Saturday, 22 December 2012



Pour forth, we beseech you, O Lord,
your grace into our hearts,
that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ your Son
was made known by the message of an Angel,
may by his Passion and Cross
be brought to the glory of his Resurrection.

In the Gregorian Sacramentary and many other manuscripts, assigned to various celebrations, including the Annunciation and the Conception of the Virgin. Occurs four times in the 1570 Missal. ‘His’ in the last line of the official translation has no parallel in the Latin, which refers to the General Resurrection rather than to the Resurrection of Christ.


May the Holy Spirit, O Lord,
sanctify these gifts laid upon your altar
just as he filled with his power
the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary.

Found in the sacramentaries of Gellone, Bobbio and Bergamo, this prayer seems to have roots outside the main Roman euchological traditions. The original found in Bobbio and Gellone translates thus:

'May the Holy Spirit, O Lord, who today filled the womb of blessed Mary with the splendours of his power, in kindness take up the gifts laid upon your altar.'

The idea of the Holy Spirit taking up the eucharistic gifts seems foreign to Roman tradition. The 1970 revision removed it, replacing assumat with sanctificet.

‘Holy’ is an interpolation of the translators, which enhances the accessibility of the prayer at the expense of diminishing its allusive quality. However, sanctus is found in the manuscripts. Translated more literally, the 1970 might read:

'May that Spirit, O Lord, who filled the womb of blessed Mary with his power, sanctify the gifts laid upon your altar'.


Having received this pledge of eternal redemption,
we pray, almighty God,
that, as the feast day of our salvation draws ever nearer
so we may press forward all the more eagerly
to the worthy celebration
of the mystery of your Son's Nativity.

Found in the Veronese and many subsequent manuscripts, this occurred twice in the 1570 Missal. In the manuscripts, the prayer begins with a statement: ‘We have received, O Lord, the pledge of eternal redemption’, and then continues with the petition. In 1570 this structure was preserved, but the 1970 editors changed the opening into a dependent clause. ‘This’ in the English has no equivalent in the Latin.
The Latin represents worthy celebration as something we pray for, whereas the English seems to assume that it will happen. Substitution of ‘a’ for ‘the’ in line 5 would restore the emphasis of the original.

I apologize for the recent silence on this blog, due to pastoral and other concerns in the approach to Christmas.