A TRADITIONALIST RESPONSE TO A MODERN CHALLENGE
Paul Weyrich has recently argued , persuasively, I think, that the "cultural war" between the forces of traditional western Judeo-Christian culture and the forces of "cultural marxism" has been won by the latter. He suggests that, in consequence, Christians should shift emphasis from political confrontation to building our "own institutions, based on Christian values." These should, he says, be "islands of sanity, of goodness, of Christian living." I suggest that the forces that Weyrich calls, "cultural Marxism," have made great inroads even in the Church. Traditional forms of Western Catholicism are gradually disappearing in the Roman as well as the Anglican communion, replaced by an ever expanding Maior Novus Ordo: new rites, pushing out old devotions and faith drenched gestures.
Of course, it remains true that neither the unworthiness of our ministers nor that of our worship hinders the effect of the sacraments; God still keeps his promises. Yet, what one misses so often today in the Churchs worship are precisely what Cardinal Newman referred to as "feelings which may be especially called Catholic," viz. "awe, mystery, tenderness, reverence, devotedness." There is neither the shiverous imperative of the burning bush Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place where thou standest is holy ground !nor the exuberant devotion of the precious ointment poured over our Lords head. And why? Because the traditional piety that was the fount of these sensibilities has been replaced by a new spirituality and the dogma that formed the piety has been expelled by an inner invasion of which the rest is only the outward and visible sign, an invasion by secular theologies with a denial of transcendent reality and a rosy view of human nature, theologies of "rights," "liberation," and arrogant "correctness," theologies captive to the spirit of the age, to au courantisme.
An even keener sadness is seen in the educational works of the Church: whether in Sunday school, prep school, or divinity school: we have broken the chain of tradition. We have not handed down those holy things that our Fathers gave to us. Thus, we have a whole generation that has been raised fat but starving: fat on the empty calories of novelty but starving because the fluffy stuff does not nourish. And, the trickle down gets thinner, year by year. As e. e. cummings wisely observed: "Down we forgot as up we grew . . . . progress is a comfortable disease."
The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel has a particular message for our day: images come to mind of uncompromising Elijah standing against the nature worshipers on Mount Carmel and, closer to our own day, of the martyrs of Compiegne, those spiritual daughters of St. Teresa, who would not conform to the prevailing winds of the day, singing the Salve Regina, as they were carted to the guillotine by the champions of "liberation" and "equality" in that time and place. Sadly, it does not require much imagination to guess on which side of these two great divides many modern churchpersons would find their loyalties. Those Israelites of old who became votaries of a nature god or a nature goddess found that the former required the dreadful sacrifice of their babies and the latter the piteous sacrifice of their virtue. Just so, their modern followers sacrifice their babies to "choice" and their virtue to indulgence?
The following essay tells of an institution that is, indeed, a haven, an "Island of sanity, of goodness, of Christian living" and, in particular, a haven for a now endangered form of traditional Catholic piety that, in past days, has nurtured the spiritual lives of million of souls: orthodox in its adherence to the Faith once delivered to the saints and evangelical in its proclamation of the centrality of the Cross and grace. It is a place where the study of Western Civilization includes the foundational languages, Greek and Latin, and the study of Christian Culture, which is its motive force. All Hallows Hall believes with Christopher Dawson that,
the study of Christian Culture is the missing link which it is essential to supply, if the tradition of Western education and Western Culture is to survive, for it is only through this study that we can understand how Western Civilization came to exist and what are the essential values for which it stands.
It is a school that takes seriously the task of passing on the traditions,(Ps 78: 3, 4, 6, 7)
such as our Fathers have told us, that we should not hide them from the children of the generations to come. . . that their posterity might know it and the children which were yet unborn, to the intent, that when they came up they might teach their children the same that they might put their trust in God.
(Who eats my flesh and drinks my blood dwells in me and I in him. He has eternal life and I will raise him up in the last day).
Of Course You Can Go Home
As I pulled up the big circular driveway I caught my first glimpse of the new Chapel. My name is Michael Lawrence. I graduated from All Hallows Hall just five months ago. Now, in my first year at Harvard, I am returning to my alma mater or Aula Nostra, ("Our Hall") as we lovingly call the Hall , for the consecration of this chapel As I enter the new edifice via the South Porch, I note the sign on the big door:
It is the custom of this Hall to keep greater silence in the morningI am met by a youngster with a program who quietly shows me to a seat. The usherwe call them porters at the Hallis a first former about twelve years old and I remember my first year at the Hall, the very first year All Hallows Hall opened its doors. I came as a third former, that is, as a high school freshman. This is hardly ever possible anymore. Nowadays, places in the third form are filled by boys promoted from All Hallows, second form. The Hall now has full enrollment in all six forms. So, entry is possible only when vacancies can not be filled by the form next below. Practically speaking, now students can only enter, in the First Form or in the three lower Forms that comprise the Choir School, that is, in fourth through seventh grades. Going down the aisle, I gaze in amazement at the completed chapel. The structure is simple and elegant, built upon three large circles intersecting with several smaller ones in cruciform shape. The design was done by Dr. James Constantine Elliott, our founding Headmaster. He likes to say that the structure of the Chapel is an image of the Holy Trinitythree equal circles forming one Chapeland of the two natures, divine and human, in one person, in Christ Jesuseach circle being of two sortsas well as of the atonementthe cruciform pattern of the whole. "But," he would caution, "Don't push it too far. It's only an analogue." advancing the outward appearance," as St. Hilary said, "of visible things, as a clue to the inward meaning of things invisible." The most eastward circle ends in an apse where sits the high Altar over which rises a great stained glass window showing the worship of heaven as described in the Apocalypse of St John, of the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the World." In the corners are the sacrifices of Abel and Melchisedec, Abraham and the Passover lamb; at the top is manna in the wilderness with the words: Panem angelorum manducavit homo (Man ate the bread of angels)Ball Old Testament types of the sacrifice of Christ. Under the gathering of the manna are New Testament scenes: the Annunciation, Verbum caro factum est, (the Word was made flesh), the feeding of the five thousand, the net filled with fishes, the marriage of Cana, all leading to the Last Supper. Under the sacrificial Lamb is the Crucifixion and around it the Blessed Virgin Mary, Angels and Archangels and Apostles and Martyrs and the whole company of Heaven. With the Latin from John 6:56 &54:
Until at Matins, when the versicle "O Lord open thou my lips!" is chanted.
