Today is the Feast of St Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome A.D 590-604. In my Latin studies, I read much of him in St Bede's Ecclesiastical History, and since the Liturgy owes a great deal to him, (both in the West and in the East - he is said to have composed the Byzantine Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified; although this is probably spurious since although he did sojourn in Constantinople, he spoke virtually no Greek at all - in the West I know he did away with the old Litany and just kept the ninefold Kyrie (preferring, so his reason dictated, to meditate solely upon the Lord have mercy, an ancient liturgical petition, in a general sense) although my knowledge of Liturgy in this period is wanting, to be polite), I thought it fitting to share this passage from St Bede.
St Augustine of Canterbury went to Arles, and in accordance with the command of the lord Bishop Gregory, servant of the servants of God, was consecrated Archbishop of the English race by Etherius, archbishop of Arles. He returned then to Britain and sent the priest Laurence and the monk Peter to inform the Pope that the English race had received the Apostolic faith and that he was their bishop. He also sent the two with a list of questions which seemed urgent. St Augustine's second question is most interesting in terms of Liturgy...
''II. Augustine's second question. Even though the faith is one, are there varying customs in the churches? And is there one form of Mass in the Holy Roman Church and another in the Gaulish churches?
''Pope Gregory answered: My brother, you know the customs of the Roman Church in which, of course, you were brought up. But it is my wish that if you have found any customs in the Roman or the Gaulish church or any other church which may be more pleasing to Almighty God, you should make a careful selection of them and sedulously teach the Church of the English, which is still new in the faith, what you have been able to gather from other churches. For things are not to be loved for the sake of a place, but places are to be loved for the sake of their good things. Therefore choose from every individual Church whatever things are devout, religious, and right. And when you have collected these as it were into one bundle, see that the minds of the English grow accustomed to it.'' (St Bede, The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Book I, Chapter 27. Emphasis my own of course).
I shall leave what I have in mind vis-à-vis the emphasis in that wonderful quote (St Bede is full of wonderful quotes. If you haven't read him, then do. In my opinion, his Scriptural commentaries are more coherent even than the great St Augustine of Hippo's) to the imagination of the reader...Happy Feast Day all!