On Pentecost weekend my husband and I travelled to
Participating in the mass on Sunday, I was struck, as I have been before at Anglican Use masses, by the feeling of coming full circle. Rite I in the Anglican Use liturgy is very similar to the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, which was used until I was in my late teens, so the feeling of having “come home” is often overwhelming. Now, however, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is not subject to anyone’s individual judgment. It is a fact, supported by the weight of 2000 years of sacred tradition. Moreover, there is a reverent quality to the liturgy that I sometimes miss in the current English translation of the mass.
To cite one example: In the Novus Ordo mass the prayer after the Agnus Dei and just before the distribution of communion is said once only and rendered as follows:
Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.
The Anglican Use version is said three times, and it is a straightforward translation of the prayer in the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM), admittedly in somewhat old fashioned English. As in the TLM, it is said three times – by the congregation:
Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof, but speak the word only, and my soul shall be healed.In addition the Anglican Use liturgy adds the Prayer of Humble Access (just after the Agnus Dei):
We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord whose property is always to have mercy. Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen.
I have always loved that prayer, and it is such a privilege to recite it now as a Catholic. It takes on a whole new dimension in light of the Church’s clear teaching about the Real Presence – as do so many other things. It is a fitting reminder that we should always approach the altar with great humility and a well-examined conscience.
Those of you interested in learning more about Anglican Use may want to consider the upcoming annual Anglican Use Conference, to be held July 10-12 in