Thursday, December 8, 2011

New Translation Thursday: Out of Breath

Welcome to "New Translation Thursday."

At this past Sunday's Mass, I noticed that my pastor was trying his very best to deal with the length of the sentences in Eucharistic Prayer III. He told me that he chose the third prayer as his focus at Masses this Advent season. At one point in the prayer, I was listening closely to the way he was trying to connect the phrases in a particularly long sentence. When he got to the end of the prayer, he was clearly out of breath. I spoke with him afterward and he said that, because he was concentrating so heavily on trying to proclaim the prayers well that "his voice hurt."

When I mentioned this here at the office, someone came up with a comical image that I haven't been able to get out of my mind. The person said that perhaps there should be an overhead compartment above the altar with a control switch just under the altar. When a celebrant reaches a point of losing his breath, he could press the control switch and, presto,

an oxygen mask drops down for his use, so that he can muster the energy to tackle the next long sentence!

Folks, I think we need to mix in a bit of humor as we continue the implementation of these newly translated prayers.

If you are one who presides at Mass, let us know how you have handled these long sentences.

There is one section of Eucharistic Prayer III that I have found just lovely:

Listen graciously to the prayers of this family,
whom you have summoned before you:
in your compassion, O merciful Father,
gather to yourself all your children
scattered throughout the world.

It's a rather short section and I find it to be inspiring.

Are there passages that you have found particularly inspiring?

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


Siobhan said...

I applaud your pastor for giving attention to the sense of the lines.

It might be helpful for him to find a singing coach - not for managing long phrases with better breath control, but for identifying "logical" places in a long sentence where he can take a breath without confusing the listener.

Perhaps your music director or even one of the cantors can help with this. (You know, in all the spare time pastors and musicians have at this time of year!!)

Geoff said...

I went to Mass this morning for Immaculate Conception and just found my mind wandering during all the prayers. They are so convoluted and meandering that I find it hard to enter into the prayer of it all. For me, this is all very sad. I think I can count on a few fingers the number of times that I have left Mass after communion in twenty years, but today I found myself walking over to the Marian shrine as soon as I had received and leaving the church. In a few days there is a national campaign beginning for the "Welcome Home" ads. Again, I have to wonder what it is that we are welcoming people home to? One thing that is helping me is Deepak Chopra's "law of least effort"...accept the way things are at this moment and do not expend energy trying to convince anyone of your position. In many ways I am finding myself simply resigned to the reality that I no longer find the prayers used at Mass conducive to my own prayer. So, I continue to look for other ways to encounter God. Not unlike the people of the middle ages who wandered from side altar to side altar during the Mass because they were so disengaged.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, I agree with Geoff. I attended our church's 7:30 pm mass, and I listened to the prayers as the presider chanted and prayed them. I thought, "Wow, I don't know what he just said". I became sad. I thought, what am I going to do? I felt like an outsider as we continued. I have said previously that it's too early to "assess", but after tonight, it seemed to only confirm the sadness.

Anne said...

Knowing it's still early in the adjustment period, I have yet to find any of the new prayers inspiring. Too much of my concentration is on reading and getting the responses correct. It has not touched my heart. I have never felt so alienated. I feel that our right to full,conscious and active participation has been taken away. Praying that things will change for me because I'm not sure what I will do.

Anonymous said...

I have used II and III. They certainly are "run on" sentences, but there are so many commas I just sneak a breath in them. Did anyone notice the prayer over the Offerings on Thursday? Previnient grace? I had a lot of questions from folks about that one!! I have celebrated it 23 times now and it is not easier!!

Anonymous said...

I find myself figuring out which comma I can replace with a semicolon, colon, or simply a period.