PODCAzT 101: Preface for Ascension

Here is an new sort of PODCAzT… for PODCAzT 101.  I am trying a slightly new format today.

I use this PODCAzT to drill into the Preface for the Ascension, used from Ascension Thursday until Pentecost, in the 1962MR.  I will do another on the Preface for the Ascension in the 2002MR which is entirely different.

We will focus mainly on the middle, core section of the Preface which dates back at least to the 9th c. Liber sacramentorum Augustodunensis.  The text for the new Preface in the 2002MR is of newer composition.

…per Christum Dominum nostrum. Qui post resurrectionem suam omnibus discipulis suis manifestus apparuit, et ipsis cernentibus est elevatus in caelum, ut nos divinitatis suae tribueret esse participes. Et ideo

For you students of Latin there is a nice ablative absolute: ipsis cernentibus, referring back to the disciplesAlso, here is a good example for your sequence of tenses.  The perfect is in the main clause (apparuit) followed by an ut clause for purpose with the verb in the imperfect subjunctive (tribueret), which conveys futurity.  This is a common pattern Latin students should recognize right away.

Throughout there are nice rhythms, which make the prayer easy to sing and very easy on the ears.

Don’t be put off by the QuiWho leading off this core section.  Punctuation is a fairly modern convention.  Your Latin ear attunes itself to the connections between one section and the the previous.

That cerno needs a little attention.  Cerno can be taken simply as “to distinguish by the senses”, as in “discern”.  But even that English “discern” introduces the idea of the mind making distinctions.  Indeed cerno is “to separate, distinguish by the senses, mostly by the eyes, i. e. to perceive, see, discern”.  This is why we can as “as the disciples were watching”.

…through Christ our Lord.  Who, after His Resurrection, appeared openly to all His disciples, and, while they were observing, was taken up into heaven, that He might grant unto us to be sharers in His own divinity.  And therefore…

For my reflection on this text, just tune in!



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in PODCAzT, PRAYERCAzT: What Does The (Latin) Prayer Really Sound L, SESSIUNCULA, WDTPRS and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. wanda says:

    Thank you, Fr. Z. Once again, you dig through the treasures of our Catholic faith and pull out a beauty. How easily we miss them or forget. This is a beautiful instruction on watching and be attuned to the sacred actions of Holy Mass.

    I feel better prepared now to watch..I’ll be off soon for vigil Mass of The Ascenscion. I’ll do my best to watch through the crack in the rock.

  2. mpm says:

    Fr. Z,

    I was wondering if there is any etymological relationship with the adjective “cernuus, cernua, cernuum”, as in “Tantum ergo Sacramentum veneremur cernui”?

    To discern (and therefore “bow down before”) God?

  3. YadaYada says:

    Fr Z,

    I can’t but think that you have many young budding latinists listening. You have the teacher’s flair with your “Don’t be put off by the Qui“. Good on you.

    It’s great that you will be going through the 2002MR, in this case a newer composition compared to the proper Preface in the 1962MR.

    I hope that you will be doing some WDTPRS presentations of the 2002MR Prefaces which have no precedent in the 1962MR, noting the differences between the editio typica and the ICEL version.

    I say this in hopes that some upcoming changes to the 1962MR, such as a tweaking of the calendar and perhaps the addition of some prefaces from the 2002MR, will be more easily accepted by those who say that no changes should be made and that everything in the 2002MR is detrimental to the faith.

    The N.O. prefaces may be undervalued to date since people have mostly heard them in their ICEL presentation, which has generally forgotten, for instance, the many choirs of angels enumerated in the Latin.

    Just a thought. Ut unum sint.

  4. Henry Edwards says:

    What a wonderful start, Father Z, to your second century (of podcazts, that is). This may well have been your most beautiful and inspirational exposition yet in all of them, of a single Latin sentence.

  5. JamesA says:

    Father, are you familiar with Monsignor Charles Pope of the Archdiocese of DC ? He has an excellent column, and seems to be doing a small series emulating you : http://blog.adw.org/tag/truth-in-translation/

    Happy Ascension Thursday Sunday ! (grrrrr…)

  6. Fr. Richard says:

    YadaYada spoke of “budding Latinists”. I’m a “rebudding Latinist” or an old guy gone back to study the Latin he learned as a teenager. So I find your analysis of the Liturgical texts to be both fascinating and spiritually enriching. Thanks Fr. Z.

  7. JamesA: I was privileged to meet Msgr. Pope in Washington DC when was there for the big Mass at the Shrine. He is a fine fellow.

  8. Jillian says:

    Thanks Fr. Z… I’m glad you are PodCaZting again! Hearing the new translation was a treat– I hope priests will take seriously their responsibility to ‘say the black and do the red’ when the new translated is implemented in Advent. I might attend a few more Novus Ordo liturgies.

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