St Lewinna, Virgin Martyr: Missa “Me expectaverunt”
Sussex was the last of the seven Saxon kingdoms to become officially Christian and east Sussex remained pagan longest of all. St Wilfrid of York, the Apostle of the South Saxons (ie the people of Sussex) several times experienced their extreme ferocity. There is no early evidence to support the idea that St Lewinna was a Briton, as some accounts state. She was almost certainly an early South Saxon Christian martyred by her fellow countrymen who were still pagan.
The date of her death was during the period when St Theodore of Tarsus was Archbishop of Canterbury, probably about AD 670. This was before St Wilfrid’s missionary labours, though there would have been isolated Christians in Sussex at this time. About three centuries after her martyrdom, her relics were solemnly translated to St Andrew’s church so the place of her sufferings must have been nearby. As for the church of St Andrew where her relics had rested in Anglo-Saxon times, there is a lot of controversy concerning its identity, but the most likely candidate is Alfriston, an attractive village north of Seaford.
INTROIT Ps. 119
THE ungodly laid wait for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies, O Lord: I see that all things come an end: but thy commandment is exceeding broad. Ps. ibid. Blessed are those that are undefiled in the way: and walk in the law of the Lord. v. Glory be…etc
O God, lover of the purity of Thy saints, who hast poured forth as an example the pure virginity of Blessed Lewinna; grant us, we beseech Thee, so to venerate her glorious martyrdom, that we may ever deserve to be strengthened by her protection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.
EPISTLE Ecclesiasticus 51:13-17
O Lord my God, Thou hast exalted my dwelling place upon the earth, and I have prayed for death to pass away. I called upon the Lord, the Father of my Lord, that He would not leave me in the day of my trouble, and in the time of the proud without help. I will praise Thy Name continually, and will praise it with thanksgiving, and my prayer was heard. And Thou hast saved me from destruction, and hast delivered me from the evil time. Therefore I will give thanks and praise to Thee, O Lord our God.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 45
Full of grace are thy lips: because God hath blessed thee for ever. V. Because of the word of truth, of meekness, and righteousness: and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. Alleluia, alleluia. V. St. Matt. 25. The five wise virgins took oil in their vessels with their lamps: and at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh: go ye out to meet him, Christ the Lord. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Matthew 13:44-52
The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord. Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Eccli. 14. 11, 12, 27
Offer to God worthy offerings. Remember that death is not slow. He that considereth her ways in his heart, shall rest in her glory too.
Graciously receive, O Lord, through the merits of Blessed Lewinna, thy Virgin and Martyr, the sacrifices which we offer unto Thee; and grant that they may avail for our continual assistance. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever.
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:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON I Tim 1:12
I thank him who has given me strength for this, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful by appointing me to his service.
O Lord our God, who has fulfilled us with the bounty of Thy heavenly gift, we beseech Thee; that by the intercession of Blessed Lewinna Thy Virgin and Martyr, we may ever live by the partaking of that gift. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever.