As a church music minister/director, I suppose I’m going to have to deal with this new translation of the Roman Missal (for English) at some point. I’ve thus far kept my head in the sand, ostrich style — and hoped that the day of reckoning won’t happen or at least wait a good long time. But, today, I read up a bit on this.


OK — I see that some folks want to make mass and the Catholic religion more mysterious, more awesome, more magical.  One thing that this makes me suspect is that these folks are hungry to experience the powerful, wonderful, awesome presence of God. Amen! But, it also seems to me, that while large, beautiful, magical churches and liturgy and evoke a sense of the power of God’s presence, it is even more powerful, awesome and enduring to experience the presence of God in my own heart and mind. In prayer — in quiet, open, honest prayer. Maybe this prayer is communal, but maybe it is that which is practiced individually on a regular basis. As when Elijah finally experienced God in the gentle, quiet after the storm, after the earthquake.

And so, I am not one who will rush toward these changes. I will probably run from them. I can always pray that somehow this foolishness is at least moderated somewhat…

But, most of all, I do ask God to continue to be present to me, no matter what.

4 Responses to Mystery

  1. Jeffrey Pinyan December 19, 2009 at 7:42 pm #

    I would suggest that it is not that people want to make Mass (and Catholicism in general) more awesome and mysterious, but rather that the Mass (and Catholicism in general) IS truly awesome and mysterious, and our current English translation does not do the Mass justice in these regards. This new translation will HELP to restore (in the English language) that sense of awe and mystery, but it certainly won’t “magically” do it on its own.

    There’s a lot of unwarranted fright and distress over the new translations, and I wonder how many people have sat down with the texts that have been made public and read them with an open mind (and an open Bible!). The link between the words of the Mass and the words of Scripture has been restored to the degree found in the Latin text.

    It also helps — though it’s not necessary — to be familiar with the Latin text of the Mass, because that will reveal how much more accurate and faithful to the normative text of the Mass this new translation will be.

    Just the thoughts of a fellow blogger who is prepared to receive these changes in a spirit of obedience, trust, and humility.

    • Liz December 19, 2009 at 8:39 pm #

      I hesitate to engage in this discussion at all. I have read some of the new language (not all); I suppose that a part of me has a gut reaction akin to: if I responded to this language form, I would have been Anglican instead of Roman Catholic. Also, although I am not overly familiar with the Latin mass, I am aware that the spanish doesn’t always correspond to the english exactly. But, then, Spanish is a romance language as is Latin, and therefore the alignment may be easier in some ways. I work with multi-lingual websites and I know that the best translations are made the one who is translating into his/her native tongue. I can make sentences in spanish, or french that are technically correct, but just aren’t how a native speaker would express the idea. In the same manner, I’m sure you have read sentences in english that are technically correct, but obviously not written by a native speaker. This seems to be a part of the issue with the “new” wording — at least, that’s how some of the phrasing sounds to my ears: technically correct, but not the way a native english speaker would say it.

      I’ll live through it — there is some much in the whole body of the teaching of the church that speaks to me. My only prayer is that I remain close to God and that I remember that living in relationship with God is the most important part.

  2. Jeffrey Pinyan December 21, 2009 at 8:06 am #

    I won’t pursue the discussion any further, then, except to say that there’s more than simply language that separates Catholics from Anglicans, but that’s a whole other topic.

  3. Liz December 21, 2009 at 8:15 am #

    Jeffrey — yes I know there is more than language that separates Catholics from Anglicans or Episcopals. And there’s less, IMHO, that separates us than many believe. And, yes, it a whole other topic.

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