Friday, November 30, 2018

Stir Up Your Power

Some days, poor Father A. feels like the dumbest little cleric in the world. There are so many things he ought to know but doesn't and that, when he discovers them, make other -- smarter -- people pause politely and say, "Uh, yeah.  Didn't you know that already?"

In a few days, most of us will say aloud or in our hearts the beautiful and ancient Collect for the First Sunday of Advent:

Excita, domine, potenciam tuam et ueni, et quod aecclesiae tuae usque in finem saeculi promisisti, clementer operare: per. [Gelasian #1120]
Or, in the somewhat impressionistic translation we use these days:
Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. By your merciful protection alert us to the threatening dangers of our sins, and redeem us for your life of justice, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
But here's the thing.  Only today -- after decades of reciting that prayer! -- did we grasp that it begins with a direct quotation from Psalm 80 (Vulgate 79:3):
Excita potentiam tuam, et veni, ut salvos facias nos.
 ("Stir up your might, and come to save us.")
So did you all know this already?  And nobody thought to tell me? Humph!

No comments: