Sunday, June 20, 2010

Rite of Institution, Part 1


After the Preface the Holy Holy Holy stays the same, with the exception of the first line, which now reads "Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts." The new version is a line from Isaiah 6, in which Isaiah sees a vision of angels attending on the Lord in Heaven. They call to one another "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory."

For some the line may be a little less straightforward than our current "Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might." (Who are these "hosts" of which we speak?) But the underlying idea, us quite literally joining the choirs of angels, makes sense.

What follows for quite a spell is pretty similar to what we already know.

You are indeed Holy, O Lord,
the fount of all holiness.
Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray,
by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall,
so that they may become for us
the Body and Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

At the time he was betrayed and entered willingly into his Passion,
he took bread and, giving thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying:
TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND EAT OF IT,
FOR THIS IS MY BODY, WHICH WILL BE GIVEN UP FOR YOU.


The invitation that the Spirit come upon the gifts like "dewfall" is new, and nicely poetic, if a little passive in its take on the Spirit.

Otherwise, it's just changes of order, really, with some somewhat more awkward extended constructions. Sometimes you wonder about the strength of the changes. Is "fount" really better than "fountain"? Do we need "we pray" before the petition that follows? It seems to break the chain of thought (and it's obvious that this is something we are praying for, isn't it?).

But again, this translation is all about being faithful to the Latin.

What's really challenging is what comes next. More on that tomorrow...