Thursday, August 07, 2014

The Theology of the Offertory - Part 7.3 - Medieval English Uses

In the kingdom of England at the time of the Reformation, there were five different liturgical Uses, those of Sarum, York, Hereford, Lincoln and Bangor. Here I shall describe the Offertory according to the Missals of the first three, Sarum being the predominant Use in the south of England, passing thence to Scotland and Ireland, while that of York prevailed in the north. The Offertory of the Use of Bangor is almost identical to that of Sarum, while that of York is very similar, the influence of Sarum being very strong on the others. The texts are taken from Francis Dickison’s annotated edition of the Sarum Missal (1883), the Surtees Society’s edition of the York Missal (1872) and William Maskell’s The Ancient Liturgy of the Church of England (1846).

The Sarum Use

As in many other medieval Uses, at Sarum the wine and water are put in the chalice after the singing of the Epistle. The subdeacon asks the priest to bless the water by saying simply “Benedicite”, as in the Dominican Use; the blessing is “Ab eo sit benedicta, de cujus latere exivit sanguis et aqua. In nomine Patris etc. – May it be blessed by Him, from whose side came forth blood and water. In the name of the Father etc.”

At the Offertory, therefore, the priest receives the already-filled chalice with the paten and host on top of it from the deacon; he places them in the middle of the corporal, bows, and then lifts them and says the Suscipe sancta Trinitas; as in the Dominican Use, the Sarum version of this prayer is much shorter than typical. (The variants of the use of York are also noted here.)
Suscipe, sancta Trinitas, unus Deus, hanc oblationem, quam ego (York: miser et) indignus peccator offero in honore tuo, beatæ Mariæ et omnium Sanctorum tuorum, pro peccatis et offensionibus meis, et pro salute vivorum, et requie omnium fidelium defunctorum. (“omnium” omitted at York)
In nomine Patris, et Filii et Spiritus Sancti, acceptum sit omnipotenti Deo hoc sacrificium novum.
Receive, Holy Trinity, one God, this offering, which I an unworthy (York “wretched and unworthy”) sinner offer in honor of Thee, of the blessed Mary, and all Thy Saints, for my sins and offenses and for the salvation of the living, and the repose of (all) the faithful departed.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, may this new sacrifice be acceptable to Almighty God.
He lowers and covers the chalice, places the host before it on the corporal, kisses the paten, and places it to the right. He receives the thurible from the deacon, and incenses the host and chalice, making a cross with the thurible over them three times, then swinging it in a circle around them three times, and then to either side of the offerings. As in the Carthusian Use, the words which he says are shorter than what is said in the Roman Rite: “Let my prayer, o Lord, be directed as incense in thy sight.”

The priest is incensed by the deacon, after which, the subdeacon brings him the Gospel book to kiss. An acolyte takes the thurifer and censes the choir, but only if the Creed has been sung at that Mass.
The words which the priest says while washing of the hands are completely different from those of the Roman Rite.
Munda me Domine, ab omni inquinamento mentis et corporis; ut possim mundus implere opus sanctum Domini. - Cleanse me, o Lord, from every impurity of mind and body, that I may be able to complete the holy work of the Lord in purity.
Returning to the middle of the altar, he bows low and says In spiritu humilitatis, with the same variant found in the Dominican Use: “In a spirit of humility, and in contrite heart, may we be received by Thee, o Lord; and so may our sacrifice take place in Thy sight this day, that it may be received by Thee, and please Thee, o Lord, my God.”

He now kisses the altar to the right of the corporal, and blesses the elements, saying “In the name of the Father etc.”, then turns to the people and says in a low voice, “Orate fratres et sorores, pro me, ut meum pariterque vestrum acceptum sit Domino Deo nostro sacrificium. – Pray, brothers and sisters, for me, that my sacrifice, which is equally yours, may be accepted by the Lord, our God.” The clergy answer, “Spiritus Sanctus gratia illuminet cor tuum et labia tua, et accipiat Dominus digne hoc sacrificium laudis de manibus tuis, pro peccatis et offensionibus nostris. - May the grace of the Holy Spirit enlighten thy heart and thy lips, and may the Lord worthily accept this sacrifice of praise from thy hands, for our sins and offenses.”

