Form III Final: Anselmian Dialogue

One of my bright Form III (9th grade) students decided to imitate his older brother and compose his final exam essay question as a dialogue in imitation of St. Anselm’s Cur Deus Homo.  He’s nailed the tone of St. Anselm and thrown back some of Boso’s most sycophantic replies.

Somewhat like my previous Final post from my Quaestio-spinning junior, this answer format puts more focus on his argument and cuts out a lot of flim-flam.  His order of presentation is also quite nice–a good streamlining of St. Anselm’s work.  A fine project: Continue reading Form III Final: Anselmian Dialogue

St. Anselm/John of Fecamp, Oratio XXVIII (for priests)

Oratio XXVIII

Ad Christum

Facienda a sacerdote ante consecrationem corporis Christi

To be done by the priest before the consecration of the Body of Christ

[[There be some rough syntax in here, Latin and English both.  Murderball syntax.  Hulk Smash!]]

O dulcissime Domine Jesu Christe, qui pro mea redemptione crucifixus es et mortuus, ante te est omne desiderium meum, et gemitus meus a te non est absconditus (Psalm 37:10).   Continue reading St. Anselm/John of Fecamp, Oratio XXVIII (for priests)

St. Anselm/John of Fecamp Oratio XXIX (for priests)

Oratio XXIX

Facienda a sacerdote ante missam

To be done by the priest before Mass

Summe Sacerdos et vere Pontifex, qui te obtulisti Deo Patri hostiam puram et immaculatam in ara crucis pro nobis miseris peccatoribus, et qui dedisti nobis carnem tuam ad manducandum et sanguinem tuum ad bibendum, et posuisti mysterium istud in virtute Spiritus tui, dicens: Haec quotienscunque feceritis, in mei memoriam facietis (Luc. XXII, 19).  Rogo per sanguinem tuum pretiosum, magnum salutis nostrae pretium, rogo per hanc miram et inenarrabilem charitatem qua nos miseros et indignos sic amare dignatus es, ut lavares nos a peccatis nostris in sanguine tuo (Apoc. 1, 5), doce me servum tuum indignum, quem etiam inter caetera dona tua ad officium sacerdotale vocare dignatus es nullis meis meritis, sed sola dignatione misericordiae tuae, doce me, quaeso, per Spiritum sanctum tuum tantum tractare mysterium ea reverentia et honore, ea devotione et timore quibus oportet et decet.  Fac me per gratiam tuam semper illud de tanto mysterio credere et intelligere, sentire et firmiter tenere, dicere et cogitare quod tibi placet et quod expedit animae meae.  Intret Spiritus tuus bonus in cor meum, qui sonet ibi sine sono, et sine strepitu verborum loquatur omnem veritatem tantorum mysteriorum; profunda quippe sunt nimis, et sacro tecta velamine.  Propter magnam clementiam tuam concede mihi missarum solemnia mundo corde et pura mente celebrare.  Libera cor meum ab immundis et nefandis, vanis et noxiis cogitationibus.  Muni me beatorum angelorum pia et fida custodia, ac tutela fortissima, ut hostes omnium bonorum confusi discedant.  Per virtutem tanti mysterii, et per manum sancti angeli tui repelle a me et a cunctis servis tuis durissimum spiritum superbiae et caenodoxiae, invidiae et blasphemiae, fornicationis et immunditiae, dubietatis et diffidentiae.  Confundantur qui nos persequuntur, pereant illi qui perdere cuncta festinant.

