Tuesday, February 07, 2017

A Breviary According to the Jesuit Use

From an 1801 edition of “The Monthly Magazine”, published in London, in a section headed “Extracts from the Port-folio of a Man of Letters.”

“A very brief rite of reciting the Breviary. First Pater and Ave are said, then
a. b. c. d. (etc.)
V. By this complete alphabet, alleluia.
R. The complete Breviary is composed, alleluia.
Let us pray. O God, who from the twenty-four letters didst will that all the Sacred Scripture and this Breviary be composed, join, loose, make, dispose and receive from this twenty-four letters Matins with Lauds, Prime, (Terce?), Sext, None, Vespers and Compline. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.”

There is no obvious clue as to whether the unnamed man of letters who had this in his “port-folio” (i.e. brief-case) or the editors of the Monthly Magazine, thought this was real, or understood it to be a joke. Note that they write “formerly belonging to the Jesuits,” who at this time were still suppressed, and to most Englishman, creatures of legend about which almost any story, however absurd, might easily be believed. (Picture nicked from friends on Facebook.)

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