The new translation of the Exultet

I happened to check out the MusicaSacra website and found this joyful text, the new translation of the Exultet (which I am hoping has been approved):

Longer form of the Paschal Proclamation
Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven,
exult, the Angel ministers of God exult,
let the trumpet of salvation
sound our mighty King’s triumph!

Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her,
ablaze with light from her eternal King,
let all corners of the earth be glad,
knowing an end to gloom and darkness.

Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice,
arrayed with the lightning of his glory,
let this holy building shake with joy,
filled with the mighty voices of the peoples.

(Therefore, dearest friends,
standing in the awesome glory of this holy night,
invoke with me, I ask you,
the mercy of God almighty,
that he who has been pleased to number me,
through unworthy, among the Levites,
may pour into me his light unshadowed,
that I may sing this candle’s perfect praises.)

(V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with your spirit.)

V. Lift up your hearts.
R. We lift them up to the Lord.

V. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
R. It is right and just.

It is truly right and just,
with ardent love of mind and heart,
and with devoted service of our voice,
to acclaim our God invisible, the almighty Father,
and Jesus Christ, our Lord, his Son, his Only-Begotten.

Who for our sake paid Adam’s debt to the eternal Father,
and pouring out his own dear Blood
wiped clean the record of our ancient sinfulness.

These them are the feasts of Passover,
in which is slain the Lamb, the one true Lamb,
whose blood anoints the doorposts of believers.

This is the night,
when once you led our forebears, Israel’s children,
from slavery in Egypt
and made them pass dryshod through the Red Sea.

This is the night
that with a pillar of fire
banished the darkness of sin.

This is the night
that even now, throughout the world,
sets Christian believers apart from worldly vices
and from the gloom of sin,
leading them to grace,
and joining them to his holy ones.

This is the night
when Christ broke the prisonbars of death,
and rose victorious from the underworld.

Our birth would have been no gain,
had we not been redeemed.

O wonder of your humble care for us!
O love, O charity beyond all telling,
to ransom a slave you gave away your Son!

O truly necessary sin of Adam,
destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!

O happy fault
that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!

O truly blessed night,
worthy alone to know the time and hour
when Christ rose from the underworld!

This is the night
of which it is written:

The night shall be as bright as day,
dazzling is the night for me,
and full of gladness.

The sanctifying power of this night
dispels all wickedness, washed faults away,
restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners,
drivers out hated, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty.

On this, your night of grace, O holy Father,
accept this candle, a solemn offering,
the work of bees and of your servants’ hands,
an evening sacrifice of praise,
the gift from your most holy Church.

But now we know the praises of this pillar,
which glowing fire ignites for God’s honor,
a fire into many flames divided,
yet never dimmed by sharing of its light,
for it is fed by melting wax,
drawn out by mother bees
to build a torch so precious.

O truly blessed night,
when things of heaven are wed to those of earth,
and divine to the human.

Therefore, O Lord,
we pray you that this candle,
hallowed to the honor of your name,
may persevere undimmed,
to overcome the darkness of this night.

Receiving it as a pleasing fragrance,
and let it mingle with the lights of heaven.

May this flame be found still burning
by the Morning Star:
the one Morning Star who never sets,
Christ your Son,
who coming back from death’s dominion
has shed his peaceful light on humankind,
and lives and reigns for ever and ever.
R. Amen.

This was a great comfort to read, especially since I went through an awful exultet thanks to the SLJ Mass of the Resurrection which really butchered this ancient hymn of the Church.

Thanks for sharing. Though, I’m sorry that you find an apparently unapproved liturgical text translation more worthwhile than what was celebrated at the Church’s liturgy.

As Paschale Solemnitatis teaches:

“The Episcopal Conferences are asked, unless provision has already been made, to provide music for those parts which should always be sung…” which includes the Easter proclamation (Exultet).

So unless you’re saying that the translation you posted has been approved by Rome or the Episcopal Conference as Paschale Solemnitatis requires, I’m not sure it’s very helpful to share on a forum for the Church’s liturgy and sacraments. Your own preferences are of course fine, but don’t you think the Church teaches that we should only by using approved texts at liturgy?

I’m sure many can come up with “new” and “improved” translations of liturgical texts, but I don’t think we should confuse those with the actual liturgy of the Church. Maybe this would be better to continue on the Spirituality or Catholic Living category.

