S. Benedict Biscop, Abbot; Comm. the Octave of S. Cuthman, Hermit & Confessor: Missa “Os justi”
St Benedict Biscop (628-690) was a Northumbrian nobleman who embraced Christianity in the seventh century. Very well connected at the English Court, he used his influence and his wealth to promote Christian learning in the North East.
A follower of the great St Benedict who is often thought of as the founder of monasticism, he founded two great abbeys in the North East, one in Sunderland and one in Jarrow. St Benedict was a great scholar who brought books, music, paintings and stained glass back from his journeys to Rome to adorn his churches. Immensely influential, he was partly responsible for the English Church adopting Roman practice after the synod of Whitby in 664. St Benedict Biscop’s most famous pupil was the Venerable Bede, the father of English historians. Bede wrote one of the first English biographies of his mentor in his history of the Abbots of Wearmouth.and Jarrow. Bede wrote
“Benedict Biscop, a devout follower of Christ, inspired by grace from on high founded a monastery in honour of the most blessed Peter, prince of the apostles, on the north bank of the Wear, towards the mouth of the river, with the help of the venerable and holy king Egfrid who donated the land for it.”
“He (Benedict) brought back many holy pictures of the saints to adorn the church of St Peter he had built: a painting of the Mother of God, the blessed Mary, ever virgin, and one of each of the twelve apostles which he fixed round the central arch on a wooden entablature reaching from wall to wall: pictures of incidents in the gospels with which he decorated the south wall, and scenes from St John’s vision of the Apocalypse for the north wall. Thus all who entered the church, even those who could no read, were able, whichever way they looked to contemplate the dear face of Christ and his saints.”
St. Cuthman was venerated as a saint before the Norman Conquest. After the conquest his relics were transferred to Fécamp, since the Steyning church had been given to the Abbey there. In charters of William the Conqueror Steyning is sometimes called “St. Cuthman’s Port” or “St. Cuthman’s Parish”. In “lives” which were preserved at Fécamp it is said that he was born about 681 A.D., probably at Chidham, near Bosham, which is about 25 miles from Steyning. If this is so, his parents would have heard the preaching of St Wilfrid, the Apostle of Sussex (680-685), and no doubt became Christian. Did Wilfrid himself baptise the child Cuthman? Some authorities give him a date later than this, but at least it can be said that Cuthman’s church was in existence in 857, for we know that King Ethelwulf was buried there in that year.
INTROIT Ecclesiasticus 45: 30
The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak judgment: the law of his God is in his heart.. (Ps. 36: 30-31) Be not emulous of evildoers: nor envy them that work iniquity. v. 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. Repeat The mouth of the just…
O God, by whose grace the blessed abbot Benedict gave up all things for the sake of becoming perfect, grant to all who have begun to tread the path of gospel perfection that they may neither look back nor be halted on the way, but, without stumbling, make good speed towards thee and lay hold of everlasting life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
Of St Cuthman
O Lord, saviour and keeper of those who seek Thee, who didst grant Blessed Cuthman, undefiled, to renounce this world and to flee to the protection of thy wings; grant by his intercession that thy people may have grace to flee from the contagion of the evil one, and to follow thee alone with a pure heart and mind. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who with Thee liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God; throughout all ages, world without end. R. Amen
EPISTLE Ecclesiasticus 45:1-6
Lesson from the Book of Wisdom. Beloved of God and men, whose memory is in benediction. He made him like the Saints in glory, and magnified him in the fear of his enemies, and with his words he made prodigies to cease. He glorified him in the sight of kings, and gave him commandments in the sight of his people, and showed him His glory. He sanctified him in his faith and meekness, and chose him out of all flesh. For He heard him and his voice, and brought him into a cloud. And He gave him commandment before His face, and a law of life and instruction.
GRADUAL Psalm 61: 13,14
Lord, Thou has prevented him with blessings of sweetness; Thou hast set on his head a crown of precious stones. V. He asked life of Thee, and Thou hast given him length of days for ever and ever.
TRACT Psalm 111.1-3
A blessed man is he who fears the Lord, bearing all love to his commandments. V. Children of his shall win renown in their country: ever the sons of the just shall find a blessing. V. Esteem dwells with such a man, and great prosperity: fame shall record his gracious deeds eternally.
GOSPEL Matthew 19:27-29
Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 20: 3-4
Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, O Lord, and hast not withholden from him the willof his lips: Thou hast set on his head a crown of precious stones.
May Thy holy abbot Antony we beseech Thee, O Lord, obtain for us that the victims placed upon Thy holy altar may avail us unto salvation. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
Of St Cuthman
Take from us, O Lord, all worldly desires, that we might worthily serve at thy altar; and grant us to follow the example of him, in whose honour we offer this immaculate sacrifice to thy divine majesty. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God; throughout all ages, world without end. R. Amen
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Luke 12: 42
The faithful and wise servant whom his Lord setteth over his family: to give them their measure of wheat in due season.
May the reception of Thy sacrament, and the intercession of blessed Antony Thy abbot, protect us, O Lord; that we may put into practice the virtues of his life, and receive the help of his intercession. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
Of St Cuthman
We beseech thee O Lord by the virtue of this Sacrament, to grant us the grace to follow the example of Blessed Cuthman in thy service: and may that good work which thou hast begun in us, be brought to perfection in the day of Christ Jesus Our Lord, who liveth & reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen