2nd Week of Advent – Monday

Here is the Collect for Monday of the 2nd Week of Advent

Dirigatur, quaesumus, Domine,
in conspectu tuo nostrae petitionis oratio,
ut ad magnum incarnationis Unigeniti tui mysterium
nostrae vota servitutis illibata puritate perveniant.

This prayer is in Rotulus 13 which is published together with the ancient Veronese Sacramentary.

The dictionary we call Blaise/Dumas is helpful here. The verb dirigo in the passive is often used in Latin prayers as "bring onto a good path".  It is a good Advent verb, for sure. It also has the connotation of rising straight upward.  Conspectus, again from Blaise/Dumas, indictes the Lord’s "sight" and therefore, His presence, with a meaning of "favorable regard".  A votum can be a "prayer" but it signals also "praise", something due. 

O Lord, we beseech You, may the prayer of our petition,
be brought into Your favorable regard,
so that the praises of our submissive service
may with unstained purity reach unto the great mystery of the incarnation of Your Only-Begotten.

O Lord, we earnestly entreat
You to receive our prayerful petitions
so that the praises we raise in our service,
may reach even unto the great mystery who is the Your Only Son, God incarnate.

No, that doesn’t really do it either, but Father is tired today and has a lot on his mind. 

There are a lot of directions we can go wtih this prayer, since each word is packed and the Latin is very "styled".  The Latin is super hierarchical.  Everything having to do with God is "upward".  It is "courtly", as well, and sounds like the way we would come up and into the presence of a king.  Being in His "sight" means being in near enough to be "regarded".  References are indirect: We speak of the vota servitutis… things owed, or praises, due because of our state of being servants.  We want our prayers to be heard, but we don’t just say we "praise Christ".  We want our pure praises to reach the "mystery of the incarnation".  Also, we start with petition, to make sure that God is seeing to it that what we offer is good enough.  Then we move into praise, after purity has been established.  So, this whole thing smacks of our hope to enter into the Beatific Vision, together with the realization that we must be pure to do so and only God can complete our purity.  Interesting prayer. 

Take a stab at it.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Here’s ICEL’s lame-duck stab at it:

    free us from our sins and make us whole.
    Hear our prayer,
    and prepare us to celebrate the incarnation of your Son.

    Nothing styled or “super hierarchical” about this, and “courtly” is not what first comes to mind.

  2. David says:

    Wsa the ICEL responsible for the translation of Morning and Evening Prayer? I try to pray the Breviary as much as possible but I do find the prayers to be quite insipid, vague, and uninspiring. I dearly wish to pray with the Church, but Morning and Evening Prayer just seems to lack any substance. Even the Psalms seem unusually bland.

    Will there been a new translation of the Breviary at some point?

    Also – is true that Cardinal Bugnini effected the removal of the “cursing Psalms” from the Breviary?

  3. David: I am sure that the Breviary will be reviewed. For one thing, the Collects will be coordinated with the Missal.

  4. David says:

    David: I am sure that the Breviary will be reviewed. For one thing, the Collects will be coordinated with the Missal.
    That’s wonderful news! I just hope the overall translation regain some “substance”.

  5. David says:

    Father Z.,
    Would you recommend a particular English-language edition of the Breviary that is faithful to the Latin? I currently have the Collins UK version of Divine Office: Morning and Evening Prayer and my Latin is pretty basic (although I am trying to teach myself).

  6. Geoffrey says:

    I was going to comment on the real topic, but now I just find myself saying: “What?”

  7. Adam van der Meer says:

    David, I’ll take a stab at answer your question on behalf of Fr. Z. See if you can find the edition entitled “Lauds and Vespers: Latin-English Per Annum” published by Fr. Stravinskas. It has the Latin on one side and a good English translation on the other. If you are not under canonical obligation to say the breviary, then you could use the English translation in private. Or you could just say the Latin, and you would have the English there for reference.

    See http://jhcnewman.org/newman.html for the publisher’s site. Perhaps your local Catholic bookstore could get it for you, if you are not in the USA.

  8. Adam van der Meer says:


    The Lauds and Vespers Per Annum volume is the older edition, which only included the prayers “per annum”, i.e. for “Ordinary Time”. The link that I provided is the new edition that includes Lauds and Vespers for the entire liturgical year. That is the one you want. Here is a seller in the UK who has it also:

    God Bless.

  9. Tom says:

    Another “lame duck” (FDLC) translation (but more literal than the ICEL):

    Lord, grant that our prayer be accepted by You, and let the promises of our service reach the Mystery of the Incarnation of Your only Son with perfect purity.

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