Hold your horses. What I heard during the Easter Vigil was a paraphrase of the Exultet and a poor one at that. It was not what the Church has provided for us. It deleted all references to God the Father, watered down the felix culpa and was very poor. In addition, we are not to paraphrase the prayers of the Mass. The Exultet, last time I checked, is a prayer of the Church and an integral part of the Easter Vigil, hence, it should not be manhandled and paraphrased by composers who think they know better (in this case, the SLJ, who also wrote a horrible musical setting for it).

The translation that I posted comes from ICEL and is in the Grey book, waiting for approval. This is a much better translation because it is closer to the Latin. Furthermore, the new translation is supposed to adhere to Liturgiam Authenticam, the official document of the Holy See that regulates translations of the sacred texts used for Mass. Paraphrasing is not allowed.

Whew! Thanks for the clarification. When you mentioned you got it from some web site I was concerned, but knowing that it’s a proposed translation from ICEL makes a huge difference.

I’ll wait for the Recognitio or approval, still. Thanks.

But, ohhh, I hope they don’t keep changing the translation - it’s a long piece to learn and there’s only so many changes that a singer can accomodate. Why does the Church need to change things like this?

I can only guess it’s part of the recent trend toward favoring Latin translations from earlier periods that are somehow perceived as a favored way to arrive at suitable liturgical translations. Maybe? I sure haven’t come across a very convincing reason for all these recent translation changes, despite reading all the info from the Vatican and USCCB and attending workshops that included presenters from the USCCB.

I think your concern about the practical impact of these issues is so important and unfortunately something that is only addressed “late in the game.” It will be hard to implement the new Missal when it’s (finally) approved unless the Church does more than say “we recommend that everyone read the new texts and familiarize themselves with them.” Given how the post-VII changes were handled, I’m a little less than optimistic.

Bring back the bees!!

That was my thought exastly!:wink:

The frist time I had to sing it I started in January and it still took me all the way to Easter. Oh well. I guess if I did it once I could do it again. :blush:

We use the chant from the Sacrramentary.

To make sure this is clear, the Latin hasn’t changed. It’s the translation of the Latin into the vernacular that’s changing. And it’s changing so that what we say and hear in English is closer to what is being said and heard in Latin.

“And also with you” does not do “And with your spirit” justice. Penitential Rite, Form B, was very poorly translated from the Latin into English. Part of the Nicene Creed (“born of the Virgin Mary”) is erroneously translated and could lead a person to believe that Jesus only “became man” at his birth.

Wow, really? Not a single convincing reason?

I’m writing a book about the new translations (from the perspective of what the congregation says). It’s designed to explain the new translations, what they mean, why they’ve been changed; it also shows the Scriptural origins of the things said at Mass, and provides spiritual reflections and questions.

Yes, good point, sorry if I wasn’t clear, the LATIN is not changing but rather the translation into the vernacular is. Thanks.

And I didn’t mean to have anyone infer that there are no good reasons. Yes, I recognize that the original translations done in the 60s and 70s leave much to be desired according to many Latin scholars. I recognize the legitimacy and value of improving any faulty translations in that regard.

But…I fail to see how this whole translation issue will improve the full active and conscious participation of the faithful in the Liturgy, which is a fundamental directive from Vatican II. Especially when we hear some of the changes using words like “gibbet.”

And, to the example you note, “and also with you” may not “do justice” in a certain sense to “et cum spirito tuo” but let’s also be realistic–what will it mean–really, existentially–to the average person in the pew to say “and with your spirit.”? And I really don’t think anyone saying “born of the virgin Mary” is in danger of heresy, my experience has been that Catholics are aware of the basic Christological dogmas (and if not, what they say at the Creed certainly won’t make a difference imho).

Or following the Agnus Dei to say “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

I mean, c’mon, let’s be real…don’t you think most people will interpret that to refer to the “roof” of their mouth rather than any Scriptural association with “tabernacle.”

So, overall, I tend to be doubtful that all this effort is helpful. Yes, translations can be improved. But at what cost? So far I see more cost than benefit.

It’s correcting a problem that shouldn’t have existed in the first place, and it’s elevating the language of the liturgy (so that the liturgy seems like something “different” than everyday “rituals”). Perhaps people will be able to see the deeper spiritual meaning in things once they’re saying the right things! And, of course, they should be catechized about this as well. (That’s why I’m writing my book.)

