Welcome to this edition of "New Translation Tuesday." These past six weeks have had their minor challenges for me. After having fractured my left foot on New Years Day, I have been wearing one of these "boots" to help the healing process, which has been admittedly slow. (Traveling as much as I had to in January apparently didn't help much at all; all I received were raised eyebrows from my doctor after the foot was re-x-rayed last week.)
At any rate, some of my usual getting around has not been without some challenges. Airport security has been interesting, to say the least. I have also noticed that there are many places here in Chicago that are not easily accessible for someone like me right now. Some of our train stations have platform access either by a set of stairs or, in some cases, a very, very long ramp. I realize that my broken foot is really more of a nuisance than anything else; I see this when I encounter people living with severe disabilities who manage the public transportation here every day. The one thing I have noticed, however, is the kindness of strangers. When exercising my New England Chivalry (by insisting that women board the buses and trains before me), on more than one occasion, these women have insisted that I board before them; some have even helped me maneuver the first long step onto the bus. This has all been quite a learning experience for me.
So, you ask, what does this have to do with the new translation of The Roman Missal? I think everything. I have been struggling with physical accessibilty these past several weeks. I also find myself struggling with liturgical accessibility as well. As I rivet my attention on these newly translated prayers, some of them seem like a staircase or a very, very long ramp trying to be negotiated by a person with a broken foot. I am honestly asking myself if these prayers are accessible to the Catholics sitting with me every week at Saint James. I know we have a long way to go in developing a mystagogical mindset for Catholics; a way of "doing" the liturgy that is characterized by close attention to the words, gestures, music, and preaching that expects meaning to really burst forth. But we have to be paying attention first and that to which we are paying attention needs to be accessible. Otherwise we don't have much hope.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.