5th Sunday of Ordinary Time: POST COMMUNION (2)

What Does the Prayer Really Say?  5th Sunday of Ordinary Time

ORIGINALLY PRINTED IN The Wanderer in 2007

We have seen in the last few weeks another call from “the Chair” of the USCCB’s BCL (Bishops Committee on Liturgy) to keep the new translation being prepared “unchallenging” enough that it would raise neither eyebrows nor interest in the content of the prayer.  Can’t we just avoid all the hard words?  Timely, therefore, was an e-mail from APS lampooning the passé ICEL approach of the bad old days.  What if the old ICEL team had gotten their hands on Shakespeare?  APS sent a letter of an expert of the International Commission for English in Shakespeare, Dr. Hannibal Bugatti, about the new version of Romeo and Juliet, renamed Juliet and Romeo for obvious reasons.  Here are few samples.  What to do, for example, with Romeo’s description of Juliet as he gazes at her on the balcony:

“O! she doth teach the torches to burn bright
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop’s ear;
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear.”

This is a complex passage, presenting many problems: the implication that brightness is better than darkness, for example, the appallingly irrelevant mention of someone’s race, the use of rich as a term of admiration, when another guiding principle is “a preferential option for the poor,” and so on.

The ICES text reads:

“Look, everyone!
She is teaching the torches
to be more truly themselves,
like an affordable-by-everyone paste
costume jewel accessory kit, hung
on the ear of anyone (man or woman)
of any ethnic origin.”

There will even be a new ending for the play, more suited to cultural needs.  Surely there would be some resistance from traditionalists.  Dr. Bugatti has a response:

Again, we can predict howls of anguish from one or two extreme conservatives, and one has been rash enough to print and distribute a defamatory article which claims that these endings betray the text. It is important to emphasize a number of points. The first is that the original ending will remain available (in the new translation) though we suspect few animators will, in practice, choose to use it. The second is that this is a return to an older literary tradition, and therefore more authentic to the nature of drama in itself. The third is that the over-riding principle must be what the people demand, and the experts are agreed that these endings are the ones that the people will demand, once they have got used to them.

“The Chair” is constantly asserting that you are all now so used to the lame duck ICEL version of the Creed that can’t possibly handle hearing “for you and for many” in the consecration or “consubstantial” in the Creed.  You might even leave the Church if you have to endure that!

Moving along to this week’s “Prayer after Communion” let’s start with a quiz.  

Q: What do the following verses have in common?  Rom 12:5; 1 Cor 10:17; 1 Cor 11:28; John 15:16; John 17:11 and 21.

Do you recall my fictitious description of a liturgical expert at the time of the post-Conciliar reform of the Missale Romanum?  There he was, in his little room filled with books and papers, cutting and snipping bits and pieces together to form the new prayers of the Novus Ordo (cf. my piece last year on the Super Oblata for the 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time).  Today’s prayer is a perfect example of the scissors and paste method.  This and my identifying many of our Sunday prayers provoked questions among readers  about how many of the prayers from the older, pre-Conciliar Missale Romanum actually made it into the Novus Ordo.   I found a useful, if tendentious, booklet by Anthony Cekada, The Prayers of the Modern Mass (Rockford: TAN Books and Publishers, 1991).  This is what Cekada claims (p. 9):

Above we quoted a statement from Father Guy Oury that the Missal of Paul VI contains three-quarters of the Missal of St. Pius V.  Surely such a statement would be accurate if the revisers had – as advertised – merely “touched up” and “enriched” the orations here and there.
The statistics, however, tell a different story: The traditional Missal contains 1182 orations.  About 760 of those were dropped entirely.  Of the approximately 36% which remained, the revisers altered over half of them before introducing them into the new Missal.  Thus, only some 17% of the orations from the old Missal made it untouched into the new Missal.
Even this paltry percentage may be greatly reduced.  The first figure of 1182 orations reflects only individual texts in the traditional Missal – it does not take into account the many times these texts were repeated in toto in several different Masses celebrated at various points during the liturgical year.
    However one may compute it, the bulk of the traditional orations simply disappeared under the revisers’ busy blue pencils.  In terms of numbers and statistics alone, therefore, the contents of Paul VI’s Missal represent a radical break with the Church’s liturgical tradition.

Cekada calculated that “about 425 of the old orations were used in the 1970 Missal.  Of those 425, approximately 225 were changed in some way, and approximately 200 were left untouched” (p. 34 n. 15).

Without further ado let’s move directly to this week’s quilted

POST COMMUNION (2002 Missale Romanum):
Deus, qui nos de uno pane et de uno calice
participes esse voluisti,
da nobis, quaesumus, ita vivere, ut, unum in Christo effecti,
fructum afferamus pro mundi salute gaudentes.

