A tale of two translations

For years I've prayed Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation I on the Sundays of Lent.  It's a beautiful and poetic text which I've grown to love and have committed to heart.  

Over the years a number of folks have mentioned to me how much they loved to hear a particular line of this prayer: "When we were lost and could not find the way to you, you loved us more than ever..."

EPI for Reconciliation has, of course, been newly translated.  Below is a side by side of the previous translation (italicized) and the new (bolded), from the preface through the portion of the prayer leading up to the Institution Narrative.

Father, all powerful and ever living God,
we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks and praise.
It is truly right and just that we should always give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.

You never cease to call us to a new and more abundant life.
God of love and mercy, you are always ready to forgive;
we are sinners, and you invite us to trust in your mercy.
For you do not cease to spur us on to possess a more abundant life
and, being rich in mercy, you constantly offer pardon
and call on sinners to trust in your forgiveness alone.

Time and time again we broke your covenant, 
but you did not abandon us. 
Instead, through your Son, Jesus our Lord, 
you bound yourself even more closely to the human family 
by a bond that can never be broken.
Never did you turn away from us,
and, though time and again we have broken your covenant,
you have bound the human family to yourself 
through Jesus your Son, our Redeemer, 
with a new bond of love so tight that it can never be undone.

Now is the time for your people to turn back to you
and to be renewed in Christ your Son, 
a time of grace and reconciliation.
You invite us to serve the family of mankind
by opening our hearts to the fullness of your Holy Spirit.
Even now you set before your people 
a time of grace and reconciliation,
and, as they turn back to you in spirit,
you grant them hope in Christ Jesus 
and a desire to be of service to all,
while they entrust themselves more fully to the Holy Spirit.

In wonder and gratitude, 
we join our voices with the choirs of heaven
to proclaim the power of your love 
and to sing of our salvation in Christ:
Holy, holy, holy…
And so, filled with wonder, we extol the power of your love,
and, proclaiming our joy at the salvation that comes from you,
we join in the heavenly hymn of countless hosts, 
as without end we acclaim:
Holy, holy, holy…

Father, from the beginning of time
you have always done what is good for man
so that we may be holy as you are holy.
You are indeed Holy, O Lord,
and from the world’s beginning are ceaselessly at work,
so that the human race may become holy, 
just as you yourself are holy.

Look with kindness on your people gathered here before you;
send forth the power of your Spirit so that these gifts
may become for us the body + and blood of your beloved Son,
Jesus the Christ, in whom we have become your sons and daughters.
Look, we pray, upon your people’s offerings
and pour out on them the power of your Spirit,
that they may become the Body and + Blood
of your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, in whom we, too,
are your sons and daughters.

When we were lost and could not find the way to you,
you loved us more than ever;
Jesus, your Son, innocent and without sin,
gave himself into our hands and was nailed to a cross. 
Indeed, though we once were lost and could not approach you,
you loved us with the greatest love:
for your Son, who alone is just, handed himself over to death,
and did not disdain to be nailed for our sake 
to the wood of the Cross.

Yet before he stretched out his arms between heaven and earth
in the everlasting sign of your covenant,
he desired to celebrate the Paschal feast in the company of his disciples...
But before his arms were outstretched between heaven and earth,
to become the lasting sign of your covenant,
he desired to celebrate the Passover with his disciples...

This Lent I'll continue using Eucharistic Prayer II, the prayer I've been using since the new translation was implemented on November 27, 2011.


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  1. This is clearly an instance where the poetry of the old translation has been killed by the literalism of the new one. Frankly, I'm surprised, because in other places it has seemed that the new translation opens up the riches of the Latin which had been lost in a dumbed down and flattened earlier translation.* So I understand why you cannot bring yourself to use that particular Eucharistic Prayer.

    Still, I encourage, even implore you not to deprive your congregation of the other Eucharistic prayers. Please look at Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation II. Isn't it worth praying? And why deprive your people of ever hearing and praying Eucharistic Prayers 1, 3, and 4?

    (BTW, it's not just you. For years it's been a pet peeve of mine that priests always choose the first of the formularies offered on various occasions in things like commons of saints and Masses for the dead. When is the last time you heard or used a Preface in a Mass for the dead other than the first? When has formulary B for Masses for the dead outside Easter Time been used? You may be better than others, but I ask myself why priests whose Masses I attend seem too lazy or too stuck in the mud to ever go with anything other than the first option, and, with a very few honorable exceptions, Eucharistic Prayer No. 2. All this other stuff is in the book. What's the matter with priests that they refuse to use it?)

    * But the collect for "Ash Thursday" still hasn't risen to the level of "Direct, we beseech thee, O Lord, all our actions by thy holy inspiration and carry them on by thy gracious assistance, that every word and work of ours may always begin from thee and by thee be happily ended."

  2. Thank you for this. I am not one who has been harping on MR3 often, for various reasons. That said, I do find this a bit diminished from what we had been hearing.

    Sic transit gloria mundi... so be it.

  3. I am in total agreement with your decision to continue with Eucharistic Prayer II. The RM3 has taken some of or most beloved phrases and rendered them very distant or ineffective, assuming that they are even understandable!

  4. I wonder how long it will be when I no longer feel frustrated with the prayers at mass. Now there's something I never thought I would think or say!

  5. All those who participated in giving us these stilted English translations should have to pray them in English as their Lenten penance.


  6. If the new translation has removed the poetry from that particular prayer, why not use Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation II. And why restrict your congregation the Eucharistic Prayer 2, when 1, 3, and 4 are also available?

  7. Joseph LukaszewskiMarch 16, 2015 at 1:31 AM

    I've always had a problem with the previous translation. If God could love us all the more than he could or did love us less. The new one is more precise and doesnt have this problem.


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