the threshold
Of her God’s eternal light.

Well she loved the God she worshipped
Well she loved her saviour dear;
Well she loved her home at Whitby
Which was trusted to her care.
Monks and Nuns alike did own her
Abbess Mother o’er them placed
And instructed by her wisdom
World and flesh and Satan faced.

Caedmon sang of God’s creation
To this royal Mother wise.
Princes hearkened to her counsel
Latent wonder in their eyes.
Bishops too by her were trained
For the work of Christ their Lord.
Then went forth inspired by Hilda
Near and far to preach the word.

O may we this Church who reverence
To Saint Hilda’s memory raised
More and more with her devotion
Glorify the God she praised.
May we be like her his children
Wise and gentle and sincere.
May we be like her found faithful
Serving Christ with love and fear.

Alleluia for Saint Hilda
Patron of this Church we love.
Alleluia Alleluia
May she pray for us above.
Alleluia to the Father
Alleluia to the Son
Alleluia to the Spirit
Consubstantial three in one!