WDTPRS: Tuesday in the 2nd Week of Lent

Custodi, Domine, quaesumus,
Ecclesiam tuam propitiatione perpetua,
et quia sine te labitur humana mortalitas,
tuis semper auxiliis et abstrahatur a noxis,
et ad salutaria dirigatur.

Propitiatio in its fundamental meaning meanings and “an appeasing, atonement, propitiation”. The dictionary of liturgical Latin Blaise also gives us a view of the word as “favor”. This makes sense. God has been appeased and rendered favorable again towards us sinners by the propitiatory actions Christ fulfilled on the Cross. We have faithfully (?) renewed these through the centuries in Holy Mass. Mortalitas refers, as you might guess, to the fact that we die, our mortality. Inherent in the word is the concept that we die in our flesh. So, you ought also to hear “flesh” when you hear mortalitas.

Labitur is from labor. This is not the substantive labor but the verb, labor, lapsus. It means, “to glide, fall], to move gently along a smooth surface, to fall, slide; to slide, slip, or glide down, to fall down, to sink as the beginning of a fall”.

Auxilium, in the plural, has a military overtone. There is also a medical undertone too, “an antidote, remedy, in the most extended sense of the word”. Pair this up with noxius, a, um, which points at things which are injurious or harmful. There is a moral element as well or “a fault, offence, trespass”.

PenanceSalutare, is (n) is “salvation, deliverance, health” in later Latin and the Vulgate. This is a very interesting word, which I wrote about at length in one of my weekly columns. You remember. That was the time I put the English version into Shakespearean iambic pentameter. Suffice to say, a “health” is like a “toast”.

Guard your Church, O Lord, we beseech You,
with perpetual favor,
and since without You our mortal flesh slides toward ruin
by means of your helping remedies let it be pulled back from injuries
and be guided unto saving healths.

There are different ways to do this, but I wanted to place in evidence the image of health and the flesh and medicine.

An important Patristic, Christological image in the ancient Church is Christus Medicus, the Christ “Physician”. He is the doctor of the ailing soul. St. Augustine does amazing things with this image.

Guard your Church, we pray, O Lord, in your unceasing mercy,
and, since without you mortal humanity is sure to fall,
may we be kept by your constant helps from all harm
and directed to all that brings salvation

Lord, watch over your Church,
and guide it with your unfailing love.
Protect us from what could harm us
and lead us to what will save us.
Help us always, for without you we are bound to fail

You decide.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. moon1234 says:

    And the 1962 Collect:

    Perfice, quæsumus, Dómine, benígnus in nobis observántiæ sanctæ subsídium: ut, quæ auctóre faciénda cognóvimus, te operánte impleámus. Per Dominum nostrum.

    Mercifully perfect within us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the aid given us by their holy observance: that what by Thine instructions we know we should do, by Thine assistance we may do it. Through our Lord.

    A totally different and more repenting tone. The older prayers during lent have more of a remorse for sin and call to repentence feel.

  2. Henry Edwards says:

    Seems to me that the lame-duck ICEL for today is not as bad as usual.

  3. HighMass says:

    What a Priceless Picture! For those of us who came up in 50’s/60’s before pictures like this went into the trash…….To remind us our Lord is right in the confessional with us!

    How Catholic!

  4. APX says:

    Henry Edwards says:
    Seems to me that the lame-duck ICEL for today is not as bad as usual.

    I actually prefer the last line of the ICEL version to that of the new translation.

  5. Paul says:

    Without a doubt, that is one my favorite illustrations. It moves me nearly to tears, each time I see it and consider the mercy Christ shows us through the Church.

  6. BobP says:

    As usual, Fr.Z, your explanations are better than any translation.

  7. Brooklyn says:

    I, too, love this picture, not only for the reminder that Christ is in the confessional with us, but I love how nicely the little boy and girl are dressed (despite the fact that the little girl has nothing on her head). I am old enough to remember the days when “Sunday Best” had a literal meaning. I will be downloading this picture to my IPod.

  8. jaykay says:

    Henry Edwards:

    yes, I’d agree that the current ICEL isn’t as dire as usual, despite their inclusion of “love” for “propitiatio”, but then it seems to have been almost mandatory for them to include “lurve” at every possible opportunity – ‘cos it’s all you need, really, isn’t it? (well, it was the early 70s and they were in their 60s hangover… come to think of it, a lot of them have remained there).

    I do like the new version, although I personally would probably have omitted the comma between “and” & “since” in the second line. I know it’s introducing a subordinate clause, but I just think it flows better without the comma. That’s a really minor point, however.

    I so look forward to November. Even if the new prayers are not “perfect” they are dignified and restrained (e.g. not referring to “lurve” at every hand’s turn) and convey very well the Roman solemnitas of the originals. They use adult language that stops and makes you think, not the easy-peasy, unchallenging kid-talk of the current versions. Solid food, not gloop.

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