What’s in a Translation?
I recently read a blog article by Todd Flowerday that really hit home with me. In it he quotes a comment from a PrayTell blog article:
In a recent conversation with a parishioner, he admitted that the only parts of Mass that he pays attention to are the Gospel, the homily, the music, and the announcements. He called everything else, “blah, blah, blah.” He even asked if it would be possible to eliminate those other parts so we could focus more on the preaching and music. Could we still distribute Communion even if we skipped over the other stuff? This was coming from a lifelong Catholic who is highly involved in the parish and regularly attends Mass.
Do you ever find yourself drifting through Mass? Do the words ever just kind of flow over you without sinking in? That’s perfectly ok! Sometimes God will come to us through our mind’s drifting. Maybe today a certain part of the Liturgy is going to hit you hard and that’s all God wanted you to focus on.
For me one of these moments happened back in December of 2012 in a small parish in Masaryktown, FL. I had been to this parish numerous times as it was the Florida home parish for my Grandma and Grandpa. This particular Mass though was different. It was the first time I had stepped into a Roman Catholic Church since the implementation of the new translation of the Roman Missal into English. It was also an emotional time because we were visiting knowing that m Grandpa probably wasn’t going to make it much longer.
Mass started fairly normal and I uttered my defiant “And Also with You” under my breath as needed. I tuned out the prayers as I didn’t have my dictionary at the ready, but then came the Eucharistic Prayer. The core of the Mass. I had been bracing myself for this since 2011 knowing eventually I would take part in a Mass with the new translation. Bam, there it was like a load of bricks. While the Priest held out the chalice he said “this is the cup of a new and everlasting covenant shared for you and THE MANY.” I almost started crying in the pew right then. Hearing it out loud as part of one of the most important parts of the Mass that my Church no longer was in the business of saving ALL. Mainly out of fear of what my parents or Grandma would say (Grandpa was too sick to come.) I bit my lip and went to Communion with the family. What I really wanted to do was run out of the church and cry. I felt the power of one word in the Mass by its absence.
That was the day God took me and said, it’s time for something different. Little did I know I would be an excommunicated rebel. Now I’m not saying to ignore the Liturgy, we’re still called to full, active and conscious participation, but be open to where God takes you. We may journey together at Mass, but our paths may not all be the same.