We request that visitors respect this custom.
The Blessed Sacrament of The Body and Blood of Our Lord
is reserved in this Chapel
Please observe due reverence.Qui manducat meam carnem et bibit meam sanguinem in me manet, et ego in illo;
habet vitam aeternam et ego resuscitabo eum in novissimo die.
St Michael swings a censer and under his figure are these words from Revelation 8:4
(And the smoke of incense ascended with the prayers of the saints, from the hand of the angel, before God) At the bottom center of the window are the All Hallows arms: On the blue and white quartered field of the escutcheon, a violet runner races toward the red cross, beyond which is a golden crown. The arms are crested by the Agnus Dei carrying a banner with the Greek words from Romans 1:6 Klatois Hagiois, (Called to be saints), supported by two golden angels above a scroll bearing the school motto in Latin, from Philippians 2:14: Ad destinatum persequor (I press to the mark!) The school colors, red, white, blue, gold and violet, dominate the entire window, giving a rather splendid glow to the sanctuary as the light pours through, at this early hour. This first circle, the Chapel proper, contains Sanctuary and Choir, and so is "of two sorts," in one structure. Moving westward, the second circle is the Antechapel . It extends north and south in small circles that form the transept or arms of the cruciform pattern. It too is of "two sorts," being at center of the horizontal beam of the cross where are the shrines , and also the place between Choir and Baptistry where visitors sit, called the nave in church buildings. Continuing west, the third circle is the Baptistry. It too extends in arms. One arm forms the south porch by which the public enters. The other is a cloister that includes a sacristy and choir room where students are even now getting ready for their grand entrance. It is both place of baptismal rebirth and entry way for Eucharist, physically as well as spiritually. In the west apse, positioned opposite the Altar in the east apse, is an octagonal baptismal pool, large enough to permit baptismal immersion. It is octagonal because the Christians, new born from the pool, are traditionally referred to as "children of the eighth day," the Resurrection day. The Resurrection occurred after the seventh day Sabbath. On the first day of the week, the Gospel says. Yet, early on, it became customary to refer to this day as the eighth day. the symbol of a new creation. The window over the baptismal pool contains scenes of the waters at creation (the Spirit moved upon the face of the waters, in the form of a dove) , Flood waters and the Arc, in which were saved eight souls, the Annunciation. The Holy Ghost in form of a dove hovers in all these scenes. Also depicted from the Old Testament are the four rivers flowing from Paradise, the Children of Israel passing through the Red Sea, with Egyptians drowned therein, Moses making bitter waters sweet and striking the rock in the desert whence water issued. Other scenes from the New Testament are Christ's baptism in the Jordan, turning water into wine at Cana, walking upon the Sea of Galilee, Water flowing from our Lord's side at the crucifixion, the burial and, in the center, the Resurrection . Two verses are found here: one from John 3:5:
Et ascendit fumus incensorum de orationibus sanctorum de manu angeli coram Deo.
Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God; and the other adapted from Romans 6:4,
Buried with Christ by baptism into his death; raised to walk in newness of life.
Thus, these two great sacraments are given symbolic expression in the architecture of this Chapel. But, the other sacraments are hardly neglected in the life of All Hallows. Confirmation is usually given at Easter or Pentecost. As to Penance, regular examination of conscience is encouraged and, every morning at Mass, the baptized members of the Hall who are to take Holy Communion
and at Evensong, all confess to God that
acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness which we from time to time
most grievously have committed by thought, word and deed.
We have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts . We have offended against thy holy laws.
We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done; and there is no health in us.Regular opportunity is made for private confession, where one may receive, besides absolution, what the Prayer Book calls, "godly counsel and advice." Holy Anointing for healing is done after Mass or Evensong, on occasion, and regularly for students in Infirmary or hospital. Even Ordinations and Marriage, although rare in a school chapel, may occasionally happen, as graduates return to Aula Nostra to solemnize their vocations.
