Monday, December 01, 2008

The Rising Sun

Advent is the season of reorientation, of metonoia, it is when the Benedictus, Zechariah' Canticle, said every day in the Divine Office comes to the fore.

How exactly would you translate oriens which roughly means: rising, the rising sun, east, morning?

1985 editio typica altera of Liturgia Horarum):

Ad dandam scientiam salutis plebi eius: in remissionem peccatorum eorum:
Per viscera misericordiæ Dei nostri: in quibus visitabit nos oriens ex alto:
Illuminare his qui in tenebris et in umbra mortis sedent: ad dirigendos pedes nostros in viam pacis.
To make known to his people their salvation
through forgiveness of all their sins,
the loving-kindness of the heart of our God
who visits us like the dawn from on high.
He will give light to those who dwell in darkness,
those who dwell in the shadow of death,
and guide us into the way of peace.

From the Douay-Rheims Bible (1582):

To give knowledge of salvation to His people, unto the remission of their sins:
Through the bowels of the mercy of our God, in which the Orient from on high hath visited us: To enlighten them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death: to direct our feet into the way of peace.


Mark said...

I much prefer Douay-Rheims...

Having said that, shouldn't "visitabit" be "who shall visit" rather than "who visits" or "who hath visited"?

Rubricarius said...

Sorry why does the Benedictus come to the fore in Advent when it is invariably sung every day at Lauds?

I am afraid you have lost me there Father.

Mark said...

Having checked, I see the Vulgate has "visitavit", so the D-R "hath visited" is correct.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Rubricarius, because it prophecies what the Lord will do by his coming, Advent is dare I say about his coming. Lauds is the dawn/pre-dawn hour, in a real sense it is a daily Advent.

Rubricarius said...

Well, I see that but I would regard the late Fr. Gregory Woolfenden (whose funeral is tomorrow)'s comments on the theology of the Office as more apposite. He argued that the daily cycle from Vespers through to Lauds is representative of the triumph of light over darkness - the death and resurrection of Christ.

Advent of course is about coming, but on several levels. Let us not forget that the Dies irae for instance was originally an Advent sequence.

Fr Ray Blake said...

The more ancient elements of the Liturgy tend to include the Incarnation as well as the Redemption.

Anonymous said...

I am shocked to have learned by chance from Rubricarius' comment of the death of Hegoumen Gregory Woolfenden (at the age of 62). At the time an Eastern-rite Catholic, he was my Liturgy lecturer as well as my personal tutor when I was an Anglican seminarian (he later converted to the Orthodox Church). Though it's fair to say that he and I didn't always see eye to eye, I have often said that the most important things I learned as a seminarian were from him. May I ask you, of your charity, to pray for the repose of his soul.

Rubricarius said...


Yes, dear GW passed from this life a week ago last Thursday after a short battle with cancer. I had been in email contact with him trying to be positive. We managed to have a liturgical debate during these emails. I actually emailed him on the morning of his passing oblivious to the news I would hear later that day about how his condition had rapidly deteriorated.

He was a brilliant scholar, I too often disagreed with him but found him inspirational. I wanted to have him as a supervisor.

Fr. Ray,

Forgive me using your post as a message board. The liturgy of Advent is very beautiful but not as ancient as some other parts of the Liturgical Year, e.g. Lent. I don't see what is incarnational about Pentecost for example.

I think with regard to the Benedictus we shall have to say De gustibus...

Anonymous said...

How would we translate it - "A fresh start" (not literal). Isn`t that the great thing about a new day, especially when you see the sun rising ? - Today's a new day, whatever happened yesterday is gone, make more of today by God's Grace and make a new start.

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