Edward was born in 1003. He was the last Saxon king to rule (for more than a few months) in England. He is called “Edward the Confessor” to distinguish him from another King of England, Edward the Martyr (c962-979), who was assassinated (presumably by someone who wished to place Edward’s younger half-brother on the throne), and who came to be regarded, on doubtful grounds, as a martyr for the faith. In Christian biographies, the term “confessor” is often used to denote someone who has born witness to the faith by his life, but who did not die as a martyr. Edward was the son of King Ethelred the Unready. This does not mean that he was unprepared, but rather that he was stubborn and wilful, and would not accept “rede,” meaning advice or counsel.
Ethelred was followed by several Danish kings of England, during whose rule young Edward and his mother took refuge in Normandy. But the last Danish king named Edward as his successor, and he was crowned in 1042. Opinions on his success as a king vary. Some historians consider him weak and indecisive, and say that his reign paved the way for the Norman Conquest. Others say that his prudent management gave England more than twenty years of peace and prosperity, with freedom from foreign domination, at a time when powerful neighbours might well have dominated a less adroit ruler. He was diligent in public and private worship, generous to the poor, and accessible to subjects who sought redress of grievances.
While in exile, he had vowed to make a pilgrimage to Rome if his family fortunes mended. However, his council told him that it was not expedient for him to be so long out of the country. Accordingly, he spent his pilgrimage money instead on the relief of the poor and the building of Westminster Abbey, which stands today (rebuilt in the thirteenth century) as one of the great churches of England, burial place of her kings and others deemed worthy of special honour.
He died on 5 January 1066, leaving no offspring; and after his death, the throne was claimed by his wife’s brother, Harold the Saxon, and by William, Duke of Normandy. William defeated and slew Harold at the Battle of Hastings (14 October 1066), and thereafter the kings and upper classes of England were Norman-French rather than Anglo-Saxon. Edward is remembered, not on the day of his death, but on the anniversary of the moving (“translation”) of his corpse to a new tomb in Westminster Abbey, a date which is also the anniversary of the eve of the Battle of Hastings, the end of Saxon England.
INTROIT Psalm 36: 30-31
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: 1) Be not emulous of evil-doers; 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.
O God, Who hast crowned the blessed King Edward, Thy confessor, with the glory of eternity, make us, we beseech Thee, so to venerate him on earth that we may be able to reign with him in Heaven. 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.
EPISTLE Ecclus. 31: 8-11
Lesson from the Book of Wisdom. Blessed is the man that is found without blemish, and that hath not gone after gold, nor put his trust in money nor in treasures. Who is he, and we will praise him? For he hath done wonderful things in his life. Who hath been tried thereby, and made perfect, he shall have glory everlasting: he that could have transgressed, and hath not transgressed, and could do evil things, and hath not done them: therefore are his goods established in the Lord, and all the church of the saints shall declare his alms.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 91: 13, 14
The just man shall flourish like the palm-tree: he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus in the house of the Lord. V. (Ps. 91: 3) To show forth Thy mercy in the morning, and Thy truth in the night. Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Osee 14: 6) The just shall spring as the lily: and flourish forever before the Lord. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Luke 12: 35-40
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: “At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, Let your loins be girt, and lamps burning in your hands, and you yourselves like to men, who wait for their lord, when he shall return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when He cometh, shall find watching. Amen, I say to you, that He will gird Himself, and make them sit down to meat, and passing will minister unto them. And if He shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. But this know ye, that if the householder did know at what hour the thief would come, he would surely watch, and would not suffer his house to be broken open. Be ye then also ready; for at what hour you think not, the Son of man will come.”
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 88: 25
My truth and My mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted.
We offer Thee, O Lord, sacrifices of praise in commemoration of Thy saints, by whom we trust to be delivered from evils both present and future. 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.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, and profitable unto salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks to thee, O Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God, through Christ, our Lord. Though whom the angels praise thy majesty, the dominions adore it, the powers are in awe. Which the heavens and the hosts of heaven together with the blessed seraphim joyfully do magnify. And do thou command that it be permitted to us join with them in confessing thee, while we say with lowly praise:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Matthew 24: 46-47
Blessed is the servant, whom when the Lord shall come, He shall find watching: Amen I say to you, He shall set him over all his goods.
We, Thy suppliants, who are refreshed with Heavenly food and drink, beseech Thee, O our God, that we may be fortified by the prayers of him in whose commemoration we have par-taken of these gifts. 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.