Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The Confiteor by Edward Sri

I previously wrote a post about the new words of the Confiteor. I did so in response to the number of people who I had seen writing to complain about how ridiculous it is that, in the new English translation of the Mass, they will now have to say “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault” instead of saying it just once. Here is an extract from the book by Edward Sri titled “A Biblical Walk Through the Mass”, wherein he writes about this prayer. I thought it would be good to share it again.

In the prayer known as the Confiteor (which begins, "I confess to almighty God…"), the new translation of the Mass helps us cultivate a more humble, sorrowful attitude toward God as we confess our sins and accept responsibility for our wrong actions.

Instead of simply saying that I have sinned "through my own fault," as we have done in the old translation, we will repeat our sorrow three times while striking our breasts in a sign of repentance, saying: "I have sinned through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault."

But some people might wonder, "Why do we have to repeat this three times? This seems to be an awkward way of talking to God. Wasn't the previous translation simpler? And besides, this change will make Mass 2.5 seconds longer!"

Actually, the threefold repetition reflects human communication more than we may realize. And if we understand the meaning of this change, the extra 2.5 seconds will be well worth our while!

When we are at fault over something small, we might simply say to the person whom we have wronged, "I'm sorry." If, for example, I accidently step on your toe, I might say, "excuse me." If I bump into you while waiting in a line, I might say a quick, "sorry" or "pardon me."

But in a deep, personal relationship, things are different. If I have done something to hurt my wife, I don't simply say, "Excuse me, honey!" or "Oh, sorry about that!" That would not go over well in a marriage! When we have done something wrong to someone we love, we do not merely make an apology. We deeply feel sorrow over our actions and we often apologize several times and in varying ways: "I'm so sorry…I really regret doing that…I should not have said that…Please forgive me."

The same is true in our relationship with the Lord. This newly translated prayer in the liturgy helps us to recognize that sinning against God is no light matter. We must take responsibility for whatever wrong we have done and whatever good we failed to do. At Mass, one does not simply offer an apology to God. The revised translation of this prayer helps the Christian express even more heartfelt contrition and humbly admit that one has sinned "through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault."
If you would like to purchase a this extremely valuable book, you can do so online from Kalahari by following this link: A Biblical Walk Through the Mass 

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