I have discovered that some traditional Roman Catholics are intending to use a special prayer of consecration to the Mother of God in the midst of their concerns. The original version, specific to Roman Catholic use, is found here. Those of us belonging to other apostolic Churches are repelled by some of the terms used.
I therefore propose (unofficially) that some may like to use the formula I have modified in solidarity with those who are concerned for Catholic Christianity in this post-humanist and godless world. We share the same concerns for souls in distress, for the liturgical tradition, for doctrinal orthodoxy and morals according to natural law and revelation, especially the sanctity of human life.
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Feast of the Assumption, 15th August 2021
O Mother of God, Mother of the Church, we come to thee in this bleak hour. The forces of evil, enemies of thy beloved Son, rear their heads with overweening audacity. Our families are under relentless attack, the unborn are slaughtered by the millions, our children are scandalised and corrupted, vice is glorified and sanctioned by law, our most fundamental liberties are being speedily curtailed. Good is now called evil, and evil good (Cf. Is 5:20).
Nor is this lamentable situation confined to the secular world. In our beloved Church, founded by thy Divine Son, the cause of Truth and Justice is often brushed aside; priests who stand up for the moral law are silenced and besmirched; religious communities devoted to traditional observance are pressed to compromise or written off as outdated; the Sacred Liturgy handed down by Tradition is under overt attack. In this hour of fierce trial and impending persecution, we entrust to thee our woes. Thou hast assured us that, in the end, thy sinless Heart would triumph. This promise consoles us, and we are ever mindful that we must make ourselves worthy of such a victory by the sanctity of our lives.
Our Lady of Victories, on this day, as we honour thy glorious victory over death and look up with joy to the eternal crown of victory which rests upon thy beloved head, we are filled with confidence that thou dost not forget thy beloved sons and daughters, still labouring in sorrow in this vale of tears.
In many revelations and apparitions to innocent souls, thou didst request that the entire world, and especially those countries still under the yoke of totalitarianism, should be consecrated to thy resplendent Heart. As we look around us, it is all too clear that our societies live more and more as if there were no God. We are saddened by the plight of our beloved Churches in which prominent Catholics are allowed with impunity to reject the most formal teachings of our faith without condemnation and even with approval, while faithful Catholics who defend the moral law and cleave to the sacred rites and traditions of our Fathers are forced to the margins. In this hour, Most Powerful Virgin, each one of us approaches with filial confidence thy sinless and Maternal Heart.
United together with all Catholic communities of various institutional Churches around the world and who are attached to Tradition, we consecrate to thee ourselves, our families, our communities, our priests, our bishops, our metropolitans, patriarchs and the Pope, and the whole world. We consecrate our world to thy Immaculate Heart. We entrust to thy maternal intercession all those whose lives and whose souls are in danger: the unborn, the youth, the elderly, the weak and handicapped, the persecuted and the slandered, the famished souls who search in vain for the clarity of truth and the purity of divine worship. We ask thee to look down with thy merciful eyes and to save one and all.
In a very special way, we consecrate to thee all the priests and faithful who remain devoted to their ancient liturgical traditions. We ask thee to protect every priest in whose heart thou hast sown the resolve to persevere, to give him the grace and the courage to stand firm in the midst of whatever persecution he may have to undergo. We entrust to thee all the traditional religious communities and secular priests, that they may be unshakeable in fidelity to their charisma, immoveable in their dedication to doing the truth in charity (cf. Eph 4:15) for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.
O Woman clothed with the sun, upon whose head rests a crown of twelve stars and under whose feet lies the moon – symbol of change and instability – (cf. Apoc 12:1), abandon us not in this hour which we know is thy hour. Spread thy immaculate mantle over each of us, our families and communities, and protect us from all harm. Keep us ever faithful to the practice of the true faith and to the Mass of our Fathers. Lead us to that heavenly home where, with thee and all the angels and saints, we may forever be the Praise of the Glory of the Most Holy Trinity (Cf. Eph 1:12). Amen.
Sub tuum praesidium…
Father, I have been reading your interesting posts and associated links and other articles in the wake of Traditiones Custodes. I think I have sufficiently made clear my attitude to the diversity of religious aspiration and practice not to have to re-state it here. I do think that that there is a de facto schism within Christian churches, between what might be loosely called liberals and traditionalists, but the schism is itself splintered between the protagonists, reflecting the reality of Cicero’s oft-cited quip quot homines, tot sententiae.
My own view is that Pope Francis has used a blunt instrument to tackle the problem of ritual diversity being used as a mask for religious rebellion. I don’t use the word rebellion in a pejorative sense here, simply in the sense of opposition. There are clearly and inevitably competing several views about the wisdom or otherwise of the instrument although it may be hard to untangle them from the prism of ecclesiastical politics.
