Monday, July 19, 2010

Dirigere et sanctificare

Curiously, the Book of Common Prayer includes the following Collect, sometimes styled the "Collect for Grace and Mercy to Keep the Commandments"; the 1764 Scottish Episcopalian liturgy, and its daughter the American Episcopalian from the 1789 down through the 1928 B.C.P., inserted it (in place of the dreadfully Erastian Collect for the King or Queen) as a fitting prayer to follow the Commandments or Summary of the Law – I say curiously, for it is none other than the Dominican version (used at Pretiosa) of the Roman prayer at the end of Prime.  Herewith, the Anglican prayer:

O ALMIGHTY Lord, and everlasting God, vouchsafe, we beseech thee, to direct, sanctify, and govern, both our hearts and bodies, in the ways of thy laws, and in the works of thy commandments; that through thy most mighty protection, both here and ever, we may be preserved in body and soul; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

This is a right noble prayer, a true piece of valuable Anglican patrimony fit for enriching the Church, as Anglicanorum cœtibus states.

Next, the exact Latin equivalent, as found in various sources I have consulted:

DIRIGERE et sanctificare et regere dignare, Domine Deus omnipotens et æterne, quæsumus, corda et corpora nostra in lege tua, et in operibus mandatorum tuorum; ut hic et in æternum, te auxiliante, et corpore et anima sani et salvi mereamur; per Dominum et Salvatorem nostrum Jesum Christum.  Amen.

(This is at least partly a back-translation into Latin of Cranmer's free rendering and amendment of the Sarum prayer behind it.)

The Dominican recension, doubtless a twin of the Sarum original behind Cranmer's:

Dirigere et sanctificare digneris, Domine, sancte Pater, omnipotens æterne Deus, hodie corda et corpora nostra in lege tua et in operibus mandatorum tuorum; ut hic et in æternum, te auxiliante, semper salvi esse mereamur.  Per Christum Dominum nostrum.  Amen.

The Roman, which is longer (redoubling the opening phrase with the infinitives regere et gubernare, adding in the threefold sensus sermones et actus nostros, and doubling salvi with liberi), and addressed, in the Gallican manner, to Christ rather than to God the Father (hence the address Domine Deus, Rex cæli et terræ... Salvator mundi):

Dirigere et sanctificare, regere et gubernare dignare, Domine Deus, Rex cæli et terræ, hodie corda et corpora nostra, sensus, sermones et actus nostros in lege tua et in operibus mandatorum tuorum, ut hic et in æternum, te auxiliante salvi et liberi esse mereamur, Salvator mundi, qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum.  Amen.

And, lastly, the even more elaborate Ambrosian version, from the long preces used at Prime:

Dirígere, custodire, sanctificáre, régere et gubernáre digneris, omnipotens æterne Deus, Rex et Creator cæli et terræ, hódie et semper corda et córpora nostra, sensus et sermónes nostros, actus et cogitationes nostras, in via et in lege tua et in opéribus mandatórum tuórum: ut possimus placere in conspectu tuo: et Angelus tuus bonus semper comitetur nobiscum ad dirigendos pedes nostros in viam pacis et salutis, ut hic et in ætérnum per te, Domine, et per tuam gratiam semper salvi et líberi esse mereámur, Jesu Christe, mundi Salvátor: Qui vivis et regnas in sæcula sæculórum.  Amen.

This prayer is overblown: not just four but five opening infinitives, a whole extra phrase, almost a prayer within a prayer really, imploring angel guardianship (evidently derived from the Benedictus antiphon in the Itinerarium), and much, much else, nearly every phrase being elaborated.

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