Wednesday in the 5th Week of Lent

I am posting this at about "oh dark hundred" and, as it is posted, will be just about ready to catch a couple hours sleep before walking out the door to meet my ride for the airport. I am heading to the USA for a couple weeks.  Hopefully I will be able to continue the series properly there, though it will be a busy time.  This must be brief.

Sanctificata per paenitentiam
tuorum corda filiorum, Deus miserator, illustra,
et, quibus praestas devotionis affectum,
praebe supplicantibus pium benignus auditum.

The Redactors drew this from a prayer in the Gelasian on the Saturday (Feria VII, yes, 7th) of the Fifth Week of Lent: Sanctificata hoc ieuinium tuorum corda fidelium, deus miserator, inlustra et quibus deuotionis praestas affectum, praebe supplicantibus pium benignus auditum: per.  We have seen constant substitution of the word ieiunium with other terms.  In the pre-Conciliar Missale Romanum this was a prayer for Wednesday in Passiontide.  In the Veronese this was in the month of September, for the fast of the seventh month: Sanctificata ieiunio tuorum corda filiorum, deus, habitator inlustra; et quibus prestas deuotionis affectum, praebe supplicantibus pium benignus auditum.

Have at!  IJet Lag will update this as time allows.  Let’s see what you can do today, while I am winging my way over the Atlantic.

UPDATE: 6 April

O God, merciful one, enlighten the hearts
of Your children sanctified by penance,
and graciously grant a compassionate hearing to supplicants
to whom you are giving the sentiment of fervent devotion.

In Blaise/Dumas we get for this context "sentiment".  The editor of Blaise, Dumas, in his notes on p. remarks, "ut… piae devotionis erudiamur affectu (or. m. «Dilexisti», Leon. 1186), afin qu’elle (cette vierge) nous enseigne les sentiments dúne ardente piété.  Here affectus is paired with devotio, itself a very hard word.  In many contexts, devotio does not simply transfer into devotion, but in this case it probably can.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Henry Edwards says:

    In my 1962 hand missal — with that hoc jejunio instead of per paenitentiam — the English translation is

    Hallow this fast, O God of mercy,
    and enlighten the hearts of Thy faithful people:
    and when by Thy grace their devout affection
    leadeth them to call upon Thee,
    graciously afford them a favorable hearing.

    ICEL version:
    Father of mercy,
    hear the prayers of your repentant children
    who call upon you in love.
    Enlighten our minds and sanctify our hearts.

  2. martin says:

    God of mercy, shine Your light on the hearts of Your children which have been made virtuous by penitence;
    and to us, to whom You impart the fervour of loving You, be gracious and lend a fatherly hearing as we supplicate You.

    In the fraught matter of “love”, the 1962 hand missal has somewhat under-translated the Latin, dont you agree, Henry? “devotionis affectus” is a whole lot more urgent than “devout affection”. “affectus” is any mental or emotional state, either temporary or permanent. When applied to the tender emotions it can apply to the whole range from an insipid consideration or sympathy, through attachment and affection to love. But here we have “devotionis affectum”, so the emotion is conveyed by “devotio” which is the term usually applied here to our love for God, and “affectus” must, then mean the quality of that emotion (“affectus” has the meaning of “zeal/ enthusiasm” etc.).

    The reference to “grace” is an over-translation. God imparts in us the desire to love Him: thats what the Latin says. Of course, this is the the operation of grace. (In another context, Fr.Z. was hot under the collar at the ICEL when they spelled something out for us, and he protested: “do they think we are stupid!”. I dont think that is what is at issue: there are over-translations just as there are under-translations).

    On the other hand, the ICEL have ignored here the Divine implanting in us of the impulse to love Him. That is not an under-translation: it is a decision to ignore part of the Latin.

  3. Henry Edwards says:

    Martin: I agree that “devout affection” may be too weak, but find it a bit awkward to refer to the fervor imparted through the operation of “grace” without using the word itself. And this may be a case where an order-preserving literal translation doesn’t convey the meaning we sense from the Latin. So:

    O God of mercy, enlighten the hearts
    of Your faithful children sanctified by penance,
    and graciously hear them when by Your grace
    their fervent devotion leads them to You in supplication.

  4. Jeff says:

    Gee, Henry Edwards. Can we get you to translate the Missal for us? Just give the Bishops a call and tell them you’re the man for the job. I’m sure they’ll see sense!

    Your translations have an elegance and grace, yet also an unfussy contemporaneity, that are rare in modern liturgical translations.

  5. Henry Edwards says:

    Goodness, Jeff, I fear that by accusing me of contemporaneity, you’ve ensured that Father Z will come down hard on me when he gets back down to earth in the USA.

  6. Jeff says:

    All I meant, Henry Edwards, was that you avoid truly archaic constructions and vocabulary without straining to be “with it.” I don’t think the Zool can object to that.

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