Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

In 1847, a parish priest in France asked a simple wine merchant in his church if he would compose a poem for the Christmas Mass.  He wrote the words to the music that became O Holy Night” and will be sung with great solemnity and emotion in many halls and churches throughout the world at Christmas.  It deserves to be.  This song is beautiful, and has one line inspired by God.
It says that when God came among us in the shape and form of Jesus, suddenly “the soul felt its worth! We cannot mirror ourselves; we all must be mirrored by another.  When God mirrored us through the entrance, invitation, and eyes of Jesus, the certainty of our redemption was once and for all given and accomplished.  We needed nothing further to reveal God's intentions toward us.  We were already saved by the gaze from the manger.
We sing further of “a thrill of hope” and a “new and glorious morn.”  Again, as poets and musicians so often do!  Much of the conscious or unconscious sentiment of this feast is that at Christmas, on some wonderful level, the soul finally and forever does feel its worth.

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here came the wise men from Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our Friend!
He knows our need ~ to our weakness is no stranger.
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His Gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His Name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy Name!
Christ is the Lord!  O praise His name forever!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas memories

Some time ago, I went to Radio City Musical Hall’s Christmas Spectacular in New York City – and spectacular it was.  The Rockettes danced with precision, grace and rhythm.  The scenes of the child dreaming under the tree, of opening enormous gifts each with a dancing bears or rabbits or other adorable and marvelously costumed creatures, and Santa's workshop dazzled the audience.  The ice skaters emerged from the orchestra pit on an ice rink even!  Production numbers and stage effects drew continued audience responses of awe.
At the beginning of the show a stern voice warned the audience that pictures were not to be taken.  For the most part this was observed until Santa left the North Pole, the curtain came down and after a brief silence the orchestra began to play softly and reverently "O Little Town of Bethlehem," and a narrator reminded us all that the origin of our festivities was the birth in Bethlehem of the one called “Prince of Peace,” a child born during a journey by his parents to fulfill legal requirements of the time. 
What can only be described as a procession followed.  The actors in the tabloid moved with deliberate reverence to the scene of the birth of Jesus.  As Mary and Joseph and the shepherds gathered signaling the birth with the background music, "Angels we Have Heard on High," you couldn’t count the number of flash bulbs that went off.  It was as if the audience couldn’t get enough of this magnificent and simple scene.
As I saw this and felt my own heart moved once again; I realized that there was a real need on the part of those people flashing pictures and perhaps on those without cameras to freeze this moment in time.  It was as if the theater erupted in a moment of recognition that "the Word became flesh and lived among us," and at that moment the audience glimpsed his glory, "the glory as of a Father's only Son, full of grace and truth."
Everyone in that theater had become a child and through this extraordinary presentation of the nativity we experienced the profound invitation to become a child of God and the real power of this invitation to transform the complicated maze of life into meaning. 
The gift of this blessed season is the hope we give one another as we listen to the Word of God.  In places we least expect it, the divine presence breaks into our life.  May you and yours have a blessed celebration of Christmas as we remember the birthday of Jesus again this year.  Merry Christmas to you all.

Friday, November 25, 2011

"Much Obliged"

“Much obliged” is an old fashioned phrase first noted in the Old Oxford English Dictionary in the sixteenth century.  Over the centuries, the phrase has lost some of its richness.  Originally, it meant to be bound to a person by ties of gratitude.  Today, the phrase is more often used as an automatic response to someone who has performed a mechanical service.  Unfortunately, this practice doesn’t convey the sense of truly being bound to each other by gratitude.  What a loss!
Because of that loss, many people understand the word obligation as a burden rather than a commitment and duty that flows from a relationship.  Obligation is a form of indebtedness that comes from within the heart of a relationship.  Think of the obligations that make for a rich family life.  A parent doesn’t say, “I wonder if I have to feed my children this week?”  Husbands and wives carry out countless tasks in service to each other during the course of a week and never ask, “Do I have to?”
In loving relationships, we are grateful for the gift of each other and we express that gratitude by doing right actions because we want to.  Obligatory behaviors grow out of communication, intimacy, and personal and communal relationships.  These examples can help us reflect on our “obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2041).
The heart of Sunday obligation is gratitude.  The word Eucharist means “to give thanks.”  We gather each week because we are “much obliged” to God ~ for everything.  This obligation is not an automatic response to someone who has performed a obligatory service.  We come together to “give thanks” to God, our Father who is the source of all life and creation, and to Jesus, God’s Son who gave us eternal life through his death on the Cross that is made present in every Mass as we participate again in Christ’s death and Resurrection through the Eucharist.  Each time we “attend Mass,” we bring our lives, our very selves, to the table of the Eucharist.
We gather together as a community, grateful to have each other as fellow pilgrims in faith and grateful to be nourished by the body and blood of Christ.  Just as the relationships and obligations in families are nurtured and strengthened by intimacy and communion, so too does our participation in the Eucharist nurture and strengthen our relationship with the Trinity.  Food nourishes our body in the same way that our participation in Holy Communion nourishes our spirit and unites us together as individuals and as a community in Christ.  Acting on our Sunday obligation of being “much obliged” gives us reason to be “more obliged” in the most authentic sense of obligation.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Here at the NCYC ~ National Catholic Youth Conference with another 24000 folks for the closing Mass on Saturday evening to celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. The theme for this year's gathering was "Called to Glory" ~ a very challenging theme for all.  Jesus certainly calls all of us to gather to himself, and then to more!  As the youth of the Catholic Church gathered in Indianapolis, they were given the challenge in many ways.  Time will tell if that challenge was accepted.
Let's continue to pray for these amazing young people.
Here's a photo of our small parish group...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Communion Rite

