We continue our Lenten journey through the prayers of Holy Mass with today’s
We already looked at the Super Oblata on Friday after Ash Wednesday. So, let’s look instead at the
ORATIO SUPER POPULUM:
De magnalibus tuis, Deus misericors,
gratias iugiter referat plebs tua,
et observationes antiquas peregrina recensendo
ad perpetuam tui visionem pervenire mereatur.
The word magnalia is from neuter magnale, which is "miracle, wondrous deed". Magnalia is usually paired with Dei, the "mighty works of God". The Jews celebrated God’s wondrous deeds in events like the freeing of the Jews from Egypt and the Exodus to the Promised Land, the establishing of the Covenant, etc. Early Christians recalled these, but also the amazing events of the New Convenant, including the rising of the Lord.
SLAVISH LITERAL VERSION:
Merciful God, may Your people unceasingly return
thanks for Your mighty deeds,
and as a pilgrim in taking stock of the ancient practices
may it merit to come through to the unending sight of You.
A VERSION FOR THOSE RESISTING LITURGIAM AUTHENTICAM:
like, your peeps, like, well, thanks, you know?
Stuff happened, like, a long time ago, ‘n it’s all good.
So, like, later. Easy.
This prayer is uttered by the priest on behalf of the people and over them. It harks to our roots in the Jews, who were pilgrims rescued and guided by the mighty works of God and then saved and elevated by the mighty works of the Lord and the early Church in the Apostles. However, even the ongoing tradition of the Lenten fast seems to be included in the magnalia Dei. Recognizing this, we make use of the mighty work of Lenten fasting, which is God’s own initiative in us, to help us come through finally to the Beatific Vision. This is enjoined upon the people by the priest. Thus, our Lenten observance is not merely an individual effort, but corporate. We are all in this together. Just as a pilgrim people help each other along the road, so too we must encourance each other in the Lenten observance.