Friday, August 04, 2006

Comparison of Prayers - Feast of the Transfiguration

Collect (Opening Prayer)
Official Latin from the 1969 & 2002 Roman Missals
Orémus. Deus, qui fídei sacraménta in Unigéniti tui gloriósa Transfiguratióne patrum testimónio roborásti, et adoptiónem filiórum perféctam mirabíliter præsignásti, concéde nobis fámulis tuis, ut, ipsíus dilécti Fílii tui vocem audiéntes, eiúsdem coherédes éffici mereámur.
Qui tecum vivit et regnat, in unitáte Spíritus Sancti Deus, per ómnia saécula sæculórum.
Official 1973 I.C.E.L. Translation (Used at Mass in English)
Let us pray. God our Father, in the transfigured glory of Christ your Son, you strengthen our faith by confirming the witness of your prophets, and show us the splendor of your beloved sons and daughters. As we listen to the voice of your Son, help us to become heirs to eternal life with him
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Literal Translation
Let us pray. O God, You Who in the glorious Transfiguration of Your only-begotten Son confirmed the Mysteries of the Faith by the testimony of the fathers, and wondrously pre-figured the perfect adoption of Sons, grant to us Your family, that hearing the voice of Your beloved Son Himself, we may be made worthy to be made His coheirs.
Who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.

Prayer Over the Gifts
Official Latin from the 1969 & 2002 Roman Missals
Obláta múnera, quaésumus, Dómine, gloriósa Unigéniti tui Transfiguratióne sanctífica, nosque a peccatórum máculis, splendóribus ipsíus illustratiónis, emúnda.
Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.
Official 1973 I.C.E.L. Translation (Used at Mass in English)
Lord, by the transfiguration of your Son make our gifts holy, and by his radiant glory free us from our sins.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.
Literal Translation
Sanctify these offered gifts, we beseech You, O Lord, by the glorious Transfiguration of Your only-begotten Son, and by the splendor of His brightness, cleanse us from the stains of sins.
Through Christ our Lord.

Preface of the Mystery of the Transfiguration
Official Latin from the 1969 & 2002 Roman Missals
Vere dignum et iustum est, æquum et salútare, nos tibi semper et ubíque grátias ágere: Dómine, sancte Pater, omnípotens ætérne Deus: per Christum Dóminum nostrum.
Qui coram eléctis téstibus suam glóriam revelávit, et commúnem illam cum céteris córporis formam máximo splendóre pefúdit, ut de córdibus discipulórum crucis scándalum tollerétur, et in totíus Ecclésiæ córpore declaráret impléndum quod eius mirabíliter præfúlsit in cápite.
Et ídeo cum cælórum virtútibus in terris te iúgiter celebrámus, maiestáti tuæ sine fine clamántes:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus ...
Official 1973 I.C.E.L. Translation (Used at Mass in English)
Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord.
He revealed his glory to the disciples to strengthen them for the scandal of the cross. His glory shone from a body like our own, to show that the Church, which is the body of Christ, would one day share his glory.
In our unending joy we echo on earth the song of the angels in heaven as they praise your glory forever:
Holy, holy, holy ...
Literal Translation
It is truly right and just, proper and availing unto salvation, that we always and everywhere give thanks to You, O Holy Father, Almighty and Eternal God: through Christ our Lord.
Who revealed His Glory in the presence of chosen witnesses, and He filled with the greatest splendor that form of the body which He had in common with other men, so that both the scandal of the Cross might be taken away from the hearts of His disciples, and that He might manifest that filling, which wondrously shined forth in the Head, in the Body of the entire Church.
And so we on earth together with the Powers of Heaven celebrate You, proclaiming Your majesty without end:
Holy, Holy, Holy ...

Post-Communion Prayer
Official Latin from the 1969 & 2002 Roman Missals
Orémus. Cæléstia, quaésumus, Dómine, aliménta quæ súmpsimus in eius nos transfórment imáginem, cuius claritátem gloriósa Transfiguratióne manifestáre voluísti.
Qui vivit et regnat in saécula sæculórum.
Official 1973 I.C.E.L. Translation (Used at Mass in English)
Let us pray. Lord, you revealed the true radiance of Christ in the glory of his transfiguration. May the food we receive from heaven change us into his image.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.
Literal Translation
Let us pray. May the Heavenly Foods, we beseech You, O Lord, Which we have received transform us into the image of Him, Whose glory You wished to manifest through His glorious Transfiguration.
Who lives and reigns forever and ever.

Many of the Sunday prayers, I have translated over the past few years, so I just go back and re-check them and tweak them a bit for accuracy, but since this feast doesn’t usually fall on Sundays, I had to do this “from scratch” this year.

The first half of this prayer comes from the traditional prayers used at Mass. However, in that prayer it mentions the Father’s voice, but this prayer speaks of Christ’s voice. This is a complete shift which really strips the context of the feast away from the prayer. I mean, this prayer almost sounds like you could use it any day of the year. Things like this really frustrate me. Why did we have to throw out such beautiful (and theologically expressive) prayers for something so watered down and boring even in the Latin text?

Prayer Over the Gifts:
“splendóribus ipsíus illustratiónis” was difficult since the only definitions I could find for “illustrátio” were: “vivid representation” in Lewis & Short, and “brightness” and “illustration” in Shelton’s “Dictionary of Ecclesiastical Latin.” The Saint Andrew Daily Missal translates it to “glory” which is certainly more beautiful. It isn’t that literal, since it didn’t just use “glória,” but when I thought about it, when you look at the event of the Transfiguration itself, and see that the brightness of Christ’s appearance was His Glory, it makes complete sense. I will use “brightness” in my translation to be a bit more literal (but I like “glory” better, so I might tweak it next time). (However I’ll break that rule in the Post-Communion prayer)

This gave me fits for days. Finally after doing some research on the web, I realized that some of it is paraphrased from the lessons at Matins for the Transfiguration in the old rite, which is a sermon on the Transfiguration by Pope Saint Leo the Great. This helped a bit and allowed me to understand what was being said, but the linguistic gymnastics you have to do to make it sound decent in English is frustrating when trying to be literal. I am not overly fond of my translation which just seems to borderline on "dynamic equivalence" since the literal translation is pretty awkward IMHO.

Being a bit inconsistant myself and translating "claritatem" as "glory" using the reasoning above in the Prayer Over the Gifts.


Deacon Jeffery BeBeau said...

Your translation of the Preface seems to be similar to one that I undertook. You're right it is a challenging one.

What I'm curious about it how the current ICEL will translation the prefaces. Apparently the first draft is done and I have been hoping to get a look at the "Green Book."

Just two points, in you translation of the Preface you forgot, the translation of "Domine" in the protocol. I was also curious to note that you translated "cælórum virtútibus" as "Powers of Heaven." Chosing to stick closer to the 9 traditional choirs I chose to translate it "heavenly Virtues."

I really enjoy your work, I wish I was as proficient in my Latin.


Roman Sacristan said...

Oops, you're right, I did forget the first "Domine" in the preface. Thanks for pointing that out.

Yes, I have bounced back and forth with how to translate the endings of the prefaces when they refer to certain Choirs of Angels. I don't know much about the subject, so sometimes it is just based on a small note in my Lewis & Short on the ecclesiastical Latin meaning of a word. I guess I would try to favor a "Catholic" translation over a "literal" one in some instances, if that makes sense.

Thanks for the comments though, I am open to corrections or questions since the goal of this is to a) provide an accurate, literal and readable translation, and b) to encourage others to learn Latin and translate too.