The communion rite of the Mass keeps us coming back week after week.  In it we partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, receiving our spiritual sustenance for the week ahead.  This week we’ll finish our look at the new translation of the Roman Missal.  The communion rite begins with the Lord’s Prayer and continues through the Prayer after Communion.
After the priest gives an invitation, everyone prayers the prayer Jesus himself gave us.  The priest says another short prayer and we all say another acclamation.  The words of the Lord’s Prayer haven’t changed.  We’ll continue to use the same words we’ve used our entire Christian lives.  This is the only text of the Mass that keeps the Old English pronoun “thy” in use…  “Thy will be done…, thy kingdom come.”
The Lord’s Prayer that we know has achieved a certain level of holiness.  We who speak English have used it for so long, it just can't be replaced.  The same applies to the words that conclude the Lord’s Prayer.  You’ll still conclude with: “for the Kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever,” either recited or sung.
Again, my part has changed more than yours.  I now introduce it with these words: “at the Savior’s command, and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say…”  Between the Lord’s Prayer and your acclamation, that prayer has changed even more.
Instead of asking for protection from all anxiety as I now do, I’ll pray that we be “safe from all distress.”  The prayer concerns the circumstances that cause distress, not the feeling of anxiety. 
Instead of saying, “we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our savior, Jesus Christ” I will say, “we await the blessed hope, and the coming of our savior Jesus Christ.”  The words echo the words of Saint Paul to Titus, which affirm that Christ has come and that we look forward to the blessings of his return.  Christ is our hope.  We wait for his coming ~ even when we perhaps aren’t so joyful.
After the Lord’s Prayer, the priest prays to Jesus for peace and unity in the Church.  My words are slightly different, but you will recognize them.  I will begin to say: “Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your Apostles, peace I leave with you, my peace I give you,
Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church and grant her peace and unity in accordance with your will.  Who live and reign for ever and ever.”  Whenever you hear those words, your response is: “Amen.”
Pronouns referring to the Church are now feminine; as the word “her” in this prayer.  The sign of peace is now optional, but you will rarely see it omitted.
During the breaking of the bread, when we divide the consecrated hosts into the four bowls, you sing the “Lamb of God.”  Those words haven’t changed.  There are prayers that the presider will say silently that have changed… but because they are to be done silently, you won’t hear them.
Just before communion is distributed, the priest makes an announcement.  The new translation is: “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world.  Blessed are those called to the supper of the lamb.”
You notice the words have changed… John the Baptist is quoted as he saw Jesus walking on the side of the Jordan River, he said to his followers, “Behold the Lamb of God…
“Happy” has been changed to “Blessed.”  You may be blessed even when you are filled with sorrow.  This change, together with the reference to “the supper of the Lamb,” makes clear the vision of John in the Book of Revelation.
Your reply makes two changes.  You will soon respond… “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”  Recall the Roman Centurion that asked Jesus to heal his servant, saying those words.  We imitate the humility of this centurion so that Jesus won’t avoid us, but will come to us on the strength of our virtue.
The other change is the words, “my soul shall be healed.”  We are directly asking for spiritual healing that only Jesus can bring.
When you receive communion, the words won’t change.  “The Body of Christ.”  “AMEN”  “The Blood of Christ.” “AMEN” 
You may have seen that Bishop Olmsted has issued new regulations for Communion under both kinds in our Diocese.  Those regulations were effective last week on Monday, and in effect didn’t change anything we are currently doing at St. Gabriel’s.  He is leaving the decision on communion from the chalice up to the pastor.
What Bishop Olmsted wants is a new understanding of what we do when we receive the Eucharist and a renewed reverence for the Eucharist under both kinds.  So we will still be offering communion from the cup at St. Gabriel’s.
After communion there is a moment of quiet.  After the prayer after communion, there is a blessing that may be done in a couple of ways.  There is a simple blessing, a solemn blessing, or a prayer over the people blessing.  If you hear the words: “Bow your heads and pray for God’s blessing,” simply do so.
At the dismissal, the deacon has four options now.  He can’t make things up anymore.  “Go forth, the Mass is ended,” “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord,” “God in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life,” or simply “Go in peace.”
These new formulas were promoted at a meeting of bishops in Rome recently, and included in the Missal by the Pope.  Even though the words of dismissal are new your response is the same: “Thanks be to God.”
The new translation starts, let’s embrace our opportunity to conscious, active participation!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

New guidelines

Bishop Olmsted will publish new guidelines from Communion under both Kinds in Monday's issue of the Catholic Sun. Having seen these newly released regulations, I can assure you that the practice at St. Gabriel's will not substantially change. We will talk more about the practice of receiving communion, and the fullness of the sign of the sacrament. Our special ministers of the Eucharist will also receive more intense training.
Please read Monday's issue carefully!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

November 6th

Midway through the Eucharistic Prayer, the priest has been inviting you to proclaim the mystery of faith.  The response has been one of four acclamations that we know very well.  Now we have new ones to learn.  The memorial acclamation comes just after the part of the Eucharistic Prayer that contains the words of Jesus from the Last Supper.  There are slight changes in the words that the priest uses there too, that I’ll have to get used to. 
I now say: “Take this all of you, and eat it; this is my body…”  I will soon say: “Take this all of you and eat of it, for this is my body…”  Again, the Latin language is a little more precise than English, and lets us know that we all partake of the one bread and so we become one body in Christ. 
There are more differences when the priest takes the wine.  You will notice the word “chalice” instead of “cup.”  This matches our way of referring to the vessel on the altar.  It highlights the ceremonial use of the vessel even at the Last Supper; and it matches the frequent appearance of the word “chalice” in the bible.
The new translation is: “…for this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins…”
The covenant will be called eternal instead of everlasting.  The length of God’s covenant with us can't be measured.  In place of blood that is shed, we see blood that is poured out.  The new verb underlines the fact that Jesus freely gave up his life for us.  The Passion isn’t just something that happened to Jesus, but something that he freely chose to go through.
Many people will notice the difference between blood shed for all has now been changed to shed for many.  To some, the new translation will make it sound as though Jesus had second thoughts about how many would be redeemed.
Its clear in the New Testament that Jesus came for the salvation of all people.  But the word in Latin means “many.”  This is the word we believe Jesus used at the Last Supper.  It is probably an allusion to Isaiah, chapter 53, about the suffering servant who bore the sins of “many.”
The line after this has changed from “so that sins may be forgiven” to “for the forgiveness of sins.”  There is no major difference in meaning, but the new wording is a more direct translation and a stronger statement of the reconciling ministry of Jesus, who came not that sins, “may” be forgiven, but “for the forgiveness of sins.”
The priest then announces “the mystery of faith.”  We used to say, “let us proclaim the mystery of faith.”  This is more of what appears in the Latin.  Its similar to what you hear in other parts of the Mass: “The Word of the Lord,” “The gospel of the Lord,” “The Body of Christ,” “The Blood of Christ.”  These are simple faith filled statements that call for a response. 
The priest is in the middle of a long prayer; the words are all being directed to God the Father.  In the current translation when we say, “Let us,” we suddenly shift focus and address the community and then back to the prayer directed to the Father.  By omitting the word “let us,” the new translation should help the priest keep centered on his role.
Besides, “let us” implies that the priest will also be making the acclamation, which the previous translation has encouraged him to do.  The acclamation is the community’s to make, not the priest’s.  The priest is not supposed to join you in it, any more than he should make the response to: “the body of Christ.”  He makes the announcement, you make the acclamation.  Afterward, he starts up his prayer to the Father and begins with the theme you just acclaimed; the memorial of the death and resurrection of Christ.
There are three acclamations that are in the new missal.  They resemble the ones we know, but their deeper meaning is revealed.  Probably the best known of our acclamations is going away. “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.”  It is a strong acclamation, but its weakness in this context is that is makes a statement of faith about Christ, rather than a prayer to him.  It also fails to express you role as the one who shares Eucharist and awaits its fulfillment.  The new acclamations will make this function clear.
The first two of the previous acclamations have three phrases that are very similar.  “Christ has died” is like “dying you destroyed our death.”  “Christ is risen” is like “rising you restored our life.”  “Christ will come again” is like “Lord Jesus come in glory.”  These two acclamations are based on the same Latin text, and the new translation is a more faithful rendering of the original.
Instead of three brief statements that build in intensity, this translation shows the connection between the dying and rising of Christ, and the way we proclaim it in anticipation of his coming.
There is almost no change in the next acclamation, except for timing, clarity, and rhythm.  In the last acclamation, the word order is changed.  The text now offers an explicit prayer to Jesus: “Save us.”  His two titles in the previous translation are combined into one.  Jesus has freed us by his cross and Resurrection, and for this reason we ask him to save us.
For most Catholics it is the communion rite of the Mass that keeps us returning here week after week.  This is when we partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, receiving our spiritual nourishment for the week ahead.  Next week we’ll finish our look at the new translation of the Roman Missal and look the words in our Communion and Concluding Rites.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Eucharistic Prayer

The liturgy of the Eucharist begins with the preparation of the gifts.  This part of the Mass is short, and we’ll only see a few changes to the words we use.  In most places on Sunday’s a song is sung as the gifts are collected and the altar is prepared.  The Missal calls this the Offertory Chant.
Once the priest has received the gifts and stands at the altar, he praised God, who has provided them… once for the bread and once for the wine.  These prayers are to be done “in a low voice.”  Most of the prayers as the altar is prepared are done in a low voice, according to the notes in the Roman Missal.
After the priest’s hands are ceremoniously washed, you are invited to pray.  “Pray, brothers and sisters, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.”  You may notice the expansion of the words “our sacrifice” to “my sacrifice and yours.”  In keeping with the Latin, this implies that more than one sacrifice is being offered.
On one hand, the Mass is a single sacrifice offered by all present.  On the other hand, each baptized member is offering a sacrifice, in keeping with his or her priestly role.  However, each participant in the one sacrifice of Christ.  The 1st letter of St. Peter says we are meant to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God though Jesus Christ.
Your response to this plea is changed by the addition of one single word… “May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his holy Church.”  The word holy appears in Latin, so its being added to the English.  The reason the Lord will hear the prayer and accept the sacrifice of the priest has to do with the holiness of the Church, which benefits from his prayer.
The preparation of the gifts concludes as the priest turns to the appropriate page in the Missal and offers the Prayer over the Offerings.  The content of this prayer changes with almost every Mass.  Each of these prayers throughout the Missal has been retranslated.  The prayer ends the same way with the community saying “Amen.”
Then the Eucharistic prayer begins.  It is the center of the entire Mass.  It is a prayer of thanksgiving and blessing.  The priest invites you to lift your hearts in prayer.  You unite your thoughts with those of the priest who addresses God in the name of the entire community.  We join ourselves to Jesus Christ to proclaim the marvelous deeds of God.
The priest speaks a lot more than the people do during the Eucharistic prayer.  You sing the Holy Holy and the Memorial Acclamation.  You conclude the prayer with the “Great Amen.”  But the rest of the time, you listen and pray in silence.  Sometimes its difficult to concentrate fully during this time.  The Eucharistic prayer demands a lot of attention, but it rewards a lot of attention as well.
The Eucharistic prayer begins with a dialogue between the priest and the people.  There are a few changes to the texts here.  Just like at the beginning of Mass, when the priest says, “The Lord be with you,” your response will be: “and with your spirit.”  The next part of the dialogue hasn’t changed at all.  “Lift up your hearts.”  You will say: “We lift them up to the Lord.”
Then, the priest says, “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.”  Those are the same words you’ve been hearing.  Your response will be different.  The new response will be: “It is right and just.”  It is much closer to the Latin and just a declarative statement without any explanation.  The preface begins with a statement as well.  Usually “It is truly right and just.”  So when the priest begins his part, he will expand on what you have just said.
The preface explains why it is right and just to give God thanks on this particular occasion, or during this season of the church year, or on this saint’s feast day.  Some prefaces are quite generic, but always give specific reasons why we give thanks on this day.
The preface ends with the Holy, Holy.  Perhaps the most common phrase to describe the Lord, heard by Isaiah in his great vision in the temple is “Holy, Holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.”  The words show that God makes his power shown in a special way through the hosts of angels who attend him.  These are the hosts of angels mentioned in the bible who minister at his altar, or who guard us in our weakness, or who fight on our behalf.
The new translations have affected the entire collection of Eucharistic prayers.  You’ll have to have a little patience with your priests as we learn the new words.  The sentences are longer and more involved, and the vocabulary is broader.  In time, it will become more comfortable for us to say and for you to hear.
There is still a variety of choices.  Prior to Vatican 2, there was only one, the Roman Canon or Eucharistic Prayer number 1.  It is still there, and probably the longest. 
Three more were added after Vatican 2.  Eucharistic Prayer 2 is the shortest of them and is based on a prayer from the 3rd or 4th century ~ and is the oldest of the Eucharistic prayers. 
Eucharistic prayers 3 and 4 came after Vatican 2 also.  Number 4 is based on a 4th Century eastern prayer of the Church that gives a summary of salvation history.  Some of the Eucharistic prayers were composed for specific circumstances.  Two were written for the jubilee year of 1975, expressing the theme of reconciliation.  Another has four variations allowing it to make better connection to the intentions of the day.  Each variation has its own preface and a changeable part within the body of the prayer. 
All totaled there are 9 choices of Eucharistic prayers in the new Missal.  Each of them has been re-translated, so you can expect to hear thing a little differently.  Its hoped that the revised translation will reward your attention.
The Eucharistic prayer always flows the same way.  If you listen you will always hear the parts of the prayer move the same way.  There is always the opening dialogue and the Preface which gives thanks and praise to God.  Most of them have a theme that makes them appropriate for the season or feast.  The acclamation of the Holy, Holy follows as we join our voices to those of the angels.
After a brief transition, the priest asks the Holy Spirit to come down upon the bread and wine, and change them into the body and blood of Christ.  This action of laying on of hands is the epiclesis.  Following that is the institution narrative and consecration.  The story of the last supper is recounted with the words “this is my body, this is my blood.”  As Catholics we believe that the bread and wine turn into the very body and blood of Jesus.
We proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes again in the memorial acclamation.  The priest offers to God the consecrated bread and wind.  It is the perfect self-offering of Jesus Christ.  We join ourselves to that offering at every Mass.
The intercessions follow… first for the unity of those filled with the Holy Spirit.  We pray for the Holy Spirit to come down upon us all, binding us together in unity as we prepare for Communion.  We pray for all the living and the dead, for all Christians and for all people in the world.
The entire Eucharistic prayer concludes with the Doxology with praise to the God the Father, through, with and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit.  You respond in faith with one of the most important words at Mass: “Amen!”
Our Eucharistic prayer is at the heart of the Mass.  Even though you mostly listen, you should pay close attention to the beauty of the words used in those wonderful prayers.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm back... October 23rd Post on the Profession of Faith

