The first principle of the Ordinariate is then about Christian unity. St. Basil the Great, the Church’s greatest ecumenist, literally expended his life on the work of building bridges between orthodox brethren who shared a common faith, but who had become separated from one another in a Church badly fragmented by heresy and controversy. He taught that the work of Christian unity requires deliberate and ceaseless effort...St. Basil often talked with yearning about the archaia agape, the ancient love of the apostolic community, so rarely seen in the Church of his day. This love, he taught, is a visible sign that the Holy Spirit is indeed present and active, and it is absolutely essential for the health of the Church.

- Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Homily on the Occasion of his Formal Institution as Ordinary

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Voices from the Patrimony on the Psalms

One of the positive achievements of the reformers in the Church of England was the renewal of the daily office in parish life. The combination of Matins and Lauds into Morning Prayer and of Vespers and Compline into Evening Prayer (a situation that was commonly done de facto in many English parishes and cathedrals at the time) in the Book of Common Prayer, and the canonical requirement for pastors to recite the offices in the parish church daily brought this important liturgical element once more into the daily lives of Christians. Far from being only an Anglican concern, the renewal of daily liturgical prayer was also frequently urged by Popes and Councils.
On the Anglican Embers page at the Anglican Use Society site ( we have made available two articles in our "From the Anglican Patrimony" series. The first is from the writings of William Law, who was a nonjuror and mystic in 18th century England. His classic book A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life influenced many readers, including John and Charles Wesley, William Wilberforce and John Henry Newman. This selection from Law's work "On the Singing of Psalms" ( gets to the heart of the importance of the psalms in Christian worship, and the psalms are, of course, the heart of the Divine Office. This except from Law's work was published in our Lent 2010 issue.

The second article is by Canon Charles Winfrid Douglas, an erudite and key Anglican clergyman of 20th century America, who was chief editor of the Episcopal Church's new hymnal in 1918 and one of the editors of The Hymnal 1940. Canon Douglas' article "The Importance of the Psalter in Worship" (…) is from his The Hale Lectures. Church Music in History and Practice: Studies in the Praise of God. Here again, we are instructed in a short but wise essay on the value of the psalter to our daily prayer. Canon Douglas' article was published in our Pentecost 2012 issue.

(Cross-posted on the Facebook page of the Anglican Use Society.)

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