Monday, 21 January 2013



Attend to the pleas of your people with heavenly care,
O Lord, we pray,
that they may see what must be done,
and gain strength to do what they have seen.

Found in the manuscript of the Gregorian Sacramentary kept at Cambrai and known as the Hadrianum, and in many other manuscripts. In the 1570 Missal this was the Collect for the Sunday in the Octave of the Epiphany. Note the parallelism (‘both . . . and’) so common in Roman orations, perhaps influenced by the Psalms, of which parallelism is also characteristic.
The official version leaves supplicantis untranslated.

This Collect was translated for the English Book of Common Prayer thus:

LORD we beseech thee mercifully to receive the prayers of thy people which call upon thee; and grant that they may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, and also have grace and power faithfully to fulfill the same.

The doublets 'perceive and know' and 'grace and power' are characteristic of the Cranmerian style.


May your people's oblation, O Lord,
find favour with you, we pray,
that it may restore them to holiness
and obtain what they devoutly entreat.

From the Veronese Sacramentary; not in the 1570 Missal. 
Notice the parallelism between the second and third lines.
The official version alters the syntax, assisting comprehension without violating sense. Lines 2 and 3 literally mean:
‘by which may they acquire sanctification
and obtain what they devoutly request’.

Refero is used frequently in the Veronese sacramentary in the sense of ‘bring back’ or ‘carry home’.
This is a surprising use of ‘entreat’ with an inanimate object, since in Modern English it is more usual to speak of entreating a person for a thing.


Humbly we ask you, almighty God,
be graciously pleased to grant 
that those you renew with your Sacraments 
may also serve with lives pleasing to you. 

This prayer is found in many versions in many manuscripts, and has been used for many occasions during the liturgical year.. It occurs several times in the 1570 Missal.

Again, it includes a parallelism, though the translation somewhat conceals this.

‘Also’ may sound awkward to some. It translates etiam, which in the Latin joins two verbs of which God is the subject. It is hard to reproduce this in English, but a possibility would have been simply to remove ‘also’, leaving etiam untranslated.