Monday, 2 January 2012

Diamond Jubilee Year

2012 sees many big events (the end of the world too, if you are an ancient Mayan!).

One of those events is the diamond jubilee of the Queen of the United Kingdom. After 60 years on the throne, she has seen this country change quite radically, as well at the Catholic Church (she has seen 6 Popes during her reign, and met most of them), and she has presided over some considerable changes in the Anglican Communion as well. I can't possibly imagine how different life is now as it was in 1952.

Though she is not a Catholic, she is a deeply Christian lady, and this year, she used her Christmas broadcast to speak of the hope that Christ signified in his Incarnation as a human person. She said,

Finding hope in adversity is one of the themes of Christmas. Jesus was born into a world full of fear. The angels came to frightened shepherds with hope in their voices: 'Fear not', they urged, 'we bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 
'For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.'
Although we are capable of great acts of kindness, history teaches us that we sometimes need saving from ourselves - from our recklessness or our greed. 
God sent into the world a unique person - neither a philosopher nor a general, important though they are, but a Saviour, with the power to forgive. 
Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It can heal broken families, it can restore friendships and it can reconcile divided communities. It is in forgiveness that we feel the power of God's love. 
In the last verse of this beautiful carol, O Little Town Of Bethlehem, there's a prayer: 
O Holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us we pray. Cast out our sin and enter in. Be born in us today. 
It is my prayer that on this Christmas day we might all find room in our lives for the message of the angels and for the love of God through Christ our Lord.

How refreshing to hear the Truth broadcast over the whole world by the very head of our establishment! She also spoke of the importance of the family, especially important considering the erosion of the family in our modern society.

It was always an encouraged practice to recite a prayer for the Queen after High Mass on Sundays, a practice, like prayer in general, that fell into abeyance after the 1960s. This year, the bishops of our country have reminded us of this prayer, and have encouraged us to use it publically during this diamond jubilee year. It is the same prayer (the lack of hieratic language notwithstanding) that is found in the pre-Concilar manuals. We've put it in our side-bar too.

V. O Lord, save Elizabeth, our Queen.
R. And hear us on the day we call upon you.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come before you. 
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with your spirit.
Almighty God, we pray, that your servant Elizabeth, our Queen, who, by your providence has received the governance of this realm, may continue to grow in every virtue, that, imbued with your heavenly grace, she may be preserved from all that is harmful and evil and, being blessed with your favour may, with her consort and the royal family, come at last into your presence, through Christ who is the way, the truth and the life and who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The bishops' conference have requested that, on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Sunday June 3 2012, each parish will celebrate a Mass with prayers to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. During this Mass, the first reading is replaced by 1 Kings 3:11–14 and the Prayer for the Queen, which has been approved by the bishops, is used after the post-Communion prayer and before the final blessing."

The amended prayer in our side-bar can be used at any time.

I know some parishes that will be using this prayer more regularly than Trinity Sunday, even every Sunday throughout the year, after Mass. Republican or not, it is very important that we pray for our country and its leaders. We should always live in reality, after all! The Queen, as the wearer and manifestation of the Crown, our nation's supreme sovereignty, should receive our prayers most especially and regularly. Let's prove that prayer is fashionable. It does work, after all! As St. Peter wrote, "Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good" (2 Pet. 2:13-14), and also St Paul, who wrote, "I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour ..." (1 Tim 2:1-3).

So Gawd bless ya, Mum. 

God save the Queen!

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