I’m not concerned with the “existential” meaning, but with the spiritual sense of the liturgy. What we say – if we’re paying attention – reflects what we believe. And there are people who interpret (whether on purpose or not) “born of the Virgin Mary and became man” to mean that Jesus was not a man until his birth; this was asked on Catholic Answers Live just this week!

Remember… a change in just THREE WORDS of the Nicene Creed… “and the Son” added to “who proceeeds from the Father” is one of the single greatest sticking points between the Orthodox Church and Catholics, so apparently, even a tiny change can and HAS mattered. Every single word was placed in the Creed for a reason… to combat a particular heresy or to clarify a point. MASSIVE debates were waged over single words during the Council of Nicea. Most of the changes being made are in areas where the accuracy of the translation matters for a specific reason, even if it’s only in a small way. And for things like the Agnus Dei, this is being changed to reflect the fact that it is indeed a recitation of a direct quote from the Bible.

Just my two cents…

By “existential” I meant simply what it means–based on people’s REAL existence and experience, not some theory or hypothesis or mental reality only.

I never said there WEREN’T people who interpret the Creed erroneously, I just think any who do so are in the vast minority.

I think what people really experience is an essential consideration.

And I think what people should experience should be held in consideration as well. What people “get out of Mass” and what they should “get out of Mass” are sometimes two different things. The language used may very well be a factor in that.

But there is also something above our “experience”, which is the reality that needs to be gotten across whether we are personally receptive to it or not. I guess I am referring to “God’s experience”, if you know what I mean.

Mostly because the current translations are incredibly poor. If the previous ICEL had any Latin experience at all, it didn’t show.

Pope John Paul II issued a mandate (Liturgicam Authenticam) that simply stated that the translations into the vernacular should be faithful to the authoritative version produced by Rome.

Why should the English Mass say something different than what Vatican II produced.

I think diggerdomer’s obersvation that many “ordinary” Catholics are fairly spiritually illiterate and careless: to some brethren in the faith, a simple “Good morning” would seem to be more in line with “full, active and conscious” participation than even the existing mistranslated greeting. However, I disagree with the assessment that the change will not bring about any improvement. Depending on how the change is introduced, it could be a new pentecost in the “ordinary” Catholic’s spiritual literacy and appreciation for the richness of the liturgical expressions. I’m hoping to see bulletin inserts, web resources, books and homilies on certain expressions that are now used in the liturgy, to flesh out the various shades of meaning and how these relates to our daily life.

Even “And with your spirit” is very rich and has many layers of meaning. At its most basic level, it reminds us that man is a spiritual being, much more than a walking meat machine, that the most precious aspect of ourselves is our spirit. Going deeper, it reminds us that while we are on earth, it is the at the spirit that we are united with Jesus, and therefore our bodies become sanctified also. It recalls the special imprint on the spirit of the Priest which he received at Sacred Ordination to act in the person of Christ the Head. Entering more deeply still, it alludes to the presence of the Spirit of God who is united with the spirit of the Priest who leads us in worship. Ultimately, it is the presence of the Holy Spirit that makes our Sunday gatherings a sacred assembly, and it is the working of the Spirit that makes present the sacrifice of Calvary on the Holy Altar.

“Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof”. Yes, some people will think of the roof of their mouths. But with a little prodding, it wouldn’t be hard to link this to the roof of their homes. When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, we promise to welcome him into our homes as well, as the Divine Guest and Host of the family. Although the Scriptural allusion is drawn directly from the words of the centurion, there is also the allusion to Jesus’ Last Discourse in John’s Gospel: “If anyone loves me, my Father will love him, and we shall come to him, and make our home in him.” Receiving the Eucharist with love in a state of grace is the fulfillment of Christ’s promise to abide with and in us forever.

One of the values of Scripture is that it should allow Catholics of different cultures and times to use the same language to express their faith. The new translation, by adhering closer to the Scriptural roots of the Latin texts will be a great contribution to the future of the Church. That alone is sufficient reason for mandating and embracing the liturgical texts. We are not masters of the Church, we only watch over the sacred deposit given to us for the next generation.

I am still just totally amazed that we actuall did something more conservative than benedictgal. Although in all fairness I have to credit her with keeping me inspired and motivated in incorporating more traditional music at our parish.

