Daily Archives: November 11, 2009

Applied Liturgical Linguistics

Ok—we’ve got enough accomplished Latinists who read this site and who fall on different points of the theological/liturgical spectrum that this should lead to an interesting conversation… (And non-Latinists are quite welcome to play along too, of course!)

Here’s the question. Given this as a base text:

Supra quae propitio ac sereno vultu respicere digneris: et  accepta habere, sicuti accepta habere dignatus es munera pueri tui iusti Abel, et sacrificium Patriarchae nostri Abrahae, et quod tibi obtulit summus sacerdos tuus Melchisedech, sanctum sacrificium, immaculatam hostiam.

Supplices te rogamus, omnipotens Deus: iube haec perferri per manus sancti Angeli tui in sublime altare tuum, in conspectu divinae maiestatis tuae; ut, quotquot ex hac altaris participatione sacrosanctum Filii tui Corpus et Sanguinem sumpserimus, omni benedictione caelesti et gratia repleamur. (Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.)

please consider these three translations:

Option 1

Look with favour on these offerings and accept them as once you accepted the gifts of your servant Abel, the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith, and the bread and wine offered by your priest Melchisedech.

Almighty God, we pray that your angel may take this sacrifice to  your altar in heaven. Then, as we receive from this altar the  sacred body and blood of your Son, let us be filled with every grace and blessing. (Through Christ our Lord. Amen.)

Option 2

Be pleased to look upon them with serene and kindly countenance, and to accept them, as you were pleased to accept the gifts of your servant Abel the just, the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith, and the offering of your high priest Melchizedek, a holy sacrifice, a spotless victim.

In humble prayer we ask you, almighty God: command that these gifts be borne by the hands of your holy Angel to your altar on high in the sight of your divine majesty, so that all of us who through this participation at the altar receive the most holy Body and Blood of your Son may be filled with every grace and heavenly blessing.
[Through Christ our Lord. Amen.]

Option 3

Vouchsafe thou also, with a merciful and pleasant countenance, to have respect hereunto : and to accept the same, as thou didst vouchsafe to accept the gifts of thy righteous servant Abel, and the sacrifice of our patriarch Abraham, and the holy sacrifice, the undefiled host, that the high priest Melchisedek did offer unto thee.

We humbly beseech thee, O Almighty God, command thou these to be brought by the hands of thy holy Angel unto thy high Altar in the presence of thy Divine Majesty, that as many of us as of this partaking of the Altar shall receive thy Son’s holy Body and Blood may be replenished with all heavenly benediction and grace. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

1. Which of the three best communicates the base text? Why?

2. Which of the three is the best form for English language liturgy? Why?

3. To what degree does being “literal” or “faithful” to a base text help or hurt a composition intended as a modern vernacular liturgy?

(And please note—nobody says your selections for questions 1 and 2 need be the same…)


Public Service Announcement: Automotive Safety

Having a jack and a spare tire in your trunk are really handy when you get a flat. Not having a tire iron to remove the bolts, however, reduces the other items to rather useless bits of metal.

This would be a really good time to check and make sure that in your trunk(s) you’ve got:

  1. a jack
  2. a tire iron
  3. the handle thingie to raise the jack if it’s not the tire iron
  4. flares or reflective triangles
  5. a fully inflated spare tire (sure you’ve got a spare—but is there sufficient AIR in it?)

Luckily when I hit some large, low, metal object in the road and blew out my tire, I was less than a mile away from my sister-in-law’s house and could jog there to get some assistance from my awesome brother-in-law.

Of course, it had to be the one night I didn’t have my phone on me—which made me wonder… Can’t you now get some little cheapie pay-as-you-go cellphones for not too much? And wouldn’t they be a good thing to have tucked into your emergency car kit?

And while we’re in public service announcement mode: Don’t forget to back up your data!