WDTPRS – Thursday 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.

This is a step in the right direction, to be sure.

Let’s have a look at today’s:

Adesto, Domine, famulis tuis,
implorantibus gratiae tuae auxilium,
ut protectionis tuae munímen et régimen obtineant.

I am not sure about the provenance of the this prayer.

A munímen is "a defence, fortification, rampart, enclosure" and a régimen is "a guiding, guidance, direction", even a "rule" as in governance.  We saw munimen in the Post Communion on Thursday of the 1st Week of Lent.  I sense a theme.

I found the phrase "munímen et régimen" in a couple places, in the Liber sacramentorum Gellonensis and the Augustodunenis.  I suspect this chunk was in the earlier Sacramentarium Veronense.  And I think that phrase has something to do with virgins.

Be present to Your servants, O Lord,
imploring the help of your grace,
so that they may obtain the defense and direction
     of your protection

Both munímen and régimen are neuter.  As such they are both candidates as either the plural subject or plural object of obtineant.  In this case they are the objects and the subject are an understood famuli implorantes.

Let us not forget that we are members of the Church Militant.  We are under constant attack from the our adversaries, the world, the flesh and the devil.

We have military imagery in this prayer… and for good reason.  Even auxilium can be understood as an addition line of troops in a battle formation.

We need the defense of the sacraments (from without) and a rule of life (from within).  You have a measure of control over both of these, which can then both obtain for you the grace of God without which can can never succeed.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. quovadis7 says:

    Hey Fr. Z,

    Your interpretation & elucidation of the meaning of this prayer is just AMAZING!

    However, didn’t you forget in your slavishly literal translation to deal with the phrase “protectionis tuae”? [Bizarre… a formatting thing “disappeared” that phrase. I took out some tags and made sure it is there. Thanks!]

    Pax et benedictiones tibi, per Christum Dominum nostrum,

    Steve B
    Plano, TX

  2. Discipulus Humilis says:

    Probably “the defense and direction of your protection”?

    Can someone explain how “Adesto” works? I know that the same word appears in “Adeste Fideles” but how does it conjugate? Seems like a really weird ending for an imperative.

  3. Discipulus Humilis says:

    Also, thank you for explaining the imagery, Father.

  4. Discipulus: “Adesto” is an archaic imperative often found in juridical texts and old Latin comedy writers such as Plautus.  For this reason my old teacher Fr. Foster dubbed it the “comic-legal imperative”.

    It conjugates like sum. … ad+sum.

  5. Luke says:

    We need the defense fo the sacraments (from without) and a rule of life (from within).

    Amen. The monastic life is a pattern for all living.

  6. Luke says:

    Is it possible that the reference to virgins is a general reference to all those who follow Christ? Revelation 14:4?

  7. Supertradmom says:

    In the word munimen, is there a connection to the idea of “freedom” from danger as well as fortification, or am I confusing two different Latin roots?

  8. Marcin says:

    “Adesto” is an archaic imperative often found in juridical texts and old Latin comedy writers such as Plautus.

    As in ‘Memento mori’, Father?

  9. rinkevichjm says:

    Whitaker’s Words gives
    ad.esto V 5 1 FUT ACTIVE IMP 2 S
    ad.esto V 5 1 FUT ACTIVE IMP 3 S
    adsum, adesse, adfui, adfuturus V [XXXAO]
    adsum, adesse, arfui, arfuturus V [BXXCS] Early
    assum, adesse, affui, affuturus V [XXXAO]
    be near, be present, be in attendance, arrive, appear; aid (w/DAT)
    and since famulis is dative => chose “aid” for translating adesto
    O Lord, aid thy servants, Thy grace’s help imploring, that they may obtain Thy protection’s defense and direction.

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