Saturday, September 11, 2010

The body and prayer

I have noticed a tendency among Americans (including myself) to be Cartesian in our prayer life. We don't pay too much attention to the body or the senses. We pray with our bodies any old way. Whatever is comfortable.

The theology of the body implies that our bodies, as expressions of our spirit, ought to be an active component in our prayer life. We should be intentional about it. It is like sign language. We communicate not only with thoughts or even words, but with our whole self.

Anthony Lilles, of St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver, has begun a series of posts on St. Dominic's nine ways of using the body in prayer. Here is the first one. This is the second. Keep watching his blog for the rest of the series.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Language changes

I'm one of those who likes to complain about the deterioration of language. English seems different even from when I was a kid. And, of course, there are intentional changes, especially in these politically correct days.

The fact is, language is and always has been very fluid. It is constantly changing. I have become more aware of this recently while reading World Histories and Mysteries, by the editors of the American Heritage Dictionary. This books explains in detail the etymologies of hundreds of English words, "from ABACADABRA to ZEUS," as the subtitle says. The elaborate histories of words and their changes is astounding. It is surprising we can understand people who wrote 100 years ago.

Did you know that the "bel-" in "belfry" has nothing to do with the English word "bell?" and that a belfry wasn't always a bell tower?

Did you know that the word "sky" used to mean "cloud" at the same time as the word "cloud" meant "hill?"

Did you know that the word "mutt" was first used to refer to a dog in 1906, and that it comes from an insult that means "stupid person," = muttonhead?

Did you know that the word "dress" is related to the word "direct?" Or that the word "Ciao!" is related to the word "slave?"

Rosary in Latin

William Smillie, philosophy professor at Carroll College in Montana, has posted all the Rosary prayers in Latin, including the names of the mysteries.

He has two different closing prayers, neither of which are the one we use:
Oremus. Omnipotens, sempiterne Deus, qui gloriosae Virginis Matris Mariae corpus et animam, ut dignum Filii tui habitaculum effici mereretur, Spiritu Sancto cooperante, praeparasti: da, ut cuius commemoratione laetamure; eius pia intercessione, ab instantibus malis et a morte perpetua liberemur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen

(Let us pray. Almighty and everlasting God, by the cooperation of the Holy Spirit, you prepared the body and soul of Mary, glorious Virgin and Mother, to become the worthy habitation of your Son; grant that by her gracious intercession, in whose commemoration we rejoice, we may be delivered from present evils and from everlasting death. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen



Oremus. Deus refugium nostrum et virtus, populum ad te clamantem propitius respice; et intercedente gloriosa et immaculata Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beato Joseph eius Sponso, ac beatis Apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo, et omnibus Sanctis, quas pro conversione peccatorum, pro libertate et exaltatione sanctae Matris Ecclesiae, preces effundimus, misericors et benignus exaudi. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum Amen.

(Which means something like this: O God our refuge and our strength, graciously receive the people calling to you; and through the intercession of the glorious and immaculate Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, with her spouse blessed Joseph, and your blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the saints, mercifully and generously hear the prayers we pour forth for the conversion of sinners, for the freedom and exaltation of Holy Mother Church. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.)
He links, however, to the one I'm familiar with:

DEUS, cuius Unigenitus per vitam, mortem et resurrectionem suam nobis salutis aeternae praemia comparavit, concede, quaesumus: ut haec mysteria sacratissimo beatae Mariae Virginis Rosario recolentes, et imitemur quod continent, et quod promittunt assequamur. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Let us pray
GOD, Who by the life, death, and resurrection of Thy only-begotten Son, hath purchased for us the rewards of eternal salvation, grant, we beseech Thee, that meditating on these mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.