Wednesday, November 23, 2011
AN ELEVATED TONE IN OUR LANGUAGE OF WORSHIP
U.S. Catholic Magazine has an editorial once again on the very eve of the corrected English translation decrying how this translation was made. Most of us don't want to know how hot dogs are made, or at least what ingredients go into them. I recommend always buying Kosher ones.
This is the last sentence of the editorial:
"Many commentators are operating under the impression that God will be better served by a more “elevated” tone in the liturgy, forgetting that God has no need of our liturgy. Liturgy is for our sake and for the world--literally it is the “people’s work”--and this translation is a tool that I fear does not support us in that work. To the extent that it draws us away from the world to worship some distant Olympian God other than the one “in whom we live and move and have our being,” it is a millstone that would be better cut from our necks."
There is much truth in that last sentence although truth that was not intended by the one who wrote it.
"God will be better served by a more "elevated" tone in the liturgy..." Apart from the snark that God doesn't need our liturgy, we do, as though we don't know that, God is indeed better served by an elevated tone of His people when they strive to engage Him in prayer. This elevated tone should then be transferred to the world where we engage one another. God is indeed better served by our elevated tone of language with one another, something that is sorely lacking in many places, even here, in our Church today and in the world in general. Our elevated language in the corrected liturgy is a step toward elevating our everyday language too.
Isn't the the nature and tone of our conversation today crass and unbecoming of God's people? Maybe the way we pray with an elevated tone will affect the way we speak to one another!
"To the extent that it draws us away from the world to worship some distant Olympian God other than the one “in whom we live and move and have our being,” it is a millstone that would be better cut from our necks". Having prayed the corrected translation since September I have discovered that it has drawn me closer to our God who is imminent. The phrasing of the words and sentences makes me think about what I am praying and that I phrase it correctly, breathe properly and chew on it.
Charles Culbreth commenting on my satirical Mass of the Resurrection for the now defunct 1970's Missal takes me to task for treating the former missal the way I did for this kind of satire is not "elevated" language to describe the Liturgy of the Church which was the official Liturgy of the Church from Advent of 1969 until Advent of 2011. When I read his comment I saw what I wrote in a different light and thank him for his critique.
No one who likes the Extraordinary Form of the Mass likes having a satire made of it. There are many who appreciated the language of the now defunct 1970 Missal as it did help them to enter into the Mystery of God in a simple way.
But the language of the corrected Missal is more elevated and perhaps it will help me to elevate my everyday language and behold those to whom I communicate in a more reverent way without undo satire or snarkiness.
When I was in the seminary, our professors always pointed out that when we read the documents of Vatican II the words of each document seem to indicate that the bishops were in full agreement with everything that was written and that Vatican II was a love fest for them.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The machinations, political intrigue and nefarious maneuvers all contributed to the final document that was eventually approved by Pope Paul VI. Somehow in all of that "making of the sausage" we have a wonderful template for renewal in the Church when we read these documents within the context of what preceded the Council and what has occurred since.
Vatican II did not created an immutable time warp for the Church. She continues to live and breath each day and develop accordingly, but like sausage being made. Nonetheless the mystery of God's reign is present within Her and the God who is not Olympian, far off and distant is right in the midst of the sausage making to bring good to the mouths of those who savor it! God bless this corrected translation no matter how it got to our altar-tables.