07 April 2014

Gallican Liturgy: The Offertory


The Gallican Liturgy had many beautiful elements that make the heart wish they had not been swept aside by Roman fiat. Some of you may recall the occasion of joy when Bl. Pope John XXIII returned most of the Gallican prefaces to the 1962 Missal. Sadly, the gorgeous Maundy Thursday preface – with its profound language of Christ as the only true priest who was without sin – was not among those restored.

There have been several attempts to recreate the Gallican Liturgy in toto, and I will not take time to judge the merits of each, but rather I would like to look at the Offertory Rite as reconstructed by some devout and sincere believers in France.  

I only have a small hand-printed leaflet of the text as used by the Orthodox Church of France and another by a different French community.  Putting the Offertoy into English I have leaned on several translations of the same rite (including one by ROCOR). I make no claims  but simply acknowledge the genius within the rite that follows even if one were to debate the particulars of dynamic or literal translation.

Here is an offertory deeply rooted in the Humility of Christ whose very mind we should seek to have.  The simplicity of this rite with this emblem of humility is one we could use in our day, and I hope what I present below may be thought of in the present tense rather than simply as a historical artifact:


Belovèd brothers and sisters, call upon the Holy Ghost with me, that the LORD may impart to me his ineffable power and that I, an unworthy priest, may dare to offer the one Holy Oblation of our Lord Jesus Christ, because in truth it is He who offers and is offered, He who receives and who distributes, He who is co-eternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit throughout all ages. [sæcula sæculorum]

Amen. May the Holy Spirit descend upon you, and the power of the Most High overshadow you.

Forgive me, my sisters and brothers. 

Forgive us, father, and pray for us. 

The celebrant blesses the faithful and himself, saying

May God+forgive you, and may God+forgive us all.

If during the day the Offertory continues with the singing of "Let all mortal flesh keep silence" otherwise "Phos hilaron" is sung at vesper-light.

Let all mortal flesh keep silence, and stand in fearful trembling. Ponder nothing worldly-minded for the King of kings and Lord of lords draws nigh to be sacrificed giving himself as nourishment to the faithful.