Wednesday after Ascension in the 7th Week of Easter

Ecclesiae tuae, misericors Deus, concede propitius,
ut, Sancto Spiritu congregata, toto sit corde tibi devota,
et pura voluntate concordat.

Our masterly Lewis & Short Dictionary helps us dig into concordo, at the heart of which is “heart…cor”.  We find in the first place that it means, “to agree together, to be united, be of one mind, to harmonize”.  Then also it has the transitive meaning of “to bring into union”.  Blaise/Chirat has pretty much the same.  I rather like that transitive meaning here, though I am interested to know what you all might come up with.

O merciful God, propitiously grant to Your Church
that, having been gathered by the Holy Spirit, in whole heart devoted to You,
may with a pure will be brought into harmony.

Herein we continue our ecclesial and collective preparation for the liturgical re-descent of the Holy Spirit next Sunday.

Notice the progression of thought:

1) God the Father shows merciful
2) God the Holy Spirit gathers
3) heart
4) will

There is a dynamic tension and interplay always going on between the intellective and the affective dimensions of our faith and life.  The God of mercy creates us according to his image.  Thus we can know, will and love.  Since we are not angels there is a process and interplay between the intellect and the will in every human act of knowing of decision and of action.  In the longer span of our lives we also have an overarching tension and interplay between what we know with our head, feel with out heart and choose with our will.  Faith, considered from our perspective, itself comes from both the motion of the heart and the reflection of the intellect.  Faith considered from another perspective, however, is a theological virtue, a grace which God gives us.   Faith must also be considered in itself.  There is a faith in which we believe (that content of the faith we learn and can assent to) and a faith by which we believe (which is the aforementioned grace with which we cooperate).  Deeper yet, the content of the faith is a person, indeed a Divine Person with whom we can and must have a relationship of love, to whom we express ourselves and to whom we come with active receptivity.  You cannot have a relationship of love with an abstraction or a formula our learn by heart.

Each of us have the challenge to get things into harmony, our heart with our intellect, our person with our neighbors, ourselves with our God.  The Holy Spirit, as St. Augustine and others described, is the perfect love between the Father and the Son, and as perfect love, as perfect self-gift of the One to the Other, has all that the Persons have in perfection, including divinity and personhood.   The relation of the Persons of the Trinity, in whose image we are made, mysterious as it is, must be a constant point of our reflection as we strive to bring into harmony all the different dimensions of our lives.  For Augustine, the search and contemplation of the Trinity conforms us to the image of God by thinking of him and loving him.   For Augustine, there are stages of this search and conversion

1) credere Deo … to believe by means of God
2) credere Deum … to believe God
3) credere in Deum … to believe in God
4) credendo in Deum ire … to go on by believing in God

Augustine was deeply, passionately, fiercely interested in love.  Often and appropriately he is depicted with a burning heart.  For Augustine, belief and love were intertwined.  He described love as a gravitational force pulling us to where we by nature belong.  Some people think the old man was a terrible pessimist about the human condition, especially as he got older, was worn down by constant theological battles and pastoral burdens and deteriorating health.  If he saw the negative side of the human condition, he knew with absolute conviction that love was its solution.  This conviction grew as the years passed.  The great Augustinian scholar A.-M. La Bonnardiere found that between 387-429, Augustine (+430) quoted Romans 5:5 at least 201 times.  Augustine rarely used Romans 5:5 before 411 (the year Rome was sacked by Alaric).  Romans 5:5 is found more frequently between 411-421 when he was fighting with Pelagians about grace.  Many references continue from 421 until his death while he was engaged in his bitter fight with the bête noir of his old age Julian of Eclanum.

What is Romans 5:5?

…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, (v. 5) and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Does Wednesday after Ascension in the 7th Week of Easter take precedence over the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (as celebrated on May 31 in the U.S.)?

  2. Don Marco says:

    Allow me to reiterate my request. Would any of our readers have the proper texts of the Mass of Our Lady of Retreat in the Cenacle? I am referring not to the Mass of Our Lady of Cenacle currently given in the Collectio Missarum de BMV, but to the one formerly in use among the Religious of the Cenacle founded by St. Thérèse Couderc. The texts were splendid but I no longer have the Missal that contained them. Surely someone out there has these texts.

    Mr. Edwards, in reply to your question: the feast of the Visitation of the BVM does indeed take precedence over the 7th Wednesday of Paschaltide. In fact, in the proper calendar of the O.Cist., the Visitation is celebrated as a solemnity! Oh, joy!

  3. Don Marco says:

    For Mr. Edwards and all our friends:



    Almighty and ever-living God,
    who inspired the Blessed Virgin Mary,
    carrying your Son within her, to visit Elizabeth,
    grant, we beseech you,
    that obedient to the quickening of your Spirit,
    we may, together with the Blessed Virgin Mary,
    magnify you unceasingly.


