Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New Translation Tuesday: Begrudging Turned to Hoping?

Welcome to this week's edition of "New Translation Tuesday."

I have been fascinated with the responses to WLP's short survey about the new translation, which you can find here.

Here is one response, referring to the implementation of the new translation:

"If we have to do it, we might as well do it as well as we can."

This quite made me think about a possible parallel: "Well, I really have never liked great-uncle Mortimer but, after all, he is turning 100 in September and he has no one else who will plan a celebration for him. So, I guess I will, and since I have to do it, I might as well do it as well as I can."

Are you approaching the upcoming new translation with this kind of a begrudging attitude? There seem to be a fair number of people with this kind of approach.

I have to admit that this has been a large part of the way I have been approaching this for years. Very recently, though, something has occurred that has moved me away from the attitude.

Please, please don't see this as a commercial, but I have been bursting at the seams for the past week or so about a new resource that we will be publishing here at WLP. It will be called Pastoral Companion to the Roman Missal, written by our good friend Father Paul Turner. Paul takes the reader through each Sunday and Solemnity, giving background as to the history of each of the official texts (Entrance Song, Collect, Prayer over the Offerings, Communion Song, and Postcommunion Prayer). I am editing the manuscript and, to be honest, I found the book to be completely fascinating. I know you will think that I am an over-the-top liturgical "geek" when I say this, but there were moments while I was reading this book that I was moved to tears. An example: at one point, Paul is commenting on a particular text and he painstakingly takes the reader through the historical road upon which this particular text has traveled throughout liturgical and Church history. It's as if the text is a living thing, moving through a process of evolution; buried here, uncovered here, retranslated there, brought back to life here. Then he says something like, "And now, for the first time in Church history, this text will be proclaimed in English." This is the kind of "wow" that tickles a liturgist and historian. As you may know, Paul Turner served as secretary for the various meetings of the ICEL bishops as the process of translation moved along. That reality, coupled with the fact that he is both pastor and scholar, makes this manuscript helpful in so many ways. Folks, it got me excited about texts that I have not even seen!

The proof, as they say, will be in the pudding—the actual praying of these texts. But this scholarly and pastoral work has pulled me out of my begrudging attitude toward one that is more than fascinated by what is to come; moved to hoping even?

I am looking forward to sharing actual tidbits of this book with you. We cannot yet do that, because we have not received the actual text of the Roman Missal. It will be a pleasure to share some of Paul's fine work with you—then, of course, I will be doing a commercial :-). Seriously, though, this is one of those things that makes publishing so rewarding: providing helpful resources for the singing, praying, and initiating Church.

Hope your week is going along well.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


Diezba said...

This has gotten me even more excited about the new Missal. Let us know when this book is available!

Todd said...

And yet, how much better would it all have been with a three-year harmonized cycle of prayers, so Fr Turner could draw in the texts of the Scriptures as well. How much richer would it all have been without a limited fixation on Matthew 8:8 and Isaiah 6:3. Still looking forward more to MR4: let's get to work on it today!

Anonymous said...

Actually, Todd, Fr. Turner does some great things with scripture. More to come . . .

Anonymous said...

That "begrudging attitude" has been spoken about by many Saints throughout history...it is the difference between seeing obedience as something that you "have to do", and seeing obedience as a discipline that frees us to cooperate in the will of God.

Many will claim that there is a difference between one "kind of obedience" and some other "kind of obedience", but it's all about forsaking the "ME" and accepting God's will, whether it is spoken in the form of a voice coming from a burning pillar of fire, or as an initiative of the Church that we have been told to adopt.

What you seem to be describing is more of an attitude of resignation... "it's gonna happen, so I may as well make the best of it". While not admirablem it's at least better than the still-too-often-heard attitude of continued opposition.

Anonymous said...

My, my... obedience is quite a multi-faceted word! I would be leery of simplifying it as such.

..."or as an initiative of the Church that we have been told to adopt." Crusades? Policies to cover up scandals? Or, if you lean right... Vatican II?

It's never quite so simple!

FJH 3rd said...

Sounds like a fascinating book. It will be on my Christmas list!