Highest Priest and true Pontifex, who offered Yourself to God the Father as a victim pure and immaculate on the altar of the cross for us wretched sinners, and who gave to us Your Flesh for eating and Your Blood for drinking, and who established that mystery in the power of Your Spirit, saying: Whensoever shall ye do this, ye shall do in memory of me (Luke 22:19).  I beg through Your Precious Blood, the great price of our salvation, I beg through this marvelous and untellable charity with which You so deign to love us, wretched and unworthy, that You would wash us from our sins in Your Blood (Rev. 1:5), teach me Your unworthy servant, whom also among Your other gifts You have deigned to call to the priestly office, by no merits of my own but only by the deigning of Your mercy, teach me, I seek, through Your Holy Spirit to [tractare] such a mystery with that reverence and honor, with that devotion and fear which are necessary and fitting.  Make me through Your grace ever to believe and to understand something of such great a mystery, to sense and firmly to hold it, to speak and to thank whatever is pleasing to You and what advantages for my soul. Let Your good Spirit enter into my heart, Who sounds there without sound, and without the crash of words speaks all truth of such mysteries; surely they are exceedingly profound, and hidden with a sacred veil.  On account of Your great clemency grant to me to celebrate the solemnities of Masses with clean heart and pure mind.  Free my heart from thoughts unclean and nefarious, vane and noxious.  Fortify me with the pious and faithful guardianship and strongest tutelage of the blessed angels, that the enemies of all goods fall down in confusion.  Through the power of so great a mystery, and through the hand of Your holy angel repel from me and from all You servants the most hardened spirit of pride and vainglory [he’s strangely transliterated instead of the Vulgate’s inanis gloria], envy and blasphemy, fornication and uncleanness, doubt and distrust.  Let them be confounded who persecute us, let them perish who rejoice to destroy all things.

Rex virginum, amator castitatis, coelesti rore benedictionis tuae exstingue in corpore meo fomitem ardentis libidinis, ut maneat in me tenor castitatis corporis et animae.  Mortifica in membris meis carnis stimulos, omnesque libidinosas commotiones et da mihi veram et perpetuam castitatem cum caeteris donis tuis, quae tibi placent in veritate, ut sacrificium laudis casto corpore et mundo corde quotidie valeam tibi offerre.  Quanta enim cordis contritione et lacrymarum fonte, quanta reverentia et tremore, quanta corporis castitate et animae puritate istud divinum et coeleste sacrificium est celebrandum, Domine, ubi caro tua in veritate sumitur, ubi sanguis tuus in veritate bibitur, ubi ima summis conjunguntur, ubi adest sanctorum angelorum praesentia, ubi tu es sacrificium et sacerdos mirabiliter et ineffabiliter?

King of virgins, Lover of chastity, with the heavenly dew of Your blessing extinguish in my body the fomes of burning desire, that there remain in me the tenor of chastity of body and soul.  Mortify in my members the goads of the flesh and all the libidinous commotions, and give to me true and perpetual chastity with the rest of Your gifts, which are pleasing to You in truth, that a sacrifice of praise with chaste body and clean heart daily I may be hale to offer to You.  For with how much contrition of heart and font of tears, how much reverence and tremor, how much chastity of body and purity of soul is that divine and heavenly sacrifice to be celebrated, Lord, where Your flesh is in truth consumed, where Your Blood in truth drunk, where the lowest is to the highest conjoined, where the presence of the holy angels attends, where You are sacrifice and priest marvelously and ineffably?

Quis digne hoc celebrare potest, nisi tu Deus omnipotens offerentem feceris dignum?  Scio, Domine, et vere scio, et idipsum bonitati tuae confiteor quia non sum dignus accedere ad tantum mysterium propter nimia peccata mea, et infinitas negligentias meas.

Who can worthily celebrate this, unless You, God Omnipotent, make the one offering worthy?  I know, Lord, and truly know, and the self-same to Your goodness confess that I am not worthy to approach to so great a mystery on account of my exceeding sins and my infinite negligences.

Sed scio, et veraciter ex toto corde meo credo, ore meo confiteor quia tu potes me facere dignum, qui solus potes facere mundum de immmundo conceptum semine (Job XIV, 4); solus de indignis dignos, de immundis mundos et de peccatoribus justos et sanctos facis.  Per hanc omnipotentiam tuam te rogo, concede mihi peccatori hoc coeleste sacrificium celebrare cum timore et tremore cum cordis puritate et lacrymarum fonte, cum laetitia spiritali et et coelesti gaudio.  Sentiat mens mea dulcedinem beatissimae presentiae tuae, et excubias sanctorum tuorum in circuitu meo.

But I know, and truthfully believe from my whole heart, I confess with my mouth, that You are able to make me worthy, who alone can make clean conception from unclean seed (Job 14:4); You alone make worthy from unworthy, clean from unclean, and just and holy from sinners.  Through this Your omnipotence I beg You, grant to me a sinner to celebrate this heavenly sacrifice with fear and trembling, with purity of heart and font of tears, with spiritual happiness and heavenly joy.  Let my mind sense the sweetness of Your blessed presence and the watchfulness of Your saints around me.