This puts a whole new spin on the concept of a “prayer quilt”.  This prayer is, obviously, new to the Novus Ordo of 1970 and subsequent editions.  It is a patchwork of biblical phrases.  Here are the citations from the older form of the Vulgate.  I urge you to look them up in your Bible.

•    Rom 12:5: ita multi unum corpus sumus in Christo singuli autem alter alterius membra
•    1 Cor 10:17: quoniam unus panis unum corpus multi sumus omnes quidem de uno pane participamur
•    1 Cor 11:28: probet autem se ipsum homo et sic de pane illo edat et de calice bibat
•    John 15:16: non vos me elegistis sed ego elegi vos et posui vos ut eatis et fructum adferatis et fructus vester maneat ut quodcumque petieritis Patrem in nomine meo det vobis
•    John 17:11: et iam non sum in mundo et hii in mundo sunt et ego ad te venio Pater sancte serva eos in nomine tuo quos dedisti mihi ut sint unum sicut et nos
•    John 17:21: ut omnes unum sint sicut tu Pater in me et ego in te ut et ipsi in nobis unum sint ut mundus credat quia tu me misisti

ICEL (1973 translation of the 1970MR):
God our Father,
you give us a share in the one bread and the one cup
and make us one in Christ.
Help us to bring your salvation and joy
to all the world.

In 2002 the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments harshly rejected ICEL’s translation of the second edition of the Missale Romanum.   One of the more stinging criticisms was that ICEL inelegantly referred to sacred vessels with language more befitting “kitchenware”, to wit “cup” rather than the more sacral (read: “hard word”) “chalice”.   

The meticulous The Lewis & Short Latin Dictionary helps with this affero, which is basically, “to bring, take, carry or convey a thing to a place (of portable things, while adducere denotes the leading or conducting of men, animals, etc.)”.  It also is used for “to bring, bear, or carry a thing, as news, to report, announce, inform, publish.  Thus, it signifies concepts such as “occasion, impart, allege, adduce” and (in classical Latin rarely) “to bring forth as a product, to yield, bear, produce” so as “to bear fruit” (cf. John 15:16, above).  Participo is “to share; viz., to cause to partake of, to impart; and also, to partake of, participate in” and it can be constructed with the preposition de.  L&S cites the Vulgate 1 Cor 10:15-17 (also cited above): “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ (communicatio sanguinis Christi)?  The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ (participatio corporis Domini)?  Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread (de uno pane participamur)” RSV.
O God, who desired that we be participants
of the one bread and one chalice,
grant us, we beg, so to live that, having been made one in Christ,
we, rejoicing, may bear fruit for the salvation of the world.

Holy Communion is both an outward sign and an interior cause of our union with Christ, as members of His Mystical Body the Church.  During the Last Supper, Christ prayed to the Father before instituting the sacraments of the Eucharist and Holy Orders.  Then He went out to His Passion and Sacrifice.  He prayed: “…that they may all be one (ut omnes unum sint).  As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us (ut et ipsi in nobis unum sint)….  The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one (ut sint unum sicut nos unum sumus), I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one (ut sint consummati in unum), so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (cf. John 17:20-23 RSV).   This passage is vital to the Church’s efforts for a real dialog with non-Catholic Christians, an authentic ecumenism.  The late Holy Father John Paul II wrote an encyclical on this entitled Ut unum sint.   

The phrase in the RSV version of John reads “that they may be completely one” or as the Vulgate puts it “ut sint consummati in unum”.  The late-Latin verb consummo means “to sum up” and “to make perfect, to complete, bring to the highest perfection.” We describe someone as a “consummate gentleman” or a completed sacramental marriage bond as having been “consummated”.  Do not confuse consummo and consumo, “to consume, devour”, as in “to consume a Sacred Host”.   A wordsmith would connect our being consummate Christians consuming Communion.  

In the meantime, for the sake of Christ’s prayer and will for us, consider your dealings with your neighbor.  Perhaps your example and invitation may lead to a real oneness with Christ so that we may all be one at last in Christ.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Ave Maria! says:

    Whenever I read the true literal translations, it makes me sad that we are so far from it in our liturgy and prayers.

    Why??? Why have they (the translators) done this to us?

    As we pray, so we believe. And millions have left the faith in the past 40 years…

  2. Jeff says:

    Oh, our prayer was one of my favorites: the Postcommunion for Septuagesima.

    Fideles tui, Deus, per tua dona firmentur: ut eadem et percipiendo requirant, et quaerendo sine fine percipiant. Per Dominum, etc.

    I can’t better the Lasance translation…

    May Thy faithful, O God, be strengthened by Thy gifts, that receiving them they may still desire them and desiring them may constantly receive them. Through Our Lord, etc.

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