Devotionem populi tui,
quaesumus, Domine, benignus intende,
ut, qui per abstinentiam temperantur in corpore,
per fructum boni operis reficiantur in mente.
This was in the pre-Conciliar Missale for Thursday (not Wednesday) of the 1st Week of Lent, but slightly different. In the Novus Ordo it is somewhat softened. Are you getting used to that now?
Devotionem populi tui, quaesumus, Domine, benignus intende : ut, qui per abstinentiam macerantur in corpore, per fructum boni operis reficiantur in mente.
I refer you all to what we have already said regarding the complicated word mens.
There is our friend macero, which we examined at length in yesterday’s offering. Yesterday we saw moderatio substituting maceratio. Today we see the Novus Ordo redactors substitute tempero, related to temperatio. Tempero is "to observe proper measure; to moderate or restrain one’s self; to forbear, abstain; to be moderate or temperate". We can also use this word to indicate the mixing of liquids, such as when water is added to wine in a cup, according to ancient usage. Horace in Ode 1.20 talks about this is a poem dedicated to his patron Maecenas:
Vile potabis modicis Sabinum
cantharis, Graeca quod ego ipse testa
conditum levi, datus in theatro
cum tibi plausus,
care Maecenas eques, ut paterni
fluminis ripae simul et iocosa
redderet laudes tibi Vaticani
Caecubum et prelo domitam Caleno
tu bibes uvam; mea nec Falernae
temperant vites neque Formiani
The parts below in parenthesis I added to make this clearer to those who don’t know much about Horace.
(When you visit me in the country at my farm)
You will quaff from simple drinking cups
the lowly Sabine which I laid down with the
Greek style seal, in the year when the applause
was given to you in the theater,
dear knight Maecenas, so loud that
the Vatican hill together with the banks of
the fatherly river Tiber sent the praises
back to you.
(At home) you will be drinking Caecuban and the grape
crushed in the Calenean press; my vines
and not Falernian or Formian vines will
blend in your cups
(when you visit my Sabine farm house in the country).
A long time ago, one of my Latin profs told me that as I got older I would appreciate Horace more and more. He was right. Not only do I appreciate him more and more, my life is beginning to resemble his more an more, oddly enough. Horace, at a certain point, wanted to leave the bustle and pressure of Rome and just retire to his country house. I live in Rome. Right now I can turn my head a few degrees and gaze out my window across Father Tiber to the Vatican Hill, now decorated with the famous little chapel. Yet I too long to return to my "Sabine farm", where there is peace and clean air, time to reflect and write and pray, receive guests and reach for the book I want in my own library of several thousand volumes. *sigh*
In any event, tempero also means, "to forbear, abstain, or refrain from; to spare, be indulgent to any thing". Think of the virtue temperance, akin to the virtue moderatio we saw yesterday. In both cases, curiously the concept macero was taken out. However, whereas yesterday the mens caro contrast was obscured by the change, today mens and corpus are pretty firmly underscored by the structure of the prayer.
REALLY LITERAL TRANSLATION
We beg You, O Lord, kindly look upon the
devotion of Your people,
with the result that they who by means of abstinence are being sparing in due measure in respect to the body
may by means of the fruit of good work be refreshed in respect to the mind.
Our prayers this week are giving us all sorts of different virtues to think about: devotio, moderatio, temperatio.
It bears repeating that we are not, in the is WDTPRS series, trying to produce smooth, liturgically useful versions of the Latin prayers. We are simply trying to pry them open for you so that you know what they REALLY say. Compare them to the ICEL. Post your comments if this is useful.