Listen to the Word
the study text is presented to reveal the mean- ing of the Latin as fully as possible, while the Roman Missal is approved for public procla- mation beginning later this year.
Drawn in by candlelight G
ratefully we present the official
version of this prayer from the new translation of the Missale Romanum, keeping in mind that
PRESENTATION OF THE LORD, PREFACE
Source: Composed for the Missale Romanum of 1970, the first line is a blend of two early prayers. One is the opening prayer for the feast of ypapanti, a Latinised Greek word mean- ing “a coming to meeting”, from the Sacramentary of Paduafrom around 670-80. The other is a preface from a collection added to the Tridentinum early in the ninth century. The second line is from the canticle of the
prophet Simeon who with the prophetess Anna spoke about the child, whom he called: “lumen ad revelationem gentium et gloriam plebis tuae Israel [a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel]” (Luke 2: 32; Vulgate, NRS). Simeon was guided by the Spirit, as the Scriptures and the Preface indicate.
Analysis of literary forms The relative clause is so synthetically inte- grated with a participial clause as to prove difficult to separate. Confession: We give thanks because in the proclamation of the Scriptures and now in prayer we acclaim Christ in the relative clause, Quia coaeternus … tuus Filius … glo- ria Israel et lumen gentium a Spiritu declaratur, “because your co-eternal Son … is declared by the Spirit the glory of Israel and the light of the peoples”, which is recast in the past as “For your co-eternal Son … and [was] revealed by the Spirit as the glory of Israel and Light of the nations”. First motor: Our confession of faith is prompted by Christ’s presentation in the tem- ple stated in the participial clause, hodie in templo … praesentatus, “presented in the tem- ple today”, The official translation slightly restructures the text as two confessions by rephrasing this participial clause as a finite sentence set in the past, “your Son was pre- sented on this day in the temple”. Second motor: The concluding formula of the Preface provides the transition to the Sanctus. The first action is given in the particip- ial clause, Salutari tuo in gaudiis occurrentes, “going out to meet your salvation with joy”, rephrased as “we … go forth, rejoicing to encounter your salvation”.
Roman Missal 2010 … God. For your co-eternal Son was presented on this day in the Temple and revealed by the Spirit as the glory of Israel and Light of the nations. And so, we, too, go forth, rejoicing to encounter your Salvation,
and with the Angels and Saints
praise you, as without end we acclaim:
Commission on English in the Liturgy
Premise: The direct statement of what we are doing is Unde et nos … cum Angelis et Sanctis te laudamus, “Wherefore … we with the angels and saints also praise you”, given as, “And so, we, too … and with the angels and saints praise you”. Third motor: We make the angelic hymn our own with the words sine fine dicentes, “without end saying”, rephrased as a finite sen- tence “as without end we acclaim”.
Summary The early-ninth-century source Preface recounts at length the story of salvation in the Incarnation and the presentation of the Christ Child in the temple. It provides a meditation on this event elaborated in contradictory images such as: “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons for sacrifice hardly substitutes for the possessor of heaven and earth”. A sim- ilar elaboration of contrasting images is found in the meditations on the Scriptures given in homilies by Augustine or Leo. In the reform of the liturgy after the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) this pref- ace provides a fine example of the noble simplicity typical of Roman prayer. It sheds the elaborate narration of salvation history, more typical of later prayers, to produce the present synthetically interwoven text. One pair of contrasting opposites remains in the jux- taposition coaeternus hodie, “co-eternal today”. Prior to the council, as today, the gospel recounts the events of the presentation, and
Prepared in collaboration with Frs James Leachman OSB and Reginald Foster OCD.
the homily provides opportunity for a med- itation on the scriptural images, thereby allowing the prayer to focus specifically on one truth central to the faith: acclaiming the Christ. Readers will recognise from the Preface of the Epiphany the contrast between the light of the star drawing the Magi and in them the nations to adore Christ and the glory of God revealed in Christ to those who believe. That contrast echoes here between the glory of Israel and the light of the peoples, nations, tribes; yet this preface develops this thought two steps further. The response of the praying assem- bly is first to run out to meet God’s salvation, Jesus Christ, and to praise God without end. Second, the prayer incorporates the first two words of the Vatican II Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, indicating that the Church is to be that light in the world draw- ing others to see in Christ the glory of God. The eucharistic liturgy on this day begins with the blessing of candles and a procession into church. At baptism, the newly baptised, also called the illuminated, receive a lighted candle, the light of Christ. According to the logic of the Epiphany and this prayer, candle - light is intended not for interior worship but for drawing the nations through evangelisa- tion so that perceiving God’s glory in Christ, all peoples may join the angels in their unend- ing hymn of praise.
■Daniel McCarthy OSB is a monk of St Benedict’s Abbey, Kansas, who writes and teaches on liturgy.
29 January 2011 | THE TABLET | 13
Missale Romanum2008 … Deus: Quia coaeternus hodie in templo tuus Filius praesentatus gloria Israel et lumen gentium a Spiritu declaratur.
Unde et nos, Salutari tuo in gaudiis occurrentes, cum Angelis et Sanctis te laudamus, sine fine dicentes:
Study text … God,
because your co-eternal Son presented in the temple today is declared by the Spirit the glory of Israel and the light of the peoples.
Wherefore going out to meet your salvation with joy we with the angels and saints also praise you without end saying:
The Church is the light that draws humanity to the glory of Christ, writes Daniel McCarthy. The meeting of God and humanity occurs on this day as the faithful process into church to give thanks
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