Sunday, June 5, 2011

Rogation Days, Beating the Bounds and Ascension Day

In our diocese, today is Ascension Sunday. We did not observe a holy day of obligation on Ascension Thursday, but the Solemnity was transferred. Our community for the Traditional Latin Mass did not have Mass on Thursday either, so we are rather mixed up. In England too, the RC dioceses have transferred the celebration to Sunday.

The Church of England kept it on the right day, in continuity with the traditions of the Rogation Days and "Beating the Bounds". John Whitehead sums the situation up pretty well here (and inspired the illustration above and the hymn below). This situation also reminds me of Joanna Bogle's comment on an EWTN Live show about the Catholic Church in England being more urban while the CofE has maintained more rural connections. Here in Sedgwick County, Kansas, however, the Church would have plenty of opportunities to demonstrate the link between the liturgical year and the natural year, blessing the crops and the land.

Charles Wesley's hymn for the Ascension:

Hail the day that sees Him rise, Alleluia!
To His throne above the skies, Alleluia!
Christ, awhile to mortals given, Alleluia!
Reascends His native heaven, Alleluia!

There the glorious triumph waits, Alleluia!
Lift your heads, eternal gates, Alleluia!
Christ hath conquered death and sin, Alleluia!
Take the King of glory in, Alleluia!

Circled round with angel powers, Alleluia!
Their triumphant Lord, and ours, Alleluia!
Conqueror over death and sin, Alleluia!
“Take the King of glory in! Alleluia!”

Him though highest Heav’n receives, Alleluia!
Still He loves the earth He leaves, Alleluia!
Though returning to His throne, Alleluia!
Still He calls mankind His own, Alleluia!

See! He lifts His hands above, Alleluia!
See! He shows the prints of love, Alleluia!
Hark! His gracious lips bestow, Alleluia!
Blessings on His church below, Alleluia!

Still for us His death He pleads, Alleluia!
Prevalent He intercedes, Alleluia!
Near Himself prepares our place, Alleluia!
Harbinger of human race, Alleluia!

Master, (will we ever say), Alleluia!
Taken from our head to day, Alleluia!
See Thy faithful servants, see, Alleluia!
Ever gazing up to Thee, Alleluia!

Grant, though parted from our sight, Alleluia!
Far above yon azure height, Alleluia!
Grant our hearts may thither rise, Alleluia!
Seeking Thee beyond the skies, Alleluia!

Ever upward let us move, Alleluia!
Wafted on the wings of love, Alleluia!
Looking when our Lord shall come, Alleluia!
Longing, gasping after home, Alleluia!

There we shall with Thee remain, Alleluia!
Partners of Thy endless reign, Alleluia!
There Thy face unclouded see, Alleluia!
Find our heaven of heavens in Thee, Alleluia!

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