Welcome to this installment of New Translation Thursday.
My nose has been in the new translation of The Roman Missal for much of the past week. I am preparing for a clergy convocation in Davenport next week. The convocation is a "hands on" approach to the newly translated prayers, with lots of opportunities for those in attendance to practice praying and chanting the prayers. While sifting through the various prefaces yesterday, the Second Preface for Easter struck me as quite strong, beautiful, and inspiring:
It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
at all times to acclaim you, O Lord,
but in this time above all to laud you yet more gloriously,
when Christ our Passover has been sacrificed.
Through him the children of light rise to eternal life
and the halls of the heavenly Kingdom
are thrown open to the faithful;
for his Death is our ransom from death,
and in his rising the life of all has risen.
Therefore, overcome with paschal joy,
every land, every people exults in your praise
and even the heavenly Powers, with the angelic hosts,
sing together the unending hymn of your glory,
as they acclaim:
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts . . .
At first, I struggled somewhat with the phrase "the halls of the heavenly kingdom are thrown open to the faithful." I asked myself, "How does one throw open a hall? Shouldn't it be 'the doors of the heavenly kingdom are thrown open to the faithful,' or 'the gates of the hevenly kingdom are thrown open to the faithful'?" Still, after sitting with the text for some time, there is something striking in the actual wording as it appears in the preface. The halls being thrown open to the faithful captures something larger, something more grand, something more wonderful than the words "door" or "gate" might imply.
I can see so much possibility for a mystagogical homily that helps unpack the meaning of the theology expressed in this preface. For instance, wouldn't it be wonderful for a bishop, priest, or deacon to help the faithful at Mass grasp what it means to be "overcome with paschal joy"?
Let's hope that preachers will feel more and more comfortable focusing on these texts in their homilies. Perhaps the attention given to these texts will draw more people into a mode of active listening when the texts are prayed at Mass.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.