HEBDOMADA SECUNDA IN QUADRAGESIMA - 2nd WEEK OF LENT
12) Dominica II in Quadragesima – 2nd Sunday of Lent
a) Collect (article from 2001)
b) Super oblata (article from 2002)
c) Post Communion (article from 2003)
d) Collect (article from 2005)
e) Super oblata (article 2006)
What Does the Prayer Really Say? 2nd Sunday of Lent – Roman Station: St. Mary in Domnica
ORIGINALLY PRINTED IN The Wanderer in 2007
This Sunday’s “Prayer after Communion” was in the ancient Gelasian Sacramentary for Wednesday after the Third Sunday of Lent. It was not in any pre-Conciliar edition of the Missale Romanum.
POST COMMUNION (2002 Missale Romanum):
Percipientes, Domine, gloriosa mysteria,
gratias tibi referre satagimus,
quod, in terra positos,
iam caelestium praestas esse participes.
To see what the prayer really says, we dash to the the Dictionary by Lewis & Short. Search for satagimus under satis. This is satis constructed with ago as sat ago, written often as one word satago, “to have enough to do, have one’s hands full; to be in trouble” and also “to bustle about, make a to-do, be full of business.” In business language it is, “to satisfy, content, pay a creditor.” We have seen that gratia is not only “grace” but is also “thanks” when we construct it with a verb such as ago (again) and referro. Here we have referro together with (sat)ago in a very elegant and courtly construction.
Don’t automatically perceive percipio to mean “perceive”, though that is one of its meanings. Words have contexts. Percipio is also “to take wholly, to seize entirely” and then by extension “to perceive, feel” and “to learn, know, conceive, comprehend, understand.” I think “grasp” is good, but not in the sense of “seize” (as some of the less perceptive do when they “grasp” Holy Communion in the hand). In our prayer percipio appears as a present active participle. By “present” we understand “contemporary” with the time of the main verb. The terms sacramentum and mysterium are often interchangeable in liturgical prayers. Our old friend gloria is not just “glory” but also a characteristic of God. He will share gloria with us in the world to come and it will forever transform us. The Eucharist is a foretaste of this gift. Praesto means a range of things, from “to become surety for, to answer or vouch for, to warrant, be responsible for, to take upon one’s self”, and “to show, exhibit, to prove, evince, manifest”, and “to give, offer, furnish, present, expose”.
We are busy offering thanks to You, O Lord,
as we are grasping the glorious sacraments,
for You are granting us placed here on earth
to be participants of heavenly things.
ICEL (1973 translation of the 1970MR):
we give thanks for these holy mysteries
which bring to us here on earth
a share in the life to come.
Holy Church offers us glorious things in our sacred rites. The lame-duck ICEL versions are not among them. Our prayers, what our prayers really say, contain inestimable treasures if only we can get them open. For most of us who don’t “grasp” in the content within the Latin itself, this means rendering the prayers in English. These prayers, the whole sacred action of the Mass and its chief content, the Eucharist, are meant to transform us.
During Lent we are looking at the Oratio super populum, an ancient custom now happily restored in the third edition of the Missale Romanum. It is uttered by the priest after the Post Communion. NB: in the lame-duck ICEL “Sacramentary” on Sundays of Lent you find a “Solemn blessing or prayer over the people”. These are not in the Latin editions of the Missale.
ORATIO SUPER POPULUM (2002MR):
Benedic, Domine, fideles tuos benedictione perpetua,
et fac eos Unigeniti tui Evangelio sic adhaerere,
ut ad illam gloriam, cuius in se speciem Apostolis ostendit,
et suspirare iugiter et feliciter valeant pervenire.
MY LITERAL RENDERING:
Bless Your faithful, O Lord, with an everlasting benediction
and make them so to cling to the Gospel of Your Only-Begotten
that they may be able to long for always and happily to attain
unto that glory whose beauty He showed to the Apostles in Himself.
The verb suspiro means “to draw a deep breath, heave a sigh, to sigh” and thus “sighing after, longing for”.
How we long for good translations.