WDTPRS – 9th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Christus MedicusBefore we head into the weekend, we should have a glance at the Collect, or “Opening Prayer” for the 9th Sunday of Ordinary Time.  In the traditional calendar it will be Quinquagesima Sunday which I will get to tomorrow.

Easter falls at a late date this year. We don’t see the 9th Sunday that often.  We have, however, dealt with this prayer before.  In the 1962MR it is the Collect for the 7th Sunday after Pentecost.  It came into the Novus Ordo untouched by the snippers and pasters of the Consilium.   The oration is in the ancient Gelasian Sacramentary as well as other old manuscripts.

Deus, cuius providentia in sui dispositione non fallitur,
te supplices exoramus,
ut noxia cuncta submoveas,
et omnia nobis profutura concedas

If you are looking in the thick L&S for submoveo you must look under summoveo: “to send or drive off or away, to remove”.  This was used of enemies.  Summoveo is also what the ancient Roman civil-servant bodyguards called lictors did.  Lictors, from ligare (“to bind, tie”), carrying bundles of white birch rods called fasces tied up around axes (when outside the City limits) with red leather straps, went before elected magistrates and sometimes Vestal Virgins.  The number of lictors you got depended on how important you were. They would sub-move people out of the way to “make room for” for the VIPs to pass.  So, summoveo can also be “to put or keep away” or “banish”.  The fasces was a symbol of the Republic.  Even though the word fasces also gave rise to the term “fascism”, these symbols are ubiquitous in Washington DC and other places of government in the USA, which is a federal constitutional republic.  You see the fasces also on the emblem of the Knights of Columbus.

Blaise/Chirat (a dictionary of liturgical Latin in French) indicates that dispositio is “disposition providentielle”.  It has to do God’s plan for salvation.  Fallo is an interesting word.  It means basically, “to deceive, trick, dupe, cheat, disappoint”.  Fallo is used to indicate things like simply being mistaken or being deceived.  It can apply to making a mistake because something eluded your notice or it was simply unknown. Fallo also has to do with circumventing, thwarting, frustrating someone or something. In our Latin conversation it is not uncommon to say nisi fallor, “unless I am deceived/mistaken…”.

Find profutura under prosum, which is “to be useful, to do good, benefit, profit”. There can be a medicinal/medical overtone. The adjective noxia (noxius) is “hurtful, harmful, injurious”.  It also means “an injurious act, a fault, offence, trespass”.  St. Ambrose of Milan (+397) juxtaposed noxia and profutura more than once (cf. Hexameron Day 3, 9, 40; Day 6, 4, 21; Exp. Lucam 2).

God, whose providence in its plan is not thwarted,
humbly we implore You,
that You clear away every fault
and grant us all benefits.

We have to make a choice about which way to go with noxia.  Does it mean “harmful things” that are outside us or that are within us, that is, our own sins, our faults?  Both?

LAME-DUCK ICEL (1973 translation of the 1970MR):
your love never fails.
Hear our call.
Keep us from danger
and provide for all our needs

Quite simply dreadful.  This may be one of the worst I have ever seen.

O God, whose providence never fails in its design,
keep from us, we humbly beseech you,
all that might harm us
and grant all that works for our good

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    “They would sub-move people out of the way to ‘make room for’ for the VIPs to pass.”

    I believe the contemporary American English club scene term for this would be “bounce”

    “O God, whose providence never fails in its design,
    keep from us, we humbly beseech you,
    all that might harm us
    and grant all that works for our good.”

    No sense at all remains, in this translation, of your interesting explanation of “submoveas”. I wonder why they opted to abandon the notion of “clear away” the “noxia” in favor of “keep us from” the “noxia”? It seems, to me, a rather less satisfying notion.

  2. skull kid says:

    I like the new, corrected prayer. The old ICEL is just a joke. I just roll my eyes each time I read them having read the literal version. They are not the same prayer!

    This is really good material for any parish meetings or whatnot when people say ‘But the translation we have is perfectly good!’ I’m intending to use it, should the need arise.

  3. rinkevichjm says:

    The corrected ICEL in this case is only slight better than the old. Using the definition in Whitaker’s Words I get
    O God, whose foresight in its arrangement is never deceived, we supplicants beg from thou, that thou let both all (our) guilt be removed and every benefit be granted us.

  4. BobP says:

    Fr. Z, your explanations were excellent. I wondered about submovere.

  5. Traductora says:

    Interesting…what does the (very gripping) engraving represent?

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