Da, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus,
ut, sacro nos purificante paenitentiae studio,
sinceris mentibus ad sancta ventura
In the so-called "Tridentine" Missale Romanum until the Novus Ordo issued forth, this prayer on Friday of the 2nd Week of Lent said sacro nos purificante ieiunio. In the ancient Gelasian Sacramentary on Tuesday of the 3rd Week it goes like this: Da, quaesumus, domine, rex aeternae cunctorum, ut sacrae nos purificatos ieiunio senceris quoque mentibus ad tua sancta ventura facias pervenire. Yes, that is senceris. I keep the prayer as it appears other than changing the more scholarly "u" to "v".
The imperative da, from do, can be rendered in many ways. We get the impact of on dimension of do from the entry in the vast Lewis & Short Dictionary, "to give; and hence, with the greatest variety of application, passing over into the senses of its compounds, derivatives, and synonyms (edere, tradere, dedere; reddere, donare, largiri, concedere, exhibere, porrigere, praestare, impertire, suppeditare, ministrare, subministrare, praebere, tribuere, offerre, etc.), as, to give away, grant, concede, allow, permit; give up, yield, resign; bestow, present, confer, furnish, afford; offer,…" Get the idea?
Studium, which gives us English "study", means "a busying one’s self about or application to a thing; assiduity, zeal, eagerness, fondness, inclination, desire, exertion, endeavor, study".
Purifico isn’t terribly mysterious, though it does have a clear religious overtone as "to purify with religious rites, to expiate, atone for"
I enjoy the subtle word connections, at the level of roots.
purifico (purus+facio) and facio
ventura (future participle of venio) and per+venio
Almighty God, we beg, see to it
that while the sacred zeal for penance is purifying us,
you will cause us to come with pure minds
all the way through to the holy things which are coming.
Don’t be alarmed by the demanding sound of the imperative. Latin imperatives can have a softer imprecatory impact. I wrote about this in a column once, but I can’t find it right now. Sorry.
We recently had the image of the enflaming within us of the Holy Spirit together with baptismal imagery and language of penance. Now we have purification with an explicit reference to penance. I think the image of a crucible is not without usefulness. We might be tempted to connect the word "crucible" with the Latin word for Cross. Etymologically, "crucible" more than likely comes from Middle English corusible which could be from a Middle High Germanic word for an earthen pot, kruse, or from old French roots, like croisuel, giving us also words like "cresset". As a matter of fact I have cookware back in the USA called Creseut. I wonder if that is related, hmmm. Anyway the Latin crucibulum is very late, medieval, and actually derives from the other languages mentioned. It is not in either Lewis & Short or Souter’s supplement to the L&S which takes us up to AD 600. Some think crucibulum, meaning "night lamp", derives from crux, or "cross". So, its any one’s guess.
Because of this, by my authority as writer of the WDTPRS series and creator of this blog, I am declaring it perfectly legitimate to to make the conceptual connection between our Lenten penance, the burning within us of the Holy Spirit when we are in the state of grace, and the purifying crubile of Christ’s love for us on the Cross. To partake of that purifying love, we must partake of the Cross as well, voluntarily embracing even those things which we come upon us against our wishes.
Do you recall the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus? Cor Iesu, fornax ardens caritatis… Heart of Jesus, burning furnace of charity, pray for us …. Jesus, meek and humble of Heart, Make our hearts like unto Thine.