Ego enim memor venerandae passionis tuae accedo ad altare tuum, licet peccator, ut offeram tibi sacrificium quod tu instituisti, et offerri praecepisti in commemorationem tui pro salute nostra (Luc. XXII, 19).  Suscipe illud ergo, quaeso, summe Deus, pro Ecclesia sancta tua, et populo quem acquisisti sanguine tuo.  Et quoniam me peccatorem inter te et eumdem populum tuum medium esse voluisti, licet in me aliquod boni operis testimonium non agnoscas, officium saltem dispensationis creditae non recuses, nec per me indignum eorum salutis pereat pretium, pro quibus victima factus salutaris dignatus es esse redemptio.  Profero ergo, Domine (si digneris propitius intueri), tribulationes plebium, pericula populorum, captivorum gemitus, miserias orphanorum, necessitates peregrinorum, inopiam debilium, desperationes languentium, defectus senum, suspiria juvenum, vota virginum, lamenta viduarum.

For mindful of Your venerable passion I approach to Your altar, a forborn sinner, that I may offer to You the sacrifice which You have instituted and commanded to be offered in commemoration of You for our salvation (Luke 22:19).  To undertake it then, I seek, Higheste God, for Your Holy Church and for the people whom You have acquired by Your Blood.  And since You have willed that I a sinner be medium between You and Your people, permit that You be not unaware of some testimony of good work in me, that at least You not reject the office of credited dispensation, nor through unworthy me should the price of their salvation perish, for whom, become the Victim of Salvation, You deigned to be Redemption.  I offer therefore, Lord (if You will deign to look on graciously), the tribulations of commoners, the dangers of peoples, the weepings of captives, the miseries of orphans, the needs of pilgrims, the poverty of the weak, the desperations of the fainting, the defects of the old, the sighs of the young, the prayers of virgins, the laments of widows.

Tu enim misereris omnium, Domine, et nihil odisti eorum quae fecisti (Sap. XI, 24, 25).  Memorare quae sit nostra substantia, quia tu Pater noster es, quia tu Deus noster es; ne irascaris satis, neque multitudinem viscerum tuorum super nos contineas.  Non enim in justificationibus nostris prosternimus preces ante faciem tuam, sed in miserationibus tuis multis.  Aufer a nobis, Domine, iniquitates nostras, et ignem sancti Spiritus in nobis clementer accende.  Aufer cor lapideum de carne nostra, et da nobis cor carneum (Ezech. XI, 19), quod te timeat, te amet, te diligat, te delectetur, te sequatur, te perfruatur.  Oramus, Domine, clementiam tuam ut sereno vultu familiam tuam, sacri tui nominis officia praestolantem, aspicere digneris, et ut nullius sit irritum votum, nullius vacua postulatio, tu nobis preces suggere quas ipse audire propitius et exaudire delecteris.

For You have mercy on all, Lord, and You hate nothing of the things which You have made (Wisdom 11:24-25).  Remember what is our substance, for You are our Father, for You are our God; be not wrathful to the full, nor hold over us the multitude of your bowels.  For not in our justifications do we prostrate our prayers before Your face, but in Your many mercies.  Bear away from us, Lord, our iniquities, and the fire of the Holy Spirit in us clemently ignite.  Bear away the heart of stone from our flesh and give to us a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19), which fears You, loves You, loves You, delights in You, follows You, thoroughly enjoys You.  We pray, Lord, for Your clemency that with serene face You deign to look upon Your family awaiting the offices of Your sacred Name, and that no one’s prayer be void, no one’s postulation be empty, that You suggest to us the prayers which You Yourself delight to hear and hear propitiously.

Rogamus etiam te, Pater sancte, et pro animabus fidelium defunctorum ut sis illis salus, sanitas, gaudium, et refrigerium, hoc magnum pietatis sacramentum.  Deus meus, sit illis hodie magnum et plenum convivium de te pane vivo, qui de coelo descendisti et das vitam mundo (Joan. VI, 33), de tua carne sancta et benedicta, Agni videlicet immaculati qui tollit peccata mundi (Joan. I, 29), quae de sancto et glorioso beatae virginis Mariae utero est assumpta, et de Spiritu sancto concepta, de illo, inquam, pietatis fonte, per lanceam militis ex tuo sacratissimo latere manavit, ut ex inde refecti et satiati, refrigerati et consolati, exsultent in laude et gloria tua.  Peto clementiam tuam, Deus, ut descendat super illud plenitudo tuae benedictionis, et sanctificatio tuae divinitatis.  Descendat etiam, Domine, illa sancti Spiritus tui invisibilis incomprehensibilisque majestas, sicut quondam in patrum hostias descendebat, qui et oblationes nostras corpus et sanguinem tuum efficiat, et me indignum sacerdotem doceat tantum tractare mysterium cum cordis puritate et lacrymarum devotione, cum reverentia et tremore, ita ut placide et benigne suscipias sacrificium de manibus meis ad salutem omnium tam vivorum quam defunctorum.

We beseech You also, Holy Father, also for the souls of the faithful departed, that You be for them salvation, health, joy, and refreshment, this great Sacrament of Piety.  My God, let there be for them daily a great and full banquet:

  • from You, the Living Bread, Who hath descended from heaven and do give life to the world (John 6:33),
  • from Your holy and blessed flesh, that is, of the spotless Lamb which takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), which from the holy and glorious womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary was assumed, and conceived from the Holy Spirit,
  • from that font of piety, I say, [which] flowed through the lance of the soldier from Your most sacred side,

in order that, repaired and satiated, refreshed and consoled, they may rejoice in Your praise and glory.  I petition Thy clemency, O God, that it may descend upon [it–that banquet? the altar?], the fullness of your blessing, and the sanctification of Your divinity.  Let it descend also, O Lord, that invisible and incomprehensible majesty of Your Holy Spirit, just as once it descended on the host of fathers, that it may make Your Body and Blood our oblations, and may teach me, unworthy priest, to so conduct the mystery with purity of heart and devotion of tears, with reverence and trembling, so that pleasedly and benignly may You receive the sacrifice from my hands unto the salvation of all both living and deceased alike.

Rogo te, Domine, per ipsum sacrosanctum mysterium corporis et sanguinis tui, quo quotidie in Ecclesia tua pascimur et potamur, abluimur et sanctificamur, atque unius summaeque divinitatis participes efficimur, da mihi virtutes tuas sanctas, quibus repletus bona conscientia ad altare tuum accedam, ita ut haec coelestia sacramenta efficiantur mihi salus et vita.  Tu enim dixisti ore tuo sancto et benedicto: Panis quem ego dabo, caro mea est pro mundi vita.  Si quis manducaverit ex hoc pane, vivet in aeternum (Joan. VI, 52). Panis dulcissime, sana palatum cordis mei, ut sentiam suavitatem amoris tui.  Sana illud ab omni languore ut nullam praeter te sentiat dulcedinem, nullum praeter te quaerat[?] amorem, nullam praeter te amet pulchritudinem.  Panis candidissime, habens omne delectamentum et omnem suavitatis saporem (Sap. XVI, 20), qui nos semper reficis, et nunquam in te deficis, comedat te cor meum, et dulcedine saporis tui repleantur viscera animae meae.  Manducat te angelus ore pleno, manducet te peregrinus homo pro modulo suo, ne deficere possit in via tali recreatus viatico.  Panis sancte, panis vive, panis pulcer, panis munde qui descendisti de coelo et das vitam mundo, veni in cor meum, et munda me ab omni inquinamento carnis et spiritus (II Cor. VII, 1), intra in animam meam, et sanctifica me interius et exterius.  Esto tutamen et continua salus animae meae et corporis mei.  Repelle a me insidiantes mihi hostes; recedant procul a praesentia potentiae tuae ut foris et intus per te munitus recto tramite ad tuum regnum perveniam, ubi non in mysteriis, sicut in hoc tempore agitur, sed facie ad faciem te videbimus (I Cor. XIII, 12), cum tradideris regnum Deo et Patri (I Cor. XV, 24), et erit Deus omnia in omnibus (I Cor. XV, 28).  Tunc enim me de te satiabis satietate mirifica, ita ut nec esuriam, nec sitiam in aeternum.

