November 28, 2011

New Translation: First 24 Hours

Well, the big day has come and gone. In the past twenty-four hours, I've celebrated three Masses with the new translation. What I notice the most is that I don't feel like I have that much to say. In some ways it felt like when I was first ordained priest; I didn't feel like I was praying that deeply because I was just trying to do and say everything properly.

Certain little things I appreciated. For the two Sunday Masses yesterday I used Eucharistic Prayer III. I loved praying from the rising of the sun to its setting, so much closer as it is to the image from the scriptures, and removing as it does the temptation of those who added a 'north to south' to the old 'east to west' in their missing of the metaphor.

I certainly notice how I hear the Latin behind the English (is that the right metaphor?) I hear the mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa in the new English Confiteor, the double dicens before the words of consecration in the way we now say 'saying' instead of 'said.' And of course I hear the calix sanguinis mei and the pro multis. Does this mean anything that I should hear the Latin under the English? I guess that goes to some of the hard questions at hand. What does Latin mean for western Christianity? Is it a historical accident? Or does God mean for it be that way? I think most folks I know would subscribe to the former theological assumption. For a sort of sed contra on a similar question on the history of human language and revelation, go read the Pope's infamous Regensburg speech, not the part that caused all the trouble, but the part about the Septuagint.

And also with you. It sure is stuck in the voice. The seminarian who served the Mass that was my first with the new translation said it straight away at the greeting, and right into my microphone. Despite looking forward to the change for so long, I said it myself to the deacon before he proclaimed the gospel at the next Mass. Just to be funny, at the Sign of Peace, when the deacon said to me, peace be with you, I said, and also with you.

Tomorrow there will be a new trouble as a fresh liturgical dubium arises for us English-speaking Franciscans. Tomorrow, you see, is the feast of All Franciscan Saints. The proper prayers for this Mass are in our proper sacramentary, which is, of course, embedded in the translation that is now suppressed. We don't have a new one according to the 3rd edition Roman Missal. So what to do? My best guess is that we take the proper prayers from the old book and the rest of the Mass from the new.


Divine Thunder said...

I'm old enough to remember the Latin Mass, so I'm overjoyed to see the changes in the Roman Missal. It brings back to the Mass some of that solemnity and personal commitment that had been lost in the name of community and fellowship. Now there is a balance between community prayer and a personal, direct communication with God. For instance, when we recite the "Creed" we now declare "I" believe in God, the Father Almighty, rather than "We" believe... To me it makes a difference. And when we say "And with your spirit" we are acknowledging that we have a spiritual dimension within ourselves, and that makes us think that we are spiritual beings. It seems to me that with the new changes we are accepting personal responsibility before God not only as a community of the faithful, His Church, but also as individuals.

Anonymous said...

When I was a kid, my Italian immigrant parents made sure to it that cultural ties be maintained by mandating that we attend the Italian mass on Sunday along with our grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. They maintained their ties prior to Vatican II by singing the old Latin Gloria, Santo, and Agnus Dei. Only now with the new translation do I realize that yes the English prayers sounds a lot more like the Italian I grew up with. I never thought of it prior to that. We just kinda grew up having memorized what to say in Italian and what to say in English. I never connected the two until this past Sunday. It'll take a bit of getting used to, but I like what I hear.