Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Collect of St. Martin of Tours

I am continually amazed at the inexplicable manner that ICEL translates the collects in the liturgy. Half the time I can't even detect a real ideological principle behind it. They just seem to have delighted in scrambling concepts around. Today's feast is no exception. I'm going to provide the Latin, then my translation, then the ICEL English. Someone explain to me why they changed it. I'm not saying the essential meaning was lost, but there is something lost.

Deus, qui in beato Martino episcopo sive per vitam sive per mortem magnificatus es, innova gratiae tuae mirabilia in cordibus nostris, ut neque mors neque vita separare nos possit a caritate tua. Per Dominum....
This isn't difficult Latin. My literal translation:
[O] God, who has been exalted in blessed Martin, both though [his] life and through [his] death, renew in our hearts the wonders of your grace, that neither death nor life may separate us from your love. Through Our Lord....
Now ICEL (with my parenthetical comments:

Father [I understand why they do this, but it irks me nonetheless], by his life and death
[blessed?] Martin of Tours offered you worship and praise [in switching to the active voice, the focus on God is somewhat mitigated. also, it really doesn't say anything in the Latin about worship or praise].
Renew in our hearts [so far so good] the power of your love [okay, so what is wrong with the word "grace," and where did "mirabilia" go, and why is love put here, since it clearly belongs later--this last move distances the prayer somewhat from Romans 8, which is the obvious reference],
so that neither death nor life [okay] may separate us from you.
Grant this...

I just don't think the modification and paraphrasing helps us understand the prayer better.

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