Tuesday, February 8, 2005

MH - Prayer for Lent

Well, this isn't really specific to Lent, but I think the message is important. It's the Collect (opening prayer) from last Sunday's Mass, the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Novus Ordo).
Guard your family, we beseech you, O Lord, with continual religious dutifulness, so that that (family) which is propping itself up upon the sole hope of heavenly grace may always be defended by your protection.
The translation (which is a facinating read in and of itself) is provided by the redoubtable Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, occasional visiting priest at St. Agnes, moderator at the Catholic Online Forum, and author of a weekly column called "What Does the Prayer Really Say?" (WDTPRS for us fans.) Fr. Zuhlsdorf is a delight - a magnificent speaker, a strongly orthodox Catholic, a scholar of the language, and a man who knows what the prayer really says. His column, which can be found in The Wanderer as well as online, cuts through all the nonsense that came out of the ICEL translations of the 70s. I commend him to you all.

Why do I say this is good for Lent? It comes from the increasing feeling that I think many of us have that Christians are coming under attack more and more often in our culture. It is not paranoia to suggest that potential enemies are everywhere - Corporate America, the mass media, colleges and universities - so many in each of these influential areas are in thrall of empty values such as materialism, secular humanism, political correctness, and intolerance. Our values, our morals, the very way of life which this culture used to represent - all of these seem, to the pessimist (realist?), balancing on a thin edge.

As we review our own spiritual (and material) lives, and prepare for the battle ahead, we turn to God for guidance, strength and protection, and we ask that He watch over us and our families; indeed, the entire family of man. Let us add this simple prayer to that of St. Michael the Archangel, and always remember to invoke Our Lady, in the coming struggle of Light against the Darkness. May we always be instruments of the Light.

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