Saturday, April 4, 2020

Pseudo-St. Richard of Chichester: "know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly and follow thee more nearly, day by day"

NOT, I think, the author!
     Here is one common version of this prayer, the version attributed to St. Richard of Chichester (c. 1197-1253) in the Oxford dictionary of saints, ed. Farmer (1997), and very often in other supposedly reputable sources, stretching at least as far back as 1913 (G. R. Bullock-Webster, ed., The churchman's prayer manual, 3rd ed. (London, 1913 [1913]), 31:
Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ for all the benefits thou hast given me, for all the pains and insults which thou hast borne for me. O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother, may I know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly and follow thee more nearly, day by day.
In bold above is the portion of this prayer that can indeed be traced back to St. Richard of Chichester as reported by Ralph Bocking O.P. (?) at Acta sanctorum 10 (April Tom. I, at 3 April), 281 col. 1 par. 3 (cap. III, sec. 18, paragraph divisions mine):
Gratias tibi ago, Domine Jesu Christe, de omnibus beneficiis quae mihi praestitisti, pro poenis et opprobriis quae pro me pertulisti, propter quae planctus ille lamentabilis tibi vere competebat, Non est dolor similis sicut dolor meus.  Et tu nosti [sic], Domine, quod si tibi placeret, omnia opprobria et tormenta atque mortem pro te paratus essem sustinere:  et sicut tu scis hoc verum esse, miserere mei, quia tibi commendo animam meam. 
Illam autem Psalmistae vocem, quae dicit, In manus tuas Domine commendo spiritum meum, frequentius iterans, et ad gloriosam Virginem vicissim corde simul et voce se convertens, ait:  Maria, mater gratiae, mater misericordiae, tu nos ab hoste protégé et hora mortis suscipe: 
et praecepit Capellanis, quod illa verba in auribus suis dicere non cessarent.
LORD JESU CHRIST, I thank Thee for all the blessings Thou hast given me, and for all the sufferings and shame Thou didst endure for me, on which account that pitiable cry of sorrow was Thine : " Behold and see, if there was any sorrow like unto My sorrow ! " Thou knowest, Lord, how willing I should be to bear insult, and pain, and death for Thee ; therefore have mercy on me, for to Thee do I commend my spirit.
The Church of England COVID-19 mash-up with St. Alphonsus Liguori aside, most of that is as per Wikipedia as accessed on 4 April 2020, and other sites, too, for example that of the Center for Action and Contemplation (post by Richard Rohr dated 9 February 2020).  (For what very little this may be worth, I have also gone beyond Wikipedia in searching the above scan of Acta sanctorum 10.  Frater (which is extremely common) occurs eight times in the pages devoted to St. Richard of Chichester, none of them relevant.  Redemptor and Amice (also vocatives) occur a few times elsewhere in the volume, but not in the pages on St. Richard.  Searching on "know thee", "love thee", and "follow thee" would be more complicated, but the above, at least, should be taken as further confirmation of the claim that the second half of the prayer above does not come from St. Richard of Chichester.)
     The claim is usually (?) that "versions of St Richards prayer, before the 20th century, did not contain the triplet and . . . that the first version that did was published in "The Churchmans Prayer Manual" by G.R.Bullock-Webster in 1913" (above; Wikipedia).
     BUT:  that is not the first version in which "the triplet" occurs, at least (?) not without that sentence lifted from Acta sanctorum.  Here are the earlier ones (as it happens without those words) that I've turned up so far.  Note, by the way, how very widely the incipit (especially) varies:

     The phrases of "the triplet" taken individually were not unknown earlier, of course.  Here is one striking occurrence, though one could list others:
I have not been able to get anything as striking as that to occur in either Eighteenth Century Collections Online or Early English Books Online.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Zwingli's "Gebetslied in der Pest"

A Christian song written by Huldrych Zwingli when he was attacked by the pestilence.

I. At the Beginning of the Illness.

Help, Lord God help
In this trouble!
I think, Death
is at the door.
Stand before me, Christ;
For Thou hast overcome him!
To Thee I cry;
If it is Thy will,
Take out the dart,
Which wounds me!
Nor lets me have an hour’s
Rest or repose!
Will’st Thou however
That Death take me
In the midst of my days,
So let it be!
Do what Thou wilt;
Me nothing lacks.
Thy vessel am I;
To make or break altogether.
For, if Thou takest away
My spirit
From this earth,
Thou dost it, that it may not grow worse,
Nor spot
The pious lives and ways of others.

II. In the Midst of His Illness.

Console me, Lord God, console me!
The illness increases,
Pain and fear seize
My soul and body.
Come to me then,
With Thy grace, O my only consolation!
It will surely save Everyone, who
His heart’s desire
And hope sets
On Thee, and who besides
Despises all gain and loss.
Now all is up.
My tongue is dumb,
It cannot speak a word.
My senses are all blighted.
Therefore is it time
That Thou my fight
Conductest hereafter;
Since I am not
So strong, that I
Can bravely
Make resistance
To the Devil’s wiles and treacherous hand.
Still will my spirit
Constantly abide by Thee, however he rages.

III. During Convalescence.

Sound, Lord God, sound!
I think, I am
Already coming back.
Yes, if it please Thee,
That no spark of sin
Rule me longer on earth,
Then my lips must
Thy praise and teaching
Bespeak more
Than ever before,
However it may go,
In simplicity and with no danger.
Although I must
The punishment of death
Sometime endure
Perhaps with greater anguish,
Than would now have
Happened, Lord!
Since I came
So near;
So will I still
The spite and boasting
Of this world
Bear joyfully for the sake of the reward
By Thy help,
Without which nothing can be perfect.
Ein christenlich gsang gestalt durch H. Z., als er mit pestilentz angriffen ward.

[1.] Im anfang der kranckheit.

     Hilff, herr got, hilff
in diser not!
Ich mein, der tod
sey an der thür.
Stand, Christe, für,
dann du in überwunden hast!
Zů dir rich gilff:
Ist es dein will,
züch uß den pfyl,
der mich verwundt!
Nit laß ein stund
mich haben weder růw noch rast!
Wilt du dann glych
tod haben mich
in mitz der tagen min,
so sol es willig sin.
Thů, wie du wilt;
mich nüt befilt.
Din haf bin ich.
Mach gantz ald brich;
dann, nimpst du hin
den geiste min
von diser erd,
thůst du’s, daß er nit böser werd
ald andren nit
befleck ir läben fromm und sit.

[2.] In mitten der kranckheit.

     Tröst, herr got, tröst!
Die kranckheit wachßt,
wee und angst faßt
min seel und lyb.
Darumb dich schyb
gen mir, einiger trost, mit gnad,
die gwüß erlößt
ein yeden, der
sin hertzlich bgär
und hoffnung setzt
in dich, verschetzt
darzů diß zyt all nutz und schad.
Nun ist es umm.
Min zung ist stumm,
mag sprechen nit ein wort.
Min sinn sind all verdort.
Darumb ist zyt,
das du min stryt
fůrist fürhin,
so ich nit bin
so starck, daß ich
mög dapfferlich
thůn widerstand
deß tüfels facht unnd fräffner hand.
Doch wirt min gmůt
stat blyben dir, wie er ioch wůt.

[3.] In der besserung.

     Gsund, herr got, gsund!
Ich mein, ich ker
schon widrumb her.
Ja, wenn dich dunckt,
der sünden funck
werd nit mer bherrschen mich uff erd,
so můß min mund
din lob unnd leer
ußsprechen mer
dann vormals ye,
wie es ioch gen,
einfaltigklich on alle gferd.
Wiewol ich můß
deß todes bůß
erleyden zwar ein mal
vilicht mit grösserm qual,
dann yetzund wer
geschähen, her,
so ich sunst bin
nach gfaren hin;
so wil ich doch
den trutz und boch
in diser wält
tragen frölich umb widergelt
mit hilffe din,
on den nüt mag vollkummen sin.

