WDTPRS: 17th Ordinary Sunday – Sin-Teflon, Demon-Kevlar

The 1962MR places today’s Collect at the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost though it is a little different from the newer version, to wit: sic transeamus per bona temporalia, ut non amittamus aeterna.

Historically the prayer has roots in the ancient “Leonine” or better the Veronese Sacramentary used during the month of July in which we find: sic bonis praetereuntibus nunc utimur, ut iam possimus inherere perpetuis.

This historical digging shows us that the Novus Ordo version returned to a more ancient form of the prayer.

That inherere for the more regular inhaerere shows how the ae was pronounced when the manuscript was made.  The eminent paleographer E.A. Lowe dated the earliest manuscript of the Veronese to the first quarter of the 7th century.

Protector in te sperantium, Deus, sine quo nihil est validum, nihil sanctum, multiplica super nos misericordiam tuam, ut, te rectore, te duce, sic bonis transeuntibus nunc utamur, ut iam possimus inhaerere mansuris.

There is a very pleasant humming “m” alliteration in lines 2-3.  A nice pair of pairs present themselves: nihil validum, nihil sanctum and some exemplary ablative absolutes te rectore, te duce.

Protector is from protego fundamentally meaning “to cover before, or in front, cover over” and obviously also “to shield from danger” as well as things like “put a protecting roof over”.  A protector is also “one of the lifeguard or body – guard”.

Last week in the Collect we heard “vigili custodia … vigilant restraint/guarding.”  Both words refer to protection.

In last week’s Collect the priest prayed to God: clementer gratiae tuae super eos dona multiplica, (indulgently multiply upon/over them the gifts of Your grace) while this week we ask multiplica super nos misericordiam tuam.  In this and last week’s prayer we have the image of a people asking to cover them over abundantly, last week with the theological virtues, this week with mercy.

God is our shield.  In His mercy He guards us from the attacks we face as soldiers in the Church Militant.

Validus, a, um (from the verb valeo) is “strong, stout, able, powerful, robust, vigorous” and also “well in body, in good health, sound, healthy”.  “Vale!” is one Latin way to say “Farewell!”

The verb inhaereo means “to stick in, to stick, hang, or cleave to, to adhere to, inhere in”.  Inhaereo is construed with either dative or ablative and it is very hard to know which case is mansuris, the future participle from maneo, “to remain, last, endure, continue”.   Without going into details, St. Augustine (+430) used a similar combination of words, but to different effect, in a sermon about the love of God and love of the world (s. 344.2 in PL 39:1512).

O God, protector of those hoping in you, without whom nothing is efficacious, nothing holy, multiply your mercy upon us, so that, you being our helmsman, our commander, we may so make use of things that pass away as to be able to cleave to those that will endure.

We can also render rector and dux respectively as “guide” and “leader” but I think in our times we need a bolder tone.  A rector is also a “helmsman” and “commander of the army”.  In honor of World Youth Day, rector can be the “master of youth, teacher”.  On the other hand, dux is also a military term for a “general” or “chief”.

God our Father and protector,
without you nothing is holy,
nothing has value.
Guide us to everlasting life
by helping us to use wisely
the blessings you have given to the world

O God, protector of those who hope in you,
without whom nothing has firm foundation, nothing is holy,
bestow in abundance your mercy upon us
and grant that, with you as our ruler and guide,
we may use the good things that pass
in such a way as to hold fast even now
to those that ever endure.

We are members of the Church Militant and we must never forget it.  We must not permit ourselves complacency.  We must not be softened into spiritual acedia by the coos and lullabies of those who deny the existence of evil and the devil and personal sin.

Some people today think that any “evil”, if it is really evil after all and not merely a difference of perspective, can be reduced to mere social ills stemming from a societal lack of tolerance and diversity.

This is a deception of the enemy of the soul, the devil.

In reality, our personal sins are the foundation of every societal ill.  When people do not believe in the devil and in sin, then the enemy has already won.   Our enemy Satan and his fallen angels desire our everlasting damnation and agony with them in hell.  This world has a fell prince, a spiritual being, a mighty fallen angel (cf. John 14:30).

Jesus Christ is our King, our great Captain in our battle against all that is wicked in this world.  Christ Jesus has broken hell’s power over us, but for a time we are still in this world and the devil dominates it – but only to the extent that omnipotent God permits in His providence.  We are living in a state of “already, but not yet.”

As soldiers traveling through enemy territory we need strong shields, a sure leader to set our feet on the right path out of the danger zone, a sturdy roof over us when we rest, some way to identify what is holy and what is deception.

Without God nothing is worthwhile or holy.   He must pour out and multiply upon us all that we need simply in order to live.

Today we are asking for a protection, sin-Teflon, so that the passing things of this world can’t stick to us, distract us, and hold us back from heaven.  May God give us demon-Kevlar, so that the enemy cannot penetrate our minds and hearts with the darts of temptation and the provocations of doubts.

