We continue our Lenten journey through the prayers of Holy Mass with today’s
Sacrificium, Domine, observantiae quadragesimalis offerimus,
quod tibi, quaesumus, mentes nostras reddat acceptas,
et continentiae promptioris nobis tribuat facultatem.
Both the grand Lewis and Short as well as Blaise/Dumas indicate that acceptus is not just "accepted" but "welcome, acceptable, agreeable". Blaise/Dumas says that in liturgical Latin facultas is "possibility" or also "grace" as in f. sufficiens. In classical Latin facultas already as the connotation of sufficiency. Promptus is just "ready", but also "evident, plain".
We are offering, O Lord, the Sacrifice of the Lenten observance,
which, we beseech You, may render our minds acceptable to You,
and may impart to us the grace of a more ready continence.
Since the Fall, we all suffer temptations which are mainly of the spirit and mainly of the flesh. Both affect our whole person, since we are both body and soul which are intended by God to form one person. Thus we want our thoughts and motions of the mind to be properly disposed and directed for our overall human/spiritual well-being and we want those motions of the flesh and its urgings to be well under control so that our human/spiritual well-being is not threatened.
To this end we offer Sacrifice. Not just by renewing the once-for-all-time Sacrifice of Calvary, as we are about to observe the priest do in just a few minutes after hearing this prayer, but also by our own sacrifices united to that Sacrifice. These our sacrifices can be acts of self-denial and they can be of the more intellectual strain, disciplining ourselves in study and contemplation. They can (and must) be also sacrifices of time and material well-being in works of mercy.
Our spiritual well-being is advanced by sacrifice. Thus sacrifice is an integral part of what it is to be human.
The other day I saw a woman coping with her little child who was determined in every way to impose his veto on everything in his life at that moment. The word "NO" was prominent and repeated.
In a way, there is a stage at which the young little human begins to say "NO" all the time. What a wonderful little reminder of the effects of original sin. "NO" is an essential tool of our spiritual well-being. In the young, who do nto exercise full control of their faculties and appetites "NO" is a sign of something integral to who we are that is distorted by the effects of original sin.
Learning to say "NO" properly is part of what it is to be truly human. The right kind of "NO" makes a more beautiful "YES" far easier to give.