I ask You, O Lord, through this sacrosanct mystery of Your Body and Blood, by which daily in Your Church we are fed and watered, washed and sanctified, as well as made partakers of the one and highest divinity, give to me Your holy virtues, by which replete with good conscience I may accede to Your altar, so that this heavenly sacrament may cause for me salvation and life.  You Yourself have said with Your holy and blessed mouth: “The bread which I shall give is My flesh for the life of the world.  If any eat of this bread, he shall live unto eternity” (John 6:52).  O Sweetest Bread, heal the palate of my heart, that I may sense the gentleness of Your love.  Heal it from every faintness that it may sense no sweetness before You, may seek no love before You, may love no beauty before You.  O Most Radiant Bread, having all sweetness and all savor of suavity (Wisdom 16:20), You who ever repair us, and never do You fail in Yourself, may my heart consume You, and by the sweetness of Your savor may the bowels of my soul be filled. The angel feeds on You with a full mouth, let pilgrim man feed on You after his own fashion, lest it be possible to fail on such a road although recreated by viaticum. O Holy Bread, Living Bread, Beautiful Bread, Pure Bread Who has descended from heaven and gives life to the world, come into my heart and purify me from every defilement of flesh and spirit (II Cor 7:1), enter into my soul and sanctify me inwardly and outwardly.  Be safety and continual health of (for) my soul and my body.  Repel from me the enemies lying in wait for me; let them fall back afar from the presence of Your power so that within and without through You fortified by the right path to Your reign I may arrive, where not in mysteries–as is done in this time–but face to face will I see You (I Cor 13:12), when You will hand over the Kingdom to God and the Father (I Cor. 15:24), and God will be all in all (I Cor 15:28).  Then indeed shall You satisfy me of Yourself with a marvelous satiety, so that I shall neither hunger nor thirst into eternity.

Lost Scholarship

[Somehow wordpress swallowed this post back in February and never published it.]

I’ve started digging around in the scholarly lit on the authorship of the prayers of St. Anselm.  While JP Migne records 72 prayers (it’s his numbering that I have been using when I post translations), things apparently stand quite a bit leaner than that.  It’s “well known” that many are composed by another Benedictine abbot from the same era, John of Fecamp.  Still others seem to be the work of yet other hands.  My English translation prepared by Benedicta Ward only gives 19 prayers to St. Anselm, which she bases on the critical edition prepared by Dom Schmitt.

Sadly, her introduction does not go into any of the text criticism.  Why these nineteen?  What are the marks of authenticity?  Who wrote all those other prayers?  Are there degrees of uncertainty or have we successfully identified the authors of all the other prayers?

I write sadly because no one else has gone into that detail either—not in English, anyway.  Her introduction would have been an excellent place to centralize that information.  Southern’s magisterial biography doesn’t either.  So, irritated and wanting to know how the questions stood, I went to Schmitt.  No-brainer, right?

Schmitt’s five-volume work doesn’t give the reasoning either!  Instead, there is the apologetic note that the grandfather of this field of study, Dom Andrea Wilmart, had been the intended preparer of the critical edition of the prayers.  Wilmart having sadly died before he could complete the work, Schmitt finished his manuscript.  Neither volume one nor volume three give any of the reasoning behind the exclusions. Continue reading Lost Scholarship

Formidable

Here’s an ode to a truly excellent word in Latin: formido.

Verb, root meaning to become firm or rigid, means something like “to be paralyzed with fear” or “to dread.”

Noun form is this dread, dread of an extreme intensity, and very often associated with the fear we properly have of the divine, the transcendent, God and his angels and the demons. What we feel when Jove hurls his lightning or we climb the mountain to stand in the presence of Apollo.

But a fun twist: formido is also a hunter’s gauge or bogy set up to frighten prey, to flush it toward the hunter or the net.  And so the formido is also an object that causes formido.

You can cross up these meanings.  St. Anselm/John of Fecamp uses it to describe the service of the priesthood–a great formido!–and the fear of contaminating the sacrament of the altar.

