WDTPRS CHALLENGE

Here, WDTPRSers, is the Collect from the public consistory held on 24 March during which Pope Benedict XVI created new cardinals.  How about you all taking a crack at it before I do?  Post your versions and comments.   (My line breaks – none in the original)

COLLECT:

Deus, qui in Christi tui testamento ex omnibus gentibus
populum tibi congregare non desinis,
in Spiritu ad unitatem coalescentem,
concede, ut Ecclesia tua,
missioni sibi creditae fidelis,
cum hominum familia iugiter incedat,
et tamquam fermentum et veluti anima societatis humanae in Christo renovandae
et in familiam Dei transformandae semper existat.

 

 

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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20 Responses to WDTPRS CHALLENGE

  1. Karen Russell says:

    Okay, (gulp!) I’ll go first, since that way the translations can only get better as the day progresses. Two months is nowhere near enough to remove 35 years of rust from my Latin, and so, with that disclaimer, and armed only with my 1910 Cassells dictionary, here is my feeble attempt.

    O God, who by the Will of Your Christ do not cease to gather a people to yourself out of all nations, bringing them together into unity in the Spirit,
    grant that Your Church,
    sent forth on Your mission of steadfast faith,
    may walk always with the family of man,
    both as the leaven and as a spirit of fellowship,
    for the restoration of the human race in Christ,
    and consider always its transformation into the family of God.

    Thank you, Fr. Z. I enjoyed that challenge this morning.

  2. I hope you have a wet blanket around here to award it to me as I rightfully deserve it! Did I ever mention that I hate translations? What this prayer REALLY says is what it says – nothing more and nothing less. Get the blanket out! But let’s say you really want to “translate” or one should say “reinvent” or “re-interpret” this prayer:

    Deus (how do you translate that? I’m already stuck. Certainly not “God” – it sounds too dry in English. Perhaps “Allmighty God?” – that sound a little warmer. Therefore:

    Almighty God, who in the testament of your Christ

    (wait a second, that doesn’t sound right, “testament?” –it has to be related to the New Testament, but it should also say something about testimony, witness, evidence, making something known, publishing, revealing, oh I’m lost here, but let’s move on, let’s start over)

    Almighty God, who in the revelation of your Christ (no good, no good, your Christ sounds silly in English, let’s strip it of it’s richness so as to make it sound a little more natural – starting over once again):

    Almighty God, who by the witnessing of Jesus Christ (I know, I know, it’s not the same at all)
    do not cease to gather a people to yourself from all the nations
    in the Spirit

    (ad unitatem coalescentem – that’s a mouthful – how do you render that? – “that makes grow together into unity?” – but that’s not English, help – in Spiritu ad unitatem coalescentem – did I mention I hate translations?)

    in which they (we? somebody? everybody? why is this a problem when in Latin it flows so smoothly) grow into one (how do you like that – isn’t that almost at the ICEL level?)

    grant that Your Church (that was easy)
    faithful to the mission entrusted to herself
    may always accompany the human family
    and function as a ferment or as a soul of human society
    always in need of renewal in Christ

    (I know it doesn’t say “in need of” but I am at a loss over the “renovandae and transformandae)

    and of being transformed into the family of God.

    Phew! I am sweating. Reminds me of an often repeated saying of a Carmelite priest friend of mine: “nullum vacabulum Latinum habet ullum sensum nisi sensum Latinum” – no Latin word has any other meaning but a Latin meaning. Why? Because languages, just as fingerprints, are unique. God does not engage in mass production. “Deus” means “Deus”. It does not mean God, or Boh, or Isten, or Gott or Dios, or anything else, but Deus.

    Well? Do I deserve the wet blanket? Let me add also, if the authority of my Carmelite friend is not enough, something of St. Jerome:

    “Difficile est alienas lineas insequentem, non alicubi excidere: et arduum, ut quae in alia lingua bene dicta sunt, eundem decorem in translatione conservent. Significatum est aliquid unius verbi proprietate: non habeo meum quo id efferam: et dum quaero implere sententiam longo ambitu, vix brevis vitae spatia consumo. Accedunt hyperbatorum anfractus, dissimilitudines casuum, varietates figurarum: ipsum postremo suum, et, ut ita dicam, vernaculum linguae genus. Si ad verbum interpretor, absurde resonant: si ob necessitatem aliquid in ordine, vel in sermone mutavero, ab interpretis videbor officio recessisse. Quod si cui non videtur linguae gratiam in interpretatione mutari, Homerum ad verbum exprimat in Latinum. Plus aliquid dicam: eundem sua in lingua prosae verbis interpretetur: videbis ordinem ridiculum, et Poetam eloquentissimum vix loquentem.” (De optimo genere interpretandi, first par.)