We beg God to make us “sticky” only for the things that endure forever and not the things that are under control of this world’s prince, who from the beginning is a liar, a murderer (cf. John 8:44).

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Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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15 Responses to WDTPRS: 17th Ordinary Sunday – Sin-Teflon, Demon-Kevlar

  1. They took out Helmsman and Commander? Aww man! I so want the military analogies! Ruler and guide are feminine and make me feel like a serf and a child, not a soldier. Fr. Z. your literal translation and explanation of this collect are pure 200% win today!!! Perhaps this Sunday`s homily for you (should you do the OF at all …) can be about what you`ve written here.

  2. Deo volente says:

    Marvelous, Father Z.! What a great meditation for Mass on the morrow! For those searching for military allusions to our life on this orb, there is much here to contemplate…

  3. NickD says:

    Personally, I love this new translation of this Sunday’s collect! I don’t know why; it just speaks particularly strongly to me

  4. Supertradmum says:

    Book, please, and for those of us who have no earthly protectors, God is Our Protector, indeed.
    He that dwelleth in the aid of the most High, shall abide under the protection of the God of Jacob.
    He shall say to the Lord: Thou art my protector, and my refuge: my God, in him will I trust. Psalm 91 DR

  5. Kathleen10 says:

    I can’t add, Amen to all that!

  6. jameeka says:

    The pastor tonight omitted the word”ruler” in the Collect–probably no one noticed except the newly educated me. Thank you Father Z for helping to reveal the depth and age of these prayers.

  7. Giuseppe says:

    Does the Roman Catholic Church still preach about the Church Militant? I cannot find it in the current Catechism. I recall a theology class years ago where the teacher (a Jesuit, so take this with a grain of salt) linked the concept of “Church Militant” with the grabs for temporal power of the Papal States and also went on a tirade about the Crusades. [LOL!] I have never once heard a sermon on it in all of my years of church-going, including many years at TLM. When did it first emerge in Roman Catholic theology? When did it disappear? Why did it emerge? Why did it disappear?

  8. jhayes says:

    Does the Roman Catholic Church still preach about the Church Militant? I cannot find it in the current Catechism.

    The three groups that used to be named the Church Militant, Church Suffering, and Church Triumphant are still mentioned in the Catechism, but without those names:

    “954 The three states of the Church. “When the Lord comes in glory, and all his angels with him, death will be no more and all things will be subject to him. But at the present time some of his disciples are [1] pilgrims on earth. [2] Others have died and are being purified, while [3] still others are in glory, contemplating ‘in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as he is”‘

    “Militant” is used here with the sense of “struggling,” not “military” [Or both.]

  9. Supertradmum says:

    jaykay, the first definition is absolutely, military. The term was first used in the 16th century, and is found in the documents of the Council of Trent. I think, but do not have the references at hand, that Doctor of the Church, St. Robert Bellarmine, Domingo Bannez, and Gregory of Valentia would have influenced the term being used in the three distinctions of the Church. It is my impression, and I need to do more study on this, that the phrase Church Militant was constructed not only from the spiritual and sometimes physical warfare against evil we all must fight, but was connected to the Hebrews and their conquest of Canaan, which I am studying right now again.

    In the encyclical Mystici Corporis, Pope Pius XII uses the phrase. Father Z is correct in using the military imagery as it is more than imagery. And, of course, in Confirmation, we are made “soldiers of Christ”.

  10. Supertradmum says:

    apologies a million times- note is to jhayes, not jaykay. Blush…too many windows open.

  11. acardnal says:


    The Parts of the Church-
    “The Church militant is the society of all the faithful still dwelling on earth. It is called militant, because it wages eternal war with those implacable enemies, the world, the flesh and the devil..”

  12. acardnal says:

    I meant to type above the “Catechism of the Council of Trent”.

    c.f. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/romancat.html

  13. acardnal says:

    For readers wishing to grow in their spiritual life, Fr. Z has recommended (as do I) “Church Militant Field Manual: Special Forces Training for the Life in Christ” by Fr. Rick Heilman. Get your helmets on folks!

  14. acardnal: Thanks for mentioning Fr. Heilman!

    Here is the book you mention.

    Church Militant Field Manual: Special Forces Training for the Life in Christ

  15. jhayes says:

    I looked up the Catechism reference to Lumen Gentium 49

    “49. Until the Lord shall come in His majesty, and all the angels with Him (266) and death being destroyed, all things are subject to Him,(277) some of His disciples are exiles on earth, some having died are purified, and others are in glory beholding “clearly God Himself triune and one, as He is”;(1*) but all in various ways and degrees are in communion in the same charity of God and neighbor and all sing the same hymn of glory to our God.”