7th Sunday of Easter: Super Oblata (1)

What Does the Prayer Really Say?  Seventh Sunday of Easter/Ascension of the Lord

ORIGINALLY PRINTED IN The Wanderer in 2002

In many places where WDTPRS is read, Ascension Thursday is transferred and celebrated on the following Sunday, the Seventh of Easter.  Last year I did both, so I will do the same this year.

SUPER OBLATA: Seventh Sunday of Easter

LATIN (2002 Missale Romanum or 2002MR):
Suscipe, Domine, fidelium preces
cum oblatione hostiarum
ut, per haec piae devotionis officia,
ad caelestem gloriam transeamus.

Accept, O Lord, the prayers of the faithful
with the offering of sacrificial victims
so that through these dutiful services,
we may pass over to heavenly glory.

This prayer was originally the secret for Tuesday in the Octave of Easter in the 1962MR 

In this case I am rendering hostia as “sacrificial victims” since our Lewis & Short Dictionary¸ never far from reach, informs us that it means “an animal sacrificed, a victim, sacrifice (cf.: victima).”  Officium means “a service” whether of free will or of necessity.  It is also, “ceremonial observance, ceremony, attendance.”   When priests and religious say their prayers of the Liturgy of the Hours (Breviary) each day they are said to be saying their “office”: it is a duty they must perform in service of the universal Church.  Also, the present Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) used to be called the Holy Office because of its duty and service in guarding the content of faith and its presentation.  If you want to find the building in Rome where the CDF is located just ask for the Piazza del Sant’Uffizio. 

Accept, O Lord, the prayers of the faithful
with the offering of sacrificial victims
so that through these dutiful services,
we may pass over to heavenly glory.

accept the prayers and gifts
we offer in faith and love.
May this eucharist
bring us to your glory.

Yes, that is really what the ICEL Sacramentary says.  I had to double check to make sure I was on the right day.

SUPER OBLATA Ascensionis Domini – ad Missam in die:

There are some innovations in the 2002MR for this feast.  Just as in the 1970MR we find a full page plate of artwork (I use the term loosely).  Then we find in the 2002MR a new Mass for the Vigil of Ascension, which was not in the 1970MR. This is a return to a former usage, as in the 1962MR.  The vigil seems to have prayers of new composition.  Then we find a “Mass in the day” and, to our astonishment, a second alternative collect!   The first collect was alone in the 1970MR and was based on Sermon 73, 4 of St. Leo the Great.  The second collect is an old friend from the 1962MR the ancient collect for Ascension!   The preface in Gregorian chant notation has been integrated into the texts of the Mass itself.  Also, there are now proper Masses for the days after Ascension, most having alternative collects depending on whether or not in that region Ascension is transferred to Sunday.   For the interested, I will put the new prayers for the vigil on the internet at: http://wdtprs.net

LATIN (2002 Missale Romanum):
Sacrificium, Domine, pro Filii tui supplices
venerabili nunc ascensione deferimus:
praesta, quaesumus, ut his commerciis sacrosanctis
ad caelestia consurgamus.

Having had some forerunner in the Gelasian Sacramentary, this prayer seems nevertheless to be of new composition for the 1970MR.  After our experience with the previous super oblata let’s get out of the way the version by…

receive our offering
as we celebrate the ascension of Christ your Son.
May his gifts help us rise with him
to the joys of heaven.

O Lord, we supplicants are bringing the sacrifice
now for the venerable Ascension of your Son:
grant, we beg, that we may rise up unto the heavenly places
by means of these most sacred exchanges.

The fun verb defero is “to bear or bring away a thing from a place; to bear, carry, bring down” and thus also, “to bring, give to one”.  It is used in mercantile contexts (as in “conveying to market”) and it has many legal applications (“to bring” someone before a judge; “deliver” a report about finances).  For comments on the amazing noun commercium please see my recent WDTPRS for the super oblata of the 5th Sunday of Easter.

I am compelled by recent news to forsake much commentary on the prayers for the sake of looking at two important items.  We read that the Holy Father has directed the creation of a panel to assist the Congregation for Divine Worship (CDW) in ensuring that the texts of the Latin liturgy are translated into English accurately.  I have long thought that our wonderful CDW document of last year Liturgiam authenticam (LA) was aimed in large part at the problematic English language translations.  The panel is called “Vox clara.” The Pope said that Vox clara (VC) must help the development of a new translation of third edition of the Missale Romanum “as quickly as possible.”  In an issued statement VC spoke to the “absolute need for translations… which are precise, theologically faithful, and effectively proclaimable.”  I see ICEL on the ropes.  If this wasn’t enough, the CDW slapped down ICEL’s new proposed translation of the Missale Romanum and which they are still calling the Sacramentary.  The CDW’s biting criticism was very comprehensive.  Many prickly observations and corrections were made in the seven page letter of 16 March signed by the prefect Jorge Card. Medina Estévez.  He wrote that the letter’s observations were “not intended to be exhaustive, even in a generic sense.” Also, the Cardinal stated that ICEL’s proposal shows, “evidently insurmountable divergence as regards fundamental principles of liturgical translation.”   What was wrong with it?  Apparently the new translation used inclusive language which distorted the theological content and served to narrow the meaning of the texts to the immediate ceremony and congregation.  The CDW rebuked the composition of new prayers, the insertion of prayers that do not appear in any form in the Latin editions, saying that variety is not “cultural value capable of serving as a vehicle for authentic inculturation.”  The “mass produced” new prayers are “inferior” to the ancient prayers.  Apparently the new translation actually invited lay ministers to join the bishop at the altar during the Chrism Mass of Holy Thursday, thus blurring the distinction between the ministerial priesthood and the laity.  The Congregation insists again that the Creed or in Latin Credo should begin with “I believe” rather than the present inaccurate “We believe” and, moreover, that people should be saying “and with your spirit” for et cum spiritu tuo instead of the ludicrous “and also with you” which obscures the real theological significance of the response.   ICEL worked on the translation for 11 years and submitted it to the Holy See in 1998.  In the meantime the new edition of the Missale Romanum has been issued.  Rather than simply set the ICEL proposal aside quietly (for it translates the wrong book) the CDW instead determined essentially to rip it to bits.  Consider the timing of all this.  In the USA terrible scandals are demonstrating that something is gravely amiss with the way the faith is being presented and assimilated.  The proper kind of inculturation that the liturgy is supposed to form is obviously not taking place.  (I maintain that the main theological point driven home by LA is a proper understanding of inculturation.)  Then the CDW eviscerates ICEL’s lame-duck while a new panel called Vox clara is formed to govern English translations.  The panel, by the way, is named from the first two words of the hymn for Lauds during Advent.  I find the first two verses to be intriguing, given the present circumstances.

Vox clara ecce intonat,
obscura quaeque increpat:
procul fugentur somnia;
ab aethre Christus promicat.

Mens iam resurgat torpida
quae sorde exstat saucia,
sidus refulget iam novum,
ut tollat omne noxium.

Behold a clear/intelligible/glorious (clara) voice is thundering forth,
and it loudly rebukes whatever is obscure/unintelligible/ignoble:
dreams/silly things (somnia) are being put to flight afar;
Christ is gleaming/springing forth from heaven.
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Now the benumbed mind rises again
which stands over wounded baseness,
now heaven shines forth something new,
that it may do away with every injurious thing.

The new panel for oversight of English translations is “Vox clara.”  Decide for yourselves what that means.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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