I love the Exultet. I am exhausted it seems after it as it requires such concentration and I have to give it all. This year I had to follow it with the first reading and the first Psalm. Whew!

The bolded is heresy, and the rest, incorrect as to why we will say “also with your spirit”. And this is kind of why I’m not keen on this particular change because it will lead to this exact misunderstanding. Hopefully the correct education will be provided when this change takes place.

We are not spiritual beings. We are human beings. Angels are spiritual beings. Our bodies are not shells for the spirit. The spirit isn’t just a component, but the body is a manfiestation of who we are, and the body makes visible what is invisible.

Our call on earth is not to be united “spiritually” with Jesus, but to be fully integrated human beings united with Jesus. This is how the Virgin Mary was…her body and soul completely integrated. When we tear the spirit away from the body, that is when we have all sorts of disordered immorality. I know you weren’t thinking that, but this is where it starts…at the heart of our language and understanding.

“and with your spirit” as I understand it, is in reference to the “spirit of the priesthood” as a representative of the whole church. meaning we are wishing the Lord is with the Church

You read too much into my words, agapewolf, and gave it an interpretation that was never intended. Yes, man is at once corporeal and spiritual, he is an embodied spirit: the body is not a shell that the spriit inhabits, and as the Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

In Sacred Scripture the term “soul” often refers to human life or the entire human person. But “soul” also refers to the innermost aspect of man, that which is of greatest value in him, that by which he is most especially in God’s image: “soul” signifies the spiritual principle in man. (CCC 363)

It is in that sense that I wrote that the spirit is the most precious aspect of ourselves. This expression, based on the expression of the Catechism, clearly cannot be heretical.

The danger today is for people, even Catholics, to ignore their spiritual needs, to think only of their physical needs; to value only to what is visible and devalue what is invisible to human eyes. I still expect the proper translation of the greeting to help rectify this situation. I don’t think the phrase will popularise the body-soul duality that isn’t part of Catholic teaching. Ultimately the liturgical action goes beyond this greeting. The body is involved in divine worship and is greatly honoured, especially in the funeral liturgy; besides that, our bodies are marked with the sign of the cross and sprinkled with holy water, we kneel and bow, raise or clasp our hands to express our faith in divine worship. We are also nourished by the Body of Christ; so I wouldn’t worry about Catholics separating the body from the soul and leading to all kinds of sin and disorder.

As for why we respond to the ordained alone with “And with your spirit”, there are many opinions which alludes to the Holy Spirit. For example, on the USCCB Formation Materials, it is written:

The expression et cum spiritu tuo is only addressed to an ordained minister. Some scholars have suggested that spiritu refers to the gift of the spirit he received at ordination. In their response, the people assure the priest of the same divine assistance of God’s spirit and, more specifically, help for the priest to use the charismatic gifts given to him in ordination and in so doing to fulfill his prophetic function in the Church.

And again, in Bishop Vigneron’s speech to the Gateway Liturgical Conference:

I note that the renowned theologian, Yves Congar, can be brought to bear to support it. In his magisterial study on the Holy Spirit, he cites approvingly the work of another scholar who, he tells us, claims that the words of the liturgical formula et cum spiritu tuo

…do not simply mean: “And with you,” which would be no more than an exchange of religious wishes helping to create the space of celebration. They mean more than this. The formula “The Lord is (be) with…” is frequently used in the Old Testament and is often concerned with an action that has to be done according to God’s plan and is connected with the presence of the Spirit in the one who has to perform this action. In the New Testament and early Christianity, the Spirit is particularly active in prayer and the worshipping assembly. In the brief dialogue between the minister and the community recorded by Hippolytus (Apostolic Tradition, 4: 7; 22; 26), the presence of the Spirit has to be ensured so that the liturgical action can take place; hence, the words: “The Lord be with you,” gifted as you are for that purpose with the charism of the Spirit. According to the Fathers, the necessary charism was conferred on the priest at ordination. Nothing, however, takes place automatically, and every spiritual activity requires an epiclesis.

According to this understanding, et cum spiritu tuo is, then, a sort of epiclesis; by it the people are invoking the Holy Spirit upon their priest so that he may effectively accomplish his ministry as celebrant.

The newness of the phrasing will lead people to ask questions that can deepen their faith.

I have always heard it to refer to the spirit of ordination, which is why “The Lord be with you / and also with you” is not permitted as a dialogue between two non-ordained groups in the liturgy.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit