WDTPRS: 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time – COLLECT (2002MR)

A priest friend, Fr. RD, a fine scholar and professor of many years, has begun to send me his own versions of the Latin prayers for Holy Mass in the Ordinary Form.

Let’s have a look at this Sunday’s Collect, through one of my old WDTPRS articles for The Wanderer.  I will include Fr. RD’s version at the end.

This prayer survived the snipping and pasting experts of Annibale Bugnini’s Consilium, moved to its present spot in the calender from the 2nd Sunday after Easter, where it is to be found in the 1962MR.

COLLECT – (2002MR):
Deus, qui Filii tui humilitate iacentem mundum erexisti,
fidelibus tuis sanctam concede laetitiam,
ut, quos eripuisti a servitute peccati,
gaudiis facias perfrui sempiternis.

Centuries before St. Pius V’s 1570MR and subsequent 1962MR of Bl. John XXIII the ancient Gelasian Sacramentary indicates an earlier version existed for the Sunday after the Octave of Easter: Deus, qui in filii tui humilitatem iacentem mundum erexisti, laetitiam concede < fidelibus tuis >, ut quos perpetuae < mortis > eripuisti casibus, gaudiis facias sempiternis perfruere.   Because the words in < > were illegible or missing in the manuscripts, they were supplied by the editor of the Gelasian, Leo Cunibert Mohlberg.  This is all super picky, I know, but it is important for what the prayer really says in its newer version in the Novus Ordo.  More about that later.

In the meantime, let’s think laterally.  The last phrase of the Collect reminds me of other well known Latin prayers.  For example, the Salve Regina traditionally concluded with the Collect from the votive Mass for the Blessed Virgin celebrated on Saturdays: “Grant us your servants, we pray you O Lord God, to enjoy perpetual health of mind and body, and, by the glorious intercession of blessed Mary ever-Virgin, may we be delivered from present sorrow and enjoy everlasting happiness (aeterna perfrui laetitia).”  The themes here are similar to today’s Collect in that there is a shift from sorrow to joy through God’s providential gift.   Moreover, when the priest vested for Mass for centuries he said special prayers as he put on each vestment.  When putting on the alb, the symbol of our baptism, he would pray: “Make me white, O Lord, and cleanse my heart, so that having been made white in the Blood of the Lamb, I may enjoy everlasting joys (gaudiis perfruar sempiternis).”  There is similar vocabulary in the other vesting prayers, which could once be found posted in every sacristy in the world.  I use them daily and I hope other priests do as well.

My hook for these last comments was the verb perfruor, one of a few famous deponent verbs used normally and classically with the ablative case: utor, abutor, fruor, fungor, potior and vescor.  In different periods of Latin these verbs could have active forms, as we saw above, and could also take objects in the accusative or even genitive.  In modern liturgical usage they are deponents and always get ablative “objects”.  Actually, these aren’t really objects, but rather a kind of instrument: e.g., vescor, “I feed myself from…”; fruor, “I get fruit/benefit from…”; etc.   A good grammar explains how these verbs work.  Latin Students: If you want a really good Latin grammar get the superb volume we lovingly call Gildersleeve & Lodge, or fully, Gildersleeve’s Latin Grammar (enlarged with the additional help of Gonzalez Lodge).   Basil L. Gildersleeve said, and this is true in the world of WDTPRS, “No study of literature can yield its highest result without the close study of language, and consequently the close study of grammar.”  Should we send copies of the Lewis & Short Dictionary and G&L to the worker bees of ICEL? 

Two words in the prayer, gaudium and laetitia, can be rendered into English with the same word “joy” and variations.  We don’t want to give undue emphasis to the different sorts of “joy” possible with different words.  However, the chock-full L&S states that gaudium refers mostly to a joy which is interior whereas laetitia suggests a joy having outward expression.   To confuse matters, L&S also says that gaudium in the plural (as it is in our prayer) can also be “the outward expressions of joy”.  In a supplement to the L&S, A. Souter’s Glossary of Later Latin to 600 A.D. we discover that gaudium is “everlasting blessedness” while laetitia is simply “prosperity”.  So, in Souter we still uncover something of the spiritual versus material distinction explained by L&S.  A. Blaise in Le Vocabulaire Latin des principaux thèmes liturgiques imply that laetitia and gaudium are pretty much the same thing.  The dictates of ancient rhetoric (and this prayer is quite ancient) required a copia verborum, a richness of vocabulary, so as to avoid boring repetition.  Nevertheless, each word gives us “joy”, but with shades of meaning.  Perhaps a solution is found in L&S’s saying that “like our joy, for an object which produces joy, a cause or occasion of joy”.  For us who, raised up from our sins, die in God’s friendship, the object which will produce joy is, in this world the state of grace and a clean conscience and, in the next life, the Beatific Vision and Communion of Saints.

L&S indicates that erigo means “to raise up, set up, erect” and also analogously “to arouse, excite” and “cheer up, encourage.” The verb iaceo (in the L&S find this under jaceo) has many meanings, such as “to lie” as in “lie sick or dead, fallen” and also “to be cast down, fixed on the ground” and “to be overcome, despised, idle, neglected, unemployed.”  Humilitas is “lowness” In Blaise humilitas has a more theological meaning in the “abasement” of the God Incarnate who took the form of a “slave” (cf. Philippians 2:7).  Blaise refers to this Collect in the entry for humilitas.

Our Collect offers us an image material creation like an enervated body, wounded and weakened by sin, lying in the dust from whence it came.  In the sin of our first parents all creation was wounded and, as we see everyday, the harmony that there ought to have been between the rest of material creation and man its steward has been damaged.  It is almost as if creation, including us, is bound and captive by an enemy who has beaten him down to the ground and enslaved him.  God then comes as liberator.  He rouses us from being prone upon the ground.  He grasps us, pulling us upward out of sin and death.  He aims us again toward the joys possible in this world first and then definitively in the next, if only we can get back to our feet.  Our Savior, the Son, came in humility to rescue us in our wretchedness.   We have seen before in our prayers the pattern of descent and ascent, of exit and return.   Before the Resurrection there is the Passion.  Before exaltation there is humiliation.  The descent, exit, Passion and humiliation bring an even more exalted joy which will embrace the entirety of man in both soul and body, the interior and the outward human person.

O God, who raised up a fallen world by the abasement of Your Son,
grant holy joy to Your faithful,
so that You may cause those whom You snatched from the servitude of sin
to enjoy delights unending

And so now we turn to what my friend sent


O God, who raised up a fallen world,
through the self-abasement of your Son,
grant to your faithful people the
holy joy that is the Spirit’s gift,
that those whom you rescued from the slavery of sin,
might also admit to the joys of the world to come

As mentioned above, today’s Collect is nearly the same as one found in the 1962MR.  However, whereas the 1970/2002MR version says quos eripuisti a servitute peccati the 1962MR says quos perpetuae mortis eripuisti casibus, that is, “whom you have snatched from the perils of everlasting death”.  A polemical but highly interesting little booklet called The Problems with the Prayers of the Modern Mass (TAN 1991) by Anthony Cekada compares the 1962MR version of this Collect with the 1970MR version.  Cekada opines that the redactors of the Novus Ordo intentionally eliminated from the Latin the concept of damnation and substituted the “less threatening idea of deliverance from the ‘slavery of sin’” (p. 14).   Cekada is probably right, though I respectfully respond that “servitude of sin” is fairly terrifying for someone who is spiritually aware.  Perhaps understanding “raised up a fallen world” in the sense of liberation prompted the change from “eternal death” to “servitude of sin”.  Christ’s “abasement” and later “raising” freed us from future death and present enslavement in sin.  In His resurrection we were raised up to the joy (present and future) of being God’s faithful ones.   Think what you want about the change in emphasis in the Latin text, the newer Collect is a fine prayer and we have the right to hear what it really means.  Instead, on Sunday you will hear the lame-duck version from…

ICEL (1973 translation of the 1970MR):
Father,  through the obedience of Jesus,
your servant and your Son,
you raised a fallen world.
Free us from sin
and bring us the joy that lasts forever

If we are going to be required to have a vernacular liturgy we have the right as Catholics to hear what it really says through a good and accurate English translation. 