The words we say to profess our faith are also changing, but our faith is as strong as ever and is not changing!  In just a few weeks, we will start using the words on the cards you have to recite the Nicene Creed.  There are a number of important changes in the translation of the creed… probably more in this text than in any other words you’ll say at Mass.
The guiding principle for the new translation has been to make the English close to the Latin original.  Translators have learned a lot in the past 40 years.  This new translation better expresses our common faith with more precision.  Catholics profess the creed each Sunday in various languages all around the world.  Especially for this part of the Mass, we should all be saying the same words; there is after all, one faith.
The creed we proclaim on most Sunday’s is the Nicene Creed given to us from the Council of Nicea ~ found in present day Turkey ~ a gathering of church leaders in 325… called to settle disputes of our faith and to settle on just what it is Catholics believe.
Take a look at the Nicene Creed.  You’ll notice right off that the Creed begins with “I” instead of “we.”  The creed is still the faith of the church, but each of us proclaims it to assert our personal faith together with other believers. 
“I believe” is a literal translation of the Latin word “credo”, and is consistent with the translation that’s used in many countries around the world for the last 40 years.  At first it will sound a little unusual for English speakers, but not to Spanish speakers, for example.
Of all things visible and invisible.”  The choice of words over “seen and unseen” makes this line a little more precise.  Some things that are visible by nature are actually unseen at certain times and places.  Your relatives who live across the country are visible, but unseen.  Your great-great grandfather vase visible once upon a time, but now he is unseen.  We believe that God is the maker not only of things we cannot see for whatever reason, but also of things that are in fact invisible ~ for example, the saints and angels who occupy a place in our belief and worship.
Only Begotten” These words also appear in the Gloria.  They replace the word “only,” and they translate the Latin a little more fully.  They reaffirm our faith that Jesus had always been part of the Divine plan.
“He was born of the Father before all ages.”  This replaces the words “eternally begotten of the Father,” and makes it more precise.  Jesus dwelled with the father before time began.
The big word in the Creed is “consubstantial.”  It’s a mouthful!  In the entire revised translation of the Mass, this is probably the one word that will raise eyebrows.  It replaces the expression “one in being.”  It describes the relationship between Jesus and the Father.  It was one of the main reasons why the Council of Nicea was called in 325 A.D.  The word “consubstantial” is thought to be more understandable and closer to the original Latin.
The question of how Jesus relates to the Father has great importance.  The Church is filled with problems that arose over this very issue.  The council of Nicea chose this word to express the belief of the very divinity of Jesus.  The Latin word means having the same substance.  It is describing the very nature of Jesus.  He is not like anyone else.
The word “incarnate” is another word we don’t use very often.  It replaces the word “born” in the previous translation.  It means something like “given flesh.”  It professes our belief that the very Word of God became flesh when Jesus was born.
The next phrase seems to be little different that the previous… “in accordance with the scriptures” and “in fulfillment of the scriptures.”  In Latin, the word more nearly means the bible is being fulfilled… that the work of Jesus death and resurrection is all part of God’s great plan, and the revised translation brings the bible alive once more.
In place of acknowledging, we confess… we profess our belief in as a more profound belief in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins because it involves the heart, not just the head.
I look forward to the resurrection.”  At the end of the creed, instead of saying that we look for the resurrection, we say we look forward to it.  This is not only a clearer translation, but it resounds with confidence, as we state belief in a God who gives us faith.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Week Three ~ October 9th

