Saturday, October 12, 2013

"blood draws you"

"A brother asked an elder:  'My sister is poor; if I give her alms, is it not like giving to the poor?'  'No', says the elder.  'Why not, abba?' the brother said.  'Because blood draws you a little [(ἕλκει σε μικρόν)]', the elder said."

     Anonymous saying of the Desert Fathers no. 233/10.156.  The anonymous sayings of the Desert Fathers:  a select edition and complete English translation, ed. & trans. John Wortley (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2013), 165.

Gone to meddlin'

"An elder said:  'The prophets made [(ἐποίησαν)] the books; our fathers came and practised [(ἠργάσαντο)] them.  Those who [came] after those learned them by heart [(ἐξέλαβον ... ἐκ στήθους)].  Then there came this generation; they wrote them out then set them in the niches, unused [(ἔγραψεν ... καὶ ἔθηκεν εἰς τὰς θυρίδας ἀργά)].'"

Εἶπεν γέρων·  Οἱ προφῆται τὰ βιβλία ἐποίησαν, καὶ ἦλον οἱ πατέρες ἡμῶν καὶ ἠργάσαντο αὐτά·  οἱ δὲ μετ᾿ αὐτοὺς ἐξέλαβον αὐτὰ ἐκ στήθους, ἦλθε δὲ ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη καὶ ἔγραψεν αὐτὰ καὶ ἔθηκεν εἰς τὰς θυρίδας ἀργά.

     Anonymous saying of the Desert Fathers no. 228/10.191.  The anonymous sayings of the Desert Fathers:  a select edition and complete English translation, ed. & trans. John Wortley (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2013), 163.  ἀργά means "shining, glistening"

"An elder said:  'The prophets made the books; our fathers came and practised them.  Those who [came] after those learned them by heart.  Then there came this generation; they wrote them out then set them in the niches, unused.'"

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Calvin's "Prayer on preparing to go to school [(Oraison pour dire devant qu'estudier sa leçon a l'eschole | CUM or QUUM ADEUNDA EST SCHOLA)]"

"Ps. cxix. 9.  Wherein shall a young man establish his way? If he wisely conduct himself according to thy word. With my heart have I sought thee, allow me not to err from thy precepts.
     "O Lord, who art the fountain of all wisdom and learning, since thou of thy special goodness hast granted that my youth is instructed in good arts which may assist me to honest and holy living, grant also, by enlightening my mind, which otherwise labours under blindness, that I may be fit to acquire knowledge; strengthen my memory faithfully to retain what I may have learned: and govern my heart, that I may be willing and even eager to profit, lest the opportunity which thou now givest me be lost through my sluggishness. Be pleased therefore to infuse thy Spirit into me, the Spirit of understanding, of truth, judgment, and prudence, lest my study be without success, and the labour of my teacher be in vain.
     "In whatever kind of study I engage, enable me to remember to keep its proper end in view, namely, to know thee in Christ Jesus thy Son; and may every thing that I learn assist me to observe the right rule of godliness. And seeing thou promisest that thou wilt bestow wisdom on babes, and such as are humble, and the knowledge of thyself on the upright in heart, while thou declarest that thou wilt cast down the wicked and the proud, so that they will fade away in their ways, I entreat that thou wouldst be pleased to turn me to true humility, that thus I may show myself teachable and obedient first of all to thyself, and then to those also who by thy authority are placed over me. Be pleased at the same time to root out all vicious desires from my heart, and inspire it with an earnest desire of seeking thee. Finally, let the only end at which I aim be so to qualify myself in early life, that when I grow up I may serve thee in whatever station thou mayest assign me. Amen.
"The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will make known his covenant unto them. (Ps. xxv. 14.)"
     John Calvin, Tracts and treatises on the doctrine and worship of the church, translated from the original Latin and French by Henry Beveridge, historical notes added to the present edition by Thomas Torrance (Grand Rapids, MI:  Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1958 [1849]), vol. 2, pp. 96-97.  Original:  CO 6, cols. 137-140 (French and Latin); COS 2, 146-147 (Latin only, though in the apparatus some of the French appears).  Le catéchisme de l'église de Genève (Catechismus ecclesiae Genevensis), written in November of 1541, appeared first in French in early 1542 (Wulfert de Greef, Writings of John Calvin:  an introductory guide, expanded ed., trans. Lyle D. Bierma (Louisville, KY:  Westminster-John Knox Press, 2008), 116-117).  “No original copy of this catechism has survived, but the content is the same as the Latin edition of 1545.”  Though I haven't yet verified this, this and the other prayers often later appended may (?) derive from L'ABC françois of 1551, much of which was composed by Calvin (117).
     Thanks to Jarad Bivins for alerting me to this (in the form of the following translation):
O Lord, who is the fountain of all wisdom and learning, you have given me the years of my youth to learn the arts and skills necessary for an honest and holy life.  Enlighten my mind, that I may acquire knowledge.  Strengthen my memory that I may retain what I have learnt.  Govern my heart, that I may always be eager and diligent in my studies.  And let your Spirit of truth, judgement and prudence guide my understanding, that I may perceive how everything I learn fits into your holy plan for the world. 
     The HarperCollins book of prayers:  a treasury of prayers through the ages, compiled by Robert Van de Weyer (San Francisco:  HarperSanFrancisco, a division of HarperCollinsPublishers, 1993) =The Fount book of prayer (HarperCollins, 1993), 68.  Van de Weyer (on p. 401) cites John Calvin:  the Christian life, ed. (he says trans.) John H. Leith (San Francisco:  Harper & Row, Publishers), 80, but Leith reproduces the Beveridge translation (above).