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18 Responses to WDTPRS: 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time – COLLECT (2002MR)

  1. Sylvia Haynes says:

    Fr. Z,

    With all due respect, it’s Father Anthony Cekada.

  2. Ed the Roman says:

    Also, the < and > were lost. They have to be typed as & lt; and & gt;, omitting the spaces between the ampersand and the letters.

  3. Roland de Chanson says:

    Fr. Z.,

    Just a quick note on the Gelasian excerpt — the words in angle brackets disappeared from the html text because of the bracket artefact. I copied them and put the same words in square brackets below.

    Deus, qui in filii tui humilitatem iacentem mundum erexisti, laetitiam concede [fidelibus tuis], ut quos perpetuae [mortis] eripuisti casibus, gaudiis facias sempiternis perfruere.

    I really enjoy your commentaries on the liturgical texts. And the “slavishly accurate” translations as well.

  4. Tom in NY says:

    Greek would highlight the contrasts with particles. Here the meanings need to work.
    a) contrast between “erigo” and “iacere” (don’t forget usage on tombstones “hic jacet”, which is usually “in humo”) [good one]
    b) contrast between “servitus” and “gaudium”
    c) contrast between temporary nature of “servitus” compared to (per- [no less]fruendum)”gaudium sempiternum”.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  5. Agnes says:

    “Cekada opines that the redactors of the Novus Ordo intentionally eliminated from the Latin the concept of damnation and substituted the “less threatening idea of deliverance from the ‘slavery of sin’” (p. 14).”

    My issue with the concept of enslavement is that it seems to lessen individual free will. Oops, I entered freely into such and such a sin, so now I’m stuck and only the Lord can pull me out, so I may as well enjoy a few more corn husks while I wait for Him to do something. OK, true, all grace for conversion comes from God, BUT, does that mean the free willed soul has no power to turn from sin? “Without Me you can do nothing.” Even our feeble attempts to expel evil from our lives is a gift from God. Essentially our free will is to respond to the grace initiated by God and to leave the corn husks behind. He is always the First Cause. My poor convert brain gets hung up on some of these things, so I’m open to correction.

    Another euphemism I’ve run into lately is the very soft, “behaving in contradiction to the Lord’s law of luv.”

    Ok, I see what you’re getting at, Father, and it is very polite, thank you. But what you really mean, is that I’m in mortal sin and if I don’t change course rather quick, I’ll need to pack a basting brush for my eternity in the roaster… Yes, there’s being pastoral and positive and nice, because we wouldn’t want anyone to have unhealthy guilt, or complain that Father is a big crank and not put their offering in the basket – and then there’s just being squishy.

    Maybe I’m the crank about things lately. “Remember, God loves you!” “Yeah, yeah, tell me something new…” But the thing is, it’s my response that needs newness.

    “If we are going to be required to have a vernacular liturgy we have the right as Catholics to hear what it really says through a good and accurate English translation.”

    Refreshing! Glad you’re there.

  6. mpm says:

    I like Fr. RD’s translation quite a bit, but wondered about the “subject”
    in the last line. Should it be as in square brackets below?

    that those whom you rescued from the slavery of sin,
    [you] might also admit to the joys of the world to come.

