Thursday, January 31, 2013

New Translation Thursday: Profit

Welcome to this edition of "New Translation Thursday." As I was paying attention to "the trees" (see Tuesday's blog post) this past Sunday, I was struck by a phrase in the prayer over the offerings:

Accept our offerings, O Lord, we pray,

and in sanctifying them
grant that they may profit us for salvation.
Through Christ our Lord.

I stood there saying the line over and over again in my head: "profit us for salvation." It just struck me as a little odd. When I think of the word "profit," I think of a company being in the black, or I think of someone describing a particular experience as being "a profitable one for me."

So, as I stood there, I tried to let the words sink in, and actually prayed that the offerings would help profit me for salvation.

Just as I emerged from this internal deliberation into a more conscious state of what was going on at Mass, I found my pastor about half way through the preface. This is the one he prayed on Sunday:

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.
For, although you have no need of our praise,
yet our thanksgiving is itself your gift,
since our praises add nothing to your greatness
but profit us for salvation,
through Christ our Lord.
And so, in company with . . .

So, there it was again. I did a search today and found that the phrase "profit us for salvation" occurs four times in The Roman Missal. Made me think that perhaps after some years of hearing these prayers over and over again that they will sound a bit less surprising and awkward.

Folks, I am trying my best with these newly translated texts. How are you doing with them?

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

1 comment:

Alan Hommerding said...

When I heard it, I thought of Matthew 16 (the "Take up your cross" passage) - what does it profit us to gain the whole world, but forfeit our souls?

I came at it in my usual left-brained way: there are a number of words in the biblical language about salvation that are monetary/economic in origin - ransom and redeem are two of the prominent ones; the parable of the workers in the vineyard is also an economic metaphor of the reign of God. "Profit" isn't used as much, and in the vocabulary of the surrounding culture, it often has negative connotations, to the impoverishment (pun somewhat intended) of our sacral vocabulary.

A week ago, with the forest/trees gospel (from Luke) I thought of Fr. Lucien Deiss' song based on that passage "The Spirit of God." The refrain ends by singing that I am to be sent forth to proclaim God's peace and joy. In regard to the new translation, I've spent too much time thinking that I'm right and the translation is wrong (which, in some cases, it very well may be). But my main mission as a disciple is to be proclaiming the Good News of salvation, in the Spirit, in peace and joy.