Unexpected Returns

Anyone who knows me is not surprised that I find the current English mass translation to be rather poor. In general the translation seems poor, cumbersome and does not invoke a sense of beauty or better understanding of what we celebrate. I find it distancing.

There is an exception: one of the responses I learned, and repeated,  from the beginnings of my journey within the Roman Church went this way:

Lord, I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the Word and I shall be healed.

The current translation is now:

Lord, I am not worthy for You to enter under my roof, but only say the Word and my soul shall be healed.

(OK, I’m not positive I have the words exactly correct, but I think I do.)

It’s the “enter under my roof” and “my soul will/shall be healed” that have had the impact. When I heard and said the former version, I was focussed strictly on the Host — that little wafer that I received. Not that this is a bad thing, but the “enter under my roof” and the addition of the word “soul” seem to broaden my understanding. I now reflect on allowing God to enter into my “house” – into my “home” — into my life in general. My house is the world, the heart and the mind where I live.  When I say the words “under my roof” it calls up a vision of welcoming God into that space where I live. And, the grounding for where I live, day to day, in physical terms or in emotional or spiritual terms is my soul.

Now, I’m not sure what the intent of the change was. For me, this opens doors. It gives me something more concrete to work with. It points to the places where I live and to the reasons and forces that empower me to move day by day. What a beautiful surprise!



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One Response to Unexpected Returns

  1. Toma' February 8, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

    Truly, I understand your feeling. I myself could say, the previous translations sounds more “friendly”. But the present leads not only to the Latin texts of Ordo Missae: “Dòmine, non sum dignus, UT INTRES SUB TECTUM MEUM, sed tantum dic verbo et sanàbitur ànima mea.” but to the original text in the Gospel too: “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you ENTER UNDER MY ROOF. Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed. (Luke 7:6-7)

    However if it can please you and calm your feelings: In Polish we say “Panie, nie jestem godzien, ABY? PRZYSZED? DO MNIE, ale powiedz tylko s?owo, a B?DZIE UZDROWIONA DUSZA MOJA” which sounds in English: “Lord, I am not worthy to have You come to me, but say a word, and healed will be my soul”.

    If there was no Tower of Babel in the past life would be much easier for translators.

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