Notes on the General Preface, pt. ii

Role of the Monasteries up to the Reformation

In spite of the decline in lay participation the Monasteries kept up an unbroken offering of the Church's prayer and the faithful Catholic regarded them as their honoured delegates before God, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints. The Liturgy belonged to all and the laity were still united in spirit, even if their actual presencewas occasional. All understood the Liturgy at least generally if not intimately.

From the Reformation to the 19th Century (D.G.'s own age)

1. The deleterious effects of the Reformation on the Monasteries included a weakening of the voice of prayer, and therefore of faith itself.

2. After the Reformation several still Catholic countries were "infected with that spirit of Pride which is the enemy of prayer.

3. By DG's time social order was threatened with subversion.

4. The attitude had taken hold that Prayer is not action. DG maintains that all action is a 'two-fold gift' which indicates two prayers, one that the action may be done and another of thanksgiving when it is done.

5. He suggests that the prayer of the remnant who had continued the Divine liturgy up to his own time, is being rewarded by an increase in conversions and new religious orders.

6. He prays that the Cathedrals may restore the full liturgy and a return to belief in the power of prayer, even by secular authorities.

7. The faithful are exhorted to engage with the Sacred Liturgy either in practice or spirit and to seek the spirit of prayer from the Church, its natural source.

8. The many prayer manuals produced during the two centuries prior to DG's time tended to isolate the practitioner rather than drawing him into the Prayer of the Church.

9. DG counters the objection that to reduce pious books to commentary on the Liturgy and its proper conduct, runs the risk of quenching the Holy Spirit's contemplative gifts to the individual. What else, he asks, other than constant nourishment with the food of the Divine Offices, enabled the Doctors and Fathers to leave us their own wonderful treasury.

10. The Sacred Liturgy refreshes and inspires a thirst for prayer. There is no danger of the contemplatively inspired being distracted by the 'pomp anhd harmony of the Chants of liturgical prayer. David himself had recouse to his harp.

"....for contemplative souls, Liturgical Prayer is both the principle and the consequence of the visits they have received from God."

11. The post-Reformation lack of deep religious fervour and grace is rooted in the Protestant denial of the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist. The Prayer of the Church is centred around the Eucharistic Presence of Christ. When faith in that Real Presence is lost, the Sacred Liturgy ceases, in fact it could not be otherwise.

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