Thought for the Day – 19 April
In the middle years of the eleventh century, some prayers for a variety of purposes were added to a splendid Psalter which had been made at Canterbury c.1012-23, which is now British Library, Arundel 155. These prayers, some 44 of them, are in Latin with an interlinear Old English gloss. They’ve been published in two batches, the first group by Ferdinand Holthausen in ‘Altenglische Interlinearversionen lateinischer Gebete und Beichten’, Anglia 65 (1941), 230-54, and the rest by Jackson J. Campbell in ‘Prayers from Ms. Arundel 155’ Anglia 81 (1963), 82-177. Among these prayers are two addressed to Canterbury’s chief saints, Dunstan and Alphege.
I pray also through you, holy father Alphege,
to all the blessed host of saintly martyrs,
who by their steadfast faith and shedding of their blood
have achieved heavenly rewards,
that supported by the protection of so many saints
in this present life. I may leave and shun all things
which are harmful to the body and the soul
and love Christ entirely with a pure mind
and steadfastly endure in the Lord’s commands.
And, thus enduring, intercede for me, holy father Alphege,
that Christ the Lord may grant that I may deserve
to come to eternal bliss, where health, life and joy endure
for all those beloved of God, through all ages of ages. Amen (Excerpt)
By way of comparison, this is the prayer to St Alphege with which the biographer, Osbern concludes his Life of the saint.
Alphege, great soldier of a great King,
who washed your robe in the blood of Almighty God,
accept the prayers of the sons who cry to you
and by your gracious intercession raise up those
whom you have honoured by your holy Passion.
Made strong by divine assistance,
you overcame the prince of death;
father, strengthen us against him
and help us to vanquish him.
You had mercy on those who stoned you;
have mercy on those who pray to you,
that the fury of those who rave.
may not gain more than the devotion of those who love.
Do not let your servants know the gates of death and hell
but bring them to the gates of Paradise
through the power given to you by the Saviour,
who lives and reigns together with the eternal Father
and co-eternal Spirit, the one, only, true God,
through endless ages of ages. Amen.
And the Thought is – let us run to the Saints who are waiting to intercede for us all.
St Alphege, pray for us!