The overlapping smaller circles that connect the central circles and form transept arms contain shrines dedicated to Angels and Saints: Kings, Poets, Doctors, Martyrs, Apostles. Closest to the high Altar, on the North side, bathed in blue light by a "tree of Jessie" window, is the Lady shrine; dedicated to Our Lady, Queen of the Saints. As I look at this shrine, I am reminded of a line from T. S. Eliot, "Blue of larkspur, blue of Mary's color." Another shrine honors great Doctors of the Church: Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, Gregory the Great, of the West; Athanasius, Basil, Gregory Nazianzen, Chrysostom from the East; Bede, Hooker, Andrews, and Pusey from the English Church. The Poets' shrine includes Dante, Shakespeare, Hopkins, Herbert, Donne, Keble and Eliot. Among the Kings honored are Alfred, Edward the Confessor and Louis IX of France. But among the Martyrs too, along with Stephen, Laurence, Alban, and the Holy Innocents are found two Kings, Louis XVI of France and Charles I of England.Just then, I am drawn from my meditation by pealing of angelus bells. I cross myself and say silently this memorial of the Incarnation of our Lord, while quiet procession moves down the center aisle. A student Verger leads the way. Cross and candles precede the choir of students. The Faculty, Fellows and visiting academicians come next, clad in gowns of Gregorian University in Rome, Oxford University in England, New York University, Harvard, Columbia and Yale in America. At the very end, come the Ministers with the Bishop. Everyone takes assigned seats in choir, angelus bells cease and the Head Master, tracing a cross on his lips, intones: O Lord open thou my lips.
and all join in:The choir chants the Antiphon:
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be world without end, Amen.
Alleluia! The Lord is glorious in his saints , O come let us adore him. Alleluia!and sings, as it does each day at Matins, Psalm, 95:
O come let us sing unto the Lord! . . .More psalms are sung and a reading by a student Lector from the Book of Wisdom is followed by singing of the Benedictus, while the Bishop, accompanied by his Deacon and Subdeacon, incense the high altar. The Headmaster leads two short prayers and closes with a grace. The Deacon chants: Let us go forth in peace! To which all reply: In the name of Christ. Amen! The Choir and Ministers then form in procession and move down the aisle, with incense wafting on high, the "sweet odor" symbolic of the prayers of the saints, living and departed. Chanting the Litany, they move toward the South Porch and outdoors to the church yard, where the Bishop says a short prayer, and then around the Chapel, with the school band playing and all hands singing:
For all thy saints, who from their labors rest who thee by faith before the world confessed, thy Name O Jesus, be forever blest Alleluia! Alleluia!As the verger and crucifer re-enter the Chapel, the organ begins the great Purcell Alleluia and all move back to their seats singing:
The hymn done and everyone in place, the great door is shut with the Ministers remaining on the porch. Then, from without, comes a knock with the Bishop's crozier accompanied by the cry:
Christ is made the sure foundation!
Let the doors be opened!
Enter into His Gates with Thanksgiving
As porters open the doors of the Chapel, the Bishop enters with the blessing:
Peace be to this house, and to all who enter here,
After a short prayer, the ministers move toward the Baptistry, while everyone sings: Veni Creator Spiritus!
The Bishop blesses the Font and, with Ministers and Acolytes, moves up the South aisle and down the North, pausing en route to lead prayers, blessing shrines, altars, icons and windows, as we sing appropriate hymns: Blessed Martyrs, Sing of Mary, Christ the fair glory of the Holy Angels, and, as they reenter the Sanctuary, the choir sings the Purcell setting of Psalm 122,
I was glad when they said unto me, we will go into the house of the Lord.
These shrines express a truth central to the foundation of All Hallows Hall and to this its Feast of Title. They honor our comrades in grace, for like them we are called to be saints. With St. Paul and saints of all ages, we count not, ourselves to have apprehended, much less to have comprehended, but, with faithful souls of all ages, we press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus! This challenge is continually held before the students in classroom and gymnasium, farm and refectory, and especially in the Chapel.
Twice a day, bells summon the community to worship, Matins and Mass at sunup, Evensong at sundown. Both come down for over four centuries as an arrangement in English of the old Latin Breviary offices, boiling down seven offices to two. In Latin, these offices go back many more centuries, and the matter from which they are arranged, about eighty percent Biblical, goes back to the early Church and, deep into the history of Israel. The core of the Offices, chant of the Psalms, has been central to the piety of Israel and Christianity, for more than twenty-five centuries. These old songs speak to every mood and situation of the human spirit crying out to its Creator: as, one deep calleth another, for truly, it is he that hath made us and not we ourselves.
The basic pattern is the same for both Offices: chant of the Psalter, followed by
reading of Scripture lessons, first, from Old Testament and then from the Newgoing through most of the former once and the whole of the latter, twice each yearPunctuated by Canticles and concluding with set prayers called collects.
The Canticles are ancient songs of praise. Some, such as the Matins canticle, Te Deum, sung on Saturdays, Sundays and great Feasts, come down from the early days of the undivided Church. Many are Hymns taken from the Bible, such as Benedictus, sung by the father of St. John the Baptist (Luke 1:68), and two usually sung at Evensong : Magnificat, Our Lady's song of praise (Luke 1:46) and Nunc Dimittis, (Luke 2:29), Simeon's song upon meeting the infant Lord, and the Blessed Mother in the Temple. Jesus, the first born male, was brought to be redeemed, as required by the old Covenant. This Covenant of the Law would soon be fulfilled by Our Lord, himself, when, in his own body, he would redeem us all upon the Cross. An insight that emerges in the use of readings from both Testaments, is that the New is, indeed, hidden in the Old and the Old is, in fact, fulfilled in the New.
At Matins, the Apostles Creed is chanted, except on Sundays and Great Feasts, when the Nicene Creed is sung at Mass. Both offices conclude with prayer: prayer at sunrise, to our Great and merciful God, whose service is perfect freedom. . . . who hast safely brought us to the beginning of this day, that he will defend us in the same, and prayer at sunset that he will set our hearts to obey his commandments, and defend us from all perils and dangers of this night. Sometimes, intercessions are added for our own special needs. We were never allowed to forget that, whenever and wherever we prayed Matins or Evensong, we were praising God and praying in union with the whole Church at all times and in all places, and so with the Blessed Trinity, as Christ prays in and through his Body. This remains true even when one does the office physically "alone," as I sometimes do now , in my dorm room at Harvard, if I cannot manage to get to Church for the office. Even then we do not pray alone. All of us took our Customaries with us, when we graduated and so, I trust, we all still pray with the Hall and thus with the whole Church. Even said "alone," these are not "private" prayers.
At the end of Matins, a student Lector reads from the Sanctorale, vitae of the saints commemorated on that day, and the choir sings a hymn related to that saint. At Evensong, there is a kind of preface called the Lucernare, lighting of the evening lamps with a blessing and thanksgiving for all our many blessings. The Phos Hilaron, a vesper hymn going back to the early centuries of the Church, is sung and there follows a period of silence, with the community on its knees in the presence of God. We recall sins committed this day in thought, word and deed. Then there is confession and absolution. After the Scripture readings and canticles, there is a reading from the Saint whose feast is celebrated or from another Father of the Church such as Augustine, Hooker, Athanasius, Anselm, Keble, Pusey, or John Damascene. A hymn of Our Lady, such as the Salve Regina, is sung and time is given for special intercessions. Before the blessing at Evensong, we are accustomed to sing St. Richard's prayer from the Sarum Primer:
God be in my head, and in my understanding;
God be in my eyes, and in my looking;
God be in my mouth, and in my speaking;
God be in my heart, and in my thinking;
God be at mine end, and at my departing.
Directly after Matins, comes the Mass, or, Holy Eucharist. Unlike the offices, attendance is not required at this service for students who are not believers, for this is the special worship of baptized Christians, the Body of Christ gathered here in this place, to remember the Lord Jesus who suffered death upon the cross for our redemption and to give thanks.
At this gathering, the Church listens to readings from Holy Scripture and offers prayers: prayers for the whole state of Christ's Church, living and departed, for all in authority over us, and for all which in this transitory life be in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity. Then, through the celebrating Priest, we offer bread and wine and pray God, our Heavenly Father:
with thy Holy Spirit and Word vouchsafe to sanctify these thy gifts and creatures of bread and wine that they may be unto us the body and blood of thy most dearly beloved Son Jesus Christ.
Thus, we celebrate and make the memorial that Christ commanded, \
having in remembrance his blessed passion, mighty resurrection, and glorious ascension.
We offer, as St. Augustine put it:
"a daily sign of this in the sacrifice of the Church, which, being his body, learns to offer herself through him." (Civitate Dei X:20).
We pray to our Heavenly Father, on behalf of all who communicate in the Holy Communion, that they may,
worthily receive the most precious body and blood of thy Son, Jesus Christ, and be fulfilled with thy grace and heavenly benediction and made one body with thy Son Jesus Christ, that he may dwell in them and they in him. And although we be unworthy through our manifold sins to offer unto thee any sacrifice, yet, we beseech thee, To accept this our bounden duty and service.
This Offering is certainly our great joy. But, it is not a joy that we as Christians can forgo, based upon how we " feel"; for it is also our duty, a duty to which we are bound, as members of the Body of Christ, as Christians. Bound, we are. not as individual spiritual atoms, but as "very members incorporate," in our Lord, and, in him, joined to each other, our fellow members of his Body, the Church. This is not such an easy lesson for an adolescent boy to absorb, but the daily round of life at the Hall offers many opportunities for illustration and practice.
As through the day, so through the yearthe Year of Grace the rhythms unfold. The year is divided into three terms of about twelve weeks each. The first is called Michaelmas, taking its name from the feast of St. Michael and All Angels. Thus, early on, we learn that All Hallows Hall is dedicated to the proposition that there is a vastly variegated dimension to reality beyond the "things seen." We remember that as Christians, we are committed by our baptism to resist the, vain pomp and glory of the world with all covetous desires of the same. and that, in this struggle,
we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Yet, we are reminded by this feast, Michaelmas, that, they that be with us are more than they that be with them! So we pray that the Holy Angels will aid us in our daily struggle:
Still let them succor us; still let them fight, Lord of angelic hosts battling for right:
Till where their anthems they ceaselessly pour, We with the angels may bow and adore.
November, brings us to the very Feast we celebrate today Hallowmas, the Feast of All
Saints, the feast whose name the Hall bears. Just as the Holy Angels, so too, the blessed Saints encourage us in our struggle:
And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long, steals on the ear the distant triumph song, and hearts are brave again, and arms are strong, Alleluia!
Of course, better known in the modern world is the evening before Hallowmas. All Hallows Eve or, Halloween, as it is elided, in paradoxically antique fashion, Halloween is a very popular day for American children, who "know not what" they celebrate nor its pagan origin. At the Hall, we celebrate the Eve in Christian manner, as a vigil with prayer anticipating the next day's high feast. The day after Hallowmas is All Souls, a day on which we celebrate Requiem for all our kith and kin, our own loved ones and benefactors and the benefactors of the Hall, which are departed hence from us, with the sign of faith and now do rest in the sleep of peace.