  3. O God, who in accordance with the covenant of your Christ
    does not cease to assemble a people to yourself out of all the nations,
    establishing them together into unity in the Spirit,
    grant that your Church
    loyal to the very mission entrusted to it
    may continually walk with the family of man
    both as the yeast and like the soul of human fellowship renewed in Christ,
    and may always proceed towards transformation into the family of God

    Hmmmm… There are several places up there where I’m sure I’ve messed up. Nothing like public humilation for Lent.

  4. martin says:

    Let me try too. But first I want to salute Karen!! And Zadok, too.

    First lets see the general drift: it belongs to the mental world of the Council Fathers’ pastoral constitution on the Church in the modern world, Gaudium et Spes. See, for example, the peroration in the penultimate section, n.92.

    Next we have three very clear references: the ingathering of the nations is Isaian (e.g. Is.66:18)with a link to the great commission in Mt.28:19; then there is the reference to the parable of the leaven in Mt.13:33 (cf. Lk.13:20); the last reference is to the ancient simile of Christians as the soul of the world (epist. ad Diognetum, 6). Here, mundum has been updated to “societas humana”, which might be the influence of the pontifical council for culture and/or the pontifical academy for social sciences (“Christian anthropology” was a frequent theme in JPII’s writings). I will stick with the famous allusion.

    I have to say i think it is rather an ugly composition; both in the original (whichever language that was: german, do we think?), in the
    latin and in english. I have, therefore, broken it into 2 sentences and my choice of address is not to leave “God” stranded at the start, nor bundled up with O (the choice of both Karen and Zadok: no offence, but “O God!” is beyond redemption, I think). Since we have “familia” in the text, I thought “Father” was appropriate. I have no idea what “in Christi tui testamento” might be referring to unless it is the great commission. But the syntax eludes me: “Deus in testamento populum tibi congregare non desinis”. Zadok goes for “covenant”, which is attractive (jer.33:21, but in the Vulgate the word is “pactum”). Since i dont understand it, I will leave it alone!

    “Populum in unitate coalescentem” deserves a note too. “coalesco” is one of those inceptive verbs ending in _esco. Things are starting to happen.

    If i may be so bold as to point out a mote in Zadok’s translation, he has missed the force of the gerundives: society is “renovanda” (cf. Rev.21:5) and “transformanda”.

    Finally we have the phrase “Christi tui”. This is more than “Your Christ”, I think, and recalls the numerous OT instances of the phrase “The Lord’s Anointed”, as well as the title used by Peter in his confession of faith: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt.16:16). Also, we need to differentiate the use of the title here, with the use of “Christ” as a proper name later in the prayer.

    my version:

    Father God, in the testament of Your Anointed One You do not cease gathering to Yourself out of all the nations a people who are becoming more and more united in the Spirit.

    Grant that Your Church, faithful to the mission entrusted to her, may continuously advance in step with the family of Man, and may always be as it were the leaven, and like the soul of the world which is to be renewed in Christ, and which is to be transformed into the family of God.

  5. If i may be so bold as to point out a mote in Zadok’s translation, he has missed the force of the gerundives: society is “renovanda” (cf. Rev.21:5) and “transformanda”.

    D’oh! I knew I handled them incorrectly.

    And looking back, I see that I should have referred to the Church as a ‘She’.
    I’m going to defer to Fr Z on this, but I think that translating the first ‘in’ of the Latin prayer as ‘in accordance with’ makes better sense than simply ‘in’. The testament/covenant/will of Christ would refer to the new economy established (left behind) by Christ. I went with ‘covenant’ for theological rather than linguistic reasons.

    I’m glad that Martin has taken the first shot at criticizing the prayer. I don’t like the juxtaposition of the ‘yeast’ and ‘soul’ images – they don’t sit together well – and both sit poorly with the image of the Church ‘walking along’ or ‘advancing in step’ with the family of man.

  6. Pretty wordy, this prayer, wasn’t it?

  7. Martin: You wrote: “Father God, in the testament of Your Anointed One You do not cease gathering to Yourself out of all the nations a people who are becoming more and more united in the Spirit.

    Grant that Your Church, faithful to the mission entrusted to her, may continuously advance in step with the family of Man, and may always be as it were the leaven, and like the soul of the world which is to be renewed in Christ, and which is to be transformed into the family of God.”

