23 June 2012

Concluding a Service or Office

The conclusions of the services of prayer among the Anglican Churches exhibit a wide variety of ascriptions, scriptures, and blessings. More contemporary forms conclude the Office with the sharing of the Peace dislocated from the Mass and without its Sacrificial context.  However, it does make perfect sense to observe the Peace at that point if the Offertory and Eucharist are to follow directly.   How shall the offices conclude in the revised rites and services?  I offer the following as a first thought drawing simply from what I did with the Prayer Book Office in expanding the conclusion to include other options such as the two ascriptions of praise by the sainted Thomas Ken as well as several selections of Sacred Scripture.

With the Anglican Morning Office normatively containing V. Praise ye the Lord. R. The Lord's Name be praised. I would conclude with the Benedicamus Domino then The Grace followed by a line from the Divine Liturgy that served as parallel to the verse and response mentioned above at an earlier part of the Office.  Whether it was the use of the Gloria at the end of Mass or an ascription of Praise at the end of the Office, to the traditional Anglican mind the worship of the Lord should end on a note of joy.  I type the following in English though in published form I would include English and Latin in parallel columns:

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

The Grace + of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord 
henceforth and forevermore.

[A kind friend in the west of Scotland has written that in her parish they do the above in a reversed order such that they say (1) Blessed be the Name..., (2) The Grace, and (3) Let us bless the Lord ... With the Eastward gaze whilst standing in the West, there are commonalities among these local riches worthy of consideration.]

For General Use on a feast or festival, I would use these words from Thomas Ken which in contemporary form figure prominently in the An Anglican Prayer Book 1989

Blessing and honour and thanksgiving and praise
more than we can utter, more than we can conceive
be unto Thee, O most adorable Trinity,
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
by all angels, all men, all creatures
for ever and ever,  Amen and Amen.

At times I used the following depending upon the weekday:

To God the Father, who loved us, and made us accepted in the Beloved: to God the Son, who loved us, and loosed us from our sins by his own blood:  to God the Holy Spirit, who poureth the love of God into our hearts:  to the one true God, be all love and all glory, for time and for eternity. Amen.    Thomas Ken
Now to him who is able to do all things more abundantly than we desire or understand, according to the power that worketh in us:  To him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus, unto all generations, world without end. Amen.  Ephesians 3:20-21 Rheims
Now unto the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.  1 Timothy 1:17 AV (with Rheims)
Now to him who is able to preserve us without sin, and to present us spotless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, To the only wise God our Saviour through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, before all ages, and now, and for all ages of ages. Amen.  Jude 24-25 Rheims (with AV)
Now may the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, that we  may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Amen.  Romans 15:13  Rheims
Unto Jesus Christ, who hath loved us and freed us from our sins by his own blood,  and hath made us a kingdom, to be priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.  Revelation 1:4-6 (composite)

I also have a table of such conclusions for the Office depending upon Seasons of the Church Year, particular Red Letter Days, and a few special occasions, but I won't take up space here to print them.  In a printed edition it may be best to provide a ferial form and a festal one preceded with a permissive rubric to use something else.  I offer these as an idea on how our worship through the Office might conclude on that "note of joy" characteristic of the framers of the Eucharistic rite found in the 1928 & 1929 Books of Common Prayer.

Now that we are Catholic, I hope that in the appropriate Offices the Marian antiphons such as Ave Regina Caelorum, Salve Regina, and Regina Caeli will be sung after the Office in their traditional place.  As to which English translation should be employed ... ah, but that is another post.

+De ventre matris meae