For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Paul Drews and the Canon

The Lutheran scholar Paul Drews' theory of the original ordering and prayers of the Roman Canon are given below, and can be compared with the post-Gregorian order.

I don't know to what extent Drews' theory is accepted, or the main objections to it. If anyone knows of recent scholarship or theories and where to find them, I'd be grateful for some pointers.

While the ordering presented below does make sense, I rather doubt that one would want to set aside the current Roman canon for a speculative scheme... but this said, why didn't the modern revisers think of utilising such a (quite plausibly) very ancient, brief Eucharistic prayer of Roman provenance for the new order of Mass rather than making up a couple?

The "modern" (just a mere 1500 years old) Roman Canon can't be read as a series in the way that this ordering of the prayers from the Canon can. There seems to be more of a linear dynamic in Drews' suggested order, that follows the underlying dynamic of the Eucharist as a whole; whereas the Roman Canon has no such order or structure. It follows a very different logic, which I would like to try to express in a later post.

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The "original" Canon Missae as suggested by Drew:

VOUCHSAFE, O God, we beseech thee, in all things to make this oblation blessed, approved, and accepted, a perfect and worthy offering; that it may become for us the Body and Blood of thy dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
WHO the day before he suffered, took bread into his holy and venerable hands, and with eyes lifted up to heaven, unto thee, God, his almighty Father, giving thanks to thee, he blessed, broke and gave it to his disciples, saying:
TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND EAT OF IT: FOR THIS IS MY BODY, WHICH WILL BE GIVEN UP FOR YOU.
Likewise, after supper, taking also this goodly chalice into his holy and venerable hands, again giving thanks to thee, he blessed, and gave it to his disciples, saying:
TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND DRINK FROM IT, FOR THIS IS THE CHALICE OF MY BLOOD, THE BLOOD OF THE NEW AND ETERNAL COVENANT, THE MYSTERY OF FAITH, WHICH WILL BE POURED OUT FOR YOU AND FOR MANY FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS. DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME.
WHEREFORE, O Lord, we thy servants, and thy holy people also, remembering the blessed Passion of the same Christ thy Son our Lord, as also his Resurrection from the dead, and his glorious Ascension into heaven; do offer unto thine excellent majesty of thine own gifts and bounty, the pure victim, the holy victim, the immaculate victim, the holy Bread of eternal life, and the Chalice of everlasting salvation.
Vouchsafe to look upon them with a merciful and pleasant countenance; and to accept them, even as thou didst vouchsafe to accept the gifts of thy servant Abel the righteous, and the sacrifice of our patriarch Abraham; and the holy sacrifice, the immaculate victim, which thy high priest Melchisedech offered unto thee.
WE humbly beseech thee, Almighty God, command these offerings to be brought by the hands of thy holy Angel to thine altar on high, in sight of thy divine majesty; that all we who at this partaking of the altar shall receive the most sacred Body and Blood of thy Son, may be fulfilled with all heavenly benediction and grace.  
THEREFORE, most merciful Father, we humbly pray thee, through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, and we ask, that thou accept and bless these  gifts, these offerings, these holy and unblemished sacrifices.
WE offer them unto thee, first, for thy holy Catholic Church: that thou vouchsafe to keep her in peace, to guard, unite, and govern her throughout the whole world; together with thy servant N., our Pope, N., our Bishop, and all the faithful guardians of the catholic and apostolic faith.
REMEMBER also, O Lord, thy servants and handmaids, (N. and N.), who have gone before us sealed with the seal of faith, and who sleep the sleep of peace.  To them, O Lord, and to all that rest in Christ, we beseech thee to grant the abode of refreshing, of light, and of peace.   
THROUGH Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom, O Lord, thou dost ever create all these good things; dost sanctify, quicken, bless, and bestow them upon us.
BY whom and with whom and in whom, to thee, O Father Almighty, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, be all honour and glory throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

3 comments:

  1. Check out the last edition of Ritual Notes which gives a resume of some abbot’s very interesting speculations on the canon. I remember reading his book for my theological certificate. I think he proposed some kind of circular pattern rather than a strict logical development as in the eastern anaphoras.

    You’re right not to jump on the Lutheran’s bandwagon.

    Fortescue’s work on the mass presents several theories.

    Tom O’Laughlin or is it O’Loughlin has some interesting thoughts on the commemoration of the Living. You can find them on his webpage.

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  2. I found the Tom O'Loughlin article which was fascinating reading, at this address
    http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/34660/
    Not sure if I can get Ritual Notes on line.

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  3. Try EBook Library.
    Project Canterbury has an earlier edition.

    Enjoy!

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