Wednesday in the 2nd Week of Lent

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

Hostias, Domine, quas tibi offerimus, propitius intuere,
et, per haec sancta commercia,
vincula peccatorum nostrorum absolve.

Commercium is a loaded word.  It means "exchange".  It has a theological, not a mercantile sense, of course.  Bread and wine were chosen by God, from all gifts He gave us, to be transformed into His Body and Blood.

O Lord, gratiously regard the offerings which we are offering to You,
and, through these holy exchanges,
loose the chains of our sins.

This prayer underscores the ransom the Lord paid on our behalf.  By the sin of our first parents, that is the whole human race at the time, the whole human race fell out of friendship with God. That was our Original Son. We continue to sin by our own actions, actual sins.  By our sins we are hostage to the Enemy of the soul.  Christ removes the chains binding us and, not only frees us but opens the way to a divine adoption.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Today’s lame duck ICEL version doesn’t look so bad:

    Lord, accept this sacrifice,
    and through this holy exchange of gifts
    free us from the sins that enslave us.

    The words “sacrifice” and “sin” both in a single ICEL prayer! Even in a single sentence!! Must be the work of an inexperienced prayer-smasher who hadn’t yet learned that, however short a prayer is, it’s supposed to chopped into at least two sentences so the humble faithful, however sentence-challenged they’re assumed to be, can cope with it.

  2. Dan Hunter says:

    Dear Father Zuhlsdorf,
    Please forgive my elementary query,but what is the difference between the semantics of Super Oblata and Secret?And again apologies for my ignorance what does Secret in the Mass,mean?
    Also,Father,in the Gospel for today,Christ says to His apostles:
    “Non ita erit inter vos:sed quicumque voluerit inter vos major fieri,sit vester minister:et qui voluerit inter vos primus esse,erit vester servus.”
    We have always heard in the lame duck version,”That the last will be first and the first shall be last”.But the literal translation is,”and he that will be first among you shall be your servant”.
    The former translation does not give us any accurate instruction as to the nature of those who have been graced with greater authority,or wisdom.The literal translation does, in telling us essentially that to whom more is given more must be given back to God,as in the service towards mankind in the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
    Please correct me if I am wrong.
    God bless you.

  3. Andrew says:


    [We have always heard in the lame duck version,”That the last will be first and the first shall be last”.]

    Multi autem erunt primi novissimi, et novissimi primi. Mt. 19:30

    Sic erunt novissimi primi, et primi novissimi. Mt. 20:16

    Multi autem erunt primi novissimi, et novissimi primi. Mc 10:31

    Et ecce sunt novissimi qui erunt primi, et sunt primi qui erunt novissimi. Lc 13:30

  4. Victor says:

    Dear Father Z.,
    glad to see you’re up to date again!
    BTW: What is an exhoration (sic), and why does it take place 13/03? Perhaps you’d like to check the spelling of your anti-spam words… :-)

  5. Dan: what is the difference between the semantics of Super Oblata and Secret? ….what does Secret in the Mass,mean?

    In the traditional Latin Mass, among the proper (variable) prayers are three especially beautiful, profound, elegant and highly polished Latin orations:

    Collect (right after the Gloria)
    Secret (after the Orate Fratres)
    Postcommunion (after Communion)

    The first and last are chanted aloud by the celebrant at the altar, but the Secret is said silently by him. Taken as a whole (over the year), these propers distill the essence of the traditional ethos of the Roman rite. I understand that most of these great jewels of the classical Roman liturgy have been prayed essentially without change at least since the 8th century, and that many or most of them are somewhat older than that.

    The prayers that appear at the corresponding places in the Novus Ordo are the:

    Opening Prayer
    Prayer over the Gifts ((Oratio Super Oblata)
    Prayer after Communion

    The Prayer over the Gifts is now said aloud by the celebrant (and so is no longer “secret”). According to one sampling (as I recall offhand), about 20% of the original orations were retained (without too much destructive change) in the Latin Novus Ordo, but the rest were sliced and diced, dropped, diluted, or replaced. Of course, as Father Z’s columns document exhaustively (and everyday attendance at Mass verifies heartbreakingly), many or most of the lame duck ICEL versions are painfully puerile and doctrinally vacuous, hardly even pale shadows of the traditional Latin originals.

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