The Introit of Trinity Sunday
There is an interesting connection between the melody of the introit for today, Trinity Sunday, and that of the First Sunday of Lent. The Feast of the Trinity came into the calendar later historically than the observance of Lent, and obviously the melody from I Lent was adapted to fit the text of the later Trinity introit. I’m not sure I could have done the adaptation any better myself. But the endeavor has limitations by nature.
I’ll never forget teaching a summer Gregorian chant course here, when one of the students was the very talented now-prior of the monastery of the Holy Cross in Chicago, Fr. Peter Funk OSB. I talked about adaptation and type melodies and showed the class the example of I Lent/Trinity. Fr. Peter’s face lit up and he said, “NOW I know why the introit of Trinity is not quite satisfying!” Now that’s a perceptive observation.
Check out the wonderful four-note neume in the I Lent introit on “eum” cadencing the first phrase, Alas, that note group had to be made to fit “atque” at the start of the second phrase in the Trinity introit. It works, but it’s just ever so slightly clumsy.
As I say, I’m not sure I could have done better. But the result is less than perfect, as I’m sure all chant geeks will agree. Chant geeks always agree on everything, right?
I’ll be watching the combox with interest.
The Collect of Trinity Sunday
Pray Tell has treated this before (and also here, by Xavier Rindfleisch), but in cased you missed it, there’s an infelicity in the English translation of the collect for today, Trinity Sunday, in the 2011 English missal.
Here’s the Latin:
qui, Verbum veritátis et Spíritum sanctificatiónis
mittens in mundum,
admirábile mystérium tuum homínibus declárasti,
da nobis, in confessióne verae fídei,
aetérnae glóriam Trinitátis agnóscere,
et Unitátem adoráre in poténtia maiestátis.
Here’s what our English missal has:
God our Father, who by sending into the world
the Word of truth and the Spirit of sanctification
made known to the human race your wondrous mystery,
grant us, we pray, that in professing the true faith,
we may acknowledge the Trinity of eternal glory
and adore your Unity, powerful in majesty.
Through our Lord.
The “your” is not in the Latin. And for good reason, in this prayer addressed to the Father, for we do not adore the Father’s unity, but the unity of the Trinity. Anscar Chupungco called this “disturbing from a theological standpoint” and “not an insignificant theological issue.” The bishops had approved this wording before it was sent to Rome: “to acknowledge the Trinity of eternal glory, and adore the Unity, powerful in majesty.”
Well, let us hope and trust that Fr. Anscar is now with the angels and saints, praising the eternal Trinity in heaven. And that our imperfect collect, in the whole realm of things, probably isn’t leading any Catholics into Unitarian heresy.