  7. Andy P says:

    Sylvia Haynes – Anthony Cekada is a sedevacantist, and one of the founders of the Society of St. Pius V (and I understand that he later broke away from them because they were not extreme enough!). While he has valid orders, he is far enough from the true church that he does not deserve the title Father. One takes him as one’s spiritual father at one’s peril!

    The Society of St. Pius X contains many people of good will, and I hope to see them reconciled with the church. Their clergy deserve our respect, even when we do not agree with them. The crazy fringe of traditionalism, however, do not.

  8. Tom says:

    Translation in the British Divine Office: The Liturgy of the Hours According the Roman Rite:

    Lord God
    when our world lay in ruins
    you raised it up again
    on the foundation of your Son’s passion and death;
    give us grace to rejoice in the freedom from sin
    which he gained for us
    and bring us to everlasting joy.

  9. ssoldie says:

    Oh God, who, by the humility of Thy Son, didst lift up a fallen world, grant unending happiness to Thy faithful: that those whom Thou has snatched from the perils of endless death, Thou mayest cause to rejoice in everlasting joys. Through our Lord….
    Marian Missal For Daily Mass Sylvester P Juergens,S.M.

  10. Mitchell NY says:

    Father, do you have any idea what will be published in the new edition of the Roman Missal that is being translated in accordance to the guidelines set forth in LA? It is so true how translation presents a visual image of what we are praying. For example in Fr. RD version the last line to me invokes images of heaven and the life in the world to come, however in the 73 version, I get no such image from the reading of the last line. It reads like more of a temporal joy that will continue on somewhere. What does the Latin wish me think?

  11. ssoldie says:

    Oh God, who in the humility of Thy Son. didst raise up the fallen world, grant to Thy faithful abiding gladness: that wheresa Thou has saved them

    Old Text New Text
    from the perils of from the slavery of sin
    everlasting death, Thou Thou mayest bring them
    mayest bring them to possess eternal joys.
    to everlasting joys.

    Here thy replaced the “perils of everlasting death”– again hell with the less threating idea of deliverence from the “slavery of sin” taken from: ‘The Problems With The Prayers Of The Modern Mass’.
    Anyone out there read ‘Cranmer’s Godly Order’?

  12. William says:

    Why are not the texts of Sunday Mass of BOTH FORMS presented? The ordinary form seems to almost always appear. What about the Extraordinary Form for those who do not attend the Novus Ordo? Why is there a preference for the Ordinary Form?


  13. William: Sometimes I do the OF prayers, sometimes the EF. However, last year and this year… and next year … in the weekly edition of The Wanderer I am focused on the EF prayers.

  14. Alice says:

    William, if I were to make a guess, Father Z is more likely to put up the texts from the OF because it’s fairly easy to find a good translation of the EF in any pre-Vatican II missal. If you attend the EF with your missal, you’ve read the prayers already. If you attend the OF, with or without a missal, you probably got a bad translation that doesn’t mean half as much as a good translation would.

  15. Henry Edwards says:

    Agnes: Another euphemism I’ve run into lately is the very soft, “behaving in contradiction to the Lord’s law of luv.”

    How about “making a poor choice”?

  16. Henry Edwards says:

    The translation in Fr. Peter Stravinskas, Lauds and Vespers (Newman House Press, 2006):

    O God, Who raised up a fallen world by the abasement of Your Son,
    grant to Your faithful holy joy,
    that those whom you have delivered from the bondage of sin,
    You would make to abound in eternal joys.

  17. Tom in NY says:

    To Roland:

    Changing the text to “in…humilitatem” from the original posted above makes the English so much easier. The emendation with “ut..casibus” is also easier on the English speaker.
    Cursus scripturae litterarum latinarum meus, AAS instrumento, AD millesimo nongentesimo septuagesimo duo, aut MMDCCXXVI AUC fuit.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  18. Agnes says:

    Henry, that’s about it. Hence the need for reasoned dialogue to express our freedom to make really really bad decisions…

    Hot! Hot! Ouch!