Listen to the Word
trasting images of God are grammatically possible.
Divine reconciliation E
ither God tests us with dissension to prepare us for reconciliation, or through experience we know that God helps people to reconcile. Both con-
Source: First inserted into the Missale Romanumof 2002, the prayer has similarities to the Vatican II pastoral constitution on the Church, Gaudium et Spes, articles 28, 78, 92.
Analysis of literary forms The first of three sentences describes the human situation, the divine action and inten- tion. The second gives three examples of the divine intention and the third gives three results of divine action. I have not discerned a con- fession of faith in this Preface, whose genre is more like an instruction or homily that describes what we know God does. Premise:The human state is described as,
Cum enim genus humanum dissensione sit atque discordia divisum, “For although the human race has been divided by dissension and discord”, given in the present as, “For though the human race is divided by dissen- sion and discord”. Means, premise: Reflecting on human
experience, we acknowledge God’s hand at work, experiendo tamen cognovimus, “yet by experiencing we know”, given as “yet we know [that] by testing us”. What we know is te ani- mos flectere, “that you turn hearts”, given as “that [by testing us] you change our hearts”. In the study text the subject of experiendo is “us”; we experience. In the official English text the subject is “God”, God tests, and the state- ment is personal in that God changes ourhearts by testing us, suggesting perhaps that the human dissension and discord just mentioned are a form of divine test. Purpose: The divine intent in changing human hearts is ut sint ad reconciliationem parati, “so that they be disposed for recon- ciliation”, given as “to prepare them for reconciliation”. The subject of the Latin is the hearts; hearts are disposed, hearts reconcile. The official English makes the subject God, who changes hearts in order to prepare hearts. Premise: Experience teaches that God is at work in human dissension and discord, not to test us but to stir the hearts of people, Per Spiritum namque tuum permoves hominum corda, “For indeed, through your Spirit you stir the hearts of people”, given as, “Even more, by your Spirit you move human hearts”. The
Roman Missal 2010 For though the human race is divided by dissension and discord,
yet we know that by testing us you change our hearts to prepare them for reconciliation.
Even more, by your Spirit you move human hearts that enemies may speak to each other again, adversaries may join hands, and peoples seek to meet together.
By the working of your power it comes about, O Lord, that hatred is overcome by love,
revenge gives way to forgiveness,
and discord is changed to mutual respect.
© International Commission on English in the Liturgy.
official English emphasises even more the Spirit moving human hearts in contrast to God test- ing us. Three purposes: The divine intent in
changing people is so that they may recon- cile, ut inimici iterum in colloquia veniant, “so that enemies may come again for dialogue”, given as, “that enemies may speak to each other again”; adversarii manus coniungant, “adver- saries may join hands”; populi sibi obviam quaerant venire, “peoples may seek to come face to face with each other”, given without the auxiliary “may”, “and peoples seek to meet together”. The construction of quaerant fol- lowed by the infinitive, here venire, is less than standard. Premise: The ablative absolute describes
the action of God’s power, Tua operante vir- tute, “As your power works”, given as a phrase of nouns, “By the working of your power”. Premise, invocation: The divine intention does in fact become reality, fit etiam, Domine, “it also happens, O Lord”, given as, “it comes about, O Lord”. Three results: The human experience of
Missale Romanum2008 … Christum.
Cum enim genus humanum dissensione sit atque discordia divisum,
experiendo tamen cognovimus te animos flectere,
ut sint ad reconciliationem parati.
Per Spiritum namque tuum permoves hominum corda, ut inimici iterum in colloquia veniant,
adversarii manus coniungant, populi sibi obviam quaerant venire.
Tua operante virtute fit etiam, Domine,
ut odium vincatur amore, ultio cedat indulgentiae, discordia in mutuam dilectionem convertatur.
Study text … Christ. For although the human race has been divided by dissension and discord,
yet by experiencing we know that you turn hearts so that they be disposed for reconciliation.
For indeed, through your Spirit you stir the hearts of people so that enemies may come again for dialogue, adversaries may join hands, peoples may seek to come face to face with each other.
As your power works, it also happens, O Lord,
that hatred is conquered by love, revenge gives way to gentleness,
disagreement is changed into mutual esteem.
Prepared in collaboration with Frs James Leachman OSB and Reginald Foster OCD.
this divine reality is expressed in three result clauses, subjunctive in Latin but properly ren- dered in the indicative in English, ut odium vincatur amore, “that hatred is conquered by love”, given as, “that hatred is overcome by love”; ultio cedat indulgentiae, “revenge gives way to gentleness”, given as, “revenge gives way to forgiveness”; discordia in mutuam dilec- tionem convertatur, “disagreement is changed into mutual esteem”, given as, “and discord is changed to mutual respect”.
Summary No other prayer gives such a concrete description of divine action in the social con- text as this Preface. It names the divine intention that elicits the cooperation of people in their reconciliation with one another. It describes the results that come about when people reconcile and discerns latent in these results the divine handiwork.
■Daniel McCarthy OSB is a monk of St Benedict’s Abbey, Kansas, who writes on and teaches liturgy.
17 September 2011 | THE TABLET | 15
This prayer suggests that God does test us – but that idea is not contained in the original Latin, to which the prayer is supposed to adhere, writes Daniel McCarthy
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