Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ferial Matins

I left Matins to-day till the afternoon, when I paid a visit to the Church of the Apostles after work to pray.  The Lessons were from Colossians i, 1-18 - which put me in mind of the use in the modern Office of Colossians i, 12-20 (with the opening gratias agentes changed to gratias agamus, so as to provide a principal verb) as a New Testament Canticle at Vespers on Wednesdays:
[Let us give] thanks to God the Father, 
Who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light: 
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, 
and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 
In Whom we have redemption *through his blood*', 
the remission of sins; 
Who is the image of the invisible God, 
the firstborn of every creature:
For in Him were all things created 
in heaven and on earth, 
visible and invisible, 
†whether thrones, or dominations, 
or principalities, or powers:†' 
all things were created by Him and in Him, 
and He is before all, 
and by Him all things consist. 
And He is the Head of the body, the Church, 
Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; 
that in all things He may hold the primacy: 
because in Him, it hath well pleased the Father, that all fullness should dwell; 
and through Him to reconcile all things unto Himself, 
making peace through the Blood of His Cross, 
both as to the things that are on earth, and the things that are in heaven.
(I have given here the Douay version, as closely faithful to the Vulgate; the Neo-Vulgate of the modern Office is not notably different, excepting only that the section *-*' above, in Latin per sanguinem ejus, is not in the Neo-Vulgate.  Stupidly, the English version of the modern Divine Office is bowdlerized for the tender sensibilities of liberals and modernists, by omitting from verse 16 the words marked †-†', in the modern Latin sive throni sive dominationes sive principatus sive potestates, lest they suggest to the skeptical and misbelieving some of the names of the choirs of the Angels!)

Again, as I've noted previously, the use of canticles from the Old Testament is immemorial at Lauds (and at Vigils in the Monastic Rite), and of course the three Gospel canticles are the highlights of Lauds, Vespers and Compline; if St Pius X added extra canticles to Lauds, as he did, then it seems reasonable to allow Paul VI to add New Testament canticles to Vespers.  I certainly used the modern Office with profit and devotion for well over a decade, and do miss a number of its refinements even though I've gone over to the 1962 Breviary.  It would be a good thing to dwell on these words of St Paul in the passage given above, and often to recite and pray them.

1 comment:

scruplespoon said...

yes, thanks for the observation of the change in translation from the modern Latin to the modern English version of the Colossians Canticle.

I often pray the modern Latin breviary when on my own but have never noticed that difference.

Maybe when I'm back at the seminary and praying in common again I might just add "through his blood" and think of the choirs of angels when praying this Canticle.