Fun With Latin! “The makeup of the cosmos.”

In preparing an article for The Catholic Herald, the UK’s best Catholic weekly, I ran across something fun I wrote for the now concluded WDTPRS series’ look at the Third Eucharistic Prayer.


Mundus, a, um is an adjective for “clean, cleanly, nice, neat, elegant” and “morally pure, upright, free from sin” as in the famous phrases from the Vulgate “cor mundum crea in me Deus… create in me a pure heart O God” (Ps 50 (51):12) and, “beati mundo corde … blessed are the pure of heart” (Matthew 5:8).  In the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, before the the Gospel the priest says the prayer called the Munda cor meum:

“Cleanse my heart and my lips, O Almighty God, Who cleansed the lips of the Prophet Isaiah with a burning coal.  In Your gracious mercy deign so to purify me that I may worthily proclaim Your holy Gospel.”

As an aside, mundus, -i refers in the first place to “a woman’s dress or ornamentation” such as cosmetics. It is also “the universe, the world, esp. the heavens and the heavenly bodies” and thus “the earth, the inhabitants of the earth, mankind”.   This is the equivalent of the Greek kosmos, whence is derived English cosmos and cosmetics.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    I suggest that the entire WDTPRS series be permanently archived somewhere for reference, arranged in order of the liturgical year, as a warning to future generations never, never, never to get involved with “dynamic equivalence” (which we now know is neither).

  2. James Joseph says:

    Sometimes (once or twice per week) I recite through the most of the fixed parts of the Extraordinary Form folded into a decade of the Rosary; most of the time at a place where there is a tabernacle.

    I am quite fond of that part of the holy Mass. It’s poetic and full of meaning and virtuous intent. It now became fonder for me.

    As a bonus, I find reading the Gospel and Psalms and Epistles and other prayers teaches me quite a bit about the Faith. I had heard it said that if a Catholic wants to learn what the Church teaches, recite the Missals. Now, I know it is holy Ralphael Archangel that stirs the waters at Baptism thanks to his feastday Gospel being tied to Tobit.

  3. Brad says:

    Three cheers for wonderful, charming, Book of Tobit and St. Raphael!

    Down with asmodeus.

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