Tuesday, August 4, 2009

An Example of the New Translation: The Need for Study, Prayer, and Reflection

A pleasant Tuesday to you all. 

In yesterday's post I asked for prayers for our priests, who will face the challenge of praying the new English translation of the Missale Romanum. I wanted to give you an example of the kind of changes we are talking about here. 



The first section below is from the "commemoration of the living" section of the current translation of Eucharistic Prayer I.

Remember, Lord, your people,
especially those for whom we now pray, N. and N.
Remember all of us gathered here before you.
You know how firmly we believe in you
and dedicate ourselves to you.
We offer you this sacrifice of praise
for ourselves and those who are dear to us.
We pray to you, our living and true God,
for our well-being and redemption.

Here is that same section in the new translation:

Remember, Lord, your servants N. and N
and all gathered here,
whose faith and devotion are known to you.
For them and all who are dear to them
we offer you this sacrifice of praise
or they offer it for themselves
and all who are dear to them,
for the redemption of their souls,
in hope of health and well-being,
and fulfilling their vows to you,
the eternal God, living and true.

Obviously there is a shift here. It takes a while to wrap your brain around the meaning of this new translation. Whereas it seems the current translation focuses on our own offering of this sacrifice of praise, the new translation includes the offering of that sacrifice of praise by all the living. It took me awhile to grasp this, and I am not even sure that I have grasped it completely. Do the faithful offer the sacrifice of praise for the redemption of their own souls, or for the redemption of the souls of all who are dear to them, or perhaps it is both? Or is it that all who are dear to us offer that sacrifice as well, on behalf of all who are dear to them? The use of "they" and "their" gets my comprehension a little twisted. Any clarity here would be appreciated.

The challenge for our bishops and priests will be to examine theses texts, fully grasp the theology they express, and then learn to proclaim the texts so that they make ready sense to the baptized people praying the prayer with the priest. Personally, I think this will take a lot of time and effort. If it brings people closer to the paschal mystery, wonderful. This may take some time. If the texts create too many stumbling blocks, we will need to face that reality. I am praying for the former.

Again, let's pray for our bishops and priests, and for the theologians and liturgical experts that will help them in the understanding and proclamation of this new translation.

Hope you have a good day. Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

5 comments:

Joyce Donahue said...

Wow - I had to read that 5 times - and I have an MA in English! Strangely, I am also confused as to whether when the named people are deceased, does it also refer then to them offering their praise in the heavenly liturgy?

You are right... we will all have to think about what these texts are really saying.

Scelata said...

"Do the faithful offer the sacrifice of praise for the redemption of their own souls, or for the redemption of the souls of all who are dear to them, or perhaps it is both? Or is it that all who are dear to us offer that sacrifice as well, on behalf of all who are dear to them?"

How about "d) all of the above"?
We are not a people of either/or, but of both/and.
It depends on which branch of the Church they belong to, no? Triumphant, Suffering, Militant?


"It took me awhile to grasp this, and I am not even sure that I have grasped it completely....
The challenge ...will be to examine theses texts, fully grasp the theology they express, and then learn to proclaim the texts so that they make ready sense to the baptized people praying the prayer with the priest."

I think a person of average intelligence may "grasp fully" the words with a only little effort, but the idea that any of us can completely plumb the depths of the mysteries of our Faith is absurd.
It is our goal, but it is not achievable in this life, by even the wisest, holiest and most intellectual among us.

Our prayer should reflect this.

I think one of the flaws of the current Missal and of far too much of the prayer we sing, is the lack of theological depth, its accessibility so easily, even carelessly gained that there is nothing to think about, nothing to ponder.

They don't bear repeating, and people tune out.

(Save the Liturgy, Save the World)

Anonymous said...

"If it brings people closer to the paschal mystery, wonderful. This may take some time. If the texts create too many stumbling blocks, we will need to face that reality."

The texts won't create stumbling blocks. Obstinate people will create stumbling blocks.

The texts say and mean now exactly what they have always said and meant. The Latin texts haven't changed. The problem is not the overly complex new translation, but an overly simplified
old translation which was unable to express the complexities of our theology... a complexity which we will now be afforded. I think it's absurd to suppose that a priest who has completed more than 4 years of higher education before as many years of seminary formation would have trouble with this.

Jerry Galipeau, D. Min. said...

Re: "Obstinate people will create stumbling blocks."

People's full, conscious, and active participation in the liturgy is a right and duty by reason of their baptism. If there exist impediments to that participation, they have a right and duty to express their reservations and concerns.

Rita Ferrone said...

"Whereas it seems the current translation focuses on our own offering of this sacrifice of praise, the new translation includes the offering of that sacrifice of praise by all the living."

That's a nice idea, but I'm afraid it's not borne out by the text. The antecedent of "them" in the second sentence has to be N. and N. and those gathered here, right? This isn't all the living.

You are right about them and they. It's confusing even to discuss this. I took out my Latin text, and the new translation is very exact. Too bad it doesn't make sense. Maybe there is an arcane code book that ICEL will someday share with us (or them?) to decipher these mysteries.