Back in January 2011, when somebody leaked the final Missal text at WikiSpooks, Pray Tell commented on the bungling of the Prayer after Communion for the First Sunday of Advent. The word order is so messed up that the prayer seems to say we learn to love the things of heaven from the passing things of this world – but the Latin prays that it be from the mysteries celebrated in the liturgy! The final text of the prayer runs like this:

May these mysteries, O Lord,
in which we have participated, profit us, we pray,
for even now, as we walk amid passing things,
you teach us by them to love the things of heaven
and hold fast to what endures.

In this week’s Tablet, Fr. Alan Griffiths comments on this very prayer. Canon Griffiths writes:

What can explain such a glaring howler?
Why was it not spotted early on, rather than
left to appear in a lavishly produced final text?
Are priests expected to read the prayer as
printed? It would be truer to the “substantial
unity of the Roman Rite” if they said:
Lord, may the celebration of these mysteries
profit us, we pray,
since through them you teach us, on our journey
through this passing world,
to love the things of heaven and hold fast to
what endures.
To concretise praetereuntia as “this passing
world” in the singular makes it clearer that
it is the plural “mysteries” that teach.
This prayer comes right at the beginning
of the liturgical cycle. What a way to start.

…What can explain such a glaring howler? Why was it not spotted early on, rather than left to appear in a lavishly produced final text?

Are priests expected to read the prayer as printed? It would be truer to the “substantial unity of the Roman Rite” if they said:

Lord, may the celebration of these mysteries
profit us, we pray,
since through them you teach us,
on our journey through this passing world,
to love the things of heaven
and hold fast to what endures.

To concretize praetereuntia as “this passing world” in the singular makes it clearer that it is the plural “mysteries” that teach.

This prayer comes right at the beginning of the liturgical cycle. What a way to start.

I would only add that it wasn’t “spotted early on” because the problem wasn’t there until the last minute. ICEL and the bishops of the English-speaking world got it right in the text approved by national conferences in 2008 and 2009. Then somebody on Vox Clara or in the Congregation for Divine Worship messed it up.

awr