It is of course where we get the English word formidable, but “daunting” or “imposing” is not intense enough for how the word stands in Latin.  “Utterly petrifying” is better.

How is the priesthood “utterly petrifying?”  Anselm/John has the priest trapped by a fear that either reaction is to his doom.  Dare I approach the altar of God despite being so unworthy?  Do you know what happens to those who defile the sacraments?!  But then again, do you know what happens to those who disobey the commandments of God?!  Why have I been placed in this untenable position?  What do I do?  Is my service to my destruction or my salvation?

Terrifying!

 

St. Peter Damian, Omnipotence

Brandon’s post on St. Peter Damian inspired me to hobby translate the opening chapter of de divina omnipotentia (Spade’s translation, which Brandon links, skips over large swaths of text).  An enjoyable diversion, and an excellent precursor text for St. Anselm’s treatment of divine attributes in Proslogion!  I plan to go back to format and clean-up later, probably to set up a text for teaching St. Anselm in the future.  Still draft-y, but voici:

Who is snatched alone from the gales of the sea’s surge, while he sees still that a net endangers between the cliff and the rocks, between between threats and swelling heaps of waves, is inhuman if he does not deplore his allies laboring in distress.  I therefore, dismissed from the episcopate, rejoice that I am as one exposed on the sand; but that you by winds and blasts are ground, and bob among the gaping maws of the sea, I sigh not without fraternal compassion.  He errs, father, he errs, who pledges himself at the same time to be a monk, and to abandon care.  How wickedly he merits, who presumes to desert the monastic cloister that he may be hale to bailiff the soldiery of the world.  The healthy fish is plucked from the waves, not that he may live for himself, but that he may feed others.  We are called, we are drawn; but that we may live for others, let us die to ourselves; the hunter loves the stag, but that he may make it food for himself; he pursues the goat, he slays the hare; but, that he himself be well, those things nothing.  Men also love us, but not for us; they love for their own selves, they desire to turn us into their delicacies.  And while we describe them, small marvel, in exteriors, what repudiation do we give them other than our monk, who hides inwardly? Continue reading St. Peter Damian, Omnipotence

St. Anselm/John of Fecamp, Oratio XXVII (for priests)

Oratio XXVII

Ad Christum

Cum sacerdos corpus Christi et sanguinem in manibus tenet, tenensque dulciter recordetur quos dolores in cruce pro nobis passus est.

Dulcissime, et super omnia desideranda desiderande et suavissime Jesu Christe, adesto supplicationi meae, et intende voci orationis meae (Psalm 5:3), et per tuam magnam misericordiam emunda ab omni inquinamento peccati animam meam, ut dignus possim accedere ad servitium tui altaris, digneque tractare mysterium corporis et sanguinis tui.  Fateor, dulcissime Domine, coram omnipotentia tua me nimis esse culpabilem, et multa mala fere per singulas horas facientem, et tamen de ineffabili bonitate tua non desperantem.  Bonus es tu, Domine, et in bonitate tua doce me justificationes tuas (Psalm 119:68), ut eas intelligendo, easque, sicut decet, jugiter operando, mundo corde mundaque anima possim recipere mysteria tua.

O Sweetest, [and To Be Desired above all things to be desired], and Gentlest Jesus Christ, attend to my supplication and hear the voice of my prayer (Psalm 5:3), and through Your great mercy wash out my soul from every defilement of sin, that I may be worthy to approach to the service of Your altar and worthily conduct the mystery of Your Body and Blood.  I confess, Sweetest Lord, before Your omnipotence, that I am exceedingly culpable, and doing many sins nearly every hour, and yet not despairing of Your ineffable goodness.  You are good, Lord, and in Your goodness teach me Your ways (Psalm 119:68) that by knowing them and, as it fitting, constantly doing them, with clean heart and clean soul I may be able to receive Your mysteries. Continue reading St. Anselm/John of Fecamp, Oratio XXVII (for priests)

St. Anselm/John of Fecamp, Oratio XXV (for priests)

Oratio XXV

Prayer 25

Ad Christum

To Christ

Cum sacerdos multum timet ne officium altaris, quod gerit, magis et noceat quam proficiat; et quod consilium de hac re capiat.

