WDTPRS: Monday 1st Week of Advent – COLLECT (2002MR)

Today in the newer calendar, it is Monday of the 1st Week of Advent.

The Collect today is ancient.  You can find it in the Gelasian Sacramentary in the Orationes de aduentu Domini.  It is also in the Liber sacramentorum or LS Augustodunensis, LS Engolismensis, and the LS Romanae ecclesiae ordine exscarpsus.  It was not in the "Tridentine" edition of the Missale Romanum or its progeny up until the Novus Ordo in 1970.

COLLECT (2002MR)
Fac nos, quaesumus, Domine Deus noster,
adventum Christi filii tui sollicitos expectare,
ut, dum venerit pulsans,
orationibus uigilantes et in suis inveniat laudibus exultantes.

LITERAL VERSION:
Cause us, we beg, O Lord our God,
full of concern to await the coming of Christ Your Son,
so that, when He will have come knocking,
He may find us vigilant in prayers and exulting in His praises.

The redactors of the prayers who pasted together the Novus Ordo cut some concepts out of the ancient version and tidied it up a bit.   Shall we look at the original?  

Remember: The way people pray both reflects and shapes what they believe.

COLLECT (GELASIAN SACRAMENTARY)
Fac nos, quaesumus, domine deus noster,
peruigiles atque sollicitos aduentum expectare Christi filii tui domini nostri,
ut dum uenerit pulsans,
non dormientis peccatis sed uigilantes et in suis inueniat laudibus exultantes
. (GeV 1128) 

LITERAL VERSION:
Cause us, we beg, O Lord our God,
wakeful through the night and full of concern to await the coming of Christ Your Son,
so that, when He will have come knocking,
He may find us not sleeping in sins but vigilant and exulting in His praises.

Obviously the imagery here is that of the Lord’s parable about the lord of the house who goes away leaving the servants in charge.  They have to keep things ready because they don’t know the hour of their master’s return.  It will go well for them if, when he comes and knocks at his own door, the doorkeeper opens immediately and all is ready.  It will not go so well if he finds that things are not going smoothly and that they are ready for him, whom they live to serve in that house.

The word sollicitus is interesting.  In Latin this means primarily, "thoroughly moved, agitated, disturbed; full of anxiety, excitement, distracted by cares, engaged, troubled, disturbed; full of anxiety, agitated, alarmed, solicitous, anxious; troubled, disturbed, afflicted, grieved; solicitous, mournful, full of or connected with cares and anxiety, anxious, disturbed".  Get the idea?   It isn’t just "anxious" in the sense of "Golly, we can hardly wait, hurray!".  It’s more like, "For the love of God, He could be here any minutes: we had better have everything ready or there will be hell to pay!"   There’s anxious… and then there’s anxious.

In the modern version the priest prays that the Lord will find us "vigilant in prayers".  Vigilo means to be wakeful and/or watchful.  In the older version the word is strengthened as pervigilo, which is to be wakeful straight through the night.  They essentially aim at the same idea, but the pervigilo is more emphatic, more urgent, in the attitude of one who is anxious in the sense of being a bit worried.  

In the modern version we are to be awake and praying.  In the ancient version we are to be not sleeping in sins.  The concept of sin is prominent and striking in the ancient version.  It is absent, or at best implicit in the modern.  After all, if you are praying while you are awake at night, you probably aren’t sinning, or you are trying not to.  The idea here, however, is that those who are "wakeful" are truly aware of their state in life and their state of soul.  Being thus awake to their situation they try to live a good and virtuous life to fulfill their state.  Otherwise, people who are asleep, think nothing of their sins.  They are numb and torpid, in a state resembling death.  Think of Ephesians 5:14 "For this reason it says, ‘Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.’" 

The older version has a tone of the penitential spirit which informed the ancient Church’s advent preparation, together with the strong desire the reward due to the faithful servant.  The newer version does not have that penitential tone.  Rather, it stresses the hopeful attitude of the Christian who looks to the fulfillment of the Lord’s promises.

Remember: The way people pray both reflects and shapes what they believe.

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12 Responses to WDTPRS: Monday 1st Week of Advent – COLLECT (2002MR)

  1. Woody Jones says:

    Anglican Use Collect for the First Sunday of Advent

    Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

  2. Jeff Pinyan says:

    It’s a shame they snipped that stuff about “sin” (whatever that is) out.

    The 1962 Missal simply repeats the Sunday orations for the weekdays, right?

    I wonder what the ICEL rendering is. I suppose I’ll hear it in about a half hour or so…

  3. Phil (NL) says:

    Well, maybe it is because our priest had some remarks about this last Sunday which already set the tone (to something very similar to what you argue), but I think you’re a little bit hard on the modern version here, Father.

