Preparing for Holy Week

Crucifixion by Dali

He stretched out his arms between heaven and earth...

The text below is one of the most beautiful prayers that has ever been part of the Roman Catholic liturgy in English.  This translation is no longer used in public prayer but it can be part of one's personal preparation for Holy Week and I wanted to share it with you here.

Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation - I

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,
we do well always and everywhere
to give you thanks and praise.

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.

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.

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 humankind
by opening our hearts to the fullness of your 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 Lord, God of power and might.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest!

Father, from the beginning of time
you have always done what is good for us
so that we may be holy as you 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.

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.

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.

While they were at supper,
he took bread and gave you thanks and praise.
He broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said:
Take this, all of you, and eat it:
this is my Body which will be given up for you.

At the end of the meal,
knowing that he was to reconcile all things in himself
by the blood of his cross,
he took the cup, filled with wine.

Again he gave you thanks,
handed the cup to his friends, and said:
Take this, all of you, and drink from it:
this is the cup of my blood,
the blood of the new and everlasting covenant.
It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven.
Do this in memory of me.

Let us proclaim the mystery of faith:
When we eat this bread and drink this cup
we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus,
until you come in glory.

We do this in memory of Jesus Christ,
our Passover and our lasting peace.
We celebrate his death and resurrection
and look for the coming of that day
when he will return to give us the fullness of joy.

Therefore we offer you, God ever faithful and true,
the sacrifice which restores us to your friendship.

Father, look with love on those you have called
to share in the one sacrifice of Christ.
By the power of your Holy Spirit
make them one body, healed of all division.

Keep us all in communion of mind and heart
with Benedict, our pope, and Sean, our bishop.
Help us to work together for the coming of your kingdom,
until at last we stand in your presence
to share the life of the saints,
in the company of the Virgin Mary and the apostles,
and of our departed brothers and sisters
whom we commend to your mercy.

Then, freed from every shadow of death,
we shall take our place in the new creation
and give you thanks with Christ, our risen Lord.

Through him, with him, in him,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all glory and honor is yours,
almighty Father, for ever and ever.


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  1. Thanks for posting this former EP. I miss it too.
    The Triduum will be "interesting"...our first with the new translation.

  2. The prayer above is a fine prayer, but it was the product of a flawed process, "dynamic equivalence." Dynamic equivalence seeks to translate a text (especially a Bible text) into natural sounding, even colloquial language. "Formal equivalence" strictly adheres to the grammatical and linguistic tone of the original. Think of reading Shakespeare modified for 21st century readers versus Shakespeare in its original form.

    The new Mass prayers are the result of a translation using formal equivalence. I prefer a translation of the liturgy closer to the mark, knowing that I get closer to the essence of the original Latin text, even if it is not as flowing as a talented translator may have made it.

    Of course, all this fuss about translations could have been avoided if, after Vatican II, the Church had maintained the use of Latin as the ordinary text (while allowing other languages to be used as needed). That was the intent of the Vatican II Fathers, if I recall correctly. Certainly all the Masses at the Council itself were celebrated in Latin!


  3. Here's some more information on the distinction between dynamic equivalence and formal equivalence:

    Comme le prevoit

  4. Fr. Fleming,
    I followed your earlier link (and was surprised to see that you redacted one of your own comments!). You seem to see Bishop Trautman as a brave figure standing on the railroad tracks, trying to stop the train. I see him as a man who missed the train and has been left behind at the station. One of his arguments against the new translation was its use of big words such as "ineffable" and "consubstantial." He contended, I recall, that people wouldn't understand such lofty language. I took his argument to be a rank form of clericism, insinuating that lay people cannot be trusted to understand and appreciate a difficult concept. Thankfully, Trautman's objections were rejected and the new translation is now the new reality. As such, it commands respect and full implementation.

    This has nothing to do with the prayer you posted not being a nice prayer, but is a response to the content and comments at the link you posted.

    God bless,

  5. The comment I deleted was the same as the comment that appears except that the link in the deleted comment did not appear as a hyperlink and so I corrected that to enable readers to access my previous post more easily.


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