26 September 2014

J.M. Neale: Liturgy of S. James


Part of the great sorrow of Hurricane Ike was not so much the destruction of my home by its winds and flood waters but it was the destruction of my library which after so many years of careful conservation simply perished.  Among the lost volumes was a first edition of Neale and Littledale's The Liturgies of SS. Mark, James, Clement, Chrysostom, and Basil,  and the Church of Malabar.

Recently a most generous friend made it possible for me to acquire a replacement volume albeit a Sixth Edition printing.  I am very grateful to have the text in hand.  We can all be glad to have PDF and EPub versions of many of these books, but for an old liturgical dinosaur like me nothing can replace a printed book in my hands.

The Revd Dr. J.M. Neale
I spent time today reacquainting myself with the sainted Dr. Neale's translation of the Liturgy of S. James of Jerusalem.  It may sound odd, but to me it was like encountering a long lost friend.  In the text quoted below the choir and people would respond Kyrie eleison or Lord, have mercy after each petition. I think it best to intend to pray when reading such a text, and I hope in reading it, dear reader, you will find it a fit vehicle for your prayer:

The Deacon says,

Let us all say, LORD, have mercy.

LORD, Almighty, GOD of our Fathers, we beseech Thee to hear us.

For the peace that is from above, and the salvation of our souls, let us make our supplication to the LORD.

For the peace of the whole world, and the unity of the holy Churches of GOD, let us make our supplication to the LORD.

For the salvation and succour of all the CHRIST-loving people, we beseech Thee to hear us.  That we may be delivered from all affliction, wrath, danger, and necessity, bondage, bitter death, and our iniquities, we beseech Thee to hear us.

For the people that is standing round about, and expecting the rich and great mercy that is from Thee, we beseech Thee, be compassionate and have mercy.
Save, O Lord, Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance.

Visit Thy world in mercy and loving-kindnesses.
Raise the horn of Christians, by the might of the precious and quickening Cross.
We beseech Thee, o LORD of many mercies, hear us who supplicate Thee, and have mercy.

People (thrice.) LORD, have mercy.

Deacon. For the forgiveness of our sins, and the remission of our offensces, and that we may be preserved from all affliction, wrath, danger, and necessity, let us make our supplication to the LORD.

Let us beseech from the LORD, that we may pass through this whole day in perfectness, holiness, peace, and sinlessness.

Let us beseech from the LORD, an Angel of peace, a faithful guide, guardian of our souls and bodies.

Let us beseech from the LORD, pardon and remission of our sins and transgressions.

Let us beseech from the LORD, such things as are good and convenient for our souls, and peace to the world.

Let us beseech from the LORD, that we may accomplish the remainder of our lives in peace and health.

Let us beseech that the ends of our life may be Christian, without pain, and without shame, and a good answer at the dreadful and fearful judgment-seat of CHRIST.

Priest. For Thou art the good tidings, and the illumination, the Saviour and the Guardian of our souls and bodies, GOD, and Thy Only-Begotten SON, and Thy all-holy SPIRIT, now and ever.
People. Amen.

Priest. Commemorating our all-holy, spotless, exceeding glorious Lady, the Mother of GOD, and ever-Virgin Mary, with all Saints, and just men, let us commend ourselves, and each other, and all our life to CHRIST our GOD.

People. To Thee, O LORD.

Priest. O GOD, Who hast sounded into our ears Thy divine and salutary oracles, illuminate the souls of us sinners to the comprehension of that which has been before read, so that we may not only be seen to be hearers of spiritual things, but doers of good works, following after faith without guile, blameless life, conversation without charge of guilt.

Exclamation. In CHRIST JESUS our LORD with Whom Thou art blessed, with Thy most holy and good and quickening SPIRIT. now and ever, and to ages of ages.
People. Amen.