I meant to blog about this the other week, but consider yourselves forewarned for next year’s November 1 observance.
The solemn blessing for All Saints was so bad that the priest who used it for the vigil Mass on Wednesday night didn’t repeat it at either of the holy day liturgies here. When I first heard it I thought it was horrific, if not heretical. As I read it this morning, it’s not quite so bad. But you have to think about it. At which point in the Mass, you’re probably in the parking lot and on the way out anyway.
May God, the glory and joy of the Saints,
who has caused you to be strengthened
by means of their outstanding prayers,
bless you with unending blessings.
Freed through their intercession from present ills
and formed by the example of their holy way of life,
may you be ever devoted to serving God and your neighbor.
So that, together with all,
you may possess the joys of the homeland,
where Holy Church rejoices
that her children are admitted in perpetual peace
to the company of the citizens of heaven.
When I pray these prayers, I bow as requested, and since these solemn blessings used to be among my favorites (even though the cadence for “Amen” is handled with near universal awkwardness) I pay particular attention. So with the first invocation, I was distracted by being blessed with blessings. That may well be in the Latin original, but it reads like a middle school essay, stretched out to fill the word count.
Then I heard what sounds like unabashed pelagianism. In print, you might see after a moment of examination that it is the people who are freed from present ills through the intercession of the saints. I’d feel better attributing it directly to the grace of God, but at least it’s better than what I thought on first hearing, a clause describing the saints themselves. Again, the Latin original may not have “saints,” but it needs to be added for what amounts to a new paragraph. Basic English grammar. Necessary, because of the easy theological misinterpretation.
If “homeland” is not capitalized, I would presume it means an earthly country. Still, for the spoken invocation, it needs an adjective at minimum to indicate we are talking about heaven. On the other hand, if we can be blessed with blessings in the first invocation, I don’t see the problem with possessing the joys of heaven with the citizens of heaven.
Granted, the priest who rendered this tends to be less measured in his recitation of prayers. And holy days tend to be after thoughts inpreparation. Anybody else catch a stumble on this prayer? If it was even used?