I raised this issue in an earlier post, but thought it might be appropriate to call our attention to it again. By faithfully following Liturgiam Authenticam‘s request for an English translation more formally corresponding to the underlying Latin, the translators of the Solemn Blessing for the Advent season present a text that did not call forth the congregation’s response of “Amen” last Sunday, even though I prepared them for it. In the case of the first two blessings, the problem was probably simply that the text doesn’t provide a “cue” that would trigger the “Amen”:
1) May the almighty and merciful God, / by whose grace you have placed your faith / in the First Coming of his Only Begotten Son / and yearn for his coming again, / sanctify you by the radiance of Christ’s Advent / and enrich you with his blessing.
2) As you run the race of this present life, / may he make you firm in faith, / joyful in hope and active in charity.
While the first blessing seems a bit verbose, Msgr. Harbert in an earlier post reminded us that these texts communicated more by sound than sense, and perhaps the translators have done a fine job of reproducing that effect in English (although I would tend to want to have “First Coming” balanced by “Second Coming” rather than “coming again” in oral communication). I very much enjoyed how the second text echoed the “run forth with righteous deeds” imagery of the Collect, although I wonder if the faithful who simply heard the text knew that the pronoun “he” referred to “the almighty and merciful God” or to “Christ” (who seems to be the source of the enriching blessing at the conclusion of the first text).
3) So that, rejoicing now with devotion / at the Redeemer’s coming in the flesh, / you may be endowed with the rich reward of eternal life / when he comes again in majesty.
This text is the most problematic for me. It seems to me to be a sentence fragment, the conclusion of the second text. I don’t know a way in which to proclaim this sentence fragment to elicit a congregational “Amen.” But perhaps as Msgr. Harbert suggested intelligibility is not the issue and the congregational “Amen” here is not so much an assent to a text proclaimed and understood as a ritual assertion of presence at an event.
I can say that I hope when the next English translation of the Roman Missal sees the light of day, if the Solemn Blessings are retained, that perhaps the directives for formal correspondence could be modified for these texts 1) to eliminate sentence fragments and 2) to add some “cue” words that would call forth the congregation’s “Amen” more readily.