Tuesday, October 2, 2012

New Translation Tuesday: "The Best of Times and the Worst of Times"

Welcome to this edition of "New Translation Tuesday."

At Mass this past Sunday, I listened carefully to the Collect, which when examined right from the Missal, looks like it would be difficult to proclaim:

O God, who manifest your almighty power
above all by pardoning and showing mercy,
bestow, we pray, your grace abundantly upon us
and make those hastening to attain your promises
heirs to the treasures of heaven.
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.

My pastor prayed the prayer slowly and deliberately, pausing in just the right places to make this prayer understandable instantly. Opportunity seized and won.

The Prayer after Communion, on the other hand, did not go as well. And I knew he was trying very hard to make it work:

May this heavenly mystery, O Lord,
restore us in mind and body,
that we may be coheirs in glory with Christ,
to whose suffering we are united
whenever we proclaim his Death.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

It was the phrase "to whose suffering we are united" that caused him to stumble. And it happened at both Masses I attended at Saint James. To be frank with you, this phrase leaves me with the question, "Who actually phrases things like that in English?" I think this is one of those cases where the translators were probably backed into a corner with having to use new rules of translation. Unfortunately, at least for me, this just didn't work at all. And what is saddest about this is the fact that the theology expressed in the prayer is too important to be obscured by an extremely awkward translation. Opportunity lost.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

1 comment:

Denise Anderson said...

I was at a daily Mass on Monday and in the middle of the preface, the presider said - what a minute - I don't know what this means - He stopped, refocused and prayed the prayer. It was all a bit obscure... I thought his response was sort of a banner for many presider's experience.