Is Anybody There?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says Yahweh Sabaoth" Zach 4:6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dio di Signore, nella Sua volontà è nostra pace!" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin 1759

Saturday, April 07, 2012

They're BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The bees that is. 
So what am I talking about???? I am talking about the The English translation of the 3rd edition of the Roman Missal restoring the line about the bees to the Exsultet (Praeconium Paschale). In the Latin text there are the following lines towards the end:

per ministrórum manus
de opéribus apum,

(the work of bees
and of your servants’ hands,)

& a little latter:
Alitur enim liquántibus ceris,
quas in substántiam pretiósæ huius lámpadis
apis mater edúxit
(for it is fed by melting wax,
drawn out by mother bees to build a torch so precious
.)

The disfunctional (dynamic) equivalent English translation that came out of the ICEL after the 1st edition was issued in 1970 left them out for some totally unknown reason. (Note: While for the most part the Cistercians now use the Roman rite for the Mass, they do include the bees text when they pray the Exsultet in the Easter Vigil liturgy. Like most Cistercian monasteries, at New Melleray Abbey they also follow the early Church practice of the vigil starting late at night so that the Mass doesn't start until after midnight on Easter Sunday.)
Like I said, I have no idea why that section was totally left out back in the early 70s. It makes no sense to me. Maybe the translator had a thing against bees? Or maybe he thought it was too poetic? Or maybe, since the old translation does have its moments, he thought there was too much poetry?
I want to make it clear that the old translation, despite its flaws, does have a beauty in it that was often missing elsewhere in the previous translation. The old translation of the Exultet was much better than much of the rest of the English translation. To some extent it was what a good dynamic equivalent should be, even with the ommissions etc.
The new translation isn't a slavish word for word translation. While there are some parts that could be translated more accurately, it does come across as more poetic than the older version. (You can check out Fr. Z's 2009 translation here for a slightly different take.) It also comes across as much more complete. & in the end, that is what makes me happy it is here.
  


Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven,
exult, let Angel ministers of God exult,
let the trumpet of salvation sound aloud our mighty King’s triumph!
Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her,
ablaze with light from her eternal King,
let all corners of the earth be glad,
knowing an end to gloom and darkness.
Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice,
arrayed with the lighting of his glory,
let this holy building shake with joy,
filled with the mighty voices of the peoples.


(Therefore, dearest friends,
standing in the awesome glory of this holy light,
invoke with me, I ask you, the mercy of God almighty,
that he who has been pleased to number me, though unworthy, among the Levites,
may pour into me his light unshadowed,
that I may sing this candle’s perfect praises.)


(V/: The Lord be with you.
R/: And with your spirit.)
V/: Lift up your hearts.
R/: We lift them up to the Lord.
V/: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
R/: It is right and just.


It is truly right and just,
with ardent love of mind and heart,
and with devoted service of our voice,
to acclaim our God invisible, the almighty Father,
and Jesus Christ, our Lord, his Son, his Only Begotten.
Who for our sake paid Adam’s debt to the eternal Father,
and pouring out his own dear Blood
wiped clean the record of our ancient sinfulness.
These then are the feasts of Passover,
in which is slain the Lamb, the one true Lamb,
whose Blood anoints the doorposts of believers.


This is the night, when once you led our forebears,
Israel’s children, from slavery in Egypt
and made them pass dry-shod through the Red Sea.
This is the night that with a pillar of fire banished the darkness of sin.
This is the night that even now, throughout the world,
sets Christian believers apart from worldly vices and from the gloom of sin,
lending them to grace, and joining them to his holy ones.
This is the night when Christ broke the prison-bars of death,
and rose victorious from the underworld.
Our birth would have been no gain, had we not been redeemed.


O wonder of your humble care for us!
O love, O charity beyond all telling,
to ransom a slave you gave away your Son!
O truly necessary sin of Adam, destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!
O happy fault that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!
O truly blessed night, worthy alone to know the time and hour
when Christ rose from the underworld!


This is the night of which it is written:
The night shall be as bright as day, dazzling is the night for me, and full of gladness.
The sanctifying power of this night dispels all wickedness,
washes faults away, restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners,
drives out hatred, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty.
On this, your night of grace, O holy Father,
accept this candle, a solemn offering,
the work of bees and of your servants’ hands,
an evening sacrifice of praise, this gift from your most holy Church.


But now we know the praises of this pillar,
which glowing fire ignites for God’s honour,
a fire into many flames divided,
yet never dimmed by sharing of its light,
for it is fed by melting wax,
drawn out by mother bees to build a torch so precious.


O truly blessed night,
when things of heaven are wed to those of earth,
and divine to the human.
Therefore, O Lord, we pray you that this candle,
hallowed to the honour of your name,
may persevere undimmed,
to overcome the darkness of this night.
Receive it as a pleasing fragrance,
and let it mingle with the lights of heaven.


May this flame be found still burning by the Morning Star:
the one Morning Star who never sets, Christ your Son,
who coming back from death’s domain
has shed his peaceful light on humanity
and lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen

For more on why the bees matter: Of Bees, the Exsultet, a Paschal Candle (and Pius XII)

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