Happy Thursday to one and all.
Arrived back home to Chicago last night. Lots of snow on the ground here. The sun is just coming up here at the WLP offices in Franklin Park. Hard to believe that I woke up very early yesterday morning and watched the awesome sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean in South Florida. Actually glad to be back in the Midwest.
This is "New Translation Thursday." Please allow me to mention once again a very helpful resource for priests and lay Catholics as we anticipate the new translation of the Missale Romanum.
Bishop J. Peter Sartain, bishop of the Diocese of Joliet in Illinois, has recorded the new translation of the four eucharistic prayers for us here at WLP. Eucharistic Prayers I, II, III, IV is now available. You can find it here. The CD comes with a booklet containing the newly translated prayers. I have spent much time listening to these prayers. I find Bishop Sartain's praying of these texts to be quite inspiring. Is the new translation jarring in spots? Yes. Are there sentence structures that are long and awkward? Yes. Are there moments of inspiration? Yes. Does it take time to unpack the meaning as they unfold? Yes.
I see this resource as a great tool for priests. I also see see it as a great tool for liturgy committees and parish groups to begin work right now with the new texts. This is an opportunity to do some mystagogical catechesis. Perhaps we should have included some kind of guide with this resource. Something along the lines of "Plumbing the Depths of the Newly Translated Eucharistic Prayers." If we adhere to the lex orandi lex credendi principle, there is much to be discovered in these prayers. Remember that our beliefs are expressed in our prayer. I believe that we can take advantage of the opportunity for some real theological conversation now that we have these prayers recorded. Pope John Paul II had some great things to say about mystagogical catechesis in his Apostolic Letter Mane Mobiscum Domine:
"The best way to enter into the mystery of salvation made present in the sacred 'signs' remains that of following faithfully the unfolding of the liturgical year. Pastors should be committed to that 'mystagogical' catechesis so dear to the Fathers of the Church, by which the faithful are helped to understand the meaning of the liturgy's words and actions, to pass from its signs to the mystery which they contain, and to enter into that mystery in every aspect of their lives."
I can just imagine parish groups gathering to listen to these prayers. Once the "Oh, I will never get used to these," or "These prayers are hard to understand," or "These are beautiful prayers" comments subside (and the concerns must be addressed!), it will be a great opportunity to ask some probing mystagogical questions: How do these prayers reflect our understanding of God our Creator? How do these prayers express the reality of the Church, God's Holy People? How do these prayers make present the paschal mystery of the Lord Jesus? As you listen to these prayers, how is your understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit enriched? Is there anything that you perceive as "missing" from these newly translated texts?
The questions are limitless. As you have heard me say before, I hope that the implementation of the new translation will be a watershed moment for us; a time to listen to and address deep concerns; but also a time to do some great liturgical and mystagogical catechesis.
I am off to the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana later today, leading a two-day RCIA workshop for graduate students there. The workshop is being held at Moreau Seminary, pictured here:
The schedule is quite full for this workshop; I still hope to get an entry or two into the blog over the next few days.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.