When we start using the revised order of the Mass, one of the biggest changes we will see is in the Gloria.  Take a look at the words.  Over 70% of them have changed.  Do you find that hard to believe?  If you look at the old version and the new, you’ll see the differences. 
The rules governing the use of this prayer haven’t changed.  We’ll sing it on all Sundays of the year, except for those of Advent and Lent and on other occasions that don’t call for a Gloria, like when All Souls Day falls on a Sunday.  We can sing it all together, the choir can sing it alone, or we can alternate with the music ministry.
It can be started by the priest, the choir, or a cantor, or like we do most of the time… all together.  We can learn many different musical settings, but we must use the newly translated words.  The text has changed so much that composers have written new settings for it.  It’s a little longer than the previous version, but the one Dan wrote is quite singable, regardless of your musical ability, so sing out, please.  The very same text repeats Sunday after Sunday, so it should be easy to learn.
The revised translation is much more biblical.  It changed “his people on earth” to “people of good will.”  The guiding principle for all translations is to let the English express more literally the sentiments of the Latin.  In this case, the previous wording describes to whom the people belong… “his”… where the new one describes the quality of the people… they are… “people of good will”… not only is this faithful to the Latin prayer, but it better connects with Luke’s gospel… we see hints of it in the familiar Christmas story.
We hear in the opening line of the Gloria an echo of angels announcing peace at the birth of Jesus.  We are also reminded that it rests in our freely given love whether we shall belong to God, and enjoy on earth a measure of his peace that surpasses all understanding.
In the newly translated version we sing: “We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you.”  This spilling of verbs is like water flowing over the sides of a fountain.  We show in a number of ways our love for God.  We show his greatness in our praise, and proclaim his holiness in our blessing.  We adore him.  We literally seek his face… we long to look upon him with awe.
The one we were singing was abbreviated because it seemed excessive to the early translators.  Now, all the descriptions for God have been restored.  The result is excessive ~ but that’s the point.  We’re so overcome with awe in the presence of God that we sometimes stammer.  We keep searching for words to describe the experience.  The result ~ word upon word ~ seems the best way to express the sometimes overwhelming experience of meeting God in prayer.
“We give you thanks for your great glory, Lord God heavenly King, O God almighty Father.”  We don’t simply give God thanks, but we thank him for his great glory.  We do more than say that God is glorious.  We raise the roof in his glory.  We see that the glory of God is a great gift to us, because he has made us to enjoy that glory, and enjoy all that is beautiful and holy.
The words, “Only begotten Son” represent only a slight change from the previous version that says, “Only son of the Father.”  The earlier version chose an economy of words to express the same belief that Jesus is the only Son of God.  The text is meant to echo Psalm 2 which says: “you are my son; this day I have begotten you,” as well as the prologue from John’s gospel that says: “we beheld his glory, the glory as that of the only begotten of the Father.”
Jesus isn’t created by the Father, but begotten, with the word expressing the eternal relationship between the Son and the Father.
At the words, “you take away the sins of the world,” the phrases appear in a different order in the new translation, to imitate the order of the words in Latin.  A small change appears in this line.  We have been singing about “sin” in the singular, but the new translation has “sins” in the plural.  The difference shows that Jesus takes away not just generic sin from the world, but individual sin.  He forgives people their personal sins.  In Latin, the word for sins is in the plural.
Jesus the Lamb of God, takes away our sins by sacrificing himself for each of us, the innocent for the guilty, and shows us in reality what its like to be God…  The book of Revelation says: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and blessing.”
The new translation faithfully follows the order of the original prayer.  We address Jesus three times, not twice, reflecting that our prayer is to the trinity, and preparing ourselves for the prayer before communion… the “Lamb of God” in which we will address the Lord 3 times.
Repetition is a prime feature of poetry and can stir our minds to contemplation.  The words, “receive our prayer” and placed between two utterances of “have mercy on us” since our prayer must begin and end with an appeal to God’s freely given grace.  After all, God is the one who begins our personal salvation, and the one who freely brings it to completion.
All in all, the revised translation of the Gloria reflects the long tradition of this hymn, while making it suitable for singing.  It roots us in the scriptures, gives us words to praise God, and is an occasion to reflect on the forgiving power of Jesus Christ.
In the Acts of the Apostles, it is written that the apostles were all persevering in prayer with the women and Mary, the mother of Jesus.  The bible emphasizes that the early church acted and prayed in union of mind and in action.  Explaining this in reference to the liturgy handed down from the Apostles, Saint Cyprian writes: “They were with one mind continuing in prayer, declaring alike by their unity in prayer that God, who makes us of one mind to dwell in a home, does not admit into the divine and eternal home any except those who are of one mind in prayer.”
The newly revised translation gives us a chance to purify and deepen our communion in the Body of Christ and in the Catholic Church in two ways.  First, it invites us to listen more closely to the words and spirit of the tradition of the apostles in our sacred liturgy.  Second, it confronts us with the need to really work at our common prayer and approach the liturgy as disciples.
Human words can’t of themselves deliver salvation and the new life of God’s kingdom.  The words we use together in prayer and in the liturgy do matter a great deal, though.  Since we no longer know Latin ~ the mother tongue of our Church, a good translation is valuable for putting us in touch with the mind of the church.
The revised translation can deepen our communion by forming us more closely to the apostolic heritage of the Latin Rite.  To some extent this will happen without us even realizing it, as we incorporate the words and meanings of the words we use at Mass.  Our progress can also be deliberate… taking care to study and appreciate the words we use at Mass.
The second advantage is the word it asks us to do.  For priests and other ministers of the liturgy, the new missal is an opportunity to re-learn and then to do what the Rite requires.  Without being too rigid, we need the reminder that in the liturgy we are ministers…we are servants.  We have our roles in the mass in obedience to Jesus the Master.
For all English speaking Latin Rite Catholics, the new missal is a challenge that demands our time, and our patience.  Its true that praying with the new words, “active participation” can happen right away.  Praying with one mind and heart at Mass is the fruit of faith, not of translators.  To sing or recite the new words with one voice is going to take a little time.  Love and patience are necessary if we are going to relax into the new rhythm of words together.
St. Cyprian said: “When we meet together and celebrate the divine sacrifices with God’s priest, we ought to be mindful of discipline.”
For all of us, the new Missal gives us a chance to encounter the words of the liturgy once again… to become liturgical novices once again… and to learn from Christ and his apostles once again.  

Sunday, October 2, 2011

week two ~ October 2nd

The words we say at Mass are changing.  The flow of the Mass is not.  There are still four main parts: the Introductory Rites, the Liturgy of the Word, the Liturgy of the Eucharist, and the Concluding Rite.  The Introductory Rites include everything that happens from the moment you stand at the beginning until you sit for the first time.  Today, we go over the changes that will take place in the Introductory Rites.
Mass begins with the entrance song.  In most parishes during the week, there is no singing, so the entrance is normally done in silence.  The priest begins Mass with the Sign of the Cross and all answer: “Amen.”  There is no change to these words or gestures.
There are now three options for the priest’s greeting, as you can see on the cards we have used at St. Gabriel’s.  The response to this greeting is changing.  The common response for over 40 years has been, “and also with you,” but soon will be, “and with your spirit.”  This is a closer translation of the Latin: “Et cum spiritu tuo.”  It matches the response that already exists in most other major languages, including French: Et avec votre esprit; Spanish: Y con tu espiritu; Italian: e con il vostro spirito; and German: und mit deinem geiste.  In each language the word “spirit” is directly translated into the vernacular.
The purpose of this greeting isn’t just to say, “Hello” or “Good morning.”  It alerts us that we are entering a sacramental realm and reminds us of our responsibility during this time.  We are about to pray together.  By this greeting from the presider and the response of the people present, the mystery of the Church gathered together is made clear.
Both the greeting and the reply come from the bible.  “The Lord be with you” appears as a greeting or encouragement in the book of Judges {6:12}, in the book of Ruth {2:4}, in the 2nd book of Chronicles {15:2}, and in Luke’s Gospel {1:38}.  In addition, Jesus promised that he would be with his followers until the end of the age.
“And with your spirit” is inspired by passages that conclude four of the New Testament epistles: 2nd Timothy {4:22}, Galatians {6:18}, Philippians {4:23}, and Philemon {2:5}.  In almost every case, Paul addresses the words to the Christian community, not to one minister.
Our reply is formal and sacred; its a prayer that dates back to the earliest years of the Church.  We pray that the Lord may uphold our priest, not because he is better than anyone else, he’s not, but so that he, human though he is, may serve us in his priestly capacity as an embodiment of Jesus, wedded to his bride, the Church.
St. Paul often uses the word “spirit” to refer to the core of a person’s emotional being, what we might call the heart.  So we are asking that the Lord will shower his gifts upon the spirit of the priest, so that he may help build us up into one body. 
St. Paul bids farewell to all the churches of Galatia.  He says: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”  To his disciple, the bishop St. Timothy, he writes: “the lord be with your spirit.”
The priest has two other forms he may use for the opening greeting.  These are similar to the one already in use in our current Sacramentary, but the translations have been varied a little.  The first is based on the final words of St. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians (13:13): “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the community of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 
The other one appears frequently in Paul’s letters, in the first chapter of Romans for example and again in 1st Corinthians: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”  The newly revised translation roots us more deeply in the bible. 
In the case of the greeting, it brings us into the language of St. Paul.  As we begin Mass, the priest gathers the community together as a family. 
The penitential rite challenges us to remember that we depend on the mercy of God to gather us to His banquet table week after week… to strengthen us in fellowship so that we can continue to be his disciples in the world.
So that we can faithfully celebrate what we are about to do… the priest calls out to us… “brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.”  An exact translation of the Latin… with the word “brethren” or brothers and sisters, the priest and people are united in prayer to the Father of us all. 
We acknowledge our sins, not merely our failures, because a sin is more than a failure, it is a turning away from God.  So we admit those sins precisely so that we may be prepared to celebrate the mystery of forgiveness ~ the mystery of why Jesus had to die on the cross for us.  The language is taken from Psalm 51: “I acknowledge my offense; my sin is before me always.”
There are three options for the Penitential Act.  The 3rd is probably the most commonly used.  The priest or deacon makes three acclamations concluding each with “Lord, have mercy,” “Christ have mercy,” and “Lord, have mercy” again.  Everyone repeats each phrase.  This will not change, but there are new translations for the acclamations that introduce them.  There will continue to be a variety of invocations that you will hear.
There is a new translation for the prayer known as the Confiteor.  That the prayer that begins: “I confess to Almighty God.”  It’s almost the same, but not quite.  Here it is…
I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done
and in what I have failed to do,
through my fault,
through my fault,
through my most grievous fault;
therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
all the Angels and Saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.