    May this saving sacrifice, O Lord,
    be pleasing to your Majesty,
    even as you deemed the most blessed Mother
    of your only-begotten Son
    acceptable to you by her charity.

    (From the Collectio Missarum BMV)

    Truly it is right and just, our duty and our salvation,
    always and everywhere to give you thanks,
    Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
    through Christ our Lord.

    By Elizabeth’s prophetic words
    proclaimed under the impulse of the Spirit,
    you made known to us
    the surpassing privilege of the holy Virgin Mary.

    Rightly hailed as blessed
    for her faith in the promises of salvation,
    in her service of her charity,
    she is recognized as the Mother of the Lord
    by the mother of his forerunner.

    And so, united in joy to the canticle of the Godbearing Virgin,
    we humbly magnify your majesty
    with the throngs of angels and saints
    who ceaselessly proclaim:


    Let your Church, O God, magnify you,
    for you have done great things for your faithful;
    and let her with joy perceive in this sacrament
    the same One, ever-living, whom though hidden,
    blessed John recognized with gladness.
    Through Christ our Lord.

  4. Don Marco: Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your translations are beautiful beyond description, a deserving tribute to the Blessed Virgin on this her joyful day. Here, for baleful comparison, are the 1973 ICEL translations:

    Eternal father,
    you inspired the Virgin Mary, mother of your Son,
    to visit Elizabeth and assist her in her need.
    Keep us open to the working of your Spirit,
    and with Mary may we praise you for ever.

    make our sacrifice acceptable and holy
    as you accepted the love of Mary,
    the mother of your Son, Jesus Christ,
    who is …..

    Lord, let the church praise you
    for the great things you have done for your people.
    May we always recognize with joy
    the presence of Christ in the Eucharist we celebrate,
    as John the Baptist hailed the presence
    of our Savior in the womb of Mary.
    We ask this through Christ our Lord.

    Actually, these are very far from ICEL’s worst efforts. Indeed, they are much closer to “the best of ICEL”. Although the last one really doesn’t look like ICEL at all; perhaps they had a visitor sitting in that day. But taken together, they betray the work of a committee. Your prayers exhibit beautiful translation as necessarily done by a single person, the produce of no committee.

  5. Brian C says:

    Merciful God, favorably grant your Church,
    That, brought together by the Holy Spirit,
    Being of one mind and pure desire,
    Harmonize in devotion to You.

  6. Dear Fr Zuhlsdorf,

    Slightly off topic, re your post of February this year on the cathedra Petri decorations. There is a discussion on the post of Archpriest to the basilica of St Peter’s etc… mentioning Noe and others. Could you tell me in which year the altar mensa of the cathedra Petri was removed. I know that this great deed was accomplished by Noe but I wanted to know whether I have a right recollection of having seen the whole ensemble in tact on my first visit to Rome in 1984?
    There ought to be a campaign to restore this altar and right this abominable act of vandalism.

  7. I meant to say that there was a discussion of the above topic over at The New Liturgical Movement blog.

  8. I don’t recall exactly, but I think it might have been around the autumn of 1991. I would need to check.

  9. Thanks, this was much later than I’d thought. I was imagining 1984/5 sometime. Anyway, I am pleased that my recollection as a 7 year old in ’84 was correct. The (architectural effect) with the magnificent big six with the reredos behind was tremendous. I am probably confusing the date with the mutilation of the duomo in Milan which was done at about that time. I am writing a dissertation this summer on whether there can ever be a raprochement between contemporary (modern) architecture and orthodox/traditional Catholicism. If you have any information/ images about these reorderings or any others I would be very grateful to receive them as part of that work.

  10. Don Marco says:

    Thanks for the encouragement, Mr. Edwards. I wish that Father Zuhlsdorf and I could team up with B.H.! The old ICEL people refused to translate the theologically and liturgically rich “magnificare” in the Collect and “magnificet” in the Postcommunion by the verb “to magnify,” thereby elimiating all resonances with the Magnificat which is the Gospel of the day and the whole point of using pecisely that verb.

  11. Don Marco says:

    Elimiating and pecisely??? Did I say that? What is wrong with me today?
    Cheers, friends.

  12. Arvin says:

    1) credere Deo … to believe by means of God

    This has me a bit confused. Credere takes the dative classically, so for me the phrase credere Deo means, “to have faith in” or “to trust in God.” I’m not sure how Deo could be considered an ablative in this context.

    If find this description more useful:

    What, then, does it mean ‘to believe in God’? Developing Augustine, Nicholas Lash distinguishes three possibilities based on the Latin: Credere Deo (to believe what God says), Credere Deum (to believe God to be truly God); and the creedal formula Credere in Deum (to believe ‘godwardly’ or ‘into God’, as in incorporation and godly behaviour).


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