     Huldrych Zwingli, "Ein christenlich gsang gestalt durch H. Z., als er mit pestilentz angriffen ward" (1519/1525), trans. Samuel Macauley Jackson, Huldreich Zwingli:  the reformer of German Switzerland, 1484-1531, 2nd ed., rev. (New York and London:  G. P. Putnam's Sons, The Knickerbocker Press, 1900), 132-134 =CR 88, 67-69.  For more on this, see Thomas Martin Schneider, "Der Mensch als 'Gefäß Gottes': Huldrych Zwinglis Gebetslied in der Pest und die Frage nach seiner reformatorischen Wende," Zwingliana 35 (2008):  5-21, who summarizes the debate over 1) date of composition (late 1519 to the second half of 1525) on the one hand, and 2) Catholic, humanistic, or reformed content on the other, before opting for 2) a clearly Reformed content, but rooted in a characteristically "providential or predestinarian 'vessel of God' theology" consistent with, though not necessarily dependent on, the Luther who took Erasmus on in December of 1525; a reformed content that nevertheless 2) needn't necessarily settle the question of date of composition (in favor of, say, late 1525).

Edwards on the plague

The witholding of the word or spirit of God from
a people is a more terrible Judgment than to have
the Pestilence Raging amongst or some other very
dreadfull distemper Raging amongst a people.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

"The celebration of the Eucharist . . . cannot be the starting-point for communion; it presupposes that communion already exists, a communion which it seeks to consolidate and bring to perfection."

"Eucharistiae celebratio . . . non potest esse principium communionis, quandoquidem illam iam veluti exsistentem praeponit, ut eam confirmet et ad perfectionem perducat."

     Pope John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia (17 April 2003) 35.

"to desire the end is to desire the means to the end"

"Benoît-Dominique de La Soujeole offers a helpful distinction between a sacrament of desire and desiring a sacrament, though I modify his definition of each.  The sacrament of desire is usually understood as an explicit desire for a sacrament (voto) with no interior obstacles from receiving the sacrament, but with some exterior obstacle preventing the person from actually having or receiving the sacrament. . . .
     "Desiring a sacrament (desiderium), on the other hand, entails explicitly wanting a sacrament but not being properly disposed to receive the res of the sacrament.  Both the sacrament of desire and desiring a sacrament involve an explicit desire or wish for the sacrament.  They differ, however, inasmuch as the latter, the desire for a sacrament, involves some obstacle (obex) to receiving the res of the sacrament. . . .
     "We must be clear about this:  not all desiring may be fulfilled. . . .  Desire, in and of itself, is not the necessary [(sufficient?)] pre-condition for attaining an object. . . . While one may wish or desire to go to Holy Communion at some particular Mass, or even wish for the Sacrament from afar (as when not present at Mass), without the proper dispositions to be able to enjoy union with Christ and the Church, the desire amounts to not much more than wistful thinking.  It is an inherently frustrated desire.  One might say it is not a real desire, for to desire the end is to desire the means to the end. . . .  To desire Holy Communion rightly, to make a true spiritual communion, entails being able to make such a communion."

     Paul Jerome Keller, O.P., "Is spiritual communion for everyone?," Nova et vetera (English edition) 12, no. 3 (2014):  643-645 (631-655).

Sunday, March 29, 2020

"an admirable entry in that compilation of legendary excellence—and a historic publishing event as well—the Dictionnaire de Spiritualité"

     John Joseph Williams, "Accessibility to Eucharistic graces through spiritual communion:  a backward glance at a study of 1966," Pro ecclesia 17, no. 4 (Fall 2008):  388 (387-395), on the entry "Communion spirituelle," by Louis Marie Fernand de Bazelaire de Rupierre.