    To me, it seems obvious that the vigilant in prayers is not meant literally (collectively it might be possible on some cases, but individually no-one spends 24 hours a day in prayer), but rather refers to the state of one’s conscience, or at least the attention given to matters of right and wrong. The ‘full of concern’ also suggest this: when the Lord returns, it’s not really necessary to be in prayer that very moment. That’s not a cause for concern – our salvation is.

    Of course, the older version is stronger and more explicit. But is the new one really that soft this time, especially given the readings for the preceding day?

  4. Phil (NL): I believe I explained what the point was. You might reread.

  5. MargoB says:

    LOL! “For the love of God, He could be here any minute!..” was very funny, Fr. Z. ‘For the love of God,’ isn’t usually meant literally, but could be, here…LOL!

  6. Jeff Pinyan says:

    Phil (NL): The modern collect simply expunges three phrases from the ancient collect, replaces one of them, and rearranges a couple words. The omitted/replaced parts are in bold, the rearranged parts are underlined:

    COLLECT (2002MR)
    Fac nos, quaesumus, Domine Deus noster,
    adventum Christi filii tui sollicitos expectare,
    ut, dum venerit pulsans,
    orationibus vigilantes et in suis inveniat laudibus exultantes.

    COLLECT (GELASIAN SACRAMENTARY)
    Fac nos, quaesumus, domine deus noster,
    peruigiles atque sollicitos aduentum expectare Christi filii tui domini nostri,
    ut dum uenerit pulsans,
    non dormientis peccatis sed uigilantes et in suis inueniat laudibus exultantes.

    In expunging the non dormientis peccatis, they were obliged to remove the peruigiles (atque) which is its counterpart.

  7. Jeff Pinyan says:

    Phil (NL): I meant to conclude my reply by saying that such “purging of sin” (!) from the prayers seems to have been a common theme of the “redactors” as Fr. Z calls them. At least, that’s what I’ve come to recognize from following his commentary for a couple years now.

  8. Mila says:

    Father Z., you spare us from the lame ICEL translation, which has done away with most everything that the original says. I will not quote it either. But it hurts to hear how off it is. When I started reading your blog and realized how bad these translations are, I subscribed to the Spanish edition of Magnificat, because the Spanish translations, while not “slavishly accurate”, are a lot more accurate than what we get in English.

  9. Seminarian says:

    Father, I have heard one or two priests saying very forcefully: “Advent is NOT a penitential season” [despite the use of violet vestments, the suppression of the Gloria on Sundays, etc.]. I’m a bit confused and was just wondering what the Church’s position really is today on this question. Is Advent still a penitential season (albeit less so than Lent, of course). Or are all forms of penitence purged from the modern Missal and thus from modern liturgical theology?

    Thanks for any light you can shed on this.

  10. Jim says:

    These ICEL texts can hardly be called proper “translations.” The liberty taken is amazing. Can someone tell this recent convert (a former Episcopal priest) what happened here? How did this come to be? Also, does anyone know if the English translations are what precipitated Liturgiam Authenticam? It looks like the new English translation is pretty solid, what are the expected “in-use” dates for that Missal?

  11. john hunwicke says:

    The Pope’s Advent homily pointedly although implicitly criticised the ideology of the Advent prayers in the new Missal. See my blog Father Hunwicke’s Liturgical Notes.

  12. Jeff Pinyan says:

    I’m not Fr. Z, but I think that what Pope Pius XII said in Mediator Dei n. 154 is still true today (although priests and bishops might not emphasize it, or mention it). Here’s the context:

    151. Throughout the entire year, the Mass and the divine office center especially around the person of Jesus Christ. This arrangement is so suitably disposed that our Savior dominates the scene in the mysteries of His humiliation, of His redemption and triumph.
     
    152. While the sacred liturgy calls to mind the mysteries of Jesus Christ, it strives to make all believers take their part in them so that the divine Head of the mystical Body may live in all the members with the fullness of His holiness. Let the souls of Christians be like altars on each one of which a different phase of the sacrifice, offered by the High priest, comes to life again, as it were: pains and tears which wipe away and expiate sin; supplication to God which pierces heaven; dedication and even immolation of oneself made promptly, generously and earnestly; and, finally, that intimate union by which we commit ourselves and all we have to God, in whom we find our rest. “The perfection of religion is to imitate whom you adore.”[146]
     
    153. By these suitable ways and methods in which the liturgy at stated times proposes the life of Jesus Christ for our meditation, the Church gives us examples to imitate, points out treasures of sanctity for us to make our own, since it is fitting that the mind believes what the lips sing, and that what the mind believes should be practiced in public and private life.
     
    154. In the period of Advent, for instance, the Church arouses in us the consciousness of the sins we have had the misfortune to commit, and urges us, by restraining our desires and practicing voluntary mortification of the body, to recollect ourselves in meditation, and experience a longing desire to return to God who alone can free us by His grace from the stain of sin and from its evil consequences.