    Nope. One sentence. Respect the structure. It can be done.

  8. What a great exercise!

  9. Karen Russell says:

    Gerundives? So that’s what “renovanda” and “transformanda” are?!

    I’m not sure I ever got as far as gerundives; certainly nothing stuck. So I’m clueless as to the exact impact that form has on the meaning.
    But I thought there was a parallelism there, and I tried to keep that in my translation.

  10. As I tackeld this prayer I gained a totally new appreciate for the work that the translators of the Missal are doing.

    This prayer if found in the Missale Romanum 2002, p. 1076. It is Mass B in Masses for the Church in the Section – Masses for Various Needs and Occasions. I have supplied the linebreaks as the appear in the Missal.

    Deus, qui in Christi tui testamento
    ex omnibus gentibus populum tibi congregare non desinis,
    in Spiritu ad unitatem coalescentem,
    concede, ut Ecclesia tua, mission sibi creditae fidelis,
    cum hominum familia iugiter incedat,
    et tamquam fermentum et veluti anima
    societatis humanae in Christo renovandae
    et in familiam Dei transformandae semper existat.

    Here follows my humble efforts:

    O God, who in the covenant of your Christ
    never cease to gather a people to yourself from the nations
    into a growing unity in the Spirit,
    grant that your Church, faithful to the mission entrusted to her,
    as she continually walks with the family of man
    may always show herself as it were the leaven and soul
    of human society to be renewed in Christ
    and transformed into the family of God.
    Through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son
    who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit
    God, for ever and ever.

    A couple of notes:

    -“populum tibi congregare non desinis” is taken directly from Eucharistic Prayer III.

    -I joined “tamquam” and “veluti” in my translation, since in English, “as it were” can accomplish the task of refering both to “leaven” and “soul.”

  11. martin says:

    I fully take Zadok’s point about “testamentum”. Under the old dispensation it was the Israelites who were gathered. Under the new dispensation in the Blood of Christ (1Co.11:25) the saving grace is extended to all the nations, as confirmed by the great commission. Accordingly, God’s mercy in ingathering His people from every nation is in respect of the covenant of His Christ.. There is a use of “in” which means “for the sake of”:- “in te ego et aeratas rumpam, mea vita, catenas” Propertius 2.20.11 and this must, surely, be the sense in the prayer. What we expect is “propter” , on account of; or “per”, by virtue of; or even “secundum”, perhaps (in accordance with), or “sub”, under.

    As for Fr. Z’s point, in the latin and romance languages it is very normal to address the Deity and launch straight into a long and winding
    relative clause. We dont do that in english any more. “O God, who . . “, and “God, who . . ” were perfectly normal in the 16th century and the Book of Common Prayer is full of that structure where the prayer heaps up several subordinate and coordinate clauses before finding its exit. People dont talk like that, think like that, or write like that now; so why should they pray like that? But for the sake of the exercise, I will have another go when my brain has cooled down.

    As it happens, the structure “Deus, qui” appears only 3 times out of the 25 Lenten collects we have studied (and all in week 2), so it would seem the format does not particularly recommend itself to this particular genre of prayer, even in the latin original.

  12. Jeffery says:

    I posted a translation of this prayer here but it seems to have vanish. Did I do some thing wrong? I hope not, if I did I wonder if Fr. Z. would be so kind as to email and let me know so I don’t o it again.

    I noted that the text of the prayer if found in the 2002MR p. 1076. I also provided the Latin with the linebreaks as indicated in the Missal (perhaps that was it).

    My translation was as follows:

    O God, who in the covenant of your Christ
    never cease to gather a people to yourself from the nations,
    into a growing unity in the Spirit,
    grant that your Church, faithful to the mission entrusted to her,
    as she continutally walks with the family of man,
    may always show herself as it were the leven and the soul
    of human society to be renewed in Christ
    and transformed in the family of God.

  13. jbebeau says:

    I’ve had some fun trying to submit a translation on this Collect. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that I was not registered. I posted a translation twice, it appeared and then a short time later it was if I never wrote anything.

    As I tackled this prayer I grew in my appreciation for the task that translators have in trying to render these gems into English. The subtley of the imagry is hard to capture adequately.

    This Collect appears in the MR2002 on p. 1076. It is the Collect for Mass for the Church, in the Section – Masses for Various Needs and Occasions. The linebreaks as provided in the Missal are as follows.

