From a reader…
When listening to a Collect (or any similar prayer) in Latin, whether OF or EF, I notice that the priest tends to “punctuate” the final phrase as such:
“in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum.”
But in English, the same is rendered:
“…in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever.”
Is there a significant difference here, or am I overthinking it?
Interesting. This got me thinking about how I usually say or sing this conclusion.
The placement of the comma. On which side of “God”. Hmmm.
First, “one” is not in the Latin, as it is in English.
Literally, the “per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.” is “through all the ages of the ages. Amen.”, in other words “forever”. This probably has its origin in the Greek New Testament, in phrases like Philippians 4:20 wherein “doxa… glory is given to God as His proper attribute, “eis tous aionas ton aionon, amen… unto the ages of the ages, amen”. It occurs in Revelation quite a few times in the heavenly liturgy seen by John. Hence, it seems like a pretty good thing to say in our liturgical worship.
In the Latin Missale Romanum there is usually placed a period or comma (depending on the moment) between Deus and per. Punctuation in the Missale tends to indicate how the prayer is to be sung. As far as the English is concerned, it seems to me that there should probably be a comma also after God.
By the way, there is another punctuation issue in the Sanctus. In the Latin Missale we find it:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabbaoth.
The last part, Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabbaoth, goes together.
In the obsolete ICEL we suffered with for so long, and which some people seem to want back:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might.
In the current ICEL:
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.
Commas matter. Is there is a difference between:
Let’s eat grandpa.
Let’s eat, grandpa.
Consider the series or “Oxford comma”. Say I wanted to dedicate my upcoming novel …
… to my parents, Card. Sarah, and Card. Burke.
… to my parents, Card. Sarah and Card. Burke.
Lawsuits have been won and lost over the absence or the position of a comma. If memory serves millions of dollars exchanged hands not too long ago over a comma.
Ah, the Oxford comma! Discussion abounds, per omnia saecula saeculorum.