Soon, we are in Advent, the season that bids us prepare for the coming of Our Lord, the
first Coming in humility, as Child, and the second Coming in Glory, as judge of the quick and the dead. Next comes Christmastide and the school goes on holiday, returning in January for Epiphany Term. Epiphany is a celebration of the manifestation of Christ: to the wise men from the East, in his Baptism and in miracles such as the turning of water into wine at the marriage of Cana. Soon, we are come to Ash Wednesday when ashes smeared on forehead bid us,
Remember O Man that dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
And so begins the great penitential season of Lent with its fasts and abstentions to discipline the body and the subdued liturgy to chasten the soul.
After a short vacation, the school returns to Hall for Easter Term. The term is framed by two feasts of St. Mary: the Annunciation, Lady Day, as it is called and the Visitation. These feasts remind us of Our Lady's obedient reversal of Eve's disobedience, in fine, that the essence of Christian sanctity is obedience and surrender to God's will: Be it unto me according to thy word. The culmination of Lent is Holy Week, when many schools go on vacation. Not All Hallows. These days are of crucial importance for the formation of the the students at the Hall: Palm Sunday with its outdoor procession around the grounds waving palmsthe palms that burnt shall form the ashes for next years Ash Wednesday Maundy Thursday with its foot-washing and stripping of Altar, the Solemn Mass of the Institution of the Eucharistthe Last Supper of our Lord with his Apostles, in the same night that he was betrayed, in which he blessed bread and wine and gave them to his disciples, saying: This is my Body. . . . this is my Bloodand the procession with the Blessed Sacrament to the Lady shrine, where we would keep watch in small groups all nightCould you not watch one hour with me? our Lord had asked while he prayed alone on the night of his betrayalthen, Good Friday with stations of the cross and meditations on our Lord's words from the cross and the solemn veneration of the cross, bowing low to kiss this symbol of our redemptionthe body must do its homage, C. S. Lewis said of this riteand, at last, the Great Vigil, celebrated in the early hours of Easter Day, with the lighting of the new fire and the procession of the Paschal CandleChrist the Light of the World! the baptism and confirmation of students converted during the yearfinally, as the sun rises on Easter day, as bells peel and organ plays (they were silent, since Maundy Thursday) as the Choir sings, Gloria in Excelsis Deo!, comes the first Mass of Easter. After Eastertide come Ascensiontide and Whitsuntide and the great procession days: Rogation processions for blessing of fields and streams, flocks and crops, before AscensionBhow great to be living on a working farm for these days! Corpus Christi, in honor of the Blessed Sacrament, after Whitsunday. At the end of term, there are games and speech days, a grand ball with white tie and tails, a solemn requiem for kith and kin and solemn votive Hallowmas for graduation.
Students play an important role in Chapel. Everyone in Lower Forms and most in the Upper take part in Choir. First Formers also act as Porters and Second Formers, if confirmed, become Acolytes and assist at the altar. Third Formers and above, become Lectors, and read the lessons.
The boy at All Hallows is surrounded by the means of grace and the forms of prayer wither Christians have resorted from time immemorial, year after year. Thus, Christian culture is not so much learnt as imbibed, imbibed by intimate and continual contact, as something that means, not simply an individual "decision," or subjective "experience," nor mere mental assent, but rather a day by day submission to Christ and a continual incorporation of the whole man into the Body of Christ in this place and so in all places and in all times. He learns that duties, not rights are the stuff of which Christian manhood is made and he learns to process or kneel, not because he feels like exulting or praying, but because it is time to exult or pray. In the same way, he learns to do his lessons to the best of his ability and punctually. He learns that, in rowing he must "pull his oar," and in sailing he must move with the crew and the wind. In chores on the farm and in Dining Hall he learns that he must be on time and do his job. But it is not simply an "adequate" job to get by that is expected; rather one is expected to "press to the mark," to stretch beyond one's accustomed comfort level.
Yet, we are early taught that it is not by our strength that sanctity is realized, but, rather, by the gradual, persistent working of the grace of God in our souls. True, we must, each of us, "work out" our "own salvation with fear and trembling" but, Ait is God that worketh in us, both to will and to do." We must, then, learn to co-operate, to "work together," with this grace, for our sanctification, and that is what life at the Hall is all about. It is all of a piece--classes, games, chores or Chapel.
The trivial round, the common task will furnish all we ought to ask;
Room to deny ourselvesa road to bring us daily nearer God,
So John Keble, one of those remembered in the Poets' shrine, put it. We deny ourselves as "autonomous individuals" to find our true selves in Christ, as members of his Body, rejecting the illusory freedom of "self determination," devoting our wills to Him, whose service, as the Prayer Book says, is perfect freedom and devoting our gifts and talents to the edifying of the Body of Christ. Our calling, as the Hall motto reminds us, is, quite simply, to become saints! And so, not in self-righteous satisfaction do we live, as though we had already attained, but rather in continual trust and discipline, we press to the mark!
