10 August: Wonderful Collect for St. Lawrence

St. Lawrence the deacon and martyr is beloved of the Romans. He has many churches in the City, which is a sign of how deeply he was venerated in centuries past.

Today in the traditional form of the Roman Rite we have a wonderful Collect:

Da nobis, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus:
vitiorum nostrorum flammas extinguere;
qui beato Laurentio tribuisti
tormentorum suorum incendia superare.

I’ll let you all have at and comment!

I limit myself to these observations.

This prayer is in a vast array of the more ancient manuscripts we possess.

Its style has the elements of Roman prayers. It is terse. It is not reticent. It has an elegant verbal and conceptual parallels (the genitive – accusative – infinitive in synchesis).


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God: to extinguish the flames of our vices; thou who gave Blessed Laurence to overcome the torches of his torments.

  2. Cameron466 says:

    It’s one of the hundred reasons I wish Veterum Sapientia had won out.

    Imagine if the average Catholic knew enough Latin to understand this—and was therefore able to appreciate its beauty. You can’t entirely translate the linguistic beauty: “our” and “his” just can’t be connected in the way “nostrorum” and “suorum” are.

    It’s not impossible. Quite a lot of non-native English speakers worldwide know enough English to see beauty in Shakespeare, and I don’t just mean the brightest among them. But we’d have to want it.

  3. jaykay says:

    “our” and “his” just can’t be connected in the way “nostrorum” and “suorum” are”.

    Well said, Cameron. Beautiful assonance, with “tormentorum” as well. The reason why it’s “suorum” and not “eorum” gave me multa tormenta when I was learning Latin as a kid, lo these many years ago.

  4. mburduck says:

    His is my Confirmation (and middle) name.

    Michael Lawrence…. I am proud of “my” saints…. May they watch over all of us.

  5. WmHesch says:

    Same collect with which the bishop concludes prayers after Mass with the Familia

  6. penitent says:

    “O Almighty God, who didst grant that blessed Lawrence should overcome the fire of his torture, grant to extinguish the flames of our passions.”

    And just for fun, it loses something of its elegant simplicity, but for the sake of vaguely replicating some of the original internal goings on that are nearly unavoidable with Latin mentioned by Cameron:

    “Grant, O Almighty God, to extinguish the conflagration of our carnality, who didst grant that blessed Lawrence should overcome the pyre of his persecution.”

  7. WhiteHawk800 says:

    Thank you, Father! The current collect is fine, but this, this speaks to the visceral reality of sin and the hylomorphic reality of martyrdom.

    Here’s my English rendering of the Latin.

    “Grant us we beseech Thee, almighty God, to snuff out the flames of our vices, as Thou didst grant to the blessed Lawrence to surmount the fires of his gridirons.”

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