Missal prayers

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  I have questions about two prayers in the missal. The prayer over the offerings for the Feast of St. Luke prays that the offerings “may bring us healing and give us glory.” And the third preface for Christmas says that in the union of the Word made flesh, “we, too, are made eternal.” Shouldn’t the offerings give God glory? And isn’t God alone eternal?


A:  In the prayer over the offerings, the Latin is ambiguous. It prays that the offerings “may bring us healing and glory.” ICEL tried two different ways of translating it that way, but when the Vatican released the missal, it had inserted an additional reference to “us”. The Latin could be interpreted to mean God’s glory or our glory. Perhaps the Vatican thought of the letter of James, which includes the famous passage about priests anointing the sick in order to save and raise them up.

The third Christmas preface is new to the postconciliar missal, but it draws inspiration from one in the Verona Sacramentary – so quite early, possibly even 5th c.

St. Augustine’s 13th Sermon says that “Christ is born for us today in time according to his will, so that he might lead us to the eternity of the Father.” That may have inspired the preface’s conclusion. The English translation is very close to what it says in Latin. It does imply that we share eternity with God. We cannot preexist as God does, so perhaps “everlasting” would have been more accurate, but “eternal” is what it says, and what is has said for many centuries.