WDTPRS 18th Sunday after Pentecost – Sometimes correction hurts.

The Collect for Sunday Mass this week in the Extraordinary Form wound up in the Ordinary Form Missale Romanum as the Collect for Saturday in the 4th Week of Lent. Go figure. It had an ancient source in the Gelasian Sacramentary. For a change, the redactors of Fr. Bugnini’s and Card. Lercaro’s Consilium, with their scissors and glue pots, didn’t mess around with this prayer.

COLLECT
Dirigat corda nostra, quaesumus, Domine,
tuae miserationis operatio,
quia tibi sine te placere non possumus
.

LITERAL WDTPRS TRANSLATION:
O Lord, we beg You, may the working of Your mercy
direct our hearts,
for
without You we cannot please You.

Fairly stark.  I have mentioned with some frequency St. Augustine of Hippo’s insight that God crowns His own merits in us. Surely that is what is at work in today’s prayer.

AN OLD HANDMISSAL VERSION:
Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord,
that the operation of thy mercy may direct our hearts,
forasmuch as without thee we are not able to please thee
.

This is what you would have heard… or rathyr, hearde of yore in the

1559 BCP1549 Book of Common Prayer
O GOD,
for asmuche as without thee, we are not able to please thee;
Graunte that the workyng of thy mercie maye in all thynges
directe and rule our heartes;
Through Jesus Christ our Lorde
.

I rather, er um, rathyr lyke the way they turned downe syde up the ourdre of thynges.

Would that we might be able to have prayers like that in the new, corrected translation!

Speaking of the…

NEW CORRECTED TRANSLATION (from Saturday 4th Week of Lent):
May the working of your mercy, O Lord, we pray,
direct our hearts aright,
for without your grace
we cannot find favor in your sight
.

OBSOLETE ICEL (1973 – Saturday 4th Week of Lent):
Lord,
guide us in your gentle mercy,
for left to ourselves
we cannot do your will
.

The Latin original says nothing about God’s mercy being “gentle” when directing our hearts, our inmost thoughts and aspirations.  If we are invoking His mercy, then surely we are suggesting that, perhaps, we aren’t always so nice after all.  Right? We don’t ask for mercy if we haven’t been “weighed and found lacking”.  Again with the Augustine, taking his cue from from the medical practices of the day, the doctor doesn’t stop cutting just because the patient is screaming for him to stop.  It sometimes hurts to be corrected.

But God’s correction, as harsh as it can seem at times, is gentle compared to the torments of everlasting Hell.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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5 Responses to WDTPRS 18th Sunday after Pentecost – Sometimes correction hurts.

  1. JacobWall says:

    Fr. Z, thank you! I’ve missed checking in on the WDTPRS posts for the collects for a Sunday or two now, but I’m glad I got this one. The old hand missal and Book of Common Prayer versions were a nice touch!

  2. Laura R. says:

    Enjoyed the 1549/59 BCP rendition and your comment on it! I think this is one of those instances where (1) I will always “hear” and want to use the BCP version, but (2) need to look past its beauty to the bracing reminder of the spiritual truth conveyed: God’s correction can indeed hurt, but in the light of eternity is to be welcomed.

  3. AnnAsher says:

    Amen to the closing statement! Oh how grateful I am that the corrected prayers are not as mushy gushy.

  4. acardnal says:

    “But God’s correction, as harsh as it can seem at times, is gentle compared to the torments of everlasting Hell.

    Good concluding statement. It always seems to end up about The End. . . the four last things. I am constantly reminding myself about them . . . death, judgment, heaven, hell. The thought of them help me resist temptation and to do good.

    The statement “the doctor doesn’t stop cutting just because the patient is screaming for him to stop. It sometimes hurts to be corrected,” reminds me of the verses about the necessity of pruning the vine so that it will thrive and be fruitful. God knows I need pruning!

  5. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Thanks for the food for thought in this variety of translations!

    The “sine te” also reminded me of the Book of Common Prayer Collect for the Fourth Sunday after Trinity (“without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy”) – but I am a blank as to its (Sarum?) source!