Monday, December 05, 2011

Bishop Timothy McDonnell on the New Translation

Well, two weeks into the new translation and I'm almost to the point where I remember to say "And with your spirit" instead of "And also with you!" The other changes are going to take a little longer for me to learn.

In my parish bulletin this week was a message from our Bishop, Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell which I thought explained nicely the reasons for the new translation.

We've all heard the words:

"Four score and seven years ago, our forefathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

Suppose, however, that Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address had begun: "Eighty-seven years ago, in North America, the people of that time started a new country. It was focused on freedom and all were to be treated the same."

In that fashion, I doubt his words would be remembered today. Language does make a difference.

That is why the new Mass translations we begin today are so important. The Mass deserves more than everyday language. It deserves a language fitting for the worship of God.

The language we use at Mass is meant to take us out of the everyday and focus our minds and hearts on the divine mysteries we celebrate.

The language is different because the Mass is unique. The Mass is at the heart of our faith. It speaks to the Mystery of Faith - the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ made present on our altars. The translations we use should capture as exactly as possible the nuances of the original language in which our Mass prayers were composed.

The new translations will demand more of us. They will demand attentiveness, concentration, and prayerful reflection. At the same time, they will offer an opportunity to enter more fully into the Eucharist, God's gift of self to us. As together we experience the richness of the new translations, may we grow in appreciation of the Lord who is at the heart of our faith and of our Mass.

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