Our road to sanctity, here and now, is to be good students. So it continues from school to University. It is not so easy for me at Harvard, nor for my friends who went to Yale either. Still we must be faithful to Our Lord, even in such places. Having the All Hallows Customary with us is a great help. Using this book reminds us, as we pray with the boys and Preceptors at the Hall, that we are stillalways will bepart of the life of the Hall, part of the Church of God in that place. "Then," Dr. Elliot would say:
Whether we are physicians or physicists, princes or priests, pilots or professors, publicists or poets, publishers or policemen, politicians or potato growers, doing whatever in this world we do, we must still do it all, as of God and by God and for God. Only by firmly focusing on Heaven, are we of any earthly good.
Thus, in all we do, We must love God with allhalf will not doall our heart, soul and mind. But. Of course, this is quite impossible except the grace of God both prevent ( pre-venit = go before) and follow us. As St. Paul says: "It is God that worketh in us, both to will and to do."
The saints to whom the Chapel shrines are dedicated are great heros of the faith. Yet, like all of us, they were mortals, saved but by grace, and, Knowing their weakness, they relied, not on themselves, but on the God who chose the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty, the God who declared: My strength is made perfect in weakness. They were faithful to
the calling to sanctity: day by day, loyally and faithfully surrendering themselves, heart, soul and mind, to God's grace. In and through this grace, they kept pressing toward the mark, looking not to their own goodness and their human efforts, although, they certainly endeavored to make these efforts wholeheartedly, and looking not to the plaudits or punishments of the world, but, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2) We honor the Saints in their faithfulness and in their diversity. As the year unfolds, in counterpoint to the Major Feasts, we celebrate the Saints' days. The Saints are our precursors; they have run this way before us. As the Epistle to the Hebrews reminds us, we run the race set before us, not on lonely track, but, surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses."
The Bishop and other Ministers pause at the entrance to the Sanctuary and, facing East, toward the high Altar, the Bishop chants the Collect for purity:
Almighty God unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit
That we may perfectly love thee and worthily magnify thy holy Name, through Christ our Lord.
Well, it really is very hard to imagine a better beginning for worship. That done, he turns West to face the congregation, and says:
Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ saith:
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, this is the first and great commandment and the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
Facing in the Right Direction
Throughout the consecration of the All Hallows Chapel, as indeed at every Eucharistic Celebration at the Hall, there is this rhythm of facing East to address God on behalf of the people and with the people and West to address the people with Gods word of exhortation, comfort, absolution and instruction. A friend who came to visit me last year, goes to a Church where the priest faces the people for the whole service. He questioned me about our custom:
"Why does your Priest turn his back on us?" He asked.
"Well," I explained, "Hes not so much turning his back on us as turning Godward, on our behalf. He faces East because of a long tradition in the history of the Church going back to the earliest days: First, there is the association between the suns rise in the East and the Sons rise from the grave as the Dawn of new Life, the Day-spring from on high. Second, the traditional location of Paradise, the Garden of Eden was in the East; Christ ascended in the East and so his return is looked for in the East. Thus, "looking East" is an expression of the Christian hope, that the Paradise which we lost through sin will be restored in Christ. The Mass is not only a memorial of Christs Last Supper and a re-presentation of the Sacrifice of Calvary in the presentAs often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lords deathbut an anticipation of the future banquetuntil he come!the Marriage Feast of the Lamb and his bride the Church, in this paradise regained. For, on the night of the institution of the Holy Eucharist, the Lord Jesus himself said: I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it with you in my Fathers Kingdom. These associations, all reinforce the Eastward tropism of the Church in prayer.
I quoted St. Basil from de Spiritu Sancto,
We all look to the East at our prayers,
and Cyril of Jerusalem from his Catechetical Lectures, speaking of Baptism:
When you renounced Satan, there is opened to you the Paradise of God which he planted toward the East, whence for his transgression, our father was banished, and a symbol of this is your turning from West to East, the place of light,
and St. Ambrose, from de Mysteriis,
You turned to the East, for he who renounces the Devil turns to Christ.
I drew my friends attention to the recurrent cry of the deacon found in all ancient liturgies:
Eis anatolas blepsate! Look to the East!
And finally, I quoted from the fourth century Apostolic Constitutions directive for building churches:
Let the building be oblong, turned to the East.
I learned all this in my first year Religion course. I think I was convincing.
The other thing my friend found odd was the language: the language of the prayers, but especially of the Bible readings. At the Hall, in the morning, we read the New Testament lessons in Greek and the Old Testament in Hebrew; and in the evening we read them both in English but not in what is called "modern" English. Rather, it is the Tudor English of the King James Bible. Incidentally, with the psalms done alternately in Latin and Englishthe English of the Prayer Book Psalter, even older than the King James just by "doing my prayers" with my Customary, I am keeping up my Latin, Greek and Hebrew, even without any other reading. But, I digress. My friend could accept the rationale for the Greek and Hebrew. They were after all the original languages of the documents and we had learned to read them. But he found this archaic English, as he called it, with its thees and thous, a little strange.
