WDTPRS – Saturday 3rd 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.

Yah, I know.. I keep posting these as if they were, I dunno, interesting.

Let’s have a look at today’s:

Praetende, Domine, fidelibus tuis,
dexteram caelestis auxilii,
ut te toto corde perquirant,
et quae digne postulant consequi mereantur

I found this prayer in the Liber sacramentorum Gellonensis for LXXIIII. DOMI. IIII IN XLma AD HYRVL.

The puzzling thing about this is that is tomorrow.  Today the Station is Santa Susanna.  Today in the Extraordinay Form the first reading was the story of Susanna and the unjust judges and how young Daniel saved her from death.  Tomorrow the Station is Holy Cross in Jerusalem… of course, because it is Laetare Sunday.  What I have to ask is… why not just use the prayers on the day they were originally prayed?  Is there some thematic reason?

"But Father! But Father!", you are saying, "what about the Gregorian Sacramentary?"

Indeed, you caught it.

In the Sacramentarium Hadrianum (one of the manuscripts of the Gregorian) we find for this day, Saturday, Station of Santa Susanna, this is the prayer is the Super populum.  Go figure.

Your trusty Lewis & Short will tell you that tendo is "to stretch, to extend". Praetendo, therefore, is "to stretch forth, or forward, to extend".  Postulo is basically, "to ask, demand, require, request, desire" but also "to need, require".

You know the English word "perk", which is shortened from "perquisite".  This is from perquiro, "to ask or inquire after diligently, to make diligent search for any thing". 

Stretch forth, O Lord, toward Your faithful
the right hand of heavenly aid,
so that they might with their whole heart diligently seek You,
and may merit to attain the things they worthily require

God’s right hand is an anthropomorphic way of speaking about God’s power.  It is a common image in the Old Testament and therefore also in the new.  It is also a sign of God’s favor.  Those who are favored are placed on God’s right.  It was an ancient custom to place those whom you favored or acknowledged on your right.  The Risen Lord is at God’s right hand.  He is in this sense the "power" of God the Father (cf.1 Cor 1:24).

Think of this image of the outstretched hand.

It can signify the protection He places over us as His disciples.  It can be His helping hand, involved with us.

But think also of how the one who loves yearns with his heart toward the hand of his beloved.  He kisses that hand. 

The man who is drowning, grasps the hand which seeks to pull him from his doom.

Also, a hand of a parent will guide the toddler begins with first steps to a smooth path and away from the lethal fall down the long stair case.

We often in this life strive for things which really do us harm.  We get into trouble with them.

May God help us to get out of the trouble we get ourselves into and steer us to the things which are for our benefit.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. q7swallows says:

    “But think also of how the one who loves yearns with his heart toward the hand of his beloved.  He kisses that hand.”

    This is also why some of us venture to kiss the priestly hands that bring Our Beloved to us.

    I do so appreciate your slavishly literal translations.

  2. Bob Glassmeyer says:

    What an adorable little child, decked out in Rose for Laetare Sunday…”out of the mouths of babes Thou has perfected praise…”

  3. Rachel Pineda says:

    I especially like these posts and the podcasts. Thank you.

  4. wanda says:

    Thank you for this Father Z. May God give us the wisdom to reach out for His hand.

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