WDTPRS Monday 3rd Week of Advent: See ya’ later!

Here is the Collect for the Monday of the 3rd week of Advent.

Voci nostrae, quaesumus, Domine,
aures tuae pietati accomoda,
et cordis nostri tenebras
gratia Filii tui nos visitantis illustra.

This was in the 1962MR on the 3rd Sunday of Advent.  It was also in the Gelasian Sacramentary and in the Gregorian.

The verb accommodo is very cool.  It means “to fit or adapt one thing to another, to lay, put, or hang on”. In English we have the word “lend”, as in “lend me your ears!”  When we apply pietas to God, it means “mercy”.  Visito if you look closely at it has a root similar to “vision”.  Visito means basically “to go to see, to visit any one” but it also comes to mean “to punish” in the Christian Latin, such as the Vulgate (Psalms and Jeremiah).  Think of “visiting” vengence oon someone.

O Lord, we entreat You,
attune the ears of Your mercy to our voice,
and with the grace of Your Son coming to see us
illuminate the shadows of our heart.

This prayer reminds us that the Lord is coming as Judge.  When He comes He will SEE us to the roots of our being.  All things will be laid bare before His sight.  At the end, all things will be laid bare before the sight of all who have ever lived.

Notice also the profound connection between “voice” and “illumination”.  What we are talking about here is the logos which illumines the mind.

In the midst of this prayer, however, is God’s mercy.

We will get His judgment whether we want it or not.  His mercy, if we ask for it, is ours.

Incline the ears of your compassion to our voice,
we pray, O Lord,
and let the grace of your Son who visits us
bring light to the darkness of our hearts.

Incline a merciful ear to our cry,
we pray, O Lord,
and casting light on the darkness of our hearts
visit us with the grace of your Son.

You decide.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Jordanes says:

    Revision B seems like a step backward in the direction of the “dynamic” (i.e. mistranslated) lame duck ICEL prayers that currently oppress the English-speaking Church. Revision A is obviously better and more faithful.

  2. John UK says:

    This collect has a parallel with that for Advent III in the older rite:
    Aurem tuam, quaesumus, Domine, precibus nostris accomoda: et mentis nostrae tenebras gratia tuae visitationis illustra and translated by Cranmer as:
    Lord, we beseche thee, geue eare to our prayers, and by thy gracious visitacion lighten the darknes of our hearte
    to which Fr.Hunwicke draws attention today – http://liturgicalnotes.blogspot.com/2008/12/down-with-cosin.html

    and to which you youself, Father, posted on yesterday:

    and which collect is the source of Batten’s anthem which David S. brings up in his comment there.

    Kind regards,
    John U.K.

  3. Ef-lover says:

    revision A is the better of the two

  4. Andrew says:

    I often think that perhaps the most terrifying part of my judgment will be the realization on my part that I knew all along what was objectionable about my actions. I think Scripture says somewhere: “out of your own mouth I will judge you” or something to that effect. On judgment day I will condemn myself for all those things I’m letting slip by, for all that I pretend to be ignorant of. If there’s anything I cannot do I can always ask for divine assistance but I am even slow in that respect.
    My self-comfort and my stupid optimism will be my biggest downfall. I wish I could be a hermit hiding somewhere by myself just waiting for the end. Everything about this urban life is just a bunch of vanity.

  5. jaykay says:

    Just some thoughts:

    B’ s “Incline a merciful ear to our cry” is very elegant, almost Cranmerian, and scans better than A’s “Incline the ears of your compassion to our voice”, but I think B, although more poetic, is getting a bit into dynamic equivalence territory whereas A is a more direct translation of the actual Latin. That said, I can’t see why A then has to go for “of our hearts” rather than the correct “heart”.

    B’s “visit us with the grace of your Son” seems to me completely off. It has put an imperative verb in place of what was an adjectival present participle in the genitive case, and has turned the sense around somewhat, by entreating God to send us this grace rather than having it coming to us with the Son (i.e. he bringing it with Him) which is the sense of the Latin.

