WDTPRS – Friday 2nd Week of Lent – “Prayer over the People” (2002MR)

A great new feature of the 2002 Missale Romanum in Latin is that for Lent the "Prayer over the people" or Oratio super populum has been revived as an option.

Priests can use this prayer NOW at the end of Mass, but still only in the Latin.

Let’s have a look at today’s:

Da, quaesumus, Domine, populo tuo
salutem mentis et corporis,
ut, bonis operibus inhaerendo,
tua semper mereatur protectione defendi

This seems to have been a Prayer over the people in a number of ancient sacramentaries including the Liber sacramentorum Gellonensis, for this very day, Friday of the 2nd Week of Lent, Station, San Vitale.

Yesterday we also heard about protectio in the Prayer over the people.

Grant, we implore, O Lord, to Your people
health of mind and body,
so that, by sticking to good works,
it (we) may always merit to be defended by Your protection.

We are not angels.  We are both soul and body.  We are not merely souls riding in meat machines.

We are our bodies and we are our souls together.

When they separate, we die.

But so mighty is the bond of body and soul that they will be reunited in the resurrection to experience, together, whatever fate we will have merited by our judgment: eternal bliss in the presence of God… eternal torment in His exclusion.

I always think of the magnificent rendering of the resurrection by Luca Signorelli in Orvieto, wherein perfect 33 year olds are drawing themselves up out of a white featureless plain of prime matter, soul informing matter once more.

In this vale of tears we need to see to both body and soul.

Because we are both body and soul, we dispose ourselves to receive Communion with our body (by fasting) and penance (absolution).

By Christ’s twofold command of love of God and neighbor (who have bodies) we must attend, for example, to works of mercy, spiritual and corporal

Good works are the other side of the coin of faith that wins us entrance to heaven.

We do not "work" our way into heaven, as the less than enlightened protestant might claim.

We believe that our works are necessary, but that they are not merely ours.  They are truly ours, but not merely ours.

Christ begins all good initiatives in us.  He places our work before us.  He makes our hands strong enough for it.  He helps bring good work to completion.  In our good works, He is at work.  His hands cover our hands as we work, guiding them, strengthening them

So we ask for the protection, "covering" protectio, of God’s grace not just from the world, the flesh and the devil, but also in this sense: to keep from us whatever will prevent us from doing His will for us in our particular vocations and to guide us surely in right actions.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Tom in NY says:

    Gratias sapientiae et bibliothecae RP Moderatoris agamus. Facilis instrumenta exegetis Bibliae emere aut invenire est. Sed, exempli gratia, “Liber sacramentorum” apud “Alibris” carus et rarus est. Sapientia sine pretio manet.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  2. Haec instrumenta theologicas apud bibliotechas aliquas inveniuntur, adhibentur. Ars longa.

  3. Mike says:

    There is a poem about this painter, Fr. Z, by Jorie Graham, “On Luca Signorelli’s Resurrection of the Dead” that is quite good. Much of her stuff is a bit autistic, in my view, but this poem is amazing. It gives you a sense of the mystery of the soul after it departs the body in death.

  4. Mike: There is a poem about this painter, Fr. Z, by Jorie Graham, “On Luca Signorelli’s Resurrection of the Dead”

    As Jack Aubrey might say, “You astonish me! The things you tell me, Michael.”

    And Killick would mutter, “Which you can google it any time, it being know by its title.”

  5. Mike says:

    Even Killick, however, would have trouble finding that poem on Google. It’s from her first collection, “Erosion”, and as far as I know, not on the web.

    I should type it into my literature blog, but first I will check w. my attorney-librarian friend about copyright.

  6. Mike says:

    It’s on the web, from her SECOND book of poetry:

    At Luca Signorelli’s Resurrection of the Body

    by Jorie Graham

    See how they hurry
    to enter
    their bodies,
    these spirits.
    Is it better, flesh,
    that they

    should hurry so?
    From above
    the green-winged angels
    blare down
    trumpets and light. But
    they don’t care,

    they hurry to congregate,
    they hurry
    into speech, until
    it’s a marketplace,
    it is humanity. But still
    we wonder

    in the chancel
    of the dark cathedral,
    is it better, back?
    The artist
    has tried to make it so: each tendon
    they press

    to re-enter
    is perfect. But is it
    they’re after,
    pulling themselves up
    through the soil

    into the weightedness, the color,
    into the eye
    of the painter? Outside
    it is 1500,
    all round the cathedral
    streets hurry to open

    through the wild
    silver grasses…
    The men and women
    on the cathedral wall
    do not know how,
    having come this far,

    to stop their
    hurrying. They amble off
    in groups, in
    couples. Soon
    some are clothed, there is
    distance, there is

    perspective. Standing below them
    in the church
    in Orvieto, how can we
    tell them
    to be stern and brazen
    and slow,

    that there is no
    only entering. They keep on
    wanting names,

    happiness. In his studio
    Luca Signorelli
    in the name of God
    and Science
    and the believable
    broke into the body

    studying arrival.
    But the wall
    of the flesh
    opens endlessly,
    its vanishing point so deep
    and receding

    we have yet to find it,
    to have it
    stop us. So he cut
    graduating slowly
    from the symbolic

    to the beautiful. How far
    is true?
    When one son
    died violently,
    he had the body brought to him
    and laid it

    on the drawing-table,
    and stood
    at a certain distance
    awaiting the best
    possible light, the best depth
    of day,

    then with beauty and care
    and technique
    and judgment, cut into
    shadow, cut
    into bone and sinew and every

    in which the cold light
    It took him days,
    that deep
    caress, cutting,

    until his mind
    could climb into
    the open flesh and
    mend itself.

    From EROSION (Princeton University Press, 1983)

  7. Tom in NY says:

    Gratias consultus RP Moderatoris ago.
    Emendum et “Sac. Gelasianum” et “Sac. Leoninum” ~$60 sine pretio mittendi necessit. Etiam Google illos libros illustrissimos exhibet.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  8. Boots says:

    Yes the green winged demons are on the opposite side of the chapel. An amazing piece indeed!

  9. Jim Hanink says:

    There are two flies in the ointment. Resurrection bodies do not emerge from prime matter, nor is prime matter a kind of independent “stuff.” St. Thomas weeps!

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