WDTPRS – Saturday after Ash Wednesday – Prayer over the people (2002MR)

A great new feature of the 2002 Missale Romanum in Latin is that for Lent the "Prayer over the people" or Oratio super populum has been revived as an option.

This is a step in the right direction, to be sure.

Let’s have a look at today’s:

ORATIO SUPER POPULUM (2002MR):
Adesto, Domine, benignus populo tuo,
qui sacra mysteria contigerit,
ut nullis periculis affligatur,
qui in te protectorem confidit
.

I can’t find where this prayer came from, which leads me to conclude that it is of new composition.

SLAVISHLY LITERAL VERSION:
O Lord, kindly be present to Your people,
who have touched upon/partaken of the sacred mysteries,
so that it (they), who relies on You as protector,
may be afflicted by no dangers
.

We have to decide along the way what to do with the collective noun "populus".  

Contingo is mainly "to touch, take hold of", but it can also in some instances mean "to eat, partake of, taste", as in the poetry of Horace.

I left some ambiguity in the literal version above to give you a sense of the difficulty in choosing which nuance to stress.

One way of doing this, touch upon, leaves you will perhaps a deeper sense of the mysterious encounter we have during Holy Mass whether you received Holy Communion or not.  We get glimpses, impressions.  The other way, partake of, stresses more the reception of Communion… which not everyone at Mass should probably have received in that moment.

Either way, what happened during Mass seems to be risky business.  We acknowledge God as "protector" and we know that we are faced with "dangers".

This being human is not all beer and skittles, folks.  And being Catholic is harder yet.  And being a Catholic in the state of grace is going to be even harder, given the way all people are pressed by the world, the flesh and the devil.   But the Enemy is a determined enemy, with a great arsenal and much experience at dragging down the Holy, even if by erosion rather than a frontal assault.

We need protection in this vale of tears.  A great source of that protection comes from what we touch at Holy Mass.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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