WDTPRS – 22nd Ordinary Sunday: O mighty God of hosts, graft into our hearts the love of Your Name!

In the Sanctus of Holy Mass and, in the great Te Deum, we echo the myriads of angels bowed low in the liturgy of heaven before God’s throne: “Holy, Holy, Holy LORD GOD SABAOTH …. God of “heavenly hosts”.

With small differences our Collect for the upcoming 22nd Ordinary Sunday is based on a prayer in the 8th century Gelasian Sacramentary and, subsequently, one in the 1962 Roman Missal for the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost.

Deus virtutum, cuius est totum quod est optimum, insere pectoribus nostris tui nominis amorem, et praesta, ut in nobis, religionis augmento, quae sunt bona nutrias, ac, vigilanti studio, quae nutrita custodias.

Insero means “to sow, plant in, engraft, implant.”  I like “graft”.  Optimum is “best”, but seeing that we are applying “best” to God, we can get away with “perfect”.

Our Collect summons images of, on the one hand, armies and, on the other, an orchard and vine tending.  On the one hand, the God of hosts guards the good things we have.  On the other, this same mighty God is grafting love into us and then nourishing it so it can grow.

OBSOLETE ICEL (1973):

Almighty God, every good thing comes from you. Fill our hearts with love for you, increase our faith, and by your constant care protect the good you have given us.

The norms underlying the current ICEL English translation stated that “deficiency in translating the varying forms of addressing God, such as Domine, Deus, Omnipotens aeterne Deus, Pater, and so forth, as well as the various words expressing supplication, may render the translation monotonous and obscure the rich and beautiful way in which the relationship between the faithful and God is expressed in the Latin text” (Liturgiam authenticam 51).

Today the priest invokes God as Deus virtutum, an expression in St Jerome’s Latin Vulgate Psalter (Ps 58:6; 79:5 ff; 83:9; 88;9) often translated as “God of hosts.”  Don’t confuse “host”, which is “army, multitude”, with the wheat wafer used at Mass.  Virtutum is genitive plural of virtus, “manliness, strength, courage, aptness, capacity, power” etc.  St Jerome chose virtutum to render the Hebrew tsaba’, “that which goes forth, an army, war, a host.”  Tsaba’ describes variously hosts of soldiers, of celestial bodies, and of angels.

LITERAL RENDERING:

O mighty God of hosts, of whom is the entirety of what is perfect, graft into our hearts the love of Your Name, and grant, that by means of an increase of the virtue of religion, You may nourish in us the things which are good, and, by means of vigilant zeal, guard the things which have been nourished.

CURRENT ICEL (2011):

God of might, giver of every good gift, put into our hearts the love of your name, so that, by deepening our sense of reverence, you may nurture in us what is good and, by your watchful care, keep safe what you have nurtured.

Today we pray to God for an increase in “religion.”  I’ll take this to be the virtue of religion. Last week I wrote about the difference between “values” and “virtues”.  Let’s make more distinctions.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines “religion” as a set of beliefs and practices followed by those committed to the service and worship of God.

The First Commandment requires us to believe in God, to worship and serve him, as the first duty of the virtue of religion (cf also CCC 2084, 2135).   St. Thomas Aquinas (d 1274) says that religion is the virtue by which men exhibit due worship and reverence to God as the creator and supreme ruler of all things (STh II-II, 81, 1).

We must acknowledge dependence on God by rendering Him a due and fitting worship both interiorly (eg, by acts of devotion, reverence, thanksgiving, etc.) and exteriorly (eg, external reverence, liturgical acts, etc.).

The virtue of religion can be sinned against by idolatry, superstitions, sacrilege, and blasphemy.

We creatures must recognize who God is and act accordingly both inwardly and outwardly.  When this at last becomes habitual for us, then we have the virtue of religion.  A virtue is a habit.  One good act does not make us virtuous.  If being prudent or temperate or just, etc., is hard for us, then we don’t yet have the virtues.

Our petition for religion follows immediately from our desire that God “graft” (insere) love of His Holy Name into our hearts.  We move from the title of God the angels and saints never tire of repeating in their everlasting liturgy in heaven: HOLY.  Then we beg for all good things to be nourished in us by God as He increases in us the virtue of religion.  This leads to the proper interior and exterior actions that necessarily flow from recognizing who God truly is and who we are.

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6 Responses to WDTPRS – 22nd Ordinary Sunday: O mighty God of hosts, graft into our hearts the love of Your Name!

  1. JabbaPapa says:

    Deus virtutum,
    cuius est totum quod est optimum,
    insere pectoribus nostris tui nominis amorem,
    et praesta,
    ut in nobis,
    religionis augmento,
    quae sunt bona nutrias,
    ac, vigilanti studio,
    quae nutrita custodias.

    I am becoming increasingly dismayed by the extent to which, instead of this excellent good food, for body as much as soul and mind, so many of us are being offered instead the counterfeit currency of the Americanist Heresy in its worst manifestation of so-called “Liberation Theology”.

    Father, pray for us poor sinners.

  2. Semper Gumby says:

    Thank you Fr. Z.

    “Today we pray to God for an increase in “religion.” I’ll take this to be the virtue of religion. Last week I wrote about the difference between “values” and “virtues”. Let’s make more distinctions.”

    “We must acknowledge dependence on God by rendering Him a due and fitting worship both interiorly (eg, by acts of devotion, reverence, thanksgiving, etc.) and exteriorly (eg, external reverence, liturgical acts, etc.).”

  3. Semper Gumby says:

    JabbaPapa wrote: “…the Americanist Heresy in its worst manifestation of so-called “Liberation Theology”.”

    Note that Liberation Theology, briefly, combines Marxism and Christian theology. That differs markedly from the concern of Testem benevolentiae nostrae. Cheers.

  4. JabbaPapa says:

    Semper Gumby :

    Note that Liberation Theology, briefly, combines Marxism and Christian theology. That differs markedly from the concern of Testem benevolentiae nostrae.

    Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae is difficult to analyse, though then of course so is the so-called “liberation theology” — though at heart, Americanism is the heretical teaching that Christian Doctrine should be determined through the same forms of political debate as in the American manner, including in divergence between one State or Nation and the next according to local political differences, and that’s also central to what the “liberation theology” proposes, regardless of its generally crypto-Marxist ideology.

    Americanism is similar in many ways to the earlier Gallican and Anglican Heresies — except that it erects its principles not just as being specific to America alone, but as something to be established throughout the whole Church, so that it is a far deeper Heresy ; and indeed the desire of certain German Bishops to be able to declare their own local doctrines valid only in Germany is an example of Americanism.

    Not seeking an argument BTW — and if you think I’m wrong about this, I’d certainly be interested in hearing your reasoning why.

  5. Semper Gumby says:

    JabbaPapa: I agree “Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae is difficult to analyse.” Though, the Marxist, revolutionary nature of Liberation Theology is a separate matter from the concern raised in TBN.

  6. RLseven says:

    That first image of Jesus/angels is beautiful. Can you please give me any info you have on that? Thank you.