When the priest greatly fears lest the office of the altar, which he conducts, harm him more than it profits; and what counsel he may take in this matter.

Dulcissime et benignissime Domine Jesu Christe, altissimi Patris altissime Fili, qui cum eodem Patre tuo, et Spiritu sancto universitatis Creator existis; cui nota sunt omnia antequam fiant, tu nosti insipientam meam, nosti et quam infirma sit et fragilis anima mea; et eius peccata atque delicta a te non sunt abscondita.  Te vero Creatorem meum esse recognosco; et omnia, quae mihi ad praesentis vitae necessitatem sunt, administrare fateor: fecisti ergo me, cum tibi placuit, et tandiu in hac vita ero, quandiu tibi placuerit; nec quousque tibi placeat, ulla vis me hinc expellere poterit.  Et quia de hac re certissimus sum quod ita sit, hoc super omnia immensam bonitatem tuam deprecor, ut qualitercunque mihi eveniat, dum vivo, saltem de me bonus sit finis, omnibusque iniquitatibus meis per veram poenitentiam dimissis, ad visionis tuae gloriam pervenire valeam, propter quam me creasti.

Sweetest and Most Benign Lord Jesus Christ, Most High Son of the Most High Father, Who with the same Father of Yours and the Holy Spirit do exist as Creator of the universe; to Whom are known all things before they come to be, You have known my foolishness, you have known also how infirm and fragile is my soul; and its sins and delicts are not hidden from You.  You, truly, do I recognize as my Creator; and all things which are for me a necessity of the present life, I confess to administer: therefore You made me when it pleased You, and I will be in this life for just so long as it pleases You; nor however long it be pleasing to You will any power be able to drive me hence.  And since in this matter I am most certain it is so, this I implore above all things, the immensity of Your goodness, that howsoever it should befall me while I live, at least for me may the good be my end, and do You remit all my iniquities through true penitence, that I be hale to arrive at the glory of Your vision, on account of which You have created me. Continue reading St. Anselm/John of Fecamp, Oratio XXV (for priests)

A Benedictine Joke

How can you tell the difference between a Benedictine and a Dominican?  A Dominican thinks the Latin word conversatio means “conversation” [insert sarcastic guffaw].

In a Benedictine author like St. Anselm, if you see conversatio it should almost certainly be translated in light of the Benedictine promise of conversatio morum, or “daily conversion of one’s life.”  This is made a little trickier by the fact that St. Benedict’s use of the word would be something of an archaism by the time of St. Anselm, but we are going to trust his grounding in the Rule.

So when a Dominican author copies a Benedictine author’s use of conversatio, now how should we translate it?  The standard use of the word by the time of Aquinas is simply “conversation” as we would use the term.  See opening joke of this post: my English translation of St. Thomas’s prayer gives “discourse” where the saint has conversatio.  He’s only a Dominican, right?

But he is lifting directly from St. Anselm’s prayer, another way in which the Abbot of Bec exerted enormous influence over the scholastic era.  Here’s the side-by-side: Continue reading A Benedictine Joke

St. Anselm Oratio VIII

(scroll to bottom for  unbroken English)

Oratio VIII

Prayer 8

Ad Deum

To God

Deus inaestimabilis misericordiae, Deus immensae pietatis, Deus conditor et reparator humani generis, qui confitentium tibi corda purgas, et accusantes ante conspectu divinae clementiae tuae ab omni iniquitatis vinculo absolvis, virtutem tuam totis exoro gemitibus, ut secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum de omnibus iniquitatibus meis, de quibus me accusat conscientia mea, puram mihi coram te concedas agere confessionem, veramque ex his omnibus et condignam mihi tribuas poenitentiam, quaecunque peccavi in cogitationibus pravis, in consensu malo, in consilio iniquo, in concupiscentia atque delectatione immunda, in verbis otiosis, in factis malitiosis, in visu, auditu, gustu, odoratu et tactu.

God of inestimable mercy, God of immense piety, God the Preserver and Repairer of the human race, Who purges the hearts of those confessing You and absolves from every bond of iniquity those accusing themselves before the sight of Your divine clemency: Continue reading St. Anselm Oratio VIII