Friday after Ash Wednesday: Super Oblata

We continue our Lenten journey through the prayers of Holy Mass with today’s

Sacrificium, Domine, observantiae quadragesimalis offerimus,
quod tibi, quaesumus, mentes nostras reddat acceptas,
et continentiae promptioris nobis tribuat facultatem.

Both the grand Lewis and Short as well as Blaise/Dumas indicate that acceptus is not just "accepted" but "welcome, acceptable, agreeable". Blaise/Dumas says that in liturgical Latin facultas is "possibility" or also "grace" as in f. sufficiens. In classical Latin facultas already as the connotation of sufficiency. Promptus is just "ready", but also "evident, plain".


We are offering, O Lord, the Sacrifice of the Lenten observance,
which, we beseech You, may render our minds acceptable to You,
and may impart to us the grace of a more ready continence.

Since the Fall, we all suffer temptations which are mainly of the spirit and mainly of the flesh. Both affect our whole person, since we are both body and soul which are intended by God to form one person. Thus we want our thoughts and motions of the mind to be properly disposed and directed for our overall human/spiritual well-being and we want those motions of the flesh and its urgings to be well under control so that our human/spiritual well-being is not threatened.

To this end we offer Sacrifice. Not just by renewing the once-for-all-time Sacrifice of Calvary, as we are about to observe the priest do in just a few minutes after hearing this prayer, but also by our own sacrifices united to that Sacrifice. These our sacrifices can be acts of self-denial and they can be of the more intellectual strain, disciplining ourselves in study and contemplation. They can (and must) be also sacrifices of time and material well-being in works of mercy.

Our spiritual well-being is advanced by sacrifice. Thus sacrifice is an integral part of what it is to be human.

The other day I saw a woman coping with her little child who was determined in every way to impose his veto on everything in his life at that moment. The word "NO" was prominent and repeated.

In a way, there is a stage at which the young little human begins to say "NO" all the time. What a wonderful little reminder of the effects of original sin. "NO" is an essential tool of our spiritual well-being. In the young, who do nto exercise full control of their faculties and appetites "NO" is a sign of something integral to who we are that is distorted by the effects of original sin.

Learning to say "NO" properly is part of what it is to be truly human. The right kind of "NO" makes a more beautiful "YES" far easier to give.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Lame duck ICEL version:

    Lord,through this lenten Eucharist
    may we grow in your love and service
    and become an acceptable offering to you.

    Perhaps someone can point out to me whence in the Latin original the ICEL all-purpose word “love” comes.

  2. David says:


    On the subject of the Mass: can one say that the sacrificial aspect is the most important aspect or are the aspects of Sacrifice and Supper of equal importance?

    When I went through RCIA last year I heard nothing about the Mass being a sacrifice let alone the Sacrifice. So, I have tried to find out as much as possible about what the Mass actually is

  3. David: While I think the sacrifical dimension is the most important, perhaps we can view through the “lens” of the banquet dimension. If a gift of a sacrifice is an “upward” action, then perhaps the gift of a “banquet” is both “downward” and “sideways”.

    Give that some thought.

  4. David: Since you evidently received in RCIA an incomplete and misleading view of the Mass, I think you deserve an unequivocal answer – from Pope John Paul II, for instance. The 20 paragraphs of Chapter 1 (The Mystery of Faith) of his 2003 encylical Ecclesia De Eucharistia ( provide a very readable exposition of the Eucharist is and has been understood by the Church for a very long time.

    I believe you will find that the paragraphs 1 through 15 deal with the sacrificial aspects of the Mass, paragraphs 16 and 17 with the aspects of banquet and communion (respectively), and paragraphs 18 through 20 with eschatological aspects.

  5. RBrown says:

    A bit off the subject, but on the evening of Ash Wednesday I spent some time with this man, who is a grad of my high school.

    2200 mph and 90,000 feet!

  6. Off topic, I know.

    Just letting you know, I’ve added you to my list of Catholic Blogs.

  7. Tom says:

    NLC translation:

    We unite our Lenten observance, Lord, with Your Son’s sacrifice in the Mass. May it make our hearts pleasing to You and help us to gain greater self-control.

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