WDTPRS – Vigil of Pentecost (1962MR): from gerbils to lions

Can you believe that tomorrow is already the Vigil of Pentecost?

Praesta, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus: ut claritatis tuae super nos splendor effulgeat; et lux tuae lucis corda eorum, qui per gratiam tuam renati sunt, Sancti Spiritus illustratione confirmet.

Splendor and claritas are related to the concept of glory and of light. Illustratio is a technical term from ancient rhetoric.  It is a “vivid representation” which, as it were, sheds light on the matter being discussed.  It is an accurate rendering that echoes the reality of the original meant to make an impression, meant to make you see with your mind’s eye what is being described.  How, this word has as its root yet another word for “light”.

Splendor… claritas… lux 2x… illustratio…

Confirmo is “to strengthen, establish”, or “to confirm” in the sense of give assurance, “to assert as true”.  Again, there is a rhetorical or forensic overtone.

Grant, we beseech You, Almighty God, that the brightness of Your glory may shine upon us, and that the light of Your light may, through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, strengthen the minds of those who are reborn through Your grace.

Great, we implore, Almighty God, that the splendor of your glory shine forth upon us; and by the vivid light-shedding of the Holy Spirit may the light of Your light confirm the hearts of those who were reborn by Your grace.

A couple points to consider.

When Moses emerged from the cloud of the presence of God his face was so bright that it had to be covered with a veil.  It was too bright to look at directly.  God’s presence imparted to Moses something of its glory and Moses was transformed.

How much more will be be transformed when glorious risen in heaven and in the presence of God?

The rhetorical overtones of the vocabulary are probably not a coincidence.  Rhetoric is used to move and to persuade and to edify.  We use the words, the representations of a message we desire to impart to our listeners so that their minds and wills are conformed to the message.

Rhetoric is carried out mainly in the public square, the forum.  It is “forensic“.

The Apostles, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, are changed from men hiding in their upper room to powerful preachers in the public square.

Like gerbils one day.  Like lions the next.

They were “confirmed”.  Their words and lives became an illustratio which pointed to the splendor of the truth.

Have you been confirmed?

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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4 Responses to WDTPRS – Vigil of Pentecost (1962MR): from gerbils to lions

  1. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    Yes, Lent always seems longer than Eastertide.

  2. StWinefride says:

    Please, dear fellow readers, keep in your prayers the thousands of young and not-so-young Catholics who left Paris this morning on the annual Chartres Pilgrimage. After a beautiful Traditional Latin Mass in Notre Dame Cathedral, the pilgrims began their walk through the streets of Paris destination Chartres – just over 60 miles in 3 days and this year the weather is hot! There are Catholics from all over Europe, Iraq, Egypt, America, Canada etc. I will only walk the last day this year with some of my family but it truly was a privilege to be at Notre Dame this morning for the Mass and to see the dedication of all those involved in this very special Pilgrimage.

    Our Lady of Christendom, pray for us!!


  3. Vecchio di Londra says:

    One of the most beautiful aspects of the Church’s annually recurring liturgical seasons, is that one has a chance each year as the great feasts recur to deepen one’s understanding of the Sacraments, the articles of faith, and and the Gospels and teaching of the Church underpinning them. My memory of my own Confirmation is quite hazy by now, but every year I can go a little deeper into its meaning and into the source of Pentecost with the help of the liturgy.
    That Collect is superbly worded: primal, powerful and allusive. Thank you for your commentary, Father.

  4. Priam1184 says:

    Beautiful Collect. Thank you for the analysis and commentary Father. Strangely enough for me Eastertide seemed to drag on (if I can use that phrase) much slower than Lent did this year. Probably because it is so late on the calendar and that it has to get blisteringly hot now in my little part of the world.