the words

The most remarkable thing about Anthony Esolen’s piece, “Restoring the Words” in the most recent issue of First Things is the delirious tone of it all:

The prayers of the Mass are not gray. They are colored with all the splendor of truth. Now the color returns. Beauty removes her shroud. The holy word of God is allowed to speak. Who knows why the translators did what they did? It was doubleplusungood; but that is between them and God. When the springtime comes, who cares to remember the winter? Let it pass. For the flowers appear on the earth, and the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.

By any measure, this is extremely over–selling what is a pedestrian and somewhat–awkward translation (from the excerpts I have seen), but it is completely understandable given the awful state Catholics in the US have suffered under. In the American Orthodox experience, this would be rather like a free verse interpretation of the terrible GOARCH English translation being replaced with old OCA work. You aren’t getting anything special, but after choking down sawdust, you’re excited for that day–old McDonald’s hamburger.

One thing I regret about my time as a Continuing Anglican is that I had no idea how rare the gift I was being given in the words of the Book of Common Prayer and the Anglican Missal. I had no other church experience to compare it to—it was my standard for English worship, and nothing else has come close.

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