I keep in mind the words of Jesus to Pilate. His kingdom is not of this world and these words have to somehow inform the Christian response, I think. In that light I have carefully read the proposed prayer to which you linked, and your own modification of it. I think your version does not go quite far enough in escaping the “God-is-on-my-side” tone that struck me in the original. I gave thought to the distress and aspirations of those who love the old Mass (in its various forms) and see it as necessary for their religious integrity, and devised a further version. Here it is, for your and co-readers’ consideration:-
O Mary, Holy Mother of Jesus, we, poor sinners in the Vale of Tears, pray to you in this hour of our sadness. We feel overwhelmed on many fronts. In particular, we feel the spiritual liberty, the spiritual freedom, which your Son promised is being constantly attacked or taken away. We lament that the Christian Church has continually divided itself through the centuries and that for a long time we have been at the mercy of state power but in our own age we are witnessing even the suppression of our deepest, innermost aspirations and needs for what we believe will help us follow your Son in worshipping God, our Father, in the way we have been taught to do and which we believe will help us in our conversion of heart.
How pained are we by the words of the present Leader of the Roman Church, Pope Francis, which restrict the use and access to the venerable rite we call by various names and which has been a crucial centre of our religious and spiritual life! It appears religious communities devoted to traditional observance are now pressed to cease or will be forbidden to maintain their service to those who, across the globe, and who consider ourselves sons and daughters of the Roman Church, feel and believe as we do.
This is a trial for us. But we are filled with humble hope that you will not forget your beloved sons and daughters, still labouring in sorrow in this vale of tears.In this hour, dear Mary, each one of us approaches with filial confidence your maternal heart.
United together with all those Catholic communities of various institutional Churches around the world who are attached humbly and without a spirit of division, to particular Tradition, we consecrate ourselves to your Immaculate Heart and entrust to thy maternal intercession all those famished souls who seek the freedom to worship by their lights. We ask you to look down with your merciful eyes and to ask your Son to save one and all.
In a very special way, we entrust to you all priests and traditional religious communities of good will that they may be able to continue in their vocation of celebrating the sacraments in their traditional form for the glory of God and the salvation of the souls.
O Mary, you who are closer to your Son than the angels and saints, spread your immaculate mantle over each of us, our families and communities, and protect us from all harm. Inspire in those to whose power we are subject a spirit of peace and protection. Finally, lead us to that heavenly home where, with you and all the angels and saints, we may forever be, offering praise to the Glory of the Most Holy Trinity. Amen.
Each co-reader will of course express themselves differently but I hope mine is at least understood as composed in an irenic spirit for a politicised church.
Thank you, Stephen, for these reflections. Many of the terms of the original prayer reminded me of the experience I went through in the traddie world and the polarised ideologies. I didn’t pin down the notion that you have isolated – “God is on my side!”.
In an ideal world, the papalist ideology would be removed leaving everything else intact. In this world, remove anything and the rest of the house of cards comes tumbling down. Checkmate, Christianity! Devil 1 – God 0…
Many become Orthodox. Those of us who are “cradle Anglicans” have a spectrum of continuing Anglicanism. No institution can replace the quality of our own spiritual life and integrity of our humanity. I have felt sympathetic to the plight of traditionalists faced with this papal aggression, but I cringe when I hear them preach. There is something they never understood about the human soul.
I don’t think I will “use” any form of this prayer in my chapel on the Feast of the Assumption. I will say my Mass and my Office, and maybe say some simple words in the direction of the icon of the Θεοτόκος above my altar. Perhaps such a prayer would be heard rather than be the expression of yet another political ideology.
I will say my Mass and my Office….
Yes, I think that is the best and most appropriate course. There is no need or utility in exacerbating the ideological conflicts. God has all things in His vision does He not? I’ll join with you on the 15th and say the office too, for all good intentions.
Thank you for this! I have not (yet) compared the linked original text, but as I read through your version, I thought it was like an elaboration of Sub tuum praesidium, with its scope of use by “all Catholic communities of various institutional Churches around the world and who are attached to Tradition” – and then, there at the end – ! I had just been discussing the striking papyrus Rylands III 470 of it with my schola master after practice on Thursday…
I find I know far too little about the theology of ‘dedication’ and ‘consecration’ of this sort (or, indeed, of thngs like the dedication of the Basilica Sanctae Mariae Maioris, celebrated on 5 August).
I suppose that the notions of “dedication” and “consecration” are similar to blessing. A boat can be blessed to ask God to protect those who sail in her against the dangers of the sea. There is the consecration of bread and wine at Mass, the consecration of a bishop, which are sacramental acts. The consecration of the world or a particular country (Russia) is more of a prayer for the good of the object of consecration. There are the dedication and consecration of a church in the Pontifical, which is the setting aside of the building for the worship of God, something a little “stronger” than a blessing. It differs according to context.
Thank you! Various things suddenly spring to mind – that Beethoven wrote music for The Consecration of the House (or Die Weihe des Hauses), Op. 124; the language of dedication and consecration Lincoln used in his ‘Gettysburg Address’; what we do over the doors and in the house at Epiphany, and what has been done to the chalk and incense in preparation…
I can imagine Dom Gregory Dix might have good things to say about this – I should browse The Shape of the Liturgy, to see if he says anything there (his noting that when the description of the Heavenly Liturgy is described in the Apocalypse of St.John was written, there was no place on earth corresponding to that, as Churches would later come to evoke it, when it was possible to build them, is another thing that sprang to mind…).