WDTPRS – Ember Wednesday of Lent (1962MR & 2002MR)

Remember today’s LENTCAzT.

COLLECT (1962RM):
Devotionem populi tui, quaesumus, Domine,
benignus intende:
ut, qui per abstinentiam macerantur in corpore,
per fructum boni operis reficiantur in mente.

In the Novus Ordo the prayer is somewhat softened.  Are you getting used to that now?

COLLECT (2002MR)
:
Devotionem populi tui, quaesumus, Domine,
benignus intende,
ut, qui per abstinentiam temperantur in corpore,
per fructum boni operis reficiantur in mente.

Our prayers this week are giving us different virtues to think about: devotio, moderatio, temperatio. There is a frequent juxtaposition of mens and corpus or caro, rationabilia and corporalia in Lenten prayers.  We are both.  Both must be subject to discipline during Lent.

Anyone who has been a cook recognizes the basic sense of macero. Macero is “to make soft or tender, to soften by steeping, to soak, steep, macerate”.   When applied to us it is, “to weaken in body or mind, to waste away, enervate”.

The Novus Ordo redactors sliced out macero and put in tempero, related to temperatio. Tempero is “to observe proper measure; to moderate or restrain one’s self; to forbear, abstain; to be moderate or temperate”. We can also use this word to indicate the mixing of liquids, such as when water is added to wine in a cup, according to ancient usage. Tempero also means, “to forbear, abstain, or refrain from; to spare, be indulgent to any thing”.  Think of the virtue temperance.  In our prayer it appears in a passive form.  Given the meaning of tempero I think the passive gives us something closer to a middle voice.

WORDY LITERAL RENDERING:
We beg You, O Lord, kindly look upon the
devotion of Your people,
with the result that they who by means of abstinence are being sparing in due measure in respect to the body
may by means of the fruit of good work be refreshed in respect to the mind.

Macero… soften.  You would think we want to toughen, not soften.  Right?  This is LENT!  This is BATTLE!  We are FASTING!  GET TOUGH!  Right?  Think of the cooking term maceration.  Soften?  Really?

We macerate things by immersing them in some substance in order to break them down.  This is done with meat, for example to tenderize it, to break down the fibers of muscle so that they will not contract under heat and make the meat tough.  We do the same thing by pounding flesh with a spikey hammer.  Maceratio means tenderize.  Think of softening up an entrenched position of the enemy by hammering it with artillery.

What we are driving at here is “mortification of the flesh”.

NEW, CORRECTED ICEL VERSION:
Look kindly, Lord, we pray,
on the devotion of your people,
that those who by self-denial are restrained in body
may by the fruit of good works be renewed in mind
.

LAME-DUCK ICEL:
Lord,
look upon us and hear our prayer.
By the good works you inspire,
help us to discipline our bodies
and to be renewed in spirit
.

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11 Responses to WDTPRS – Ember Wednesday of Lent (1962MR & 2002MR)

  1. Andrew says:

    Our English “meager” is also derived from the Latin “macer”.

  2. skull kid says:

    NEW, CORRECTED ICEL VERSION:
    Look kindly, Lord, we pray,
    on the devotion of your people,
    that those who by self-denial are restrained in body
    may by the fruit of good works be renewed in mind.

    LAME-DUCK ICEL:
    Lord,
    look upon us and hear our prayer.
    By the good works you inspire,
    help us to discipline our bodies
    and to be renewed in spirit.

    — I notice the lame-duck consistently seeks to offend nobody – it speaks about nebulous discipline which is yet to happen, whilst the new, corrected translation speaks of those who are already restrained in body.

  3. q7swallows says:

    The meat tenderizer mallet was exactly the right image to use with this collect.

  4. RichR says:

    Why did they do this to our prayers?

  5. mike cliffson says:

    A cf on “macerado” I need to check provenance and other romance languages , believe it’s an erudite latinism of the last milenium or so rather than directly the late latin ancestor of Spanish , anyhow cara (face) macerado or cuerpo (body) macerado (+ or – a golpes, etc, from blows, etc,) is quite common and graphic, a bit shuddermaking, modern castillian in Sermons, descriptions of paintings , graphic morbid media reports on crime and accidents, nearsadisticleveleven crime fiction and similar, to describe our Lords body in the passion, really nasty crimes, multiple injuries, really bad accidents and the like, meaning beaten to pulp, unrecognizable, rawmeat not flesh, pummeled into mummy, beatenup and gone over, worked over etc.
    Just like yr pic., only on a person.

  6. Now that we have definitively established that the ICEL translation of the 1970 Missal was lacking, I am glad to see that we are moving toward a discussion of whether the Latin itself of the 2002 Missal could stand improvement. That is just as important– if the original is lacking, one would need a traitorus translator in order to produce something really good.

  7. Andrew Saucci: Looking at whether the Latin of the Missale Romanum could be improved has already created problems. o{];¬)

  8. APX says:

    “The meat tenderizer mallet was exactly the right image to use with this collect.”
    Yes, it does give a better understanding of the collect, as well as supply the reader with great imagery of a steak being tenderized.

    Gee, thanks Father! Like I wasn’t craving a delicious tenderized steak before reading this. I gave up meat (which is my staple food) for all of Lent, not just Fridays. I need all the help I can get to avoid temptation.

    But seriously, it did make it a lot easier to understand. Thanks for posting these. They give me something to ponder as I drift off to sleep, and then re-ponder in the morning over my morning coffee.

  9. mike cliffson says:

    PS cooking:
    If you fish your own octopus (plebfood upon a time when meat was but for the nobs and really big feasts)) its well worth doing this with a wooden mallet,very, very hard and very very thoroughly so that it is tender to eat as well as delicious. The latin for romance-language catholics , a minority , but hundreds of millions, was not, with repition , that unintinteligible, even for the most illiterate perhaps little further than shakespeare to the English-speaker, some resonances with daily life and modern vocabulary unfortunate perhaps, but not this one.
    It leaves skipping a few coffees and cigarettes (me) as a bit wimpish.

  10. Brooklyn says:

    RichR asks why we did this to our prayers. Why did we do this in general? Why did we change the obligatory 40-day Lenten Fast to 2 days. Why are we now advised that we can just do “good deeds” instead of spiritual moritification. Why did we change the 12 hour fast before to Communion to 3 hours and then to 1 hour. Why did we substitute standing for kneeling in the penitential prays for the Mass, and why did we shorten those prayers? Why was the Office shortened? Why was almost everything that toughened people spiritually just thrown out the window?

    I would love answers to these questions.

  11. RichR says:

    Brooklyn,

    Unfortunately, many of the people who could answer these questions are now deceased.

    I actually have less of a hard time seeing a feast moved or decreased in importance to free up the calendar for seasonal observance (eg. Celebrating actual days of Advent instead of a different saint’s feast every day) than I do with changing one critical word in a Collect that then alters the tone dramatically. Why aren’t the originals good enough for us if they were good enough for 1500 years?