Thanks to Amy Welborn for the following… at least I think, thanks. Not sure, really. I was more than a little irritated when I first read this, but I am over it now.
In the The Floridian there is a gushy piece by a pious member of the faithful, AMY HOLLYFIELD, victimized by the decision of the meanie bishops who have submitted their new English translation to Rome. You can almost imagine Thomas Reese, SJ, and His Excellency Donald W. Trautman as ghost writers.
Let’s get to the piece. This is entitled "Lost In Translation", thought I suspect the authoress would be lost in pretty much any translation if you come right down to it. Here goes… I will annotate.
I haven’t been saying the words all my life.
Just 16 of my 35 years.
Sound familiar? This is the Chair’s argument! "We’ve been doing this for SIXTEEN WHOLE YEARS! We CAN’T change now!"
But I am as confused, disappointed and, well, angry, as any devout Roman Catholic I know.
Hmmm… "Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience…." etc. Just savor that word "devout" here. That provides justification for all the emotion that follows.
Mass is the starting point for my week. A renewal that I participate in. The words, the music, the people – they ground me.
Aaaaaaaaand…. the Blessed Sacrament? Jesus? And is there also a Sacrifice to participate in?
So I was crushed when the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voted last week to change some wording in Mass to more closely match the original Latin. It wasn’t so much the idea of changing some words. The problem was the specific words they approved changing.
There is one point in every Mass that is pivotal to me. It is when my heart opens and I feel myself at the feet of God, praying for his mercy.
Alright… it’s about you. I get it.
It is during the Communion rite, as the priest is holding up the host, the body of Christ. We parishioners, in preparation for receiving this sacred rite, say, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed."
Tears form in my eyes every time I say these words. Every time.
Then you will probably get tears in your eyes from reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church which reminds us that this phrase is from Scripture:
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church
(PART TWO: THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY
SECTION TWO: THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH
CHAPTER ONE: THE SACRAMENTS OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION
Article 3: THE SACRAMENT OF THE EUCHARIST VI. The Paschal Banquet):
1386 Before so great a sacrament, the faithful can only echo humbly and with ardent faith the words of the Centurion: "Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea" ("Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed.").217 Roman Missal, response to the invitation to communion; cf. ⇒ Mt 8:8.
My world could be upside down, as awful as anything, but when I say those words in anticipation of Communion, I feel the hand of God in my life. I feel his forgiveness. I feel his love.
And now? Now, the church wants to change these words to, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof."
My roof? Where is the emotion in that? Where is the feeling? What does it even mean?
And there you have it folks! No one has ever explained to her what this means in the context of Mass at the time of Holy Communion. And thus it came to pass in recent times that His Excellency The Chair spake unto us and said:
“It’s a literal translation, and it doesn’t mean anything to Americans,” Bishop Trautman said.
“The ‘dew’ of your Spirit — what does that mean?”
And its all about my emotion… my emotion… how it makes me feel. Never mind that the present translation is WRONG and does not convey what the Church has given us at that moment of Holy Mass, words which are from the Gospel itself, words which a good former Lutheran will remember are "God breathed" (2 Tim 3:16-17).
Amy of The Floridiam continues with her experience as a Luthean convert. Maybe that’s why… no… hey wait…. I’m a former Lutheran too, so that can’t be it:
But the truth was, I was embracing my spiritual history. Just in a different form. A form that meant something to me because of the rules, the pageantry, the structure. I was swept up by the emotion of Mass. By the interaction and the inclusion. I knew in my heart that my grandfather would approve.
Golly… sounds like me. However, before we were half way into that first Mass I ever attended I was asking the question: "What do these people believe that makes them do this???" You see, faith seeks understanding. The so-called "hermeneutical circle" is part of the process of true conversion to Christ. Faith goes before understanding, and, understanding goes before faith. Emotions lead to thought, and thought leads to emotions. You cannot remain in the affective, emotive part of your experience and think that you are really getting somewhere.
There was a priest at my college campus, Father John, who empathized with my struggle. He counseled me through a rough period with my parents.
Eventually, they accepted my decision. There was no issue six years later when I married my husband in the Catholic church. They have no problem with my daughters being raised Catholic. They accept and understand who I am.
This is a perfect example of the favored approach of young people today. It is all part of their emotional/cultural landscape. This what I call "psycho-geography". Do you hear it? Think of phrases like "I know where you are coming from", or "I am in a good place today". These don’t really mean very much on a deep level, of course, but people say them all the time when they don’t know what else to say. And so, the ultimate, the paradigmatic qualifier of the modern relationship is… "I’m there for you!" So long as "You are there for me", wherever that is, I am in a good place. But back to our heroine.
But now I am in turmoil again. How could the church take these words from me? What will I get from "under my roof?"
I know it’s wrong to think that my entire faith will crumble over three words, and I’m sure in the end it won’t. But I wish someone had asked me. I wish they had asked any of the common parishioners before they approved such a change.
This is excellent. Whom should they have consulted? People who probably don’t know that that whole "under my roof" thing is from HOLY SCRIPTURE?
They say it will be two years before the Mass is affected, because of all the process and paperwork.
I hope they’ll realize before then what a mistake they are making.
At least, for me.
Right. And this is about you.
I am proud of my church. Proud to have converted. Proud to serve as a Eucharistic minister.
Ehem… well… I am going to take that as an affirmation of love of Holy Mother Church and not just her own faith community. Also, while Amy’s dedication and willingness to serve and help is admirable, she is most decidedly NOT a "Eucharistic Minister". Only the ordained are truly Eucharistic Ministers. She can be an "Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion", however.
Lord, help me understand.
Well… we don’t have to wait for the Lord to do this. I can help you right away. I suggest that you get a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and a good Catholic Edition of the Bible. For the notes and the inclusion of the Latin text I like the wondeful editions of the Navarre series. Read this blog, too. Now that I am well into explaining "dew", I might just start on "under my roof".
In Luke 7:1ff we have the episode:
1: After he had ended all his sayings in the hearing of the people he entered Caper’na-um.
2: Now a centurion had a slave who was dear to him, who was sick and at the point of death.
3: When he heard of Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his slave.
4: And when they came to Jesus, they besought him earnestly, saying, "He is worthy to have you do this for him,
5: for he loves our nation, and he built us our synagogue."
6: And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying to him, "Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof;
7: therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed.
8: For I am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, `Go,’ and he goes; and to another, `Come,’ and he comes; and to my slave, `Do this,’ and he does it."
9: When Jesus heard this he marveled at him, and turned and said to the multitude that followed him, "I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith."
10: And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave well.
The abovementioned Navarre commentary has this:
"This episode is a very good example of the faith and humility needed in one’s approach to Jesus. The account contrasts the praise given the centurion by the elders ("He is worthy to have you do this for him" v 4) with the man’s own sense of unworthiness- vv 6-7; also the faith of this Roman official, which he has already show – v 5 – is now seen as nothing less than remarkable vv 8-9. The Church’s liturgy uses the Centurians very words to express our own feelings just before receiving Communion to help us have similar disposition."
And here we leave our heroine, tied to the railroad tracks in the face of the train chugging its way around the bend, the mean men in black twirling their moustaches archly.
I will now brace myself and get back to real work.