Over the last ten months we Catholics have been continually surprised by the new translations of the Mass, not only of the fixed parts, e.g., the Canon, but also of those parts that change from week to week, i.e., the collect, the prayer over the gifts, and the prayer following Holy Communion. This last Sunday we heard one of the most glorious of these prayers.
The Latin of the collect for last Sunday, the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, reads:
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui abundantia pietatis tuae et merita supplicium excedis et vota, effunde super nos misericordiam tuam, ut dimittas quae conscientia metuit, et adicias quod oratio non praesumit.
The 1974 Roman Missal offers a choice between two prayers:
Almighty and eternal God, Father of the world to come, your goodness is beyond what our spirit can touch and your strength is more than the mind can bear. Lead us to seek beyond our reach and give us the courage to stand before your truth.
“Father, your love for us surpasses all our hopes and desires. Forgive our failings, keep us in your peace and lead us in the way of salvation.”
Last Sunday, however, we were treated to the following:
Almighty ever-living God, who in the abundance of your kindness surpass the merits and the desires of those who entreat you, pour out your mercy upon us to pardon what conscience dreads and to give what prayer does not dare to ask.
It does not require much knowledge of Latin to see that this new rendering is much more faithful not only to the letter but also to the spirit of the original. Helpful observations on this prayer in particular may be found here and here. (image via Wikipedia)