"So did I, at first," I confessed. I too came from a Church that was trying to be "modern and relevant," So, the Revised Standard Version, was the most elegant version of the Scriptures that I had ever heard, until I came to the Hall. "Yet," I explained," King James translation, like the Prayer Book, was made during the time of Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Herbert and Donne; a period that saw what is described by T. S. Eliot as, a development of the English language which we have perhaps never equaled. Under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, Lancelot Andrews and the other translators produced an incomparable English classic, rightly called the high water mark of our language. Cardinal Newman, years after he had left Anglicanism for the Roman Communion, still spoke of the grave and majestic English of the King James Version that had the great merit of associating religion with compositions which even humanly considered, are among the most sublime and beautiful ever written. (Grammar of AssentIV:2) "Among the most sublime and beautiful ever written;" yet, I had never heard it read in church! Part of my heritage as an Anglican, but I had never heard it read. Of course, I did hear bits sung in Handels Messiah and set to music by other composers." Thank God, the music prevents the "experts" from "updating" Handel! Well meaning, who can doubt, clerical bureaucrats and scholars had got together and taken it upon themselves, for my own good, they reasoned, to hinder me from ever hearing this sublime translation read in a liturgical setting and, coincidentally, to break the chain of the wedding of sensibility and divinity that these words had been for generations of English speaking Christians. A bit arrogant, even for "experts." to take so much upon themselves. Once you do get used to hearing the rhythms of King James, its hard to take the RSV or the other even more insipid translations of Scripture. The ear, unless its turned to tin, refuses to accept them. Occasionally, where new textual evidence, not available to the translators of the King James Version, suggests a more accurate rendering, changes are accepted in the All Hallows lectionary. However, changes are never made simply to eliminate so called "archaic" language nor to produce "inclusive" or "politically correct" language.
The use of the King James Version of the Bible, and the Tudor Prayer Book have another importance. Mark Van Doren, tells the story of a medical diagnostician who attributes many of his diagnostic insights to the lines of poetry his father made him learn as a youngster. Van Doren comments that passages of verse memorized in childhood come back in middle age to influence thought and action, often when it counts most. How much more might this be true of Bible verses and Collects from the Prayer Book? In De Trinitate, St. Augustine finds an analogue to the Holy Trinity in the unity in diversity of three aspects of the human mind: memory, understanding and will. At Aula Nostra, we are amply exercised in all three; memory work is given great emphasis.
Well, the simple fact is that it is much easier to memorize the old collects and scripture verses from the Tudor versions than the modern stuff that somehow does not stick in the mind or ear. The oral tradition was still important in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: not everyone could read and even those who could still had a much better ear for oral rhythms than we, with the dominance of the written word in our lives, have today. I think this is important and I believe, as Van Doren suggests about poetry, that the Scriptures and prayers and poems I learn today will prove even more important as I grow older.
I think back now to my first year. As I earlier said, I was part of the Charter class, the first class ever. Because of the highly structured program, All Hallows would not accept any students who could not spend at least four years. Now, its difficult to get in unless you can spend at least six years here. My class should have been entered in some book of records, because the course of studyall requiredthat we completed in four years, now requires six years.
My mind was definitely formed along distinctive lines by the curriculum. The organizing focus of the curriculum is the development of Western Civilization. Special attention is given to the role of Christian Culture in this development. The Hall pretends to no "politically correct" neutrality. The entire faculty frankly endorse Christopher Dawsons contention that:
The study of Christian Culture is the missing link which it is essential to supply, if the tradition of western education and Western Culture is to survive, for it is only through this study that we can understand how Western Civilization came to exist and what are the essential values for which it stands.
A major emphasis in the first year is placed upon Latin, the language that was the international tongue during the centuries when Christianity was a dominant cultural force. We also study Music , Drawing, Math and Religion. But, some of the instruction is also in Latin, in every course. Thus, as my room mate used to say: "We had Latin and Music, Latin and Math, Latin and Religion, Latin and swimming, Latin and rowing, Latin and sailing, Latin and agriculture, Latin and art and, just for good measure, we had Latin and Latin." We also used Latin at most meals, except when guests were present who did not know the "dead" language. Dead? Certainly Latin is not dead at Aula Nostra. Well, by years end, my classmates and I were comfortably talking in Latin about whatever we wanted to; the immersion technique had worked. We had also got a good foundation in the Latin grammar and learned to write letters, epistles, using classical models and had read selections from Ovid and the Latin Bible.
Mathematics at All Hallows begins with Algebra and Computer Practicum. In Mathematics, we, in a sense, "think Gods thoughts after Him," catching a glimpse of the intricateness of his design. We used the computer first to write essays, then to do spread sheets for statistics and graphs. Eventually, we learned to use the internet for research. Of course, the first site we discovered was, grex Latine loquentium (Latin speakers group). Modern technology put to the use of an ancient language. Nice irony, it seemed to us, as fourteen year old boys.
The first term of Religion class begins with the Catechism, follows with an exegesis of the school armswhat after all is a saint?and then is expanded in a way so as to complement the Music and Ecclesiastical Latin courses: they tell us what to do, in Chapel, and how to do it; Religion Class explains why we do it. Why do we bow the head at the mention of the name of Jesus? Why do we genuflect at the Incarnatus in the Creed? What does incense signify? The second and third terms are built upon the text from John 14:5 considering Our Lords declaration of himself as "the Way, the Truth, and the Life," or in Latin: Via, Veritas, Vita.
We began our study of the Way, with the ethical demands of natural law, as expressed in the Ten Commandments. We considered the moral, intellectual and theological virtues with their perversions in the deadly vices. We studied the "narrow way" of Matthew 7:14-29, the Beatitudes, Temporal and Spiritual Works of mercy. Groups of boys work with institutions off-campus throughout the year, putting these works into practice, bringing to the needy the Gospel in both sorts, teaching and feeding, bringing souls and bodies to Christ in love. Sin is seen as something deeper than "inappropriate behavior" resulting from unsolved medical or social problems; sanctity is seen as something more than "being good boys." There emerges a contrast between two ways of life, secular and Christian: between utilitarianism and holiness, "values" and virtues, "correctness," and courtesy, "rights," and duties, between assertiveness training and spiritual formation, between career and vocation, between advancement and obedience, between self or group "empowerment" and Ye are not your own, for ye were bought with a price.
