As most of you know on the first Sunday of Advent, in November, we in the English speaking world will begin to have a little different Mass experience than what we have lived. Many of the words spoken over the last forty-something years will change. They will actually be much closer to the words spoken by those before that time, only in English.
Robert and I will be presenting some of the new responses expected of the laity to our 10th grade Faith Formation class. We thought sharing the information with whomever wanted to read it here might be helpful. The lessons are a blending of information from three different sources: Magnificat Roman Missal Companion, Dr. Edward Sri's CD from Lighthouse Catholic Media entitled "A Walk Through the New Mass Translation" and Jimmy Akin's book Mass Revision; How the Liturgy is Changing and What It Means for You.
Each week we will be covering a little at a time up until just before Advent begins. The lessons are written for 10th grade students so enjoy the ease of understanding. We hope this helps you as the reader to be excited about entering into Mass at a deeper level. That opportunity is exactly what the new translation offers.
Reasons for the Change
1) Latin is the language of the Church. The new translation is a more accurate translation of the original Latin and therefore brings us closer to the heart of the Church. It also brings us into a closer unity with Catholics around the world because we will now be speaking and praying what they have been speaking and praying all along. The original English translation after Vatican II aimed at more of a spirit of the Latin rather than a literal translation. This new translation brings us closer to the words originally spoken before Vatican II, only in English.
2) The new translation will give us a deeper, richer meaning to the words spoken in the Mass. In the first English translation we lost some of the adjectives that were written in the Latin for a purpose. This lends a more heartfelt response when our response is complete. It turns our family picnic into a heavenly banquet. (Not to say the Mass was done incorrectly before, only to say now we will experience a deeper, richer flavor.)
3) The new translation, like the Latin before, refers to Scripture in many ways. Many of those references had disappeared. Example: We currently use the words before leaving our pews to receive the Eucharist, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word and I shall be healed." The new response, which is the correct translation of the original Latin, will be, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." I won't explain this here because we will dive in deeper on a later date, but in using it as an example of Scripture, we find this in Matthew 8:8 when the Roman Centurion asked Christ to heal his sick servant. There are other places where our response leads us back to Scripture and we'll see those in the upcoming posts.
4) One more reason for change is simply the correction of inaccurate translation altogether, words left out or added that were not in the original Latin. Example: In the Nicene Creed we currently say "We believe." The Latin is credo. The literal translation of that word is "I believe." I used this as an example in our class which is about half Hispanic and half Anglo. I asked some of the Hispanic students how we begin The Creed. One girl said I only know it in Spanish. I told her that was fine and asked how it is said. She told us it begins, "creo", which is the Spanish word for "I believe." I looked at Robert and said, "It was even translated correctly in Spanish." This is another example of one of the changes we'll be making and we'll discuss it in a later post.
This is not an exhaustive list of the reasons why our missal is changing, but the more obvious and useful to a class of 10th grade students.
Please feel free to leave comments or questions. It would be great to have discussions about this wonderful change in our Mass that will only bring us closer to Christ in the Eucharist and to his flock, the Church.