Friday, 21 October 2011

Catholic Treasure, Anglican Patrimony

Yesterday's post Anglican Patrimony and the Ordinariate discussed the various elements that can be considered as Anglican Patrimony, that gift that ex-Anglicans joining the Catholic Church can bring, as part of a process of mutual enrichment.  Our blogpost was clear that Anglican Patrimony covers more than liturgy, more than Cranmerian language and hymns, and extends across the whole range of an ex-Anglican's involvement with the Church. 

What we bring with us as Anglican Patrimony is important, but even more important is the fact that we are now full members of the Catholic Church, fully in communion with the Holy Father and with over one fifth of all humanity.  Because of that, and because, much as we loved our previous home it was beset with difficulties, we are all immensely grateful to the Holy Father for his generous response to the requests of many Anglicans in Anglicanorum Coetibus. 

I'm afraid to say that I loved the picture of the Barque of Peter that I included in the blogpost yesterday so much that I am going to include it today as well, along with a rather nice picture of the Holy Father on board a "barque" as he approached Sydney Harbour for World Youth Day there a few years ago.

We are delighted to bring what we bring as Anglican Patrimony, but other Catholics should not worry that we value this above the treasures of the Catholic Church.  We contribute what we can, and what is of value.  We also receive and learn much that is of value.  No member of the Ordinariate has secret plans to reproduce the Book of Common Prayer. 

Anglicans may have a strong musical and liturgical tradition of their own, but we are happier seeing the following than even our "best" moments as Anglicans. 

It is often said that Anglican Patrimony means hymns.  Well, that is slightly glib, but it is true that when we were in the Church of England, we were probably more used to hymns than many Catholics.  However, the hymns we have encountered in the Catholic Church are very much to our liking and to our taste.  Our first blogpost this week included a link to a recording of the beautiful Fr Faber hymn sung last Sunday at St James's Spanish Place. 

However, we would like to make mention of one very special hymn that we have encountered in the Catholic Church.  Sung to the H F Hemy tune St Catherine, which is often used in the US for Faith of our Fathers, St Alphonsus Liguori's hymn O Bread of Heaven has had a great effect on us: it is a clear expression of a doctrine for which Anglo-Catholics had to fight so hard, but in the Catholic Church simply reflects the agreed position.  Here it is sung at Westminster Cathedral on the occasion of the Holy Father's visit in 2010. The hymn was also sung at Westminster Cathedral on 15 January 2011, during Communion at the Ordination Mass of Monsignors Newton, Burnham and Broadhurst, which is where we first heard and sang it.  The last verse is especially wonderful.

O Bread of Heaven, beneath this veil
Thou dost my very God conceal:
My Jesus, dearest treasure, hail!
I love Thee and, adoring, kneel;
Each loving soul by Thee is fed
With Thine own Self in form of Bread.

O food of life, Thou Who dost give
The pledge of immortality;
I live, no 'tis not I that live;
God gives me life, God lives in me:
He feeds my soul, He guides my ways,
And every grief with joy repays.

O Bond of love that dost unite
The servant to his living Lord;
Could I dare live and not requite
Such love - then death were meet reward:
I cannot live unless to prove
Some love for such unmeasured love.

Beloved Lord, in Heaven above
There, Jesus, Thou awaitest me,
To gaze on Thee with endless love;
Yes, thus I hope, thus shall it be:
For how can He deny me Heaven,
Who here on earth Himself hath given?

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