It comes down to this: all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; and we seem continually to prefer our ways to Gods. Although created good, in Gods image, yet, through disobedience, we spoilt this original goodness. Sin, then, is a fatal flaw in our very nature that tends to corrupt all we do and predisposes us to rebellion against Gods will. As the prophet Jeremiah declared: the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. We cry out with the saints of all ages: Who shall deliver us?! Only in the redemptive sacrifice of Christ on our behalf is there deliverance and forgiveness; the Way is, in fine, Via Crucis. So, we fall at the foot of the cross, pleading, not our own goodness or merits, but the grace of God and the merits of our crucified Lord:
Just as I am without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me and that thou bidst me come to thee, O Lamb of God I come.
But then, we must take up, each one, his own cross and so we come to consider vocation, and discernment of Gods will for our lives. We are all given gifts of various sorts, not for our self glorification or indulgence, but rather, for the edifying of the Body of Christ, not for our self aggrandizement, but that God might be glorified in us and through us, in the world. Whatever our vocation, it is an interim calling, For, although, we must, as we have opportunity,. . . do good unto all men, yet, this world is not our true home; it is the place of our exile. And, for the Christian, every calling will involve suffering. Like his Lord, he can not enter into glory but first he suffer. And, yes, adolescents do know about suffering.
From via we move naturally to veritas. The sceptic and the cynic ask with Pilate: "What is truth?" The relativist says: "there is no truth except your truth or my truth." Christians pledge loyalty and fidelity to Jesus Christ as the living Truth and to the Church as the pillar and ground of the truth. (I Tim 3:15) The Incarnation, the Divine enfleshment, is the God appointed means for restoring the righteousness that we lost in Adams fall and the Church as his mystical Body is the extension of that Incarnation through time and space. Further, as Our Lord sanctified matter in taking our flesh upon him, so too, in the sacraments of the Church, water and bread and wine and oil become sanctified means of sanctifying grace. Dogma as expressed in the historic creeds, Apostles, Nicene and Athanasian, is seen, not simply as theoretical construct, but as antidote to fight infections from heresies that would threaten the Churchs life in her Lord, in the Blessed Trinity. Cardinal Newman put it well when, in An Essay in Aid of A Grammar of Assent, he described the Athanasian Creed as, a hymn and confession of self-prostrating homage. as,
The War song of faith, with which we warn first ourselves, then each other and then all those who are within its hearing, of the Truth, who our God is, and how we must worship him, and how vast our responsibility will be, if we know what to believe and yet believe not.
The third part of the course, Vita, begins with a study of the New Birth in Baptism,
( John 3:1-16.; Romans 6.) We consider the sealing by the Holy Spirit in Confirmation of this new life (Ephesians 1:1-23, 4:30) and the sustaining of our life in the Holy Eucharist wherein Christ makes us partakers of his life. ( John 6:30- 58, II Corinthians 10&11) We consider the paradox of our lives as a participation in Christs death and resurrection. Penance (John 20:19-23) and Unction ( Mark 6:7-13, James 5:14-15), are considered as ways of restoring life when sin and sickness endanger it. Marriage and Holy Orders are seen as sacramental types of Christs life in his Body (Ephesians 5: 22-33, 4:1-17; I Peter 1&2) and as promised means of Gods grace for the strengthening and extending of that life.
Christs sayings from John 15,16 and 17 (as well as Ephesians 4 and I Corinthians 12) are the focus for a discussion of participation in the Divine life through Christs Body, the Church. This leads to a study of prayer in its different modes, vocal and mental prayers, as well as "extra-liturgical" devotions, as participation in this common life.
The arms of the Hall sum up this Course well. On the escutcheon, a violet runner on a white field races toward a gold crown on a blue field. Between runner and crown, in the center is a red cross. Violet is the color of penance ( as in the Lenten colors), so we run our race, not in our own strength, but in perpetual reliance on heavenly grace, for, there is no health in us, waiting on him who has promised to renew our strength, eyes steadily fixed on the Cross, looking to Jesus!
White is the color of purity, and holiness. The white field symbolizes our white baptismal robes, the righteousness of Christ in which we are clothed, so purity of hope in Via. Red is the color of sacrificial love and grace, of blood and fire (hence the red vestments for martyrs and Pentecost); thus, the red cross is the suffering love that is our participation in the Cross of Christ, whereon was wrought our redemption, that is Vita Christianis. It symbolizes also the flame of the Holy Ghost, by whom, the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, and by whom, we are sealed unto the day of redemption. Gold is the color of triumph and glory, (thus of Easter vestments ); so the crown is the crown of glory, both consummation of the Vita and goal of the Via. Of course, the Cross is interposed between the runner and the crown; "no cross, no crown." Blue is the color of truth and fidelity, of the heavens wherein are signs the mariner trusts for his journey. So, the blue field is Veritas , representing both Truth and fidelity ("true blue") the ground of our faith, the oath and covenant of our Lord, in whose plighted troth (cf. The wedding liturgy.) his bride, the Church, and all her members place their trust.
Go to AHH -- Second Part
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