Recently, I received the findings of a recent study that the CMAA sponsored (along with a few other organizations), which finds that 72% of young priests (under 50) like the corrected translation that we are now using. I am very heartened by this news, and I am happy to see it.
I have been likewise very encouraged by the heightened sense of awareness and reverence for the sacred mysteries, brought about by so many of these wonderful young priests and the new missal, particularly the new emphasis on sacred music that I have been seeing in many places, focusing on a new dignity, upon the singing of the prayers of the celebrant and the congregation, and the proper antiphons of the Mass being more frequently sung, as the council intended.
Often when I hear the prayers of the Mass, I am appreciative of their newfound dignity, with a style which elevates them above our everyday speech (which is what singing the prayers also does, by the way), making clear to us that we are not just talking to a buddy on the street, but that we are engaging in worship of the omnipotent creator of the universe.
One of the texts in the new missal that I think has been particularly improved is the Exsultet, the Easter Proclamation. Take a good look at this section below:
|The sanctifying power of this night dispels wickedness,
washes faults away,
restores innocence to the fallen,
and joy to mourners,
drives out hatred,
and brings down the mighty.
|The power of this holy night dispels all evil,
washes guilt away,
|On this, your night of grace, O holy Father, accept this candle, a solemn offering, the work of bees and of your servants’ hands, an evening sacrifice of praise, this gift from your most holy Church.
But now we know the praises of this pillar, which glowing fire ignites for God’s honor, a fire into many flames divided, yet never dimmed by sharing of its light, for it is fed by melting wax, drawn out by mother bees to build a torch so precious.
|O truly blessed night,
when things of heaven are wed to those of earth,
and divine to the human
|Night truly blessed
when heaven is wedded to earth
and man is reconciled with God!
Do you see that whole paragraph that got skipped? Look at this beautiful wording: “this candle, a solemn offering, the work of bees and your servants’ hands […] for it is fed by melting wax, drawn out by mother bees to build a torch so precious.” The language of worship has always been elevated and beautiful, separating it from our everyday speech, which the Exsultet does particularly well.
Some have said that the old ICEL translation is superior because it is simple and people can understand it. I’m not here to discuss those right now, they can be discussed in other places, or maybe in a future post. Right now, I’m trying to point out the superiority of the new translation by pointing out how the old translation left out many of the concepts in the Latin texts in many cases, but also in more than a few cases where they simply omitted entire paragraphs! This is not the only example, it also happened in the prayers for Ash Wednesday, and quite possibly many other cases.
What are your experiences with the new translation? Has your quality of music improved at your parish, or your have you noticed a change in people’s attitudes toward the Mass since the new translation? Talk it up below!