4 May 2016


So which Collect will be used on Ascension Day in the OF next year?

At the Vigil Mass and at the First Vespers, the Editio tertia Missalis Romani of 2002 offers a new Collect, which will be used this year in the new Translation.

And moreover, for the Day itself, the Third Edition gives the alternative of yet another new Collect: except that in this case it isn't new, it's the ancient Roman Collect preserved in the 1962 Missal and, of course, the Anglican Book of Common Prayer (and, I presume, in the Ordinariate formulae). Here is a literal translation of the Latin:
Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that we who believe thy only-begotten Son our Redeemer this day to have ascended into the heavens, may also in mind dwell in the heavenly places.
As an example of how Cranmer expanded his Latin originals, I suspect out of a pastoral desire to ensure that the Collect wasn't over before a dozey congregation had cottoned on to what it was saying, I offer his version:
Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that like as we do believe thy only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into the heavens: so we may also in heart and mind thither ascend, and with him continually dwell.

The current Roman Collect uses a beautiful piece of Leonine antithetical rhetoric: literally: for the ascension of Christ thy Son is our provection, and, whither the glory of the Head has gone first, thither also is called the hope of the body. I don't like to say anything that even seems disrespectful towards Pope Leo's latinity, but I wonder whether the thought pattern is bit too tight and rapid for a Collect. Rhetoric suitable for a homily (which is where the compilers of the post-Conciliar Missal found this phrase) is not necessarily appropriate for the terse and brief literary form of the Collects of the Roman Rite. Perhaps that is why the old Collect is now on offer again.

There was a horrible tendency for Twentieth Century Liturgical Committee-persons, both Roman Catholic and Anglican, to be too-clever-by-half in the formulae they dreamed up as they sat around their tables.

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