Tuesday, September 18, 2012

New Translation Tuesday: Tyler and a Tough Prayer

"New Translation Tuesday" greetings.

I will be giving two major presentations for the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, later this week. Friday is a day for the clergy and Saturday for lay ecclesial ministers. The focus is on mystagogical catechesis on the Mass and the days are entitled "Believe, Celebrate, Live the Eucharist." This title reflects the diocesan leaders' hope that I will be able to introduce WLP's resource of the same name as part of our time together in Tyler.

What was your experience of the collect this past weekend? I have to admit that I was paying very close attention but lost the movement in the prayer:

Look upon us, O God,
Creator and ruler of all things,
and, that we may feel the working of your mercy,
grant that we may serve you with all our heart.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

It was that middle line, "and, that we may feel the working of your mercy," I guess, that threw me. Perhaps there needed to be a longer pause after "and" with a different inflection for the rest of the line. I just had trouble grasping it. Maybe I need to do more preparation before Mass and read this prayers myself.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


Austin Fleming said...

When a full-time, professional liturgist (who has worked tirelessly for over a year to find the best in the new translation) ends up thinking he needs to spend more time with the texts before Mass in order to grasp their meaning when prayed aloud -- it just might be that the problem is in the translation and not in the one struggling to pray with it.

Call your favorite English teacher and ask him/her to diagram the prayer in this post.

Alan Hommerding said...

Yesterday I was serving as the music director for overflow Rosh Hashana services for Chicago Sinai Congregation. At the service, the Torah reading was chanted beautifully by one of the congregants (it was Genesis 22 - the binding of Isaac). The associate rabbi in that congregation also has a wonderful sense of the innate musicality of scriptural and liturgical Hebrew. Even when he's "reading" the prayers, they have a lyrical sense of inflection and cadence.
All of this got me to wondering if one of the basic principles that hobbles the current translation is that almost all the attention was paid to the thought/content of the prayers, with little paid to the sonics/music of praying to God. The "flow" that one of Jerry's fellow parishioners spoke of yesterday.
I've had a number of clergy tell me that chanting the prayers helps - but I'm still wondering if adding musicality as an afterthought how our prayer should "flow" at Mass.
(The same rabbi, in his sermon, wryly observed that after the binding of Isaac passage is finished, Isaac never speaks to Abraham again!)

Denise Morency Gannon said...

I was about to write Austin's comment (except the suggestion about the diagram, I loved that) when he wrote my thoughts for me. I could write a lot more based on what I've seen in the parishes that I visit every week and the people, presiders and lay ecclesial ministers that offer their opinions about these new prayers. We are a LONG way from the Council's goals on '"full, conscious and active participation." I think that this new RM, on the whole, made that just a little bit harder for Joe and Jane Average Catholic, not to mention new inquirers and those who live on the perimeter. How will this new RM draw THEM in? (Oh Rhett, how I do run on and on....)

Mary Kane Mauer said...

Why are American Roman Catholics struggling with liturgical prayer? I have not encountered this problem when attending religious services in other Christian Churches, the Synagogue or Mosque. Why, after all the graduate studies I completed in liturgy while working toward the MA in systematic theology, and before that, a BS in Education with a major in English,am I struggling to comprehend liturgical prayer in the language I have spoken for 76 years?

Xandro said...

I have been pondering that prayer for four days. A prayer that is deep and rich does not have to be obscure and elusive in its meaning.