Friday in the 2nd Week of Lent

COLLECTCrux Nostrae Salutis
Da, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus,
ut, sacro nos purificante paenitentiae studio,
sinceris mentibus ad sancta ventura
facias pervenire.

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

Burning Furnace of CharityLITERAL TRANSLATION
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.

CrucibleDon’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.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Henry Edwards says:

    ICEL version:
    Merciful Father,
    may our acts of penance bring us your forgiveness,
    open our hearts to your love,
    and prepare us for the coming feast of the resurrection.

    Of course, ICEL can always come up with some “love”, even if none appears in the Latin original. Perhaps in this case they spotted a “subtle word connection” that eludes the rest of us. But note that they slipped up this once, and maintained a single-sentence structure for the collect.

  2. Henry Edwards says:

    And in my 1962 Latin-English missal the English version of the collect reads

    Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God,
    that cleansed by this holy fast, (jejunio)
    we may arrive in the right dispositions
    at the holy feast which is to come.

  3. martin says:

    in the GS it must be “sacro ieiunio”
    and are we sure “senceris” isnt a typo (even tho fr. z assures us it isnt)?

    as for the impetratory formula, “da . . ut . . [nos] facias
    pervenire” is a very circumambulatory way of saying “bring us”.

    we have seen already a standard formula structured on “grant that WE may be . . ”
    (concede nobis . . ut . . proficiamus”, “praesta ut . . mens nostra . . fulgeat”, and “tribue fidelibus tuis ut . . aptentur”)

    but now the formula is becoming more involved syntactically – “please arrange that You make us arrive at . .”

    all prayer tends to circumlocution, hence the need to keep in mind always the sufficiency of the petition “panem nostrum . . da nobis hodie”.

    in general the latin prayers in this series are revealed as being profound, harmonious, elegant, simple and to the point while retaining many layers of meaning. syntactical convolutions are neither necessary nor useful and todays prayer has strayed over the line in that respect.

  4. martin says:

    searching for the van dyck crucifixion which fr. included in
    todays blog, i found a link to the passion of Christ which art-lovers might wish to explore
    cts is the Christian theological seminary in indianapolis (not the Catholic Truth Society, unfortunately – but its a reliable website all the same)

  5. martin says:

    rex aeterne . . im just sweeping up, fr. z

  6. Martin: The Gelasian really did have aeternae, no kidding. Nor is there any additional information in the apparatus criticus about this.

    Sometimes I get it right, Martin!


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