    Of course, I would a million times have B over whatever the unlovely 1970s ICEL product was.

  6. Henry Edwards says:

    Father Z is listing these merely as Revision A and Revision B, but I’ve discovered a way to determine which is the 2008 version prepared by ICEL and approved by all the bishops conferences, and which is the allegedly final version after the final in-house Vatican revisions.

    Simply compare both with the original Latin. The 2008 version is the more literal and accurate translation; the 2010 version is the worse one. Has worked every time so far.

  7. Andy Milam says:

    I think that revision A tracks better with the Latin, although I am not a fan of “incline” rather than “attune.” There is something missing in the movement away from attune. “Incline” seems to me to be a more horizontal or activa positioning, while “attune” seems to be be a more vertical or actuosa positioning.

    In trying to become more faithful to the Latin, we must also look to the meaning behind the words. Clearly, the translations are still being influenced and are simply not fulfilling enough. While I am all in favor of the OF, celebrated properly, I think that the wholesale usage of the Latin may be what is called for, as I don’t see a clear move away from dynamism and a clear move toward accurate translation.

    Perhaps I am being a bit harsh, but we have a RIGHT, according to Redemptoris Sacramentum, to the Sacraments celebrated properly. It is becoming clearer and clearer that either A) we must move to the Latin in the OF, or 2) we must simply assist at the EF where the meaning doesn’t change, because of the static nature of the Latin language.

  8. cwillia1 says:

    A is clearly superior to B. Consider the order of the thoughts in the 3rd and 4th lines. A is strong and B is weak. It is impossible to follow the word order of the Latin original closely but the Latin prayer ends with the command “illumine!” and the final line of A starts with “bring light”. B makes a subordinate construction the main clause and puts it at the end of the prayer as the final thought. Is the prayer “listen and illumine” as in as in A or is the prayer “listen and visit” as in B. Version B is also stronger for making a clearer parallel with “our voice” and “our hearts”. But I agree with another poster who writes that the singular would be better.

  9. frjim4321 says:

    1998 ICEL Abandoned

    God of mercy,
    open your ears to our cries
    and light up the dark places of our hearts
    with the grace of your Son,
    who will visit us and set us free.

    Seems to track the Latin much better than the 1974 version, yet is much better English than either of “A” or “B.” Of “A” and “B,” “A” seems better in this case which would make sense if Henry’s theory is true that “A” is the vox clara trainwreck.

  10. frjim4321 says:

    oops, seems “B” is the 10,000 car pileup.

  11. TJerome says:

    How does it track the Latin better? For example, Domine = Lord, not God.

  12. Aengus Oshaughnessy says:

    Personally, I like the ‘slavishly literal’ translation best. “Illuminate the shadows of our hearts.”
    Poetry, that is.

  13. frjim4321 says:

    TJ, I meant that in general and in this example the 1998 ICEL tracks the Latin more closely than ICEL 1974. I was not comparing the 1998 ICEL with either the 2008 or 2010 product.

  14. wchoag says:

    I prefer your slavishly literal version, Fr. Z, over both Revision A and B.

  15. wchoag: Thanks. But my version isn’t any sort of viable option.

  16. TJerome says:

    frjim4321, thanks for the clarification. Yes I agree with that. Merry Christmas!

  17. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    They are both awful. Sound the alarms before the Vatican prints the final copies for the USA and the rest of the world!

  18. jaykay says:

    Bit of a sweeping generalisation, that. Perhaps you’d like to comment further on precisely how you find them “awful”? Awful as compared to what? The existing English version? The Latin text?

    And it’s not of course for the “rest of the world”. It’ll be for the English-speaking portion thereof.

  19. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    I have discontent with the language and how it butchers the meaining of the prayer and/or the translation. The two main parts (one and two) are the first two lines and the last two lines. Culpability overall is diminished in Revision A and B

    In Revision A, part one has compassion instead of mercy. To me compassion, dulls down things vs. mercy. When one asks someone for mercy, we are asking them to love us and forgive us inspite of our weaknesses, in our case with Christ, SIN! Compassion can be shown to someone who does or does not care for themselves or yourselves. Using “compassion” takes out OUR responsibility to Him and ourselves as a component of the prayer. In addition, mercy implies US putting ourselves at the feet of Jesus. Revision B does mention mercy but leaves us with a meager “cry”. A cry for what?