Sunday, October 6, 2013

"pardon what conscience dreads and . . . give what prayer does not dare ask" (c. 700 at the very latest)

2010 ICEL:
Almighty ever-living God,
who in the abundance of your kindness
surpass the merits and the desires of those who entreat you,
pour out your mercy upon us
to pardon what conscience dreads
and to give what prayer does not dare to ask.
Through, etc.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus,
qui abundantia pietatis tuæ
et merita supplicum excedis et vota,
effunde super nos misericordiam tuam,
ut dimittas quæ conscientia metuit,
et adicias quod oratio non præsumit.
Per, etc.

Perisho (in progress):
Almighty, everlasting God,
who, in the abundance of your compassion,
go beyond/overtop both the merits and the desires of suppliants,
pour out upon us your mercy,
that you might break up/disperse/dismiss
     those things that conscience is troubled about
and add to/go beyond what prayer
     does not presume/take for granted/dare.
Through, etc.

     Collect for the Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Roman Missal =Gelasian sacramentary no. 1201, and other 8th-century missals (below).  An antecedent of this is no. 917 in the Leonine or Veronese sacramentary (early 7th, but drawing on 5th or 6th century material, at fol. 90v-91r), which the edition of the Leonine ed. Mohlberg reproduces on p. 116 as follows:
Uirtutum caelestium deus, qui plura prestas, quam petimus aut meremur:  tribue, quaesumus, ut tua nobis misericordia conferatur, quod nostrorum non habet fiducia meritorum:  per.
O God of the heavenly virtues, who stand surety for/give [(pr[a]estas)] many more [of them] than we seek or deserve:  grant, in your mercy, we pray, that [that] may be imputed/applied to/conferred upon us which a reliance on our merits does not entail.
Corpus orationum no. 3887 cites Dom G. Morin, “Une collecte romaine du sacramentaire gélasien citée par un écrivain provençal des environs de 494,” Revue bénédictine 30 (1913):  226-228, and G. Morin, “Une restitution en faveur d’Alcuin,” Revue bénédictine 30 (1913):  458-459, in which he almost immediately reverses himself in favor of Alcuin, having been corrected by an article by and a letter from Fr. Henri Brewer.  As this volume of Corpus orationum was published in 1995, I have not looked for any more recent scholarship.
     Missale Francorum (Cod. Vat. Reg. lat. 257), ed. Mohlberg (Rome:  Herder, 1957), no.140 (p. 29) has
Omnipotens sempiterne deus, qui abundantiam pietatis tuae et meritis / supplicum excedis et uota:  effunde super nos misericordiam tuam, ut dimittas quae conscientia metuit, et adicias quod oratio non praesumit:  per dominum
(f. 127v-f. 128r in the manuscript).  Cf. col. 337 of PL 72, which differs less in substituting only adjicias for the critical adicias (rather than "abundantiam . . . meritis" for "abundantia . . . merita" as well).  The ODCC dates  Cod. Vat. Reg. lat 257 to c. 700.
     It also appears on p. 228 of the edition of the Gelasian ed. H. A. Wilson (no. 1201 in the Gelasian sacramentary, and no. 1162 in the supplement to that) where the only difference from the current Missale Romanum appears to fall at the same point (adiicias).  According to the ODCC, the extant manuscripts of the Gelasian sacramentary date from the 8th century.
     "The Sarum missal and previous Prayer Books place it on the Twelfth Sunday after Trinity" (Hatchett, p. 193).  Cf. the Book of common prayer, below.

Father Zuhlsdorf:
Almighty and everlasting God, who in the abundance of Your goodness surpass both the merits and the prayerful vows of suppliants, pour forth Your mercy upon us, so that You set aside those things which our conscience fears, and apply what our prayer dares not.

1976 Book of common prayer, Proper 22, Contemporary:
Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve:  Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Saviour; who, etc.

1976 Book of common prayer, Proper 22, Traditional =1928 Book of common prayer, Twelfth Sunday after Trinity (except for the punctuation):
Almighty and everlasting God, who art always more ready to hear than we to pray, and art wont to give more than either we desire or deserve:  Pour down upon us the abundance of thy mercy, forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask, but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord; who, etc.

1549 Booke of the common prayer, Twelfth Sunday after Trinity:
Almightie and euerlastyng God, which art alwayes more ready to heare then we to praye, and art wont to geue more than eyther we desyre or deserue; Powre downe upon us the aboundance of thy mercy; forgeuing us those thynges wherof our conscience is afrayde, and geuying unto us that that our prayer dare not presume to aske, thrugh Jesus Christe our Lorde.

Sarum missal, Twelfth Sunday after Trinity:
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui abundantia pietatis tuæ et merita supplicum excedis et vota, effunde super nos misericordiam tuam, ut dimittas quæ conscientia metuit, et adjicias quod oratio non præsumit.  Per Dominum.

1973 ICEL (yikes!):
Father, your love for us surpasses all our hopes and desires. Forgive our failings, keep us in your peace and lead us in the way of salvation.