Monday in the 6th Week of Easter

COLLECT:
Concede, misericors Deus,
ut, quod paschalibus exsequimur institutis,
fructiferum nobis omni tempore sentiamus.

This prayer was not in any previous edition of the Missale Romanum, but it is to be found, exactly as is, in the ancient Gelasian Sacramentary.   This does not seem to be based on a Scriptural or Patristic reference.   Who ever composed this prayer was a master of the content and the language.

Remember that exsequor can mean a range of things from “follow, pursue” to “carry out, execute, accomplish”.  Blaise/Dumas also reminded us a while back that exsequor can be applied to carrying out a ministry, fulfilling the commandments or celebrating the sacred mysteries.  Fructifer is an adjective means “fruitful, fruit bearing”.  I haven’t found any uses of it as a substantive, which helps us piece the thing together.   Blaise/Dumas indicates that institutum has different shades of meaning in the plural and singular.  In the plural it is “institution” and “ce qui a été institué (par la Providence)”. 

This ancient and dense little prayer could be taken is several directions.  There is a great deal squeezed into it.   I am quite interested to see what some of you might come up with.  

LITERALLY…..:
O merciful God, grant
that we sense at all times as bearing fruit
that which we are celebrating by means of the paschal mysteries which were instituted.

Maybe you can come up with something for that paschalibus… institutis which gets at the reality of the Easter event, that is, the suffering, death and resurrection of the Lord.  Blaise/Dumas suggests a singular rendering of the plural instituta.   Give it a try.

Monday in the 6th Week of Easter
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7 Responses to Monday in the 6th Week of Easter

  1. 1973 ICEL version?
    God of mercy,
    may our celebration of your Son’s resurrection
    help us to experience its effect in our lives.

    This prayer seems typical of a view of the Mass as directed towards us (“help us … its effect in our lives”) rather than towards God. And in which it is solely a celebration of the resurrection rather than also (and preeminently) a re-presentation or perpetuation of the sacrifice of the cross.

  2. Don Marco says:

    Not an easy one, I admit. “Paschal solemnities,” however, which I use to render the sense of “paschalibus” can refer not only to the festivals celebrated but also to the Holy Mysteries themselves. And so:

    Grant, O merciful God,
    that we may experience at all times
    the fruitfulness of what we carry out
    in the appointed paschal solemnities.

    In the monastery where I serve as chaplain, we are observing the feast of Italy’s all-time favourite woman saint. Lovely new collect in the MR 2002:

    Grant us, we beseech you, Lord,
    the wisdom of the cross and strength
    with which you were pleased to enrich Saint Rita,
    that we, by enduring affliction with Christ,
    may come to more intimate a share in his paschal mystery.

  3. Don Marco says:

    The newly composed Collect for Saint Rita merits a closer scrutiny.

    Grant us, we beseech you, Lord,
    the wisdom of the cross and strength
    with which you were pleased to enrich Saint Rita,
    that we, by enduring affliction with Christ,
    may come to a more intimate share in his paschal mystery.

    We ask for the sapientia crucis, that knowledge of the Cross that comes from having tasted its mystery -the bitter and the sweet of it- in life. The underlying text is, of course, Chapter One of Saint Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians. “The word of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God” (1 Cor 1:18).
    We ask too for strength -not for the strutting, self-reliant strength of human standards- but for the strength that is the gift of the Holy Spirit, the strength that sustains those who have no resources of their own, revealing itself in weakness.
    We ask for these two gifts, “that, by enduring affliction with Christ, we may come to more intimate a share in his paschal mystery.” Here, the vocabulary of the Latin original “cum Christo patientes,” resonates with the exhortation of Holy Father Benedict in the Rule: “Let us share the sufferings of Christ through patience” (RB, Pro 50).
    The Collect ends by pointing to the light of the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ: “that we may come to a more intimate share in his paschal mystery.” The Collect of Saint Rita invites us -no compels us- to go to the altar for the actualization of the mystery of the Cross. There, partaking of the Sacrifice, as Saint Rita did, all our yesterdays, however scarred, as well as our today, and all our tomorrows, are subsumed into the Paschal Mystery.

  4. Again, reformatted, Don Marco:

    We ask for the sapientia crucis, that knowledge of the Cross that comes from having tasted its mystery -the bitter and the sweet of it- in life. The underlying text is, of course, Chapter One of Saint Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians. “The word of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God” (1 Cor 1:18).

    We ask too for strength -not for the strutting, self-reliant strength of human standards- but for the strength that is the gift of the Holy Spirit, the strength that sustains those who have no resources of their own, revealing itself in weakness.

    We ask for these two gifts, “that, by enduring affliction with Christ, we may come to more intimate a share in his paschal mystery.” Here, the vocabulary of the Latin original “cum Christo patientes,” resonates with the exhortation of Holy Father Benedict in the Rule: “Let us share the sufferings of Christ through patience” (RB, Pro 50).

    The Collect ends by pointing to the light of the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ: “that we may come to a more intimate share in his paschal mystery.” The Collect of Saint Rita invites us -no compels us- to go to the altar for the actualization of the mystery of the Cross. There, partaking of the Sacrifice, as Saint Rita did, all our yesterdays, however scarred, as well as our today, and all our tomorrows, are subsumed into the Paschal Mystery.

  5. This prayer seems typical of a view of the Mass as …

    Of course, such a generalization from a single thin collect is a bit of a stretch. But I’ve come to think that the 1973 ICEL collects viewed as a body — collectively, one might say — embody a view of the paschal mysteries celebrated in the Mass as confined sometimes to a communal celebration of the Last Supper, sometimes to a memory of the triumph of the resurrection, but seldom if ever a reenactment or perpetuation of the sacrifice of Calvary.

  6. Don Marco says:

    Dear Henry, Thank for reformatting. Just how do you do that? Brilliant!

  7. Don Marco: No brilliance involved, just copy-pasting. You’re not using a Macintosh computer, are you? I seem to recall something similar occasionally happening before I changed to Window computers.