Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New Translation #1: Non sum dignus

The New Translation came into use on Sunday in Canada (and the rest of North America). My kids didn't like the change, but then I guess they don't like any change (any more than they like me changing the things I cook for them).

Most striking for me immediately was the Domine non sum dignus. A couple of years ago I attended an EF Missa Cantata at St Mungo's in Glasgow. The power of the original (and the weakness of the new translation) impressed itself upon me and there after I would repeat the Latin three times before Communion as a private devotion.

We are used to saying ‘Lord I am not worthy to receive you’ ... This changed to: ‘Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed’. This is almost exactly what the Roman Centurion said when he came and begged Jesus to heal his servant. When Jesus says he will come to the Centurion’s house, the man knows that Jesus doesn’t need to do that, that just his word will be enough. The Centurion says: ‘Lord I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word and my servant will be healed’. Our new reply changes only one word of the Centurion’s speech - my servant became my soul will be healed.

I am becoming more and more cross at the 1970 translation. I've used it for 40 years of my life. I feel short-changed by it. It treated us, the laity, like a bunch of dumbass kindergarten kids who couldn't possibly spot a literary allusion. I also dislike the fact that they felt they knew better than the Holy See what the words of Mass should be. Who the heck did they think they were? And why did the Bishops' Conferences let them get away with? Not trained liturgists, probably.

Interestingly, the incident was the Gospel reading for Mass yesterday:

When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress." And he said to him, "I will come and cure him." The centurion answered, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes, and to another, 'Come,' and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this,' and the slave does it." When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, "Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the heirs of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." And to the centurion Jesus said, "Go; let it be done for you according to your faith." And the servant was healed in that hour.

My youngest has not been well recently but is getting better. It has been a worrying time with more visits to hospital etc. This reading has given me so much comfort.

Would that I had the faith of the Centurion.


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