    Deus, qui in Christi tui testamento
    ex omnibus gentibus populum tibi congregare non desinis,
    in Spiritu ad unitatem coalescentem,
    concede, ut Ecclesia tua, missioni sibi creditae fidelis,
    cum hominum familia iugiter incedat,
    et tamquam fermentum et veluti anima
    societatis humanae in Christo renovandae
    et in familiam Dei transformandae semper existat.

    My humble attempt at translation follows:

    O God, who in the covenant of your Christ,
    never cease to gather a people to yourself from the nations,
    into a growing unity in the Spirit,
    grant that your Church, faithful to the mission entrusted to her,
    as she continually walks with the family of man,
    may always show herself as it were the leaven and the soul
    of human society to be renewed in Christ
    and transformed in the family of God.

    A couple of points:

    -“populum tibi congregare non desinis” is taken directly from EP III.

    -I joined “tamquam” and “veluti” together in my translation since English seems to be able to express “as it were” with two subjects.

  14. Look at these great contributions!

  15. jbebeau says:

    Sorry I posted three times, I ran afoul of the spam protection.

  16. martin says:

    Thank you, Fr. Z. I needed that exercise in humility, and I want to repeat my tribute to Karen for plunging in as she did (I hadnt seen Andrew’s contribution when I made my submission). Also, it was good that Jeffrey pointed us to where the collect came from in MR2002; so there must be an ICEL version somewhere.

    I am sorry to say I still cant get my head around the phrase “in Christi tui testamento” (as EP III shows, it isnt necessary to add that thought, which is really a reference to the economy of salvation). The linkage was between the old blood covenant (Ex.24:8 poured out on the people at Sinai) and the Precious Blood (“sanguis meus novi testamenti” poured out for everyoneMt.26:28; Mk.14:24) seems to be too complex and too abbreviated to fit into what is already a very dense sequence of ideas.

    Picking up Jeffrey’s point about appreciating the work that such translations involve, I invited Fr. Z. some time ago to compose a prayer for us to say; if he has provided one, I am sorry to say I missed it.

    I composed my own, which I offer for criticism and improvement

    Eternal Father, may the prayers of Your people ever be acceptable to You, and may those who are charged with the work of translating them into the languages of all the nations bring that sacred endeavour to completion under the guidance of Your Holy Spirit. We make this prayer through Jesus Christ Our Lord.

  17. Martin: Great prayer! Put it in Latin and let’s see how it sounds?

  18. jbebeau says:

    Martin,

    You are correct there is an ICEL version of this prayer. As always when compared to the Latin original it leaves something to be desired.

    God our Father,
    by the promise you made
    in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ your Son,
    you bring together in your Spirit, from all the nations,
    a people to be your own.
    Keep the Church faithful to its mission:
    may it be a leaven in the world,
    renewing us in Christ
    and transforming us into your family.

  19. martin says:

    Pater aeterne,
    solliciti ne tui preces populi umquam frustra ascendant,
    petimus ut conductores, qui eas in omnium linguas gentium convertere mandati sunt,
    munus sacrum tui consilio Spiritus diligenter absolvant.

    per Christum Dominum nostrum.

    Comment:

    Prayers can become a covert form of criticism, and the prayer must not make it appear that it is a ginger group raising this prayer, but the whole Church, constantly watchful to offer public prayer according to the mind of God, and in a way acceptible to Him. The “we” is unspecified here, which has perturbed me, without any neat solution presenting itself so far.

    “Diligenter” has been added for reasons of balance (it responds to nothing in the original)
    Stylistically, the second line offends me with 3 endings in -i.
    “Sollicitantes”, however, means something rather different from “solliciti”.
    We could drop the “populus tuus” and write “preces nostrae”, but that introduces a confusion: it is public prayer we are thinking of here, and “preces nostrae” is equivocal.
    I tried “ecclesia”, but i didnt want the prayer to be in the form “ecclesiam tuam petit”.

    Both the english and the latin remain work in progress, and alternatives as
    well as all other comments are warmly invited from Fr. Z. as well as from others.

  20. martin says:

    to redeem my promise to Fr. Z.

    Father God, who ceaselessly gathers to Yourself in the covenant of Your Anointed one a people from every nation who are constantly growing together in the unity of the Holy Spirit, grant that Your Church, faithful to the mission entrusted to her, may advance step by step with the family of Man, and may ever be the leaven of human society, and as it were the soul of the world which is to be renewed in Christ and transformed into the family of God.