Tribue, nobis, quaesumus, Domine,
mysteriis paschalibus convenienter aptari,
ut quae laetanter exsequimur
perpetua virtute nos tueantur et salvent.
In the Veronese Sacramentary a precedent of this prayer is found in the month of September, which you veteran readers of WDTPRS know was a fast time in the early Church. And, as you might guess, the new version of the prayer eliminates the penance language. Here is the old version: Tribue, quaesumus, domine, fidelibus tuis, ut ieiuniis pascalibus convenienter aptentur, et suscepta sollemniter castigation corporalis ad fructum cunctis transeat animarum. See the differences and similarities? In the ancient Gelasian, however, the prayer was a little different: Da, quaesumus, domine, fidelibus tuis ieiuniis paschalibus convenienter aptari, ut suscepta sollempniter castigation corporalis cunctis ad fructum proficiat animarum. Yes, that was “sollempniter”. I suppose you are just aching to know what the Sacramentarium Bergomense has… maybe another time.
The trickiest part of this is to make the right choice for exsequor. According to the great Lewis & Short Dictionary this means “to follow to the end, to pursue, follow” but also “to follow up, prosecute, carry out; to perform, execute, accomplish, fulfill”. If we turn to Blaise/Dumas we read that exsequor means those things, to be sure, but also “accomplir, cÃƒÂ©lÃƒÂ©brer (les mystères)”. In fact, exequor, which gives us English “execute”, also applies to concepts like ministry and carrying our the commandments. What to do? We run into a bit of the same problem with virtus. Is this virtus in the sense of “virtue” or in the sense of “force, might”. Again, Blaise/Dumas is helpful in showing that virtus in the plural can refer to manifestations of God’s might, even the working of miracles (operatio virtutum). I think it is fair to stick to that dimension of its meaning in our
VERY LITERAL VERSION:
Bestow it upon us, we beg You, O Lord,
suitably to be made disposed for the paschal mysteries,
so that those things which we are joyfully fulfilling,
may protect and save us with an unending manifestation of divine might.
There are two layers of this prayer which, to my mind, are both in play at the same time. First, what we are doing right now, in this moment in the church while we are hearing this prayer sung. Second, what we are doing outside of the church in our daily lives.
In the first case, we want to be properly disposed to receive (convenienter aptari) joyfully (laetanter) the graces offered us (mysteriis) during the sacred action (exsequimur) of the Mass. In the second case, we are praying to be made fitting and proper (convenienter aptari) for the resurrection of the flesh and the happiness of heaven after a good judgment (mysteriis paschalibus) and that in the meantime we can carry out (exequimur) with joy (laetanter) our vocations on earth, perform works of mercy, etc.
Holy Mass is a great source of strength for everything else which we do in the course of our (hopefully) busy lives. Being properly disposed at Holy Mass is the key. There is physical disposition (observing the Eucharistic fast, being suitably dressed, etc.) and spiritual disposition (being in the state of grace, paying attention, etc.). The impact of Holy Mass resounds through the rest of our week, or day in the case of you daily Mass participants.