The frontispiece of a Sarum Missal printed at Paris in 1555.
The Requiem Mass

The Use of Sarum has an interesting variant for the Offertory at a Requiem Mass celebrated with the body of the deceased present, and likewise on the monthmind and anniversary Masses. The choir begins the Offertory chant “Domine Jesu Christe, Rex gloriae” as normal, as far as the words “Quam olim Abrahae promisisti et semini ejus,” while the priest performs the Offertory ritual as far as the washing of the hands. The priest then sings the first words of the second part of the Offertory chant, “Hostias et preces tibi Domine offerimus”, which the choir continues. The response to the Orate fratres is substitued with the continuation of the Offertory chant, “Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine, et lux perpetua lucet eis. Quam olim Abrahae promisisti et semini ejus.” (Eternal rest grant to them, o Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them, which Thou didst once promise to Abraham and his descent.)

The Use of York

The Use of York presents only a few minor differences from that of Sarum. The priest begins the Offertory by washing his hand in silence. He places the host on the corporal, and says the Suscipe sancta Trinitas, with the variants noted above. He takes the chalice and says “May this sacrifice be acceptable to Almighty God. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” He then washes his hands again, and says from Psalm 25 only one verse, “I will wash my hands, among the innocent, and encompass thy altar, o Lord,” followed by the hymn Veni Sancte Spiritus.

Returning to the middle of altar, he says In spiritu humilitatis as at Sarum, with a slight variation, omitting the words “in thy sight.” The Orate fratres is likewise the same, except for the addition of one word “… pro me peccatore – … for me a sinner”. The response, however, is completely different, consisting in the first three verses of Psalm 19, “May the Lord hear thee in the day of tribulation: may the name of the God of Jacob protect thee. May he send thee help from the sanctuary: and defend thee out of Sion. May he be mindful of all thy sacrifices.”

York Minster seen from the walls of the city. 
The Use of Hereford

At Hereford, the chalice was not prepared during the Epistle; the Offertory therefore begins with the deacon saying “Benedicite, and the blessing of the water, similar to that of the Sarum Use noted above: “Ab ipso sis benedicta, de cujus latere exivit sanguis et aqua. In nomine Patris etc. – May thou be blessed by Him, from whose side came forth blood and water. In the name of the Father etc.” The priest places the paten with the host on the chalice, and lifts them up, saying this the same version of the Suscipe sancta Trinitas used by the Dominicans.
Suscipe, sancta Trinitas, hanc oblationem, quam tibi offero in memoriam passionis Domini nostri Jesu Christi; et præsta ut in conspectu tuo tibi placens ascendat, et meam et omnium fidelium salutem operetur æternam.
Receive, o Holy Trinity, this offering, which I offer to Thee in memory of the passion of our Lord, Jesus Christ; and grant that in Thy sight it may be pleasing and ascend to Thee, and effect my eternal salvation and that of all the faithful.
Laying them down, he places the host before the chalice, kisses the paten, and places it to the right as at Sarum. He then washes his hands, saying the hymn Veni Sancte Spiritus, but omitting the stanza which in medieval uses was considered the proper doxology of Pentecost. (Dudum sacrata pectora.) This is followed by the versicle “Send forth thy Spirit, and they shall be created. And thou shalt renew the face of the earth.” and the following prayer.
Oremus. Ure igne Sancti Spiritus renes nostros et cor nostrum, Domine: ut tibi casto corpore serviamus, et mundo corde placeamus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. R. Amen.
Let us pray. Kindle our reins and our heart, O Lord, with the fire of the Holy Spiritt, that we may serve thee with a chaste body and please thee with a pure heart. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
He bows low and says the In spiritu humilitatis, then kisses the altar to the right of the chalice. Next, he holds his hands joined over the chalice and says “Veni, sanctificator, omnipotens aeterne Deus. – Come, o sanctifier, almighty and eternal God.” He then makes the sign of the cross over the chalice as he says the rest of the prayer, “Benedic + et sanctifica hoc sacrifium, quod tibi est praeparatum. – Bless and sanctify this sacrifice, which has been prepared unto Thee.” He signs himself “In the name of the Father etc.”, and says the Orate fratres, slightly different from that of Sarum. “Orate fratres ad Dominum, ut meum pariter et vestrum in conspectu Domini acceptum sit sacrificium. – Pray, brethren, to the Lord, that my sacrifice, which is equally yours, may be accepted in the sight of the Lord.” No response is made.

The choir-screen of Hereford Cathedral.

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