Friday, August 27, 2010

Holding Our Breath

The Peers of the Realm, those with royal connections by birth and bequeathment, had brought their coronets to the Abbey, but they were not wearing them. They had come in their scarlet robes, with rows of ermine (or rabbit if necessary) depicting their rank, but their coronets had been left in the care of their pursuivants.

These youngsters now entered the Theater, bearing the royal headgear. Their colorful uniforms were a medieval splash in the gold and scarlet arena. With a bow, they presented to the titled owners the symbol of their royal dignity and their subservience to The Crown.

The Archbishop was at the Altar. He lifted St. Edward’s Crown high, and it responded with a flash of diamonds and rubies and emeralds . . . gemstones so large that it would take all the carats at a jewelry store and more to equal their weight . . . and, setting it back upon the Altar, he blessed it.

“Bless we beseech thee this Crown, and so sanctify thy servant Elizabeth upon whose head this day thou dost place if for a sign of royal majesty, that she may be fitted by thine abundant grace with all princely virtues.”

The Archbishop came down from the Altar, and the Ministers of the Church came with him. The Dean of Westminster was bearing the Crown on a scarlet cushion. All the heavenly representatives approached where the young Queen sat, seventeen months Queen, now to be crowned and enthroned.

May the Abbess say once more, who last brought from the Altar of God the blessing of God upon our heads? In our day, as in most generations, one’s head is more apt to be teased or turned than blessed, but if neither pastor nor preacher, friend nor family has ratified the blessing and sanctity of the “abundant grace” of the “princely virtues” of Jesus Christ, come to us . . . abiding in us . . . let her, this Abbess, do what any faithful servant of God may do for another . . . asking . . .

“With hope and intention, Father, God and King, may the eyes that read these words, turning to You, be blessed to behold You throughout each day, and may the head of the one who looks to You be crowned with joy, and the heart filled with gladness. May hope, which shameth not, be the royal emblem of Majesty obtained from on high, and may the Wisdom, the Righteousness, and the Sanctity of Your Son Jesus be throne and robe and power and might, as surely as You have crowned us with lovingkindness and compassion, Amen.”

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