St. Benedict, Sadao Watanabe
Kneeling in the back of my favorite abbey church yesterday, I followed in my bright and shiny new CTS Daily Missal as the monastery’s abbot chanted the collect of Saint Benedict in Latin:
Deus, qui beatum Benedictum abbatem
in schola divini servitii praeclarum constituisti magistrum,
ut, amori tuo nihil praeponentes,
viam mandatorum tuorum dilatato corde curramus.
Imagine my shock, felt the more intensely for being in an abbey church that is the very heart of the Order, upon reading what the English-speaking world is praying today:
O God, who made the Abbot Saint Benedict
an outstanding master in the school of divine service,
grant, we pray,
that, putting nothing before love of you,
we may hasten with a loving heart
in the way of your commands.
amori tuo nihil praeponentes: “putting nothing before love of you”? Really? Does not every English translation of the Rule of Saint Benedict render that text from chapter 4 of the Rule literally: “to prefer nothing to the love of Christ.” Adapted for this prayer, should the text not read “that, preferring nothing to your love”?
“In a similar way” – to coin a phrase – the petition of the prayer is adapted from the end of the Prologue to the Rule: dilatato corde . . . curritur via mandatorum Dei: The heart is expanded or enlarged and the monk runs in the way of God’s commandments. Curritur is not from the verb festinare (“to hasten”), it is, simply and literally, from the verb “to run.” Dilatato is not “loving.” Mandatorum is “commandments,” not “commands.”
I consulted 2008, the ICEL text canonically approved by the world’s English-speaking bishops before someone – Vox Clara? the Congregation for Divine Worship? – took hatchet and pick-axe to it:
who established the Abbot Saint Benedict
as a renowned master in the school of divine service,
grant, we pray, that we may prefer nothing to your love
and run with open hearts
in the way of your commandments.
St. Benedict, Fra Angelico
Perhaps someone can clarify: were there not an OSB Abbot and an OSB monk on Vox Clara? Any explanation as to how the Rule evaporated between the 2008 text and the editio typica?