Monday, January 23, 2006

23 January -- The Feast of the Betrothal of Our Lady to St Joseph

This feast appeared in many - perhaps most - particular calendars of the Church prior to the liturgical reform, including the calendars of both the Discalced and Ancient Observance Carmelites. In honour of Our Lady's feast I had planned to put up a translation of the old second nocturn from the old Discalced Carmelite office.

Well. That turned out to be not so much an exercise in translation as an exercise in humility. The text I produced last night I have in front of me. I thought perhaps if I slept on it things would be clearer in the morning. Sometimes that works, you know. Refined but impenetrable grammar glows with meaning after a good night's percolation in the subconscious. But no. Not this time. My "version" is obviously rubbish. Lesson V only occasionally makes sense and I have no real confidence in the rest. Not even with my one ton Oxford Latin Dictionary and my tattered and torn, personally annotated in pencil copy of Fr Henle's Grammar can I make it make sense. I know better than to try St Augustine with his snazzy classical idioms and arcane vocabulary. But now good ol' medieval St Bernard has me banjaxed.

So, instead you get a collect from the old Ancient Observance liturgy. Translation courtesy of an old Carmelite Missal:

Supplicationem servorum tuorum, Deus, miserator exaudi : ut, qui in Desponsatione Dei Genitricis et Virginis Mariæ congregamur; eius intercessionibus, a te de instantibus periculis eruamur. Per eumdem Dominum. Amen.

Graciously and mercifully hear the plea of Thy servants, O God, so that we who have gathered to celebrate the Betrothal of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, may at her intercession be saved by Thee from pressing evils: through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.