    As for part two, While revision A is more true to the translation of the Latin, Revision B is shoddy in its tense. It says “and casting light on the darkness of our hearts” where the original asks that it be done. The wording of B implies that it is already done, which is not true. Again responsibility on the people is taken away. We must willfully accept Christ and his graces to have light cast on our hearts. It does not happen if we aren’t receptive. On a minor note the last sentence asks Christ to visit us when He visited us anyways in accordance with God’s will and continues to do so in the Eucharist.

    O Lord, we entreat You,
    attune the ears of Your mercy to our voice,
    and with the grace of Your Son coming to see us
    illuminate the shadows of our heart.

    So why is this Literal Latin Translation Superior? There is much more we are asking for and is contained in the true translation. First, by asking for mercy, we know we are sinners who need His salvation. Second, since we are asking willfully for his mercy, we want to willfully repent and have Him enter our hearts. Finally, this is fully compliant with the whole of Advent, whereby we are to be preparing ourselves to welcome His inevitable, unpreventable coming as the Word Made flesh. We know what WE must do and want to do it, need to do it, for Him.

  20. Young man: The literal versions in any of these WDTPRS posts are simply crowbars to pry the prayers open. They are never intended to be replacements for the approved translations.

    You, however, didn’t offer your own flawless version with all the meaning packed in gracefully. Don’t you think you should do that now?

    BTW… being Canadian, is your main language French or English?

  21. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    Since you took the time to respond Father (thank you for that), so will I.

    Since I’ve been reading this blog for a month, I’ve come to realize that our current translation of the Roman Missal is indeed watered-down where-as before I accepted whatever goes. So now when I read your literal translations vs. the ICEL ones (sometimes nicknamed “Lame Duck”) I realize how much is lost and how much responsibility is taken from us. Watering down the prayers or losing meaning is but one part of many parts that could explain today’s state in the Church. Now that I am re-emersing myself in my Faith I’m just frustrated with the state of things in the Church between resistance to the TLM, bishops who don’t sheperd their flocks, libealism’s/feminism’s still lingering influence, and other matters.

    They are only crowbars? I don’t quite get the “prying the prayers open part” though. I will admit I misunderstood your level of criticalness/opinion when you do the translations. While I stand by my general opinion that the literal translation comtains more responsibility to the people in the prayer vs A and B, I definitely could have expressed myself much better or simply stated this general opinion/disagreement vs. saying their awful. I definitely need to work on (via prayer and conscience for the virtue of) being more prudent in my life.

    Would I would love to do my own translation? For the joy of it yes, but alas my knowledge of Latin has shrunken to virtually nothing save “Grumio Ancillam delectat” which well, has an internal joke in it from my Gr. 10 Latin class (Cambridge Latin coure series from the University btw, excellent for classical Latin). I would like to study it again in my own time either through a course at my local university or online, or to buy the series again in future. Thing is right now I’m still living with the parents until I can gain meaningful employment (not an entry level job) post graduation and I’ve already made them a bit crazy buying theology books (Pieper, DeMarco, Kreeft, encyclicals and other Pauline media books) and such and getting back into the faith. I ask them for a Latin text series for Xmas or say I want to take a Latin course on my own time and I don’t think they will be happy.

    As for me, I’m from Ontario, so my main language is English. French would be found mostly in Quebec and perhaps in some parts of the Maritimes (?).

  22. q7swallows says:

    1st choice: Slavishly literal version (as usual)
    2nd: Revision A
    3rd: Revision B

    And my decisions are based purely on the English. We tend to be nauseatingly imprecise and banal with our language, so I always try to vote toward exactitude and beauty. I agree with Aengus Oshaughnessy about the 1st choice: “Poetry, that is.”

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