Mapping a liturgical sentence

From Isaac McDaniel at the NCR: Mapping a Liturgical Sentence.”


  1. I understand that Vox Clara has seen Fr. McDaniel’s article and determined that a comma should be inserted in one sentence to improve the effort:

    “Later she called for Scotch, tape and a yardstick.”

      1. I have laid in a goodly amount of Scotch to help me through this transition. I’m quite certain it will be needed.

  2. By the way, I shudder to ask, but what is the rest of the sentence? How much longer does it go on? Can anybody with the new “missal” post the whole thing?

    1. Sandi, I got a good laugh from the NCR article. But the prayer that foxed Martha Baker in the story doesn’t exist in the new translation. It is a pastiche of various parts of this botched job.

      The beginning of Eucharistic Prayer I now reads:

      To you, therefore, most merciful Father, we make humble prayer and petition through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord: that you accept and bless these gifts, these offerings, these holy and unblemished sacrifices, which we offer you firstly for your holy catholic Church.

      The 1973 translation is clearer and more rhythmic:

      We come to you, Father, with praise and thanksgiving, through Jesus Christ your Son. Through him we ask you to accept and bless the gifts we offer you in sacrifice. We offer them for your holy Catholic Church; watch over it, Lord, and guide it; grant it peace and unity throughout the world.

      1. No, the sentence must be in there somewhere. “Unworthy sinners”? You couldn’t make that junk up if you tried. Though if you’re being serious, then I have to say that that sentence really isn’t that bad. Are you really sure the sentence in the story is a fake?

  3. Sadly, I can’t find that sentence anywhere in EP1 so I am forced to conclude that it was made up for comic effect. Darn, for it is a funny article indeed.

    Equally comical yet, tragically, not made up is:

    “Therefore, O Lord, as we celebrate the memorial of the blessed Passion, the Resurrection from the dead, and the glorious Ascension into heaven of Christ, your Son, our Lord, we, your servants and your holy people, offer to your glorious majesty, from the gifts that you have given us, this pure victim, this holy victim, this spotless victim, the holy Bread of eternal life and the Chalice of everlasting salvation. ”

    I’m sure Martha would have just as much fun with this one as with the hypothetical example in the piece.

    The meat of it, I think, is “O Lord, we offer you these gifts which you have given to us.” I could be wrong, of course.

    1. Of course that sentence was made up. It had to be. The sentences of EP I, despite their length and (unfortunate / unnecessary) complexity, can be diagrammed without resort to Scotch tape, Scotch, or Xanax. But that wouldn’t be funny.

      And yes, you could reduce that particular sentence as you’ve done, but you’ve left out the anamnesis out. A bare-bones distillation would look more like: “Lord, as we remember your Son’s Paschal Mystery, we offer to you these gifts, out of all you have given us.”

      1. As an exercise, I did diagram that sentence. I’ve never done that sort of thing before, so I can’t attest to its accuracy. I can say that it took me the best part of an hour, and the result is horrible.

        I’ll stick it online at some point…

    2. One of the things that is most telling about this parody is that so many people assume the sentence itself is for real! If the piece were not so perilously close to the truth, though, it wouldn’t be so funny!

  4. OMG…I just sent Pepsi Max through my nostrils reading the NCR post! Talk about childhood revisited…hilarious…but sad! Only this mess could make one’s sinus’s burn with soda!

  5. That particular sentence may not be in the Missal as published, but this one is:

    Unworthy servants that we are, O Lord,
    grieved by the guilt of our deeds,
    we pray that you may gladden us
    by the saving advent of your Only Begotten Son.
    Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
    one God, for ever and ever.

    Hmmmm. (3rd Thursday of Advent). Easy to parse, even with a rather odd start for a spoken prayer; rather less easy to pray, methinks.

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