At first, saying the phrase, “I have greatly sinned,” striking our breast at “through my fault,” repeating those words, and adding “through my most grievous fault,” all make it look as though we are a lot more sinful now than we used to be.
Remember though, the guiding principle is to have a closer translation to the Latin than a keener evaluation of our virtue.  The new translations don’t have us express the seriousness of our sins any more grandly or the sincerity of our sorrow any more genuinely… but with more accuracy, we are to step a little further into prayer.
Another option for the penitential rite is option B… Have mercy on us O LordFor we have sinned against youShow us, O Lord, your mercyAnd grant us your salvation.  These verses are always followed by the “lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, lord have mercy” repeated refrains.
From time to time on Sundays, especially in Easter Time like we do so often at St. Gabriel’s, instead of the Penitential Act, the blessing and sprinkling of water may take place as a reminder of Baptism.
The opening or “Introductory Rites” of the Mass are meant to gather us together… to help us gather our thoughts… to gather our spirits… to gather our hearts and silence them so that we can remember what it is that we are about to do.
It is vital that all who plan on coming to Mass participate in this part of the Mass.  The General Instruction says: “Their purpose (the Introductory Rite’s purpose) is to ensure that the faithful, who come together as one, establish communion and prepare themselves properly to listen to the Word of God and to celebrate the Eucharist worthily.”
So, a challenge of the new translation is to commit to arriving on time for mass.  If Mass starts at 4:30 or 8:30 or 10:30, please be here before the opening song, so when we gather, we can all gather!
The point is that we are challenged to “full, conscious, active participation” in the Mass… and you can’t do that if you aren’t here for the opening song, and don’t stay for the closing credits.  Today’s message is about the Opening dialogue and the Penitential act.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

What Why & How ~ Week 1

It is clear that many people are apprehensive about change and the impact it will have on parishes.  You may have already heard concerns and opinions about the texts of the revised missal and even some of the anxiety behind the concerns.  There is a certain hesitation to change on the part of most Catholics.  Change is never easy.
Priests will need to relearn Eucharistic prayers.  Music ministry will have new settings for the Gloria and acclamations.  The one’s we are learning were written by Dan and another musician that he has to send to our bishop’s conference for approval.  The laity will have to relearn responses that have become quite familiar and committed to memory.
As with most revisions of the liturgy, this isn’t about likes and dislikes with regards to the texts, but a caring for each other, equipping ourselves and assisting the people of God through this transition so that together we may experience Christ who lives and works among us and through us in the sacred liturgy.
At the 2nd Vatican Council, Blessed Pope John XXIII put in to motion a principle that the reform of the liturgy was to be ongoing in order to meet the needs of every age.  The reform was, however to take into account that “new forms should in some way grow organically from forms already existing.”
The 1st complete English translation of the Missal was done in 1973.  It was done in a “dynamic” style of translation ~ one that took some freedom with the structure and content of the Latin sentences.  This resulted in texts that felt quite natural in English, but they sacrificed some of the nuances of the Latin texts.
This translation has served us well.  It helped entire communities make the jump from praying Mass in Latin to praying it in English.  It showed how a good translation can enhance the prayer of individuals and entire communities.  It gave us a better understanding of our faith, and laid a foundation for vernacular worship upon which the Church is building with the 3rd edition.
On September 15, 2003, the Congregation for Divine Worship formally established the International Commission for English in the Liturgy or “ICEL” as a mixed commission in accordance with the Holy See’s Instruction Liturgiam authenticam, which significantly revised the principles for translation.  One of the aims in this restructuring of ICEL was to establish greater episcopal oversight in the translation process.
The Congregation also created, in the spring of 2002, the consultative body of bishops and experts called “Vox Clara” (Latin for clear voice).  Since the Congregation reserved the approval of translations to itself, it was deemed necessary to form a team of Bishops and experts who could act as consultors to the Congregation and facilitate cooperation with the various English-speaking episcopal conferences.
“To live is to change, and to be made perfect is to change often.”  On the 27th of November the newly translated 3rd edition of the Roman Missal will be put into use in every English speaking country in the world.  In a shift that is significant, the new texts will be prayed and sung by all catholic parishes in our country.
Change in the liturgy isn’t new to the life of the Church, nor is this latest change the final word.  For more than 40 years most of us have been seeing liturgical change.  Some may remember the Mass being celebrated in the vernacular for the first time, the priest turning to face the people, the congregation being invited to take part in responding to the priest in English for the 1st time.  While many responded with enthusiasm, not everyone embraced the changes easily.
For priests who were fresh out of the seminary, the changes were mostly welcomed.  But for a priest who had been ordained for some time and having to assimilate and implement the liturgical changes, it must have been quite difficult.  The same was true for the laity, who for years had come to know the Tridentine Mass as it was celebrated for over 400 years before the 2nd Vatican Council.
It’s important to recognize that anxiety caused by growth and change isn’t new to the Church.  In the first centuries a discussion, debate and more than one argument arose over the date of Easter and another over the requirements of membership in this new “Christian” sect of Judaism.
One great historical example concerns the counter-reformation and the Council of Trent.  The bishops who gathered at Trent were concerned with the unity of the Church in the face of the Reformation.
Prior to the gathering of this council, the liturgy enjoyed many usages and was celebrated in several forms.  In attempting to meet the particular challenges facing the church, the council fathers determined that the liturgy should be then celebrated according to one usage, one rite.  Any other rite that was 400 years old could remain… all others would be discontinued.

There is another reason for the new translation.  We need to restore a heightened sense of the sacred to our worship.  We live in a secular society that places little value on the sacred.  The new translation is aesthetically rich, and will transform us with its beauty.
The aim of the new translation is to bring forth the awe-inspiring in the liturgy.  Blessed John Paul II said, “Ultimately, the mystery of language brings us back to the mystery of God himself.”  The new translation gives us a chance to purify and deepen our communion in the Body of Christ in two ways.  First, it invites us to attend more closely to the words and spirit of the apostolic tradition of our sacred liturgy.  Second, it confronts us with the need to work at our common prayer and approach the liturgy as disciples rather than masters.
The Mass was instituted by Christ; it came to us through the apostles in several distinct forms.  There are Greek Catholic liturgies, Syrian Catholic liturgies, Coptic Catholic liturgies, and others.  Each of these embodies the gospel, and kept alive by the Holy Spirit, puts its people into communion of catholic prayer.  The Latin Church is the largest of the Catholic churches and uses translation into vernacular or common languages of the people.
The revised missal is an opportunity to re-learn and do what the Roman Rite requires.  We all know that after Vatican II the Mass was often celebrated more informally and with more self-expression by the presider.  Each of us has a role in the Mass in obedience to the Master… and must not stand out into everyone’s attention.  The principal actor at Mass is Christ crucified.  For our part, we are called upon to be faithful to the accurate translation of the Latin texts and learn our part of those texts as soon as we can.
The translation we are adopting is more faithful to the original, both in its accuracy and in its humble and generous submission.  When I say “original” I refer to texts that go back to the 3rd and 4th centuries.  These are the same prayers that were prayed by St. Augustine and St. Benedict; the same prayers that fed the souls of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare… talk about the communion of saints!
The concern for the sacred character of our worship at Mass is shown in another way, beyond the choice of words and the determination to render into English the beauty of Latin.  It is shown in the length and the structure of sentences.  You will notice in the new translation that the prayers of the priest contain long sentences.  Here, for example is the central portion of the Preface for the Assumption of Mary:
For today the Virgin Mother of God
was assumed into heaven
as the beginning and image of your Church’s coming to perfection
and a sure sign of hope and comfort to your pilgrim people;
rightly you would not allow her
to see the corruption of the tomb
since from her own body she marvelously brought forth
your incarnate Son, the Author of all life.
In this beautiful prayer, we begin and end with our minds devoted to the Motherhood of Mary, as is right for this feast.  Notice too that what is in the middle is balanced, one truth reflecting upon another, so that the Assumption of Mary is an image of the raising of the Church and of all her pilgrims.  Both are a reflection of the Resurrection of Jesus in his glorified body, Jesus, to whom the Church applies the words of the Psalm: “You would not let your holy one see corruption.”
It’s also amazing how steeped in scripture the prayers are… how, for example a passage from St. Paul will be placed alongside a passage from the Psalms to make a theological point.  Every single collect (opening prayer) is delicately and wisely crafted to fit the season and the day.
History teaches us something of great importance.  While the rites or externals of the liturgy have changed and evolved, the essential nature of the liturgy has remained the same because it has had and will always have as its one goal and objective the worship of God which is part of the Church’s Tradition and has in fact remained unchanged.
Tradition in the Church isn’t about the past; it is the Church’s self consciousness now of the life that has been passed onto it which is always in continuity with the past, but at the same time independent of the past.  The Tradition of the Church has made allowance of the change that is a necessary part of the Church’s growth and development.  The sacred liturgy is an important and integral part of that.
History teaches us that change has always been a part of the life of the Church.  It also teaches us that change is not always easy.  This has been for our ancestors in the faith as it is for us.  This period of the Church’s history may in fact be a time in which liturgical change has occurred at a significantly more rapid pace.  In the past 13 years, the Church in the United States has received and implemented a revised Lectionary for Mass, an indult for a funeral liturgy in the presence of cremated remains, revised ordination rites, and the Revised General Instruction of the Roman Missal, which changed several of the rubrics of the celebration of the Mass.  Let’s not forget the liturgy we are currently celebrating is less than 50 years old.
Changes reflected in the texts of the Revised Roman Missal, afford an opportunity for each of us to renew our level or participation in the liturgy and reinvigorate our understanding of the liturgy itself.  It’s an opportunity to build on a solid foundation of worship and another opportunity for us to examine what it is we do, and why we do it when we gather for Mass.
We have a time to reflect on the words and meaning of the texts so that we may all be filled with the spirit of the liturgy and be led to that “full, conscious and active participation in the liturgical celebration called for by the very nature of the liturgy.
To better understand our place in a changing world and a changing Church, we need to look to our role as Christians in the world.  We are a people who know and understand that this world isn’t our destiny, or our final home.  We are pilgrims, who exist between the memory of Christ’s Paschal Mystery (his life, death, resurrection, ascension and glorification) made real in the celebration of the sacred liturgy, and hope… the hope of glory in the presence of God with all the blessed who are called to the Supper of the Lamb.  To live is to change, and to be made perfect is to have changed often.
The Many Facets of Translating the Roman Missal
The process of achieving an approved English translation for the liturgy is extremely involved.  I would say that never in the history of the world has a set of texts received so much consultation, review, and revision.  ICEL divided the work of revising the Missale Romanum into the following steps.
1) The work begins with the base translators.  These are experts that ICEL employs to make the initial translation from Latin into English.
2) Their translations are then reviewed by nine teams.
3) Next, the texts are sent to the Roman Missal Editorial Committee (RMEC), which serves an editorial purpose.  RMEC, which is a committee of ICEL, tries to bring a unified style and consistency of vocabulary to prayers that various groups have composed and reviewed.
4) From RMEC, the texts go to the ICEL secretariat, which reviews and checks them for typographical or other mistakes.
5) The secretariat then brings them before the ICEL commission, which consists of eleven bishops ~ one from each of the eleven-member conferences.  Others usually present at these meetings include three members from the ICEL secretariat in Washington, D.C., the chair of RMEC, and a few other experts and assistants.  They review and revise each text, with only the 11 bishop members having voting rights.
6) Once a given section of the Missale is approved by ICEL, it is sent to each of the eleven Episcopal Conferences who have full membership vote.  At this point, the particular section of the Missale is called a “green book” because of the color of its binder.  The secretariat for each Episcopal Conference suggests revisions and solicits suggestions from every bishop in the Conference (the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has 273 active bishops in its membership).
7) Suggestions from each of the Episcopal Conferences are then sent back to the secretariat at ICEL.
8) Along this process, the proposed translations are also sent to the Congregation in Rome for suggestions and feedback from Vox Clara.  Often a regular give and take occurs between ICEL and Vox Clara.
9) ICEL reviews the suggestions from the Episcopal Conferences and from Vox Clara and makes further revisions.  The ICEL membership votes to approve the translation, now called the “gray book” based on the color of its binder.
10) The “gray book” is sent back to each Episcopal Conference for a vote to accept or reject.  The accepted gray book goes to Rome for final approval by the Congregation and the Holy Father.  Each Episcopal Conference can also request adaptations in the gray book version that Rome would approve only for that particular Conference.
11) Finally, the Holy See providesrecognition” of the text, only then which may be published and finally implemented according to the country’s time plan.
Stylistic Differences in Translations
Finally, there are some of the stylistic differences that will be seen in the revised translation when it is available for use in the liturgy.
Liturgiam authenticam provides its main principles for translation in paragraph 57: That notable feature of the Roman Rite, namely its straightforward, concise and compact manner of expression, is to be maintained insofar as possible in the translation.  Furthermore, the same manner of rendering a given expression is to be maintained throughout the translation, insofar as feasible.  These principles are to be observed:
a)      The connection between various expressions, manifested by subordinate and relative clauses, the ordering of words, and various forms of parallelism, is to be maintained as completely as possible in a manner appropriate to the vernacular language.
b)      In the translation of terms contained in the original text, the same person, number, and gender are to be maintained insofar as possible.
c)      The theological significance of words expressing causality, purpose or consequence (such as ut, ideo, enim, and quia) is to be maintained, though different languages may employ varying means for doing so.
d)      The principles set forth…in #51, regarding variety of vocabulary, are to be observed also in the variety of syntax and style (for example, in the location within the Collect of the vocative addressed to God).
The U.S. Bishops’ Committee for Divine Worship makes the following comment with regard to the challenges presented by these principles of translation: "The application of this paragraph of Liturgiam authenticam has made some extraordinary demands on translators, especially with reference to 57a.  The use of extended subordination is a method to order all the elements of a sentence in such a way as to express a dependence on God as the source of all saving action.  In addition, the meaning of the prayer is communicated through the use of a sequence of tenses that links all action solely to that of the main clause.
"When such a sentence is broken up, in English, into many shorter sentences there comes about a cumulative loss of meaning between those ideas which are secondary and their subordination to a principal action.  In general, the translators have remained faithful to the principle, but there have been some prayers that were so long that they needed to be broken into two sentences."
An example of the difference this principle of translation demands can be seen in the following comparison of the current translation of the Prayer over the Gifts for the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time and an early proposed revision:
Current Translation: Lord God, in this bread and wine you give us food for body and spirit.  May the eucharist renew our strength and bring us health of mind and body.
A Suggested Early Draft: O God, who in the gifts presented here nourish with food and renew with Sacrament the twofold nature of the human race, grant, we pray, that their sustenance may not fail us in body or in mind.
The present English translation breaks up a long Latin sentence into two.  This has made the content easier to grasp but resulted in the loss of some meaning.  It also has brought about a style of prayer in which the Church makes statements to God about what God would already know.  Also, the link between the address of the divinity and the request of the prayer is broken.  We end up telling God what he does and then separately asking him for something, whereas in the proposed translation, we are asking God for something because we recognize what he has already done for us.  The longer sentence is trickier both to proclaim and to hear, but the potential benefits seem well worth it.  Other modern languages do this already and have adapted to this style without trouble.  The new translation will, therefore, also better harmonize with the closer translations of other languages, thereby creating a more unified voice throughout the Catholic world.
Another change will be the use of a broader vocabulary.  The current translation employs a rather narrow range of words to translate a considerably larger word list in the Latin original.  In the new translation, then, a greater English vocabulary will not only be more faithful to the Latin but also enrich the sounds, content, and images of the new English translation.  Many images in the Latin were never used in the current translation.  For example, the image of “dewfall” for the action of the Holy Spirit in Eucharistic Prayer II was omitted in the current translation.
Broadening and deepening the liturgical/theological word list that we draw upon will enable the liturgical books to be more consistent and uniform not only in the prayers but the rubrics.  Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, N.J., chairman of the U.S. Bishops Committee for Divine Worship, wrote in a column in his diocesan newspaper that the proposed translations “are densely theological.  They respect the rich vocabulary of the Roman Rite.  They carefully avoid the overuse of certain phrases and words”
The style of the prayer texts will be more formal than what we currently hear.  Another description for this is that the new translations use a “higher linguistic register.”  The texts portray a more obedient stance of humanity in relation to the divine, stressing God’s mercy and our unworthiness.  This is not at all to say that the texts promote groveling, or worthlessness.  To the contrary!  The great truth of our unworthiness, when combined with God’s mercy to us in Christ, creates not despondency but delight!  That is apparent in Mary’s declaration to Elizabeth (Luke 1:48) “for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.  Surely, from now on all generations shall call me blessed.”
The word order of the new translations consciously follows the word order of the Latin as much as possible.  This hinders the flow of English but adds a theological nuance.  Bishop Serratelli explains in his column:  "Latin orations, especially Post-Communions, tend to conclude strongly with a teleological or eschatological point.  The new translations in English follow the sequence of these Latin prayers in order to end on a strong note.  Why should we strip the English translation of the distinctive theological emphases of the Latin text?  A slightly non-colloquial word order can lead the listener to a greater attention to the point of the prayer"
Lastly, there has been a growing desire in recent years for the prayers of the Mass to be sung.  To facilitate this, ICEL was mindful of the texts rhythm and singability.  A special committee was formed to write chants for the revised texts.
With the revised prayers there will be new words to hear, new syntaxes to comprehend, and a new style to absorb.  This will require some renewed effort on the part of the priest who proclaims as well as on the part of the assembly who hears.
Hopefully, we can experience a certain excitement that we will soon be proclaiming and hearing not something that was created in the 1970s and early 1980s, but what is much closer to what the Church has prayed for centuries, and which Catholics are praying in other languages around the world!