Friday, June 16, 2006

The Dew of your Spirit

Our American bishops will ask that “the dew of your Spirit” (Spiritus tui rore) be changed to “the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.” Too bad they didn’t look ahead to today’s first reading, which says,

A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains
and crushing rocks before the LORD
but the LORD was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake —
but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake there was fire —
but the LORD was not in the fire.
After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.
— 1 Kings 11–12

This is perhaps more familiar in the King James version:

. . . and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

It would probably have been better to have “consubstantial” instead of “one in being,” since consubstantial is in the Catechism (nine times), is English (used without flinching into the 20th century), and has a long history in the Faith. To understand “one in being,” “of one being,” “the same nature,” “consubstantial,” etc., one has to go back to the 4th century, and whatever word or phrase is used in the liturgy, “consubstantial” will turn up in the explanation.

I hope that “incarnate” — another word that has to be explained — is in, since “et incarnatus est” is so beautiful in music. Indeed, a great point in favor of an English translation closer to the Latin is that it brings the worshiper not only closer to the Latin Mass but to the music of the past 1000 years before 1969. Expect at least a mini-Renaissance in Catholic worship as a result.
 

2 Comments:

Blogger Deep Furrows said...

I like dew, but I prefer good English words to latinate ones where feasible. I prefer "one in being" to consubstantial. Incarnate is lovely and clearer than "and became man."

Apparently "gaze" will be in the new translation of The Roman Canon; I think this went through because so many priests avoid the Roman Canon entirely, but I'll take it. My pastor uses the Roman Canon periodically.

8:51 PM  
Blogger Deep Furrows said...

I've reconsidered regarding consubstantial.

"What the Catechism does aim to do, however, is to offer elements for a common basic language of faith as well as for a renewal of the common memory of Christians. After all, as the one People of God, Christians are the possessors of a common history." (Joseph Ratzinger: Gospel, Catechesis, Catechism, p 62).

Fred

2:45 PM  

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