Sunday, April 20, 2014

"there exists nothing more marvellous than the world's creation in the beginning except that, at the end of the ages, Christ our Passover has been sacrificed."

Almighty ever-living God,
who are wonderful in the ordering of all your works,
may those you have redeemed understand
that there exists nothing more marvellous
than the world's creation in the beginning
except that, at the end of the ages,
Christ our Passover has been sacrificed.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus,
qui es in omnium operum tuorum dispensatione mirabilis,
intellegant redempti tui, non fuisse excellentius,
quod initio factus est mundus,
quam quod in fine sæculorum
Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus.
Qui vivit et regnat in sæculum sæculorum.

Piero della Francesca,
"The Resurrection" (post-1458),
Museo Civico, Sansepolcro.
     Prayer after the first reading (Gen 1:1-2:2), Easter Vigil, Roman missal.  It (i.e. Corpus orationum no. 3966) comes from the 8th-century Gelasian sacramentary, in which it follows the reading "de Noe" (Gen 5-8), and is in content not dissimilar to the opening Collect for Christmas day that derives from the early 7th-century Leonine sacramentary:
O God, who wonderfully created the dignity of human nature and still more wonderfully restored it, grant, we pray, that we may share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity. 
Deus, qui humanæ substantiæ dignitatem et mirabiliter condidisti, et mirabilius reformasti, da, quaesumus, nobis eius divinitatis esse consortes, qui humanitatis nostræ fieri dignatus est particeps.
Indeed, it is the latter that appears in the position of the former on p. 288 of the 1979 Book of common prayer:
O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature:  Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
     It apparently also inspired this "Thanksgiving for regenerating grace" (S. M. Hopkins, A general liturgy and book of common prayer (New York:  A. S. Barnes, 1883), 50):
Almighty and everlasting God, who art glorious in holiness, and wonderful in working, we adore Thee not only as the author of the heavens and the earth, and of all things visible and invisible, but also of that new creation by which thou dost form us again after Thine own image, and make us afresh in Christ Jesus, to the glory of Thy grace in Thy beloved Son, to whom with Thee and the Holy Spirit be all praise and honor, world without end.  Amen.
     Cf. "The Lord of Sabbath let us praise", by Samuel Wesley Jr. (which I was put onto by Jared Bivins, but haven't yet checked against an authoritative text):

     On this glad day a brighter scene
     Of glory was display'd
     By God, th' Eternal word, than when
     This universe was made.

     He rises, who mankind has bought
     With grief and pain extreme;
     'Twas great to speak the world from naught,
     'Twas greatest to redeem.

No comments: