We continue our project of looking at the Post communions of Lent:
Wednesday – 2nd Week of Lent
This prayer was in the ancient Gelasian Sacramentary.
POST COMMUNIONEM (2002MR):
Quaesumus, Domine Deus noster,
ut, quod nobis ad immortalitatis pignus esse voluisti,
ad salutis aeternae tribuas provenire suffragium.
The noun pignus is “a pledge, gage, pawn, security, mortgage (of persons as well as things).” The root of this word is pac, as in the verb pango, panxi, panctum, and pegi or pepigi, pactum “to fasten, make fast, fix; to drive in, sink in” and thus “to fix, settle, determine, agree upon, agree, covenant, conclude, stipulate, contract” and also paciscor, pactus,” make a bargain, contract, or agreement with any one; to covenant, agree, stipulate, bargain, contract respecting any thing” whence comes the English word “pact”. Under pignus in the L&S we find reference to such things as “tokens” or “rings” given as a sign of a pledge or commitment.
A suffragium is “a voting tablet” and therefore “a vote, voice, suffrage” (as in “suffragettes”, who wanted voting rights for women) and also “a favorable decision, assent, approbation, applause.” In ecclesiastical lingo a “suffrage” is a recommendation or intercessory prayer as, for example, when pray for the Poor Souls in Purgatory. The French dictionary of liturgical Latin we call Blaise/Dumas says suffragium is "soutien", which is "support". This of English "sustain".
We beseech, O Lord our God,
that, what You desired to be for us unto the pledge of immortality,
You may grant to turn out to be unto the favorable support of eternal salvation.
I enjoy the juxtaposition of the two images of small objects, a "token" and a "tablet". They are small things, but they each represent something far larger.
A Host is a small thing to look at, to hold or to receive.