Tuesday of the 5th Week of Easter

Sacrament of ConfirmationCOLLECT:
Deus, qui ad aeternam vitam
in Christi resurrectione nos reparas,
da populo tuo fidei speique constantiam,
ut non dubitemus implenda,
quae te novimus auctore promissa.

This prayer had an antecedent in ancient sacramentaries, such as the Sacramentarium Hadrianum, among prayers for Eastertide: Deus qui ad aeternam vitam in Christi resurrectione nos reparas, erige nos ad considentem in dextera tua nostrae salutis auctorem, ut qui propter nos iudicandus advenit, pro nobis iudicaturus adveniat.

An interesting word here is constantia.  This is a virtue.  In the potent Lewis & Short Dictionary the word constantia is found to mean “a firm standing, steadiness, firmness, immutability, unchangeableness, constancy, perseverance”.  Think of how this derives from con + sto (to stand).  By extension, constantia has a moral overtone as “firmness of character, steadfastness, immovability, constancy, self – possession”.  I used this in my Prayer for translators posted elsewhere in this WDTPRS blog. 

Dubito is a very cool word.  We run into it during the Triduum and at the end of the Litany of the Holy Cross: Respice, quaesumus, Domine, super hanc familiam tuam, pro qua Dominus noster Iesus Christus non dubitavit manibus tradi nocentium et crucis subire tormentum.  Back to dubito.  I want to give you too much information on this one.  Skip it if you are already bored.  L&S says (this is so cool): “for duhibitare, freq. from duhibeo, i. e. duohabeo (cf. habitare from habeo), to have or hold, as two, v. dubius; cf. also Gr. doiazo from doioo; Germ. zweifeln from zwei], to vibrate from one side to the other, to and fro, in one’s opinions or in coming to a conclusion (freq. in all periods and sorts of composition; in class. prose usually with negations or in a negative interrogation, as: non dubito, haud dubito, quis dubitat? etc.”  Neat, huh?  Well… it is to people like me.  Going on… “to waver in opinion or judgment, to be uncertain, to be in doubt, to doubt, question” and by extension “to waver in coming to a conclusion, to be irresolute; to hesitate, delay”.

LITERAL VERSION (revised after review and comments):
O God, who in the resurrection of Christ
procured us for eternal life,
give to Your people perseverance of faith and hope,
in order that we not doubt there must be be fulfilled,
the things which, you being their author, we know were promised.

O God, who in the resurrection of Christ
procured us for eternal life,
give to Your people perseverance of faith and hope,
in order that we not doubt that the things which You
promissed are going to be fulfilled, as You were their author.

I think we have to take that nd form in implenda today as a future passive.  Surely there may be a dimension of necessity found in it (as is often the case in these nd forms.  However, Latin lacks a future passive participle and the nd fills that niche.  So, in the first reading I had it wrong, I think.  My commments below, will modify accordingly.

Many interesting things are happening here.  The overarching idea comes from constantia and dubito.  We are asking the one who dragged us back from eternal death and the agony of separation from God, to give us firmness of purpose.  But that’s not all.  It is one thing to have firmness of purpose in regard to what needs to be done.  It is another thing to do those things.  So, we also need a promptness of spirit.  Perseverance in intention and firmness to action are both need. 

Also, we ask for perseverance in faith and in hope.  Great.  How about love?  Where is charity?  I think the dimension of charity is to be found within the implenda, the promissa.  The things we fulfill and carry to completion are manifestations of our charity.  Consider that all good initiatives come from God.  Consider as well that we are called upon to carry out what God initiates.  We comform our will to His plan and then He makes us strong enough to bring it about.  Clearly our manifestation of charity comes in the actual carrying out of His will.  To paraphrase something you have already taken to heart: Christ has no hands on earth but yours.

Finally, as if there can be a finally with these prayers, Christ pulled us back from the brink, recovered us by offering Himself as payment (reparo) in a gloriously terrible Sacrifice.  We were promised our own Crosses.  We were told that we too would be called upon to suffer and make sacrifices.  In the role we have been given to fulfill (implenda) in this vale of tears, we will imitate our Lord.

Christ did not waver in His moment of truth.  How often do we waver in the face of things which are far less challenging, even pleasurable if, to tell the truth, we just get to work and do them? 

Remember that by the Sacrament of Confirmation, which deepens our baptismal character, we can draw great strength in moments of need.  The Enemy and our own wounded nature will make some choices and actions difficult.  Our hope and even our faith will be challenged.  We can call upon, so to speak, that Sacrament of Confirmation, our “confirmed character” for those actual graces we need when we are facing something difficult.  “O God, who by the sacrament of confirmation deepened and strengthened my bond with You and Your indwelling in me, in this moment of need give me the courage and force to do what I must do for Your glory and the sake of my soul’s salvation.”  

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. 1973 ICEL version:
    Father, you restored your people to eternal life
    by raising Christ your Son from death.
    Make our faith strong and our hope sure.
    May we never doubt that you will fulfill
    the promises you have made.

    Am I wrong in sensing a subtle change of emphasis here–from our own firmness of purpose (in the original Latin) to God’s (in this English version)?

  2. Henry, not sure about that. I think in my haste I probably got it wrong today. I wrote:

    O God, who in the resurrection of Christ
    procured us for eternal life,
    give to Your people perseverance of faith and hope,
    in order that we not waver in things to be fulfilled,
    which we know were promised, you being their author.

    Now that I look at this after some coffee and some time actually spent awake, I went back and revised and extended, so to speak.

  3. Karen Russell says:

    1970 Interim version for UK and Canada:

    O God, who have restored us to eternal life in the resurrection of Christ,
    grant us such constancy in faith and hope
    that we may never doubt that the promises you have made will be fulfilled.

    Pretty close to what Fr. Z posted.

    Why, with so many good translations available, did ICEL feel a need to reinvent the wheel?

  4. Don Marco says:

    O God, who restore us to eternal life in the resurrection of Christ,
    give your people constancy in faith and hope,
    that we may not doubt the fulfillment
    of the promises of which we know you to be the author.

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