Sing we of the blessed Mother

Oxford: Archbishop Laud's Porch

Oxford: Archbishop Laud’s Porch

Many Anglicans know the hymn, ‘Her virgin eyes saw God incarnate born’. Some forty years ago I found and memorised this verse: I think that it is by Thomas Ken and belongs with that hymn. The verse  teaches both the immaculate conception of Mary, and the continuing tradition of her life free from sin.

The Holy Ghost his temple in her built, / Cleansed from congeni’al, kept from mortal guilt, / And from the moment that her blood was fired / Into her heart celestial love inspired.

Thomas Ken (1637-1711) was Bishop of Bath & Wells. He  is  the most famous of the ‘Non-Jurors’. He joined nine other bishops (including Sancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury) and 400 clergy who were deposed for their refusal to take the oath to William and Mary after the so-called ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688.

This verse does not appear in the English Hymnal which perhaps points to the need for an Ordinariate Supplementary Hymnal. Now what ought to be included in that? The word ‘included’ is the key one for Catholics (as opposed to a policy of ‘exclusion’). Have you ever noticed: Catholics will sing virtually anything proposed for a ‘Unity Service’ – but our fellow Christians have a long list of hymns they won’t sing. It leads us into some wonderful ironies, as, for example, the sound of a church full of Catholics singing ‘Be still, for the presence of the Lord’ before the Blessed Sacrament. It’s not quite what its author envisaged, I guess.

Go to and just read those words and you will see why we sing it.


About Scott Anderson

Formerly an Anglican priest (ordained 1975) received into the Catholic Church in February 2012, and ordained to the Diaconate on 27th July 2013. I took early retirement, and divide my time between London and northern France. I am deeply committed to the Ordinariate as a gift of the Holy Spirit in the search for unity. Like many Ordinariate members I feel a personal gratitude to Pope Emeritus Benedict, together with loyalty to our Holy Father, Pope Francis. My blog tries to make a small contribution to the growth of the Ordinariate by asking questions (and proposing some answers) about the 'Anglican Patrimony'. I have always been fascinated by the whole issue of growth and decline, and therefore concerned for appropriate means of evangelisation in western Europe. I believe that the Holy Spirit is constantly renewing the People of God and that we must be open to him. My love of music and motorcycles will occasionally surface in my posts. On Saturday 19th October 2013, I was ordained to the Priesthood at Most Precious Blood, Borough, by the Most Revd Peter Smith, Archbishop of Southwark, for the service of the Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham. I continued to serve the Ordinariate group and Parish at Most Precious Blood until the end of 2014. Subsequently, I helped in the care of the Ordinariate Groups at Hemel Hempstead and Croydon, and in the Archdiocese of Southwark, until the beginning of September 2015. With the agreement of my Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton, the Bishop of Amiens appointed me Administrator of the Parish of Notre Dame des Etangs (Pont Remy) in Picardie, France. This appointment is to last for a year, to give the Bishop the opportunity to assess the future of the parish.
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One Response to Sing we of the blessed Mother

  1. I wish I’d have known that ‘missing’ verse when i preached to the local branch of the Church union on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception last year.

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