Modern Day Sarum Prymer

Haligweorc reports on, and has written the forward for, a Sarum Prymer: a precursor to the Book of Common Prayer which adapted the monastic practice of the Daily Office (Liturgy of the Hours) to non-monastic life.

I particularly appreciated this paragraph from the forward:

The Hours of the Blessed Virgin Mary are an extended meditation upon the mystery of the Incarnation. The honors afford to the Virgin approach from several different directions the many paradoxes inherent in the Incarnation—a virgin giving birth, the Lord who spans heaven and earth enclosed in a womb, a creature bringing forth from her body that body’s Creator. The images that historically accompanied the hours progressed through the story of Christ through the lens of his mother: the Annunciation, the journey to Bethlehem, the Nativity, the Presentation in the Temple, etc. As we pray through this devotion, the theological prescriptions of the Chalcedonian formulation are translated into the relationships between mother and Son.

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2 Responses to Modern Day Sarum Prymer

  1. Theophrastus says:

    Very interesting, and I appreciated the use of “paradox” instead of the (perhaps more traditional) phrasing “mystery.”

    • I noticed when writing my Christology paper last term that it was particularly the paradoxes of the Incarnation that moved the writers who defended what would become the Chalcedonian position. I closed my paper with these words:

      The formula of Chalcedon does not actually solve any of the puzzling issues that naturally occur to thoughtful Christians such as the nature of God’s self-limitation in Christ, the reason for that self-limitation, and a means by which we can understand the apparent contradictions of Scripture that originally motivated some of these controversies. Instead, the defenders of what was ultimately held as the catholic faith testify to the mystery of the Incarnation in poetic and paradoxical language that rings in the hearts